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'[PIC]: PIC serial chipdrive'
2002\01\18@131033 by Joris van den Heuvel

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Hi people,

Does anyone have any experience in using a PIC as a serial remote connection device in Windows 9x? I have this idea of a "removable non-volatile RAM module" hooked up to a PIC and being able to access it as a network drive in Windows 9x through a COMport. I know it's possible to connect 2 PCs this way, but would an 'F877 be able to support the protocol? And of course, what protocol would this be? Even better would be someone who's done this sharing his thoughts.

The reason is this: I'm trying to work within standard Windows capabilities so I don't have to write my own Windows9x software and support it.

Regards,

Joris.


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2002\01\18@142356 by Josh Koffman

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I don't really know the protocols and such, but my gut instinct is that
this may be complicated. You could probably set up a Windows device
driver that would recognize the pic and assign it a drive letter, but
you would be the one specifying the protocol. You could then share the
"drive" over the network. To get an f877 to emulate a full PC with
Windows doesn't sound like fun. Besides, does Windows allow you to act
as a router like that? Would Internet Connection Sharing work? Seems to
me you would be asking the computer to route the network from your NIC
to the serial port and back so the f877 network node would appear to the
whole network. That said, it may be really simple. I'm sorry I can't
provide any help :)

Josh
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Joris van den Heuvel wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2002\01\18@151703 by Dal Wheeler

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You probably won't easily get away w/o some kind of driver or configuration
in windows....  Also you might consider USB for your concept.  Check out:
http://www.beyondlogic.org/usbnutshell/usb7.htm#PIC16F876Example

--Also, you have seen the usb memory fobs from IBM / DELL (16MB + in a
device that fits onto a keyring)?  They're getting pretty inexpensive.

{Original Message removed}

2002\01\18@154940 by Drew Vassallo

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>in windows....  Also you might consider USB for your concept.  Check out:
>http://www.beyondlogic.org/usbnutshell/usb7.htm#PIC16F876Example

I like this idea.  USB is a real nice interface.  However, rather than
emulating one, or indirectly controlling one through a Phillips USB/I2C
chip, Microchip has micros ready for use with USB interfacing.  Check them
out on the Microchip website.

--Andrew

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2002\01\19@074752 by Joris van den Heuvel

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> You probably won't easily get away w/o some kind of driver or
> configuration
> in windows....

How does a PC-to-PC connection do this w/o drivers? I can just set up a
remote link to another PC with a null-modem cable.

> Also you might consider USB for your concept.  Check out:
> http://www.beyondlogic.org/usbnutshell/usb7.htm#PIC16F876Example

FWIW, I thought about that too. But USB would mean our customers will have
to have USB doesn't it? :(

Our customers are all governments (municipalities, provinces etc.) and as
you may know, they don't have the most modern PCs available nor do they have
any influence on what they get. RS232 has been a standard for a LONG time,
and will remain a standard for some LONG time more....

>
> --Also, you have seen the usb memory fobs from IBM / DELL (16MB + in a
> device that fits onto a keyring)?  They're getting pretty inexpensive.

The memory storage module (we call them RAMpacks) is an existing design.
Can't possibly change that. It has to be compatible to the device supplying
the data, a traffic counter. The interface is the part that's been very
sensitive to failure, and a redesign is what I'm thinking of.

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2002\01\19@094326 by Byron A Jeff

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On Sat, Jan 19, 2002 at 01:36:47PM +0100, Joris van den Heuvel wrote:
> > You probably won't easily get away w/o some kind of driver or
> > configuration
> > in windows....
>
> How does a PC-to-PC connection do this w/o drivers? I can just set up a
> remote link to another PC with a null-modem cable.

Yes. But that's because of two things:

1) At the physical level both PC's are running EIA232 (EIA: standard, RS:
recommended standard. EIA232C has been a standard for quite a while)

2) The OS has software to create a linkage between the machines. You'd have
to duplicate that protocol.

So you'd have to provide EIA232 which of course isn't a problem and then
duplicate the linkage protocol, which probably is a problem.

While one of your design goals is to not put any additional software on the
PC, it's a heck of a lot easier to program than a PIC.

Good luck with your project.

BAJ

> [USB deleted. Not a viable option. ]

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2002\01\19@132414 by Josh Koffman

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While the PC to PC connection may not require you to install drivers for
it, the protocol it uses is a function of the operating system. While
the physical connection (the serial port) would be easy to get up and
running, I'm worried that you'd have an extremely hard time convincing
the host computer that your PIC was another computer running Windows,
because you can't choose how the two will communicate. You must adhere
to Microsoft's protocol. If you can write a device driver, then you can
choose the protocol that the computer and the PIC use to communicate,
and make it as easy or complicated as you wish.

You mention that there are readers that you are looking to replace.
Perhaps you can find out the protocol they use. That should allow you to
use the drivers made for the readers. Just as a side note, there are
many manufacturers that are doing away with serial ports on their laptop
computers, so keep in mind that eventually you may need to run your
device through a USB-Serial converter.

Hope this is a bit clearer.

Josh
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completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete
fools.
       -Douglas Adams

> How does a PC-to-PC connection do this w/o drivers? I can just set up a
> remote link to another PC with a null-modem cable.
<Snip>
> Our customers are all governments (municipalities, provinces etc.) and as
> you may know, they don't have the most modern PCs available nor do they have
> any influence on what they get. RS232 has been a standard for a LONG time,
> and will remain a standard for some LONG time more....
>
> The memory storage module (we call them RAMpacks) is an existing design.
> Can't possibly change that. It has to be compatible to the device supplying
> the data, a traffic counter. The interface is the part that's been very
> sensitive to failure, and a redesign is what I'm thinking of.

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2002\01\19@134920 by Dale Botkin

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> Our customers are all governments (municipalities, provinces etc.) and as
> you may know, they don't have the most modern PCs available nor do they have
> any influence on what they get. RS232 has been a standard for a LONG time,
> and will remain a standard for some LONG time more....

Not if Micro$oft and PC manufacturers get their way.  There's a very
strong push now to completely eliminate all but USB ports on PCs.  I have
heard that many laptops now have nothing but USB connections, and a LOT of
new desktops are the same way.  No ISA slots, no serial or parallel...
they call it "legacy-free".  I call it "pretty much useless for all but
sheep". (no offense meant to your neighbors, Jinx!)

Dale

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2002\01\20@142211 by Jon Baker

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I don't recall if ftp servers can be mapped as network drives yet.. I know
explorer has nice ftp features built in now- so what about writing a much
cut down ppp implementation and basic ftp server to server files from the
memory? Sounds easy doesn't it :-) Your pic makes a ppp connection to your
PC. It can be done!

.. but don't ask me to do it :-)

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{Original Message removed}

2002\01\20@143446 by Jim

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   "I don't recall if ftp servers can be mapped
    as network drives yet.. "

Isn't this what SAMBA was for - allowing remote UNIX, etc,
drives/systems to be 'mounted'/accessed under windows?

... conceivably with *no* difference whether the remote system
is on the same LAN - or miles away accessed via TCP/IP on the
internet (besides the obvious security issue)?


From: http://us1.samba.org/samba/about.html

"The very short answer is that it is the protocol by which a lot of
PC-related machines share files and printers and other informatiuon
such as lists of available files and printers. Operating systems that
support this natively include Windows NT, OS/2, and Linux and add on
packages that achieve the same thing are available for DOS, Windows,
VMS, Unix of all kinds, MVS, and more. Apple Macs and some Web Browsers
can speak this protocol as well.  Alternatives to SMB include
Netware, NFS, Appletalk, Banyan Vines, Decnet etc; many of these have
advantages but none are both public specifications and widely
implemented in desktop machines by default.

The Common Internet Filesystem (CIFS) is what the new SMB initiative
is called. For details watch http://samba.org/cifs."


WHAT CAN SAMBA DO?
                                ==================
Here is a very short list of what samba includes, and what it does. For
many networks this can be simply summarised by "Samba provides a complete
replacement for Windows NT, Warp, NFS or Netware servers."

- a SMB server, to provide Windows NT and LAN Manager-style file and print
services to SMB clients such as Windows 95, Warp Server, smbfs and others.

- a NetBIOS (rfc1001/1002) nameserver, which amongst other things gives
browsing support. Samba can be the master browser on your LAN if you wish.

- a ftp-like SMB client so you can access PC resources (disks and
printers) from unix, Netware and other operating systems


Jim



{Original Message removed}

2002\01\20@150854 by Jon Baker

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>     "I don't recall if ftp servers can be mapped
>      as network drives yet.. "

I meant directly in windows 'a la Network Neighborhood'.

> Isn't this what SAMBA was for - allowing remote UNIX, etc,
> drives/systems to be 'mounted'/accessed under windows?

It is.. but I don't think a PIC port of samba is really the answer :-)

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2002\01\21@144108 by Joris van den Heuvel

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Thanks for your replies,

So network support is out of the question, is my conclusion from your
messages.

What about local only?

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2002\01\23@120558 by John De Villiers

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> I don't recall if ftp servers can be mapped as network drives yet.. I know
> explorer has nice ftp features built in now- so what about writing a much
> cut down ppp implementation and basic ftp server to server files from the
> memory? Sounds easy doesn't it :-) Your pic makes a ppp connection to your
> PC. It can be done!

Its part of the resource kit.

The normal command line way of making drive mappings is "net use d:
\\computer\share"

The resource kit has a thingy called inet.  You use it the same way " inet
use d: ftp.myserver.com/pub/whatever

John

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