December 19, 2011

An Inside Look at the LAVA Parallel-PCI

Recently we had a customer inquiry about the internals of one of our parallel port cards. To answer, we had to take a refresher course in what our design contained. That process led us to think: why not let interested technically-minded people see what’s inside the LAVA parallel EPP port design? We decided we would. So here’s something never before seen outside of LAVA’s engineering department: the schematic design of our PCI-to-EPP parallel port bridge circuit. It’s the basis for […]
December 14, 2011

Not Rocket Science

Sometimes it’s not rocket science. Loblaw Companies Limited, a large food store chain based in Canada, needed a reliable method of adding serial ports to their POS systems. They were looking for a simple workhorse serial interface to connect the usual sorts of POS peripherals — weigh scales, printers, and bar code scanners — to systems that they had already spec’d into a deployment. They chose RS-232 in preference to USB for these interfaces because above all they needed a […]
December 12, 2011

Piping DOS over Ethernet

A little-known fact: DOS commands can be sent through LAVA Ether-Serial Links. And it’s actually simple to do. With an Ether-Serial Link configured in Windows Driver mode, and with its port activated as usual, all you need to do is pipe DOS data (using the conventional DOS redirection command “>”) to the serial port of the device server, which will send it to the target device. The diagram below shows this setup connecting a DOS application to a piece of […]
December 8, 2011

Remote Climatological Monitoring

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is a renowned art museum in the city of Detroit. In 2003, the DIA ranked as the second largest municipally owned museum in the United States, with an art collection valued at more than one billion dollars. It encloses over 100 galleries and now covers 658,000 square feet (61,130 m²); a major renovation and expansion project completed in 2007 added 58,000 sq. ft. (5,388 m²). Detroit Institute of Arts And even with that, not […]
December 5, 2011

RS-232 remote control of televisions

LAVA was approached by a video systems integrator who was operating a collection of televisions dispersed throughout a convention center. The televisions were controlled on their RS-232 ports. Control codes sent through the serial ports gave him basic operation of the televisions. His original design had serial cables using signal amplifiers, led back to a switchbox, which in turn went to a computer. He was looking to reproduce his deployment in another location, and wanted a less expensive design. Ether-Serial […]
December 1, 2011

Using the Ether-Serial Link as a Serial Data Format Converter

Here’s an interesting use for the LAVA Ether-Serial Link: as a generalized serial data format converter. A quick search on the web shows that people have a variety of needs for converting one RS-232 data format to another, for a variety of reasons, and the solutions are usually cumbersome. For example, one might want to connect two serial devices that communicate at different, fixed baud rates, or with different parity settings. Without converting the serial data, these devices will not […]