Category - Programming

When a Null Modem Cable is not a Null Modem Cable

While working on the next update to ACOM Director Plus (yes, work is now continuing on it), I couldn’t figure out why my code to turn on the ACOM600S was not working. I’d previously put this down to the fact that I have an early model and perhaps this wasn’t implemented then. I resorted to using my scope to check that the DTR and RTS lines were in fact being activated properly which is when I discovered that my Null Modem cable i’d been using for years now is not in fact a proper Null Modem Cable.

A normal (proper) Null Modem cable has the following wiring, notice the crossover of the DTR & DSR pins and the RTS & CTS pins, these are used for the remote power on of the ACOM600S, ACOM1200S and ACOM2000A with the RPON Module.

However after checking the wiring on my (commercially purchased) Null Modem Cable, I found it is actually wired like this.

As pins 2 & 3 are crossed, it still works fine for normal serial communications (without handshaking obviously) however all other pins are straight through, so anything relying on the proper use of handshake signals will fail.

The moral of the story, if you have issues with remote power on of the ACOM600S, ACOM1200S or ACOM2000A (or anything else that makes use of any control pins), make sure your Null Modem cable is actually wired fully to the Null Modem standard and not a half baked cable like mine.


ACOM Director 2.0 Update

Just a quick update as a number of people have been asking about the progress on the new ACOM Director version 2. I had hoped to have it completed by now, however work and life commitments have meant that progress has been slower than expected. However I am now able to dedicate 2 days a week to working on it so things should get moving at a good speed again now.

The ACOM600S protocol is now implemented along with a new user interface to match the look of the ACOM600S. I’m just working on unifying ACOM Directors own protocol so it can support both types of amplifier without having to use two different versions, once this is complete I will be releasing an alpha version so we can get any bugs ironed out of the basics before adding some of the more advanced features I’m wanting to include.

My aim is to have a version released that you can all try out sometime in June.

In the meantime, here is a quick video of the new user interface in test mode showing the operation of the new bar graphs.

Easily Install Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi 2 from Windows 8

Having recently purchased a couple of Raspberry Pi 2’s to play with, I was intrigued to see what the recent Windows 10 IoT version was like running on it. Being able to run a windows platform on something like a Raspberry Pi would open up a lot of opportunities to put these great little computers to work.

I faithfully downloaded the image from Microsoft (you need to be registered to download it, but you can find details on how to do this on google pretty easily). Once downloaded I set about writing the image (in this case an FFU file) to an SD card. This is a fairly simple process using the DISM tool. This is where my problems started, when running the command to write the image to the SD card I would receive the error “The /applydrive option is not recognized in this context”. It seems that you can only use the Windows 10 version of DISM and I’m running Windows 8.1. Not having a spare machine to install Windows 10 Preview on I began the usual Google search to figure out how to install Windows 10 IoT on the Pi using windows 8.

There are a few guides out there, but none of them are that simple, so I figured I’d put together this simple guide to help anyone else in my position wanting to try the Raspberry Pi Windows 10 release if they only have an earlier version of windows.

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ACOM Director – Thanks everyone

Following the initial release of the ACOM Director beta the feedback has been excellent and it appears to have been very well received by the ACOM 2000 user community.

Thank you to everyone who downloaded a copy and tried it out, your bug reports, comments and opinions are invaluable in moving the software forward.

I am now working on the next beta release which i hope to make available soon and will be putting up a dedicated page on my site for ACOM Director, this will contain information on what type of cable is needed to connect to the ACOM 2000 and information on what type of interface is needed to support the remote power on features.

Thanks again to everyone who has tried out the software.