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Thread: Updated: the PropTerminal

  1. #1

    Default Updated: the PropTerminal

    Hi all, after many nights of work, I will present you my Propeller Terminal.

    The PropTerminal is not just another Terminal-program for a PC. It is specially made for the Propeller
    in such a way, that it can emulate a keyboard, mouse and TV-Text-Display with the PC.
    If you use a PropStick, or, like me, the Propeller chip direct on a breadboard, it can be
    very handy to use this emulation instead of connecting the real PS2-devices and a TV or VGA-Monitor.
    You only need the serial (USB) connection with P30 and P31 and have all other Pins free for other
    purpose. It can be also very usefull to get a second Display for debugging, I used it for example
    with POD to debug assembly code (see appended screenshots).
    To easy include the Emulation in existing spin applications, I adapted the original drivers for
    keyboard, mouse and text display in such a way that they communicate over the serial interface
    with the terminal. You only have to replace the driver-objects in the OBJ section, and mostly
    it will work. It is also possible to mix real and emulated devices, for example use PropTerminal
    as keyboard and mouse, and a real TV as Display.

    Because PropTerminal has to share the COM-Port with the Propeller Tool, I implemented a special mode
    that allows fast switching between the two applications. Every time the PropTerminal is minimized
    to the Taskbar, it closes the COM-Port and the Propeller Tool can download the new code. When
    finished, you click on PropTerminal in the Taskbar, then the Window and the COM-Port opens again.

    Other features of PropTerminal are:
    - included loader for binary files
    - displays the special propeller-font characters
    - can also draw some simple graphics

    What is not possible:
    - keystate methode of keyboard object not yet supported (used often by games)
    - no direct emulation of Graphics object, only Text
    - not the original color palette

    The actual PropTerminal is a Beta-version for Windows. I have tested it only on one single computer
    with a swiss-german keyboard layout. So I don't know how good it is working on other computers,
    OSes, keyboard-layouts etc.... Try it out and let me know your impressions.

    Andy

    Attached is now also the new version 0.4 of PropTerminal.
    See posting on page 2 for the new features.

    Post Edited (Ariba) : 10/20/2007 1:47:24 AM GMT
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    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  2. #2

    Default

    This is great! I was dreading having to write my own similar program for debugging.

    Will try it out as soon as I have my board finished :) Looks good though!
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  3. #3

    Default

    I tried your demo routines. They all worked without a problem.

    The only suggestion is that you might want to include a keyboard cursor.

    Keep up the good work!
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  4. #4

    Default

    Andy,

    looks very nice. It's a great work of a little tool which is easy in use. But if you'd have told me that you are working on this, I did not spend so much time to make POD usable over serial connection.

    On your homepage you has mentioned that the color palette could be configurated in a PropTerminal.ini, but you don't have described the format for this. Please can you provide this information.

    I'd wish that you might want to support any kind of TV resolution, so the user could define his own size of screen. Currently your tool supports only a size of 40x13.
    Another nice feature would be if your tool could also emulate a VGA display and this in any kind of resolution. Then we could be develop programs for the Propeller only with a Prop board and a PC/notebook.

    Did you are interested to discuss possible features feel free to PM me. I like more to write in german too.

    Thomas

    Post Edited (Kaio) : 5/10/2007 12:29:31 PM GMT
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  5. #5

    Default

    WOW, this should be part of the Propeller IDE!

    Ariba: You've included the binary file loader - would you consider creating a standalone (command line?) exe that only does the loading? There are LOADS of us who've been asking for such a utility for AGES...

    Thanks for sharing

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    Cheers,

    Simon

    BTW: I type as I'm thinking, so please don't take any offense at my writing style

    -------------------------------
    www.norfolkhelicopterclub.co.uk
    You'll always have as many take-offs as landings, the trick is to be sure you can take-off again ;-)
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  6. #6

    Default

    You can run program from the commandline to download binaries. See "Readme.txt"



    Gerry
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  7. #7

    Default

    Hi Gerry,

    Yeah, read that too, but it seems that it uses the PropIDE to achieve it. Ariba's notes suggest that it might be possible to do it completely standalone though

    The reason I, and others, would like this functionality is so we can deliver firmware updates (in binary) without the end-user needing to install the IDE.

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    Cheers,

    Simon

    BTW: I type as I'm thinking, so please don't take any offense at my writing style

    -------------------------------
    www.norfolkhelicopterclub.co.uk
    You'll always have as many take-offs as landings, the trick is to be sure you can take-off again ;-)
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  8. #8

    Default

    Hi Ariba,
    Nice App :)
    I was wanting to do some deving without a tv out, ie on my laptop and since it doesn't have AV in, it's a tad awkward, but this is great, thanks for the neat app.
    I'm sure lots of others will use it too.
    And putting them all onto one cog, perfect :)
    I look forward to any advances you make on it.

    Baggers.
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  9. #9

    Default

    I'm glad to hear that it works well.

    @mynet43
    The next version will have a Text Cursor, switchable on and off in the menu.

    @Kaio
    I does not know, that you work on a serial version of POD, (I will send you a PM in the next days because of my next project..).
    To get a INI-file, click on Save Settings in the menu. The created file is PropTerminal.ini and there you will find the RGB values for each of the 8 colors in the palette (format is $GGBBRR). You can also change the size of the Terminal window to others then 40x13 by changing the parameters cols= and rows= !
    I don't have used VGA until now, is there a difference between TV_Text and VGA_Text (exept the size of 32x15)?
    I think I have to add also a 'Load Settings' in the menu, to switch easy between different sizes, and colors.

    @simonl
    PropTerminal.exe can be used as download-tool without the IDE (Propeller Tool). But currently it loads the binary only into the RAM, I think to use it as update-tool you will write in the EEPROM. To download a file in the RAM, call this:
    Code:
    PropTerminal.exe filename.binary -L COMnr



    Andy
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  10. #10

    Default

    simonl said...
    WOW, this should be part of the Propeller IDE!

    Something akin to this is in development, he has just been pulled away by other more pressing issues recently.

    Andy, he says your method of COM port negotiation is very clever.

    ▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
    Paul Baker
    Propeller Applications Engineer

    Parallax, Inc.
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  11. #11

    Default

    Andy,

    I have played yesterday with POD and your PropTerminal and have found how I can create the PropTerminal.ini. I have also found that you support any kind of TV resolution. Anyway thanks for your explanation about this.

    The usage of PropTerminal for POD is for a user more comfortable than the Basic Stamp Debug Window which I have tried to use before, also while the Debug Window does not support colors.

    Thereby I have found that PropTerminal does not work properly with Ctrl-character sequences, e.g. when I have tried Ctrl-H I got $2C8 instead $268. But Ctrl-Fkey works fine.

    Ariba said...

    I don't have used VGA until now, is there a difference between TV_Text and VGA_Text (exept the size of 32x15)?
    I think the text mode of VGA, except HiRes text, could be emulated in the same manner as TV mode. The others VGA drivers uses a bitmap to display. This would require another concept of communication and large effort to realize it. I don't know if these effort would be warrantable.

    I have also tried your background watch which I have found on your homepage. This is the tools I was looking for to observe variables in realtime in my spin code. Many thanks for sharing.

    I'm glad to hear from you in PM and be excited about your project.

    Thomas
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  12. #12

    Default

    Ariba: Thanks for the info. Do you have any plans to get the download to programme EEPROM?

    Paul: Yeah, Ken indicated he'd be working on a standalone loader early last year. I guess I'm just getting a little frustrated at the extended wait :-(

    ▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
    Cheers,

    Simon

    BTW: I type as I'm thinking, so please don't take any offense at my writing style

    -------------------------------
    www.norfolkhelicopterclub.co.uk
    You'll always have as many take-offs as landings, the trick is to be sure you can take-off again ;-)
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  13. #13

    Default

    Jeff, the programmer, is impatient toget it done as well. But he is the product owner of the entire Stamp line and there have been some QA issues that hehas had to deal with. Making sure manufacturing is running smoothly always takes precedance over development.

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    Paul Baker
    Propeller Applications Engineer

    Parallax, Inc.

    Post Edited (Paul Baker (Parallax)) : 5/11/2007 6:13:46 PM GMT
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  14. #14

    Default

    Paul Baker said...

    Something akin to this is in development, he has just been pulled away by other more pressing issues recently.
    Andy, he says your method of COM port negotiation is very clever.
    Thanks to him for the compliment :)
    Can you say me what exactly is in development? A Terminal window as part of the IDE or a standalone Downloader or both?
    This will have some influence to my future plans with PropTerminal.

    Kaio said...

    Thereby I have found that PropTerminal does not work properly with Ctrl-character sequences, e.g. when I have tried Ctrl-H I got $2C8 instead $268. But Ctrl-Fkey works fine.
    Thomas,
    You're right this is a bug. I will change this in the next version. I let Windows do the translation from VirtualKeycodes to Ascii, but if Control is pressed it seams to produce other codes (the F-Keys have no ASCII value, so I have programmed the translation for that by myself).

    @simonl
    Yes I will add download to EEPROM in the next version (I have extended the code today for that, but I can't test it, I have to order a EEPROM first!). I have plans to include some fuctionality that PropTerminal can be used as a Installer/Updater with User-Interaction. But I think if this will be used for commercial products, it can't be totaly free (gratis).

    Andy
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  15. #15

    Default

    Andy,

    He is working on a terminal (sorry I missed the fact your program can do stand alone downloads, this feature isn't currently in development). He is working on the underpinnings of an extensible (by us) interface that is integrated with the PropTool but also availible in a stand alone configuration. Originally it will only support a terminal functionality, but there are plans to incorporate various graphics modules. Part of why it is taking so long is that he has thought about everything that can be occuring even making sure that if a user program switched clock frequencies the system will still work.

    ▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
    Paul Baker
    Propeller Applications Engineer

    Parallax, Inc.
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  16. #16

    Default

    This is likely a newbie question, but (since I'm new) what is the setup for the left-hand image of the
    Parallax Digital Storage Scope reading? Would that be the USB scope offered by Parallax?
    The output looks extremely useful for some of my projects.

    Oldbitcollector

    ▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
    The comments and code above are proof that a million monkeys with a million propeller chips *could* write Shakespeare!
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  17. #17

    Default

    It's an application I released, and is availible here: http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?p=606048

    Since it is an application and not an object, it doesn't have a home yet. At least until I create a couple more and we can justify making a dedicated place for it.

    ▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
    Paul Baker
    Propeller Applications Engineer

    Parallax, Inc.
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  18. #18

    Default

    Wow.. I'm blown away.. Thanks for posting this, perhaps it should be added to the "Good Thread Index"

    Oldbitcollector

    ▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
    The comments and code above are proof that a million monkeys with a million propeller chips *could* write Shakespeare!
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  19. #19

    Default

    added to index
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  20. #20

    Default

    This looks like a really, reallycool tool, if i could get it to work (i suspect hdw issue [isn't it always a hdw problem?]). So, my first try was on a dell latitude (xp proup-to-date) to a prop usb thingie (as com4)and while proptool works just fine, propterm gets a checksum error. So, i loaded eeprom with proptool and then with propterm up hit the reset button (on a bare proto board i.e. no mouse, kbd, etc) hoping to get a message, then nothing happened. So, i motored on over to a compaq (xp home up-to-date) and tried the same thing with almost the same result. I did get the checksum err, but then resetting the protoboard produced the attached message (it should read "starting"). Everything in propterm is at the default. After a number of attempts i finally got it to verify ram, but always am receiving the wrong "text". I then messed with the baud rate in pc_text but it didn't seem to have much effect. Any ideas?TIA
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    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

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