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Posts from — November 2008

Connecting Emoteq and PacSci Motors to Copley Drives

Copley Stepnet Connected to Pacific Scientific Stepper Motor

Stepnet with PacSci Stepper Motor

I’ve decided to document all the motor/drive connections that I make using my CANOpen drives.  I hope that others will find this information useful.  The first two are up on my trac site:

It was a lot easier to connect the stepper motor, but the servo motor is more fun.  It maxes out at 7,500 RPM using my Logosol power supply.

November 17, 2008   No Comments

Making Copley Serial Cables

Copley RJ11 to DB9F serial cables

Copley RJ11 to DB9F serial cables

I have a new page here on my trac site describing how to make a RJ11 to DB9F serial cable for Copley Accelnet and Stepnet CANOpen drives.

November 7, 2008   No Comments

Copley CMO and Ixxat VCI Drivers

As I’ve mentioned before, Copley’s CMO is a set of COM objects that provide a higher level interface (than the raw DS402 profile) to Copley’s CANOpen drives.  Right now, I am starting to use CMO since I need to get my Copley drives up and running quickly.

So I installed the latest Ixxat VCI drivers (V3) and then verified my Ixxat USB-to-CAN compact was working by sending and received CAN messages.  I installed CMO 2.5, fired up MS Visual Studio, ran the Copley example, and got this exception:  Access is denied.  (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80070005 (E_ACCESSDENIED).  Hmmm.  I started VB6, ran the VB6 example, and received this error: Permission denied, which looks like another way of saying E_ACCESSDENIED.

I contacted Copley.  The answer: CMO V2.5 only supports Ixxat using the older (VCI V2) drivers.  In the future, CMO will support VCI V3, but not yet.

So then I try installing VCI V2 – and had problems communicating with the Ixxat (error 0x1F hardware error).  I contacted Ixxat, and went through their recommended procedure:

  1. Uninstall VCI V2 drivers, then reboot.
  2. Uninstall VCI V3 drivers, then reboot.
  3. Run Ixxat’s VCI Clean program to clean up any stuff left in the registry and on the computer, then reboot.
  4. Re-install VCI V2 drivers.

Even after that procedure, I still couldn’t get the VCI 2 drivers to work.  I suspect it might be a problem with Windows and my particular USB controllers, but it’s not worth troubleshooting since the Ixxat is working fine with the VCI V2 drivers on a nearby computer.

In the future, I’ll install the VCI V2 drivers first, then VCI V3 (normally you can switch between them).

November 7, 2008   No Comments

Running PortableApps

I’ve been using PortableApps a lot recently.  PortableApps are open source, Windows applications that have been slightly modified so they can run off a removable drive (and thus do not need to be installed).  A lot of the applications I use (Firefox, Thunderbird, Filezilla, PuTTY, and OpenOffice) are available.

The advantage of PortableApps is that you have a consistent set of applications (same applications, same versions) on every computer you use without having to install anything (assuming you have your PortableApps USB drive with you).  You get the same browsing history on every PC (and ability to search it – a wonderful Firefox feature) when using PortableApp’s Firefox (Foxmarks works great for synchronizing bookmarks, but doesn’t synchronize history).  It’s pretty lightweight (easy to start, applications run fast) and nothing is left on the host PC.  Upgrading is easy, too – just copy over the new files.

I’ve tried PortableApps on a number of portable drives.  Performance does matter, since some PortableApps frequently write to the hard drive.  My experiences:

  • Memorex 8G micro hard drive (3600 RPM) USB 2.0 portable drive — works, but can be a bit painful (e.g. a lot of pauses when browsing with Firefox)
  • OCZ 4G Rally2 USB 2.0 flash memory stick – better than the Memorex 8G, but still a bit slow.
  • Acomdata 80G USB 2.0 hard drive – works great.  Now my normal PortableApps drive, since it’s fast enough, but less hassle than the 7200 RPM drive.
  • Hitachi 100G 7200RPM 2.5″ USB 2.0/eSATA hard drive – works great.  The best solution for portable Virtual Machines, but more of a hassle than the Acomdata, since it needs 2 USB ports for power (and an eSATA port for best performance).

However, only a limited number of applications are available, so PortableApps doesn’t help if, for example, you want to run EaglePCB portably.

Other options for creating a portable work environment include taking the whole computer with you (laptops – but I love my 20″ and 24″ monitors), web applications such as GMail (but again, many applications aren’t available or wouldn’t work well), file sharing such as Dropbox or a version control system such as Subversion or git (but this solution requires the applications to be installed on each computer, and keeps local copies of each file) , or running virtual machines from a portable hard drive.

The Virtual Machine solution lets you install almost any software, and you only have to have the VM server installed on each computer you use.  VMWare Server 2.0 now supports USB 2.0 (very nice); in the near future, I hope to try VirtualBox.  VM’s are more of a hassle than PortableApps, and requires a host PC with a hefty amount of memory (for example, my small laptop can handle PortableApps, but not VMWare).

November 3, 2008   No Comments