Solved Running a 3.1.1 program on an XP machine. COM port problem

July 31, 2013 at 11:40:15
Specs: Windows XP
I am trying to run a Windows 3.1.1 application called Autopilot on an XP machine. The program is used to control an RC2000 satellite antenna controller. I need it to run on XP so that I can control it using the Windows remote control feature over the ethernet from another machine. The problem is, the comm ports won't work. Everything else is just fine, but the comm ports just won't talk to the controller. I believe it's transmitting the signal to the controller, because it automatically goes into remote mode when Autopilot is running, but the computer will not receive data from the controller. I get an "Invalid Response" error. I have noticed through the years that there was a change in ports between windows 3X computers and later units that made them incompatible. I just wonder if anyone ever wrote a driver to correct this? Help, anyone?

message edited by TheQuadfather


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✔ Best Answer
August 1, 2013 at 12:04:06
No, I don't have an answer but I'll say it again, you might look into running a virtual machine with Windows 3.1 on it.


#1
July 31, 2013 at 13:16:02
If you are talking about RS-232, it't standardized, sice 1962 or so.
So that shouldn't be a problem.

Have you checked the setting of the COM ports, like baudrate, start and stop bits, data bits and so on?

You can configure this in the device manager, in properties of the COM ports.


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#2
July 31, 2013 at 15:13:58
You've got to be kidding me. I have tried all that. I have seen this problem before with this program when I tried to migrate it to Win 98 many years ago. It stumped my IT guy too. I'm telling you there was something different about com ports after Windows 3.X. I have dealt with it and it has caused problems for me over the years. Never knew where to turn. Since I did not have the internet at that time, I thought this time it might be different. I have tried matching the com port settings, I have tried matching baud rates at different rates. Someone told me a long time ago it had something to do with the UART, but he offered no solution. I guess it could be that the software is just finicky as hell, I really don't know.

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#3
July 31, 2013 at 20:06:29
Your problem is,
you didn't read the description for the RC2000 satellite antenna controller!
http://www.researchconcepts.com/Fil...

Cause if you read it carefully, you would have see, that the antenna controller can be controlled via RS-422 not RS-232, what you are dealing with.

In the PDF file, see link above, you'll read, that you can buy a converter vom Research Concepts, which allows you to controll RS-422 based devices over RS-232 serial PC port.

Btw.: I'm not kidding you.


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Related Solutions

#4
July 31, 2013 at 20:15:06
Well done paulsep , didn't think you would reply, after all the rudeness.

message edited by Johnw


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#5
July 31, 2013 at 20:26:59
Thanks John,

Today it's a good day ;-)
Therefore, no one can throw me.


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#6
August 1, 2013 at 07:48:46
OK, there wasn't that much rudeness. I just thought that you would assume that I had the baud rate, parity, and stop bits right. Anyway, I apologize for that. I do have the RS422 converter that was sold to us when we bought the system. And I am using it. I have the correct SAbus address set in Autopilot also. The converter does work, it has been working fine with a 3.1.1 computer that has been in use up to now. The reason I am trying to migrate it to Windows XP is so that I can control it from the studio. It is located at a TV transmitter site. Please, I am not a novice. I am a broadcast engineer with 39 years in the electronics field, a general class phone ticket, and a good deal of practice dealing with comm ports. But I have never found a solution for this particular problem. One thing I am not is a computer programmer, though I have done a little of that as well. I was hoping I could find someone here who had some deep understanding of the subject matter who could help me, or who would know of a driver that could fix the problem. I see someone marked the posting "solved". I believe that is my call.

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#7
August 1, 2013 at 09:08:08
"OK, there wasn't that much rudeness."
Ok, there shouldn't have been any rudeness, we're here to help, not put up with attitude.

"I just thought that you would assume that I had the baud rate, parity, and stop bits right."
Why would we assume that, if you're such a pro at this then you should know that it's important to let the people helping you know what steps you've already tried.

"Please, I am not a novice. I am a broadcast engineer with 39 years in the electronics field, a general class phone ticket, and a good deal of practice dealing with comm ports."
It would have helped immensely if you had said that in the first place. How are we to know your level of expertise? You swear the RS-232 port has changed since Win 3.1 even though it hasn't, that sent up a red flag right there that you might not know it all.

If it worked fine in Win 3.1, you might try running a Win 3.1 virtual machine within XP.

message edited by THX 1138


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#8
August 1, 2013 at 10:44:40
No, If i was claiming to be or was a know it all, I wouldn't need to ask. And yes, maybe I should have let you know about my experience, but I didn't log on to brag. I logged on to request a solution to a problem that has me quite stumped. I had thought I included enough information in the first post to indicate that I was beyond the first grade level of setting the baud rate. It seems I am not the only one with an attitude. Red flag? I am speaking from my experiences. I don't program comm ports, I just try to use them. Autopilot is not the only program I have had trouble with migrating from 3.1.1 or DOS to win 95 or above. If as you say, the ports are no different, then what is it? Maybe the OS? I'm not trying to be a smart aleck. I am speaking to you no differently than how I speak to my own IT guy, He doesn't take offense, nor should he. He's a smart guy, he might solve it yet. I'm not going to debate attitude anymore. Either you have the answer or you don't. I guess if you can't help me, I must look elsewhere for my answer. But thanks anyway.

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#9
August 1, 2013 at 12:04:06
✔ Best Answer
No, I don't have an answer but I'll say it again, you might look into running a virtual machine with Windows 3.1 on it.

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#10
August 1, 2013 at 15:06:35
Ok, we were considering that. Thanks, I'll let you know if it works.

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#11
August 1, 2013 at 16:55:06
You may also try the compatibility mode for the program.
You can use compatibility mode down to Windows 95, which may help on that issue.

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#12
August 2, 2013 at 07:56:09
Yeah, we tried that one. It didn't work. Hey, can someone please removed the green "Solved" flag? I suspect it discourages others who might have a solution. Thank you,
The Quadfather

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#13
August 2, 2013 at 14:27:46
Thanks for removing the flag.

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#14
August 2, 2013 at 19:58:35
Have you checked the cabling, described in the manual, chapter 6.1 RC1KADP RS232 to RS422 Protocol Converter?

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#15
August 5, 2013 at 07:12:43
Yes, the cabling and the RS422 adapter are thoroughly tested. It was working when the 3.1.1 computer was taken out of service. I am currently setting up Virtual machine with 3.1.1, and I hope this will be the solution.

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#16
August 5, 2013 at 07:46:33
What version of Autopilot is it? Should work under XP if it worked under NT/2000

"DESCRIPTION
AutoPilot DLM package provides control for RC1000, RC2000, and RC2500 satellite antenna positioners, and Standard Agile Omni MT830, MT830BR, and MT930B or DX DIR657 A/B satellite receivers. Enhanced versions of the software are available which support other devices and dial up remote access. The AutoPilot DLM program is a 32-bit program designed to run on Windows 95/98 or Windows NT/2000"

So, first I am curious of how this is setup and connected. Can you elaborate on that? I am looking for something like Satellite -> RS422 -> internal (or PCI) serial port on workstation -> managed by *blank* application.. If you can post pictures via dropbox, or some other measure that would be great.

Next, I do not want to insult your intelligence by any means, but just want to rule it out. All cables have been checked to ensure they are seated properly?

There should be some preferences or COMM settings in the program itself for management, have you messed around in there?

We can definitely figure it out, and there are way to prove communication through these devices, but just have to start at the bottom and work our way up. Can more than likely figure this out..

One last thing, I understand you talk to your IT guy this way.. but remember, you pay them (at least I hope you do).. your not paying us for something that is important to your business. High value old-school solutions can eat a lot of someones (or multiple peoples) time, and they are willing to provide it at no cost. Just understand that typing / reading may not be perceived the same way that you are trying to say it. You apologized for it, and I think everyone should recognize that.

Thanks!

www.standby-it.com


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#17
August 5, 2013 at 12:56:51
The autopillot version is 1.0 for Windows. We have never used it with NT or 2000. We have used it with 3.1.1 . I think we started out on DOS because I have some DOS versions as well. I might try one of them if I can't get the Win 3.1.1 version to work. Though I have the Agile Omni and the DX receiver capabilities, I only need the RC2000 to work. Those old receivers have been replaced with digital units. The computer RS232 serial port is connected to the RS232 to 422 adapter that was sold with the system. The 422 side of the adapter is connected to the RC2000. The adapter is externally powered from a cord connecting to the computer power supply. This is well tested, has worked for years, and was working when this project was begun. All connectors are screwed down. We set up the comm ports and matched them to the RC2000 settings. (on the RC2000, only the baud rate is adjustable. The rest is fixed) We set the Windows comm port settings the same. We have data going out and getting to the RC2000 as evedinced by the fact that anytime Autopilot is running, the RC2000 jumps to remote mode. The Autopilot program reports "Invalid Response" instead of "On Line". It's as if the RC2000 understands Autopilot but Autopilot doesn't understand the RC2000. I have yet to scope the return line, but I know the out going line is pulsing. That's about it. Thanks
The Quadfather

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#18
August 6, 2013 at 08:35:35
Sending you a PM.

www.standby-it.com


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#19
August 8, 2013 at 14:25:27
Well, I thought I had it solved. The host computer will run virtual PC just fine, It runs DOS and Windows 3.1.1 just fine. It runs Autopilot just fine. It connects to the controller RC2000 just fine. Also, I can remote into the host computer just fine.I can run virtual PC remotely just fine. I can run DOS just fine. I can run Windows 3.1.1 just fine. But when I try to click inside the window with 3.1.1, the mouse will not capture the host's cursor like it does when operating locally. There is some control of it, but it is wild and erratic, as if the cursor is over sensitized to the movements of the remote's mouse. On the remote computer, the host's cursor exists with the remote's cursor but is confined to the host's window. The remote's cursor is free, but it does nothing inside the host's window. The click works, but you don't know where you are. I have tried PC anywhere, with similar results. The problem seems to be with Virtual Machine. Anybody have any ideas?

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#20
August 8, 2013 at 15:26:08
You may try Oracle VirtualBox instead of Microsoft Virtual PC.

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#21
August 12, 2013 at 06:26:39
Oracle VirtualBox? I might try that. Meanwhile I solved the innediate problem by going to the DOS version of Autopilot. No mouse, you see. That gave us what we needed and the system is implemented. Thanks.
The Quadfather

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