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'Pic communication with a Palm Pilot'
2000\03\07@194716 by Mark Newland

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   I have a project that stores both calibration info and data logging
information on it.  The product will be firmly fixed inside the cab of
18 wheelers.  The information will only be accessed once per month.  The
options are:

1) Run a 200 foot extention cord out to the unit once per month.  No, I
can not leave the cord laying out accoss the middle of the parking lot
for hundreds of trucks to run over it.

2) RF Link:  Plausible but too expensive when talking about 20-100
trucks per fleet.

3) Have the customer buy a laptop and run it out to the truck whenever
they need to and plug it in.  Customer said "NO!".  They would prefer a
small handheld unit that will capture the information and can then
download it to their PC.

4) Build my own PDA and use whatever IR communication protocals I want.

5) Buy someone else's PDA (like a Palm Pilot, Handspring, etc.) and just
program it.

The last option sounds the best but have no idea how to interface to
it.  What is the spectrum frequency of the IR emittor and detector
(IrDA)? What is the baud rate on the transmission? When I want to send
the letter "A" to the PDA, what does the waveform look like?

Unconfirmed info that I have found so far is that it uses 9600 baud and
it sends a packet of 64 bytes at a time.

Writing the program for the PDA is the easy thing.  What do I do on the
PIC side to make it compatible??

2000\03\07@200437 by Scott Dattalo

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On Tue, 7 Mar 2000, Mark Newland wrote:

{Quote hidden}

The palmpilot implements a good portion of the 'IrDA stack'. If you send
the letter 'A', you're in fact sending a whole lot of additional
information. IrDA is a specification that describes the various layers to
a communication protocol that's ultimately based upon infrared receivers
and transmitters. It's not like your TV remote where there's a one-to-one
correspondence between key presses and waveforms that are produced.

The pilot is capable of 115.2 kbaud and the packets can be as large as 512
bytes.

Now as far as pic compatibility, I'm not sure what you mean here. Scenix
has an appnote that implements IrDA (I believe it goes up to to the IrLMP
layer). You may want to take a look there to see how complex this really
is. It probably be easier to store the information on the pilot (that is
in the truck) and then transfer it to a PC either through irda or the
hotsync port. There may even be cheaper ways to store the data (you didn't
say how much data there is). An 'F877 has fair amount of program memory
flash that may be suitable for storing your data - unless you're talking
about kbytes or Mbytes...

2000\03\07@200638 by l.allen

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> 4) Build my own PDA and use whatever IR communication protocals I want.
>
> 5) Buy someone else's PDA (like a Palm Pilot, Handspring, etc.) and just
> program it.
>
> The last option sounds the best but have no idea how to interface to
> it.  What is the spectrum frequency of the IR emittor and detector
> (IrDA)? What is the baud rate on the transmission? When I want to send
> the letter "A" to the PDA, what does the waveform look like?
>
> Unconfirmed info that I have found so far is that it uses 9600 baud and
> it sends a packet of 64 bytes at a time.
>
> Writing the program for the PDA is the easy thing.  What do I do on the
> PIC side to make it compatible??

I gave up in total disgust trying to fathom out IRDA, its
very involved. There are special I.Cs and all that make it
look straight forward but there are protocols etc that are
no problem if you are communication between P.C and
compliant PDA both with the appropriate driver software
but doing it with a PIC is hard.
I found joy and happiness by making my own I/R
interface, I mate the surfaces of the two devices so there
are two separate I/R links that cant see each other and
its a simple clock and data transfer. Fast, cheap and
easy.
_____________________________

Lance Allen
Technical Officer
Uni of Auckland
Psych Dept
New Zealand

http://www.psych.auckland.ac.nz

_____________________________

2000\03\07@212255 by Jeffrey Siegel

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> > 5) Buy someone else's PDA (like a Palm Pilot, Handspring, etc.) and just
> > program it.


The Palm OS has a fine serial RS-232 implementation.  The first thing that I
ever wrote for the PIC collected data on an '877 and transferred it serially
to the Palm.  The simple solution is to have a Palm with a three-foot serial
cable (retails for $15) that plugs into your PIC implementation.  The serial
code on the PIC takes less than a page (with full interrupt driven
receive/transmit) - it's gotta be a whole lot easier than implementing IRDA
on the PIC...

2000\03\07@212514 by Dale Botkin

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On Tue, 7 Mar 2000, Mark Newland wrote:

>     I have a project that stores both calibration info and data logging
> information on it.  The product will be firmly fixed inside the cab of
> 18 wheelers.  The information will only be accessed once per month.  The
> options are:

The mind fairly reels with the possibilities...  Since I grew up in a
house with the chief engineer of Fruehauf, I gotta wonder what you're
monitoring.  Truckstop honeys, maybe?  8-)

> 2) RF Link:  Plausible but too expensive when talking about 20-100
> trucks per fleet.

Not to mention those pesky FCC regulations...

> 4) Build my own PDA and use whatever IR communication protocals I want.
>
> 5) Buy someone else's PDA (like a Palm Pilot, Handspring, etc.) and just
> program it.

Or build a data collector...  something small and hand-held to gather data
from the truck-mounted unit, store it, and send it to a PC via an RS-232
link.  Like #4, but way simpler.  Little shirt pocket size case, one or
two pushbuttons, nothing else.

> Writing the program for the PDA is the easy thing.  What do I do on the
> PIC side to make it compatible??

I'm totally ignorant of Palm programming...  is one stuck with only IRDA
communications from the IP port, or can one also write common, run of the
mill serial applications to use it as well?  Something simpler than the
complex IRDA stack?  I would think so, since I've seen (and used) learning
remote software for the Palm.

Dale
---
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new
discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..."
               -- Isaac Asimov

2000\03\07@215153 by Anthony Rudzki

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The palmpilots come with a cradle and a DB9 connector on it. Use it, since
RS232 is so straight forward and is compatable with even the oldest pilots
(like my palm personal...512K RAM whoooowee)

If the palm follows the 68EZ328 manual, the dragonball drives the infrared
directly thru the uart and the pulses are like 1/16 of a 9600 baud bit width
(hmmmm...is that right?) anyway, I'm sure the OS adds to that to implement
the protocol.


tony

2000\03\08@030143 by Mark Newland

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Scott Dattalo wrote:

> The palmpilot implements a good portion of the 'IrDA stack'. If you send
> the letter 'A', you're in fact sending a whole lot of additional
> information. IrDA is a specification that describes the various layers to
> a communication protocol that's ultimately based upon infrared receivers
> and transmitters. It's not like your TV remote where there's a one-to-one
> correspondence between key presses and waveforms that are produced.

Right after writing this found the "Minimal IrDA Protocal Implementation"
specs that were written by the 'Infrared Data Association'.  Going to take a
few days to even remotely decipher the information but I'm up for the
challange.  Looks fun!!!

> Now as far as pic compatibility, I'm not sure what you mean here. Scenix
> has an appnote that implements IrDA (I believe it goes up to to the IrLMP
> layer). You may want to take a look there to see how complex this really
> is. It probably be easier to store the information on the pilot (that is
> in the truck) and then transfer it to a PC

Thanks for the Scenix link.  Will definitely check it out.

Seems that I wasn't clear enough about what the PDA would be used for so I
will clarify for you (and the other 5 that responded). The pilot is what the
mechanic uses to interface with the product that I am building.  The product
I'm building is a multi-functional unit based on a PIC16C77.  It monitors
certain sensors (oil pressure, water temp, coolant level, etc.) and alerts the
driver in case of a fault (and logs this information onto the EEPROM).  It
also tracks total engine hours, hours left till truck next due for service,
RPM speed and logs over-revs and will also act as a electronic governor.
There is alot more functions as well. Not only does the unit log certain
information but the mechanic is allowed to adjust certain variables within my
product (I.E. What temperature do I trip an alert at? How many hours between
service visits? What is the maximum allowed RPM's before we trigger an
over-rev condition and/or turn off the fuel pump? etc..).  Have over 20
different variables so far and climbing.

I need something more than just a "simple" data transfer unit  Only need to
transfer small amounts of data (only useing a 4K EEPROM) but need to have the
flexibility that a PDA would offer. The cradle (as others have mentioned)
would be great to get the information to it's final destination of the PC
which is another reason I've thought about going this route. If, err I mean
WHEN I get it implimented will post the subroutine to the list

One other thought that others have mentioned in prior months is the fact that
certain PDA's (such as the Mindspring PDA) can impliment a hardware add-on.  I
could build a simplistic IR port controlled by a PIC12C5XX (or equivilant) and
use the PDA as a "user interface".  Going to try and figure out the built-in
IrDA port first just for the learning experience.

P.S.  No Dale, I'm not monitoring truckstop honeys altho I wish I was there to
do so personally :) :)

P.S.S.  Yes, Mr. Mark Willis.  This is the product I talked to you about a
couple months ago.

2000\03\08@032458 by McMeikan, Andrew

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what about using these http://www.computronics.com.au/misc/t-r_pair.html as
they are so cheap ( AUS$6 ex tax for tx) I have picked up a pair (433Mhz)
and will be playing with it, may be viable especially if only needing to
transmit data .  Probably cheaper than modulating the headlights :)  If
anyone else has used these before and has hints I'd like to hear them.

as an alternative why not just have a PIC based handheld that you walk over
and download with?  No need for IR just use an easy hookup connector.

       cya,    Andrew...

> {Original Message removed}

2000\03\08@060641 by Alan Pearce

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I have mentioned before that the more unscrupulous in our society have
programmed palm pilots to unlock cars that use IR remote locking. This leads me
to suspect that most of the IR link on the pilot is done in software. If the
IrDA stack is to complex, then it may be practical to write your own protocol
for the IR link. It would involve some work on the Pilot however.

2000\03\08@074017 by Scott Dattalo

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On Wed, 8 Mar 2000, Alan Pearce wrote:

> I have mentioned before that the more unscrupulous in our society have
> programmed palm pilots to unlock cars that use IR remote locking. This leads me
> to suspect that most of the IR link on the pilot is done in software. If the
> IrDA stack is to complex, then it may be practical to write your own protocol
> for the IR link. It would involve some work on the Pilot however.

The PalmOS API doesn't expose the IrDA physical layer, which is to say
that you can't directly write to the Ir transmitter (and read from the
receiver). OTOH, if you're willing to invest some effort in reverse
engineering, you can trace the OS calls and learn about the Dragonball and
learn how to get access. It's been done already, but AFAIK the information
is not publicly available.

If you want to simplify programming on the Pilot, then it would be easiest
to use IrOBEX. If you want to simplify programming the device talking to
the pilot (and it currently does not support an IrDA stack) then it would
be easiest to use IrLMP. There's a program called Ir-Ping that illustrates
how an IrLMP interface on the pilot can be implemented. This is a good
starting point. The pilot sdk has an example app called Beamer that
illustrates the Exchange Manager (i.e. IrOBEX) interface.

Scott

2000\03\08@101518 by Dwayne Reid

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<x-flowed>At 04:45 PM 3/7/00 -0800, Mark Newland wrote:
>     I have a project that stores both calibration info and data logging
>information on it.  The product will be firmly fixed inside the cab of
>18 wheelers.  The information will only be accessed once per month.  The
>options are:
>
>5) Buy someone else's PDA (like a Palm Pilot, Handspring, etc.) and just
>program it.
>
>The last option sounds the best but have no idea how to interface to
>it.  What is the spectrum frequency of the IR emittor and detector
>(IrDA)? What is the baud rate on the transmission? When I want to send
>the letter "A" to the PDA, what does the waveform look like?

The Palm Pilot has a nice rs-232 port built in - use it.  Its the docking
connector on the bottom - we bought empty modem cases and connectors to
house our little add-on card and had no problems talking to the Pilot.

You should be able to do something similar - use the modem case or see if
there is possibly just a connector available.

dwayne



Dwayne Reid   <spam_OUTdwaynerTakeThisOuTspamplanet.eon.net>
Trinity Electronics Systems Ltd    Edmonton, AB, CANADA
(780) 489-3199 voice          (780) 487-6397 fax

Celebrating 16 years of Engineering Innovation (1984 - 2000)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Do NOT send unsolicited commercial email to this email address.
This message neither grants consent to receive unsolicited
commercial email nor is intended to solicit commercial email.

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2000\03\08@113647 by Dwayne Reid

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<x-flowed>At 11:59 PM 3/7/00 -0800, Mark Newland wrote:

>I need something more than just a "simple" data transfer unit  Only need to
>transfer small amounts of data (only useing a 4K EEPROM) but need to have the
>flexibility that a PDA would offer. The cradle (as others have mentioned)
>would be great to get the information to it's final destination of the PC
>which is another reason I've thought about going this route.


Hi again.

I was suggesting a Palm's serial port for the data gathering part of your
problem as well as actually dumping the data to the PC.  That serial port
CAN be used by the application running on the Palm.  The fellow who wrote
the app that we did the hardware for used Code Warrier and said it was not
problem at all.  His app both reads and writes the little add-on we built
that slides onto the Palm Pilots.

What comes out of the Palm is true RS-232 (I think that it is a Sipex SP232
inside the Pilot).  You would need to convert that back to CMOS levels
before it could talk to your truck mounted box.

You could use IR, but unless there is a real problem implementing a
connector and cable for your truck mounted box, why bother?

dwayne



Dwayne Reid   <.....dwaynerKILLspamspam@spam@planet.eon.net>
Trinity Electronics Systems Ltd    Edmonton, AB, CANADA
(780) 489-3199 voice          (780) 487-6397 fax

Celebrating 16 years of Engineering Innovation (1984 - 2000)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Do NOT send unsolicited commercial email to this email address.
This message neither grants consent to receive unsolicited
commercial email nor is intended to solicit commercial email.

</x-flowed>

2000\03\08@170129 by Mark Newland

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Dwayne Reid wrote:

> You could use IR, but unless there is a real problem implementing a
> connector and cable for your truck mounted box, why bother?

There is a "real problem" implementing a connector but it is not an impossible
problem.  It is more like "I'm going with the IR and fall back on the connector
idea if I can't make it work".  The original design was to use a connector and it
has been a problem the whole time but the customer was willing to deal with it if
no other options were available.  On the other hand, this is the age of wireless
(via RF or IR) so it would make a good selling point to NOT have the connector.
Added to that, there is a TREMENDOUS opertunity to learn this IrDA technology that
I don't know yet.  Even if I don't make it work, I HAVE to try just for the
educational benefits.  Makes for a very good reason as to why I would "bother"
with it.  Another plus is the benifit to all the other PICsters out there that
would want to utilize this feature as more us us start to get PDA's of our own.

2000\03\08@181842 by Andrew Allen

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Have you seen the Psion Workabout's, have a look on the Psion web page
http://www.psion.com.  They can supply a Psion Workabout with 2mb memory etc.

Hope this helps

Andrew

Mark Newland wrote:

{Quote hidden}

2000\03\08@190710 by Alan Nickerson

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You should be able to do a wireless soulution without too much expense. Of
course the less expensive you get the slower the bit rate and the less
reliable.

Here in the US I can get a TX/RX pair of 430Mhz for under $60. Even cheaper
if I went with a 300Mhz AM saw-tooth system about $40/pair.

Although  the IR method with the power of a PDA is pretty good.
I got the SDK for the Palm OS and it's pretty simple.

Alan

{Original Message removed}

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