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'[EE] XP versus Win95 Serial ports'
2010\07\21@110406 by Roger Weichert

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Hi guys,

I have a factory programing adaptor used for updating some small boards I
repair (Boumatic). It will allow altering settings in the eprom of
PIC16F84's or reprograming the entire chip. It's old and runs on DOS.

I recently installed XP on the old laptop that I normally use to run it, and
now it wont work the adaptor properly.

Perhaps one time in ten, it will read the old settings in the pic, but when
I edit them and attempt to send them to the pic, it comes up with "Hardware
Fault ... check connections, power etc".

I didn't know whether it was my prog adaptor, cables, software or settings,
so tried my desktop with XP. Same problem.

After a lot of stuffing about I eventually resurrected a 15 year old machine
out of the shed (running Win95) and it works fine. Phew!!!

So the adaptor is ok, and the drive software  ... it must be in the settings
of the serial port I'm trying to use  ...  although I compared the settings
for both and made sure they were the same. Or some subtle difference in the
way XP handles the serial port compared to Win95 ???

Does anyone have any ideas what may be the problem. I'd like to revert to
the laptop for my workshop jobs rather than have a dinasaur desktop taking
up space.

Regards,  Roger

2010\07\21@114352 by Carl Denk

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As I understand, some (many?) laptops and maybe desktops do not provide
the RS-232 voltage levels of +/- 12 VDC, but maybe TTL levels, and/or no
negative voltages. Also there may be an issue of providing enough power.
I assume the laptop has USB ports available. You might look at an
USB/RS-232 adapter, noting that some of those adapters may not provide
the necessary voltage/amperage. Might look at
www.scantool.net/accessories/usb-to-rs232-converter.html
I don't know if that will do the job, but seems like it might, and at
$13, that's hard to beat. I recently got a Nettop, with no RS-232, but
has 3 USB. Am considering getting one to talk to PIC embedded systems
and a PLC.

On 7/21/2010 11:04 AM, Roger Weichert wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2010\07\21@115824 by John Hansen

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IIRC, win95 and XP handle serial ports differently.  XP was based on the
hardware model of WinNT which did not allow direct addressing of the
hardware serial ports... you had to go through the operating system.  As a
result, many of the old serial and parallel port PIC programmers that were
designed to work on earlier versions of Windows failed when ported to XP.
Again, IIRC, running these programs in "compatibility mode" didn't work
either.

I remember, once upon a time, writing a program that allowed me to program
PICs using one of these old programmers under XP, but it did not work with
all machines (perhaps because of the voltage level issues).  In any case,
you are trying to use software that already exists, so this wouldn't help
you in any case.

I think you have a couple of options here.  If you can figure out what this
old software is actually doing (could it be writing configuration values?)
you could acquire a modern PIC programmer and rewrite the chips using MPLAB
(or the like).

Or you could save the old clunker as you have been doing.

One other possibility would be to boot into DOS using a floppy or a CD on a
modern computer when you want to do this programming and boot into your
regular operating system off the hard drive at other times.

John Hansen
Coastal ChipWorks

On Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 11:04 AM, Roger Weichert <spam_OUTrweicherTakeThisOuTspambigpond.net.au>wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> -

2010\07\21@122447 by Carl Denk

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2 questions:
1: Could you duel boot DOS using GRUB or other loader? This would
eliminate the floppy. Or use a USB or SD flash card to boot DOS?
2: Could you run the DOS under Linux with WINE?

On 7/21/2010 11:58 AM, John Hansen wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>> --

2010\07\21@163625 by Richard Prosser

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Roger,
IIRC there are a few utility type "drivers/interface/??" type programs
that allow a program written for earlier software to access the com
ports correctly  - YMMV.

I can't remember the name of the one I used but it just loads at
startup and then everything works again. It may have been part of a VB
package I think. I know I located it using google, but similar
utilities are available from companies that made equipmemt that
suffered the same problem when XP was first introduced.  (So it's a
few years ago  that I last used it).

I've just had a quick look on google but was unable to locate what I
was after but if you get stuck I'll have a look on my home PC & see if
I can find a copy. - It's freeware so I won't be running into
licensing issues.

RP

On 22 July 2010 04:24, Carl Denk <cdenkspamKILLspamwindstream.net> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>>> --

2010\07\21@173055 by mcd

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> IIRC there are a few utility type "drivers/interface/??" type
> programs that allow a program written for earlier software to
> access the com ports correctly  - YMMV.
>
> I can't remember the name of the one I used but it just loads
> at startup and then everything works again. It may have been
> part of a VB

There was a thing, DirectIO if I recall, that allowed Tait style PIC
programmers to work on XP.  However, Service Pack 2 made it almost, but
not quite, impossible to install.  If I recall it took like 6 r 8 reboots
to actually install the thing, and if you tried to skip any it was remove
and start all over.  Once installed, however, it worked fine, and it seems
to me that if you had it installed, installing SP2 didn't break it.

Some time ago, however, most of the downloads for that package seem to
have disappeared.

I think that is one of the reasons W2K stayed so popular for so long.

--McD


2010\07\21@183720 by Roger Weichert

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Carl Denk wrote


{Quote hidden}

Thanks Carl, I actually woke up through the night and was thinking about it,
and realised I have one of those type devices I bought off ebay a few weeks
ago, and I didn't even think to try it. That's definitely something that's
worth a try.


Richard E. Teague wrote

{Quote hidden}

Thanks Richard,

I recall seeing that setting as I was checking everything, so I'll give that
a shot. It's probably the easiest test to do out of all the suggestions


John Hansen wrote

{Quote hidden}

Thanks John, before I aquired a factory programmer, I actually tried using a
couple of different pic programmers, but the beauty of the original is that
there is a screen where you can set or change the variable parameters for
the board and therefore rewrite the eprom easily.

If I knew how to write higher level software maybe I could write my own
version and use it with my own pic programmer.

At least I've bought some time by getting the old clunker going. I have
about 20 boards to finish fairly quickly.

Your other suggestion of booting into DOS using a floppy sounds like a great
idea to try if the earlier ones dont work. Thanks again.

Carl Denk wrote

>2 questions:
>1: Could you duel boot DOS using GRUB or other loader? This would
>eliminate the floppy. Or use a USB or SD flash card to boot DOS?
>2: Could you run the DOS under Linux with WINE?

Thanks Carl, yes it would be worth a try too. I'm not sure how all that
works, so I will do some checking or may ask more questions if none of the
earlier suggestions work out. My laptop still has a floppy drive, and I
still have the original DOS disks.

Thanks to everyone for all your input. Looks like my morning is taken care
of trying out all the suggestions. It's great to fire off an email before I
go to bed, and when I wake up find a heap of excellent ideas in my inbox.
Thanks again.

Regards,   Roger





2010\07\22@100048 by Roger Weichert

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Well, I had a go at a couple of the suggestions, but so far no joy.

First I tried unchecking the FIFO buffer checkbox and several other
variations. Then I tried the USB to serial adaptor, but again, no go.

The USB adaptor certainly works, because I've used it for another
communications job witth an RFID reader, and it worked at first attempt
which really surprised me.

I got a reasonable number of my boards going, so I'll have another attempt
with the next batch.

Next, I'll have to try booting into DOS via a floppy  ..  once I work out
how it's done.

Thanks for all the help.

Regards,   Roger



{Original Message removed}

2010\07\22@100048 by Roger Weichert

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Well, I had a go at a couple of the suggestions, but so far no joy.

First I tried unchecking the FIFO buffer checkbox and several other
variations. Then I tried the USB to serial adaptor, but again, no go.

The USB adaptor certainly works, because I've used it for another
communications job witth an RFID reader, and it worked at first attempt
which really surprised me.

I got a reasonable number of my boards going, so I'll have another attempt
with the next batch.

Next, I'll have to try booting into DOS via a floppy  ..  once I work out
how it's done.

Thanks for all the help.

Regards,   Roger



{Original Message removed}

2010\07\22@132707 by Charles Craft

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What's your threshold for "patch and pray" before you drop back and
analyze the issue?

Is it worth putting a scope on the setup with the desktop then compare
the traces to what the laptop produces?

A Google search on "serial protocol analyzer" turned up several with
free/eval versions.
Once you're sure the physical layer is wiggling properly you can look at
the data to see if there's anything obvious.
Of course getting a reliable connection to sniff the line adds another
wrinkle.  :-)


On 7/22/2010 10:01 AM, Roger Weichert wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> {Original Message removed}

2010\07\22@180021 by Carl Denk

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Haven't done it, but I think one needs to Google DOS boot sector, or
something like that. There are available boot sector files, follow the
instructions. The also might be Caldera boot sectors, which probably
will do the same.

> Next, I'll have to try booting into DOS via a floppy  ..  once I work out
> how it's done.
>

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