HP-IL I/F Card on a New(er) PC - Part II


As an update to putting an HP-IL I/F card in a P4 PC, I haven't had any success. I pulled Christoph's book on the HP-IL and tried both addresses 300 and 700 without success and yes I have printed copies of HP documentation on how to configure the I/F card. Any addresses I tried hung the booting of the PC before it ever got to starting XP. I went into the PnP setting in the BIOS but was surprised to find very little control of PnP; either it was off or on and the PC hung regardless of the setting. Of course the PC boots fine without the I?F card installed. Could it be the ISA slot? I doubt it given that the rest of the MB works fine.

I will continue to research this but my hope is fading that there will be a successful solution to this situation. I am reading Scott Mueller's Upgrading and Repairing PCs (18th edition) and there are sections on interrupts and PnP BIOSes. I hope this will give me some clues.

For those of you who are curious, the Motherboard I am playing with is an Intel D845GECL which is an OEM board made by Intel and I've had a very hard time finding any documentation for it. The obvious reason I chose this board is that it has an ISA slot to plug the HP-IL I/F card into it.

If anyone has some insights into what else to do, I'm all ears.

Thanks for your time and feedback,



I have wanted to do the same for sometime. I.e. replace my old 200MHz Pentium Overdrive PC with something a bit snappier. Like you, I need an ISA slot. I've been looking at small form factor PCs with ISA slots so that I can still have HP-IL, but given your trials and the availability of the new PILBox, I think I will abandon that idea.

I've ordered my PILBox and am eagerly awaiting its arrival so I can give it a go with my laptop. I'll let you know how it goes.


I found this USB to ISA-Bus motherboard. It's a bit expensive but sounds like it offers an reasonable way to keep using all those old ISA cards, including the HP82973A. Has anyone here tried it?




For what its worth, I think there was a short thread about this a couple years back where I had tried to make this thing to work.. I got stuck in various problems that have to do mostly with security. Basically giving the direct access the HP-IL card needs via USB is pretty much blocked in windows XP and I think also Win98. And dont even think about Vista...

Clearly I'm not an expert in all of this, but it is an expensive 'test' to do and unfortunately is less easy and direct as their ads would make it seem...





We currently offer support for DOS under Widows operating systems.


The main problem is the virtualisation layer: DOS software assumes full control over the hardware with direct access to I/O ports, interrupts and so on. It's probably easier to add support for such a board in Virtual Box (an open source DOS emulator) than in the built in DOS boxes of Windows or Linux. A different (and better in my opinion) approach would be to give up DOS and code directly against the USB layer. That would mean a little work for JF. ;)


A different (and better in my opinion) approach would be to give up DOS and code directly against the USB layer.

ARS Technologies sells an SDK for their board too. That might make your suggestion a bit easier to implement. They also sell a single board USB to ISA adapter, for $35 less than the triple board adapter.

In any event it sounds like a complete HP-IL to USB solution is going to require some work, probably developing this from scratch would be the best way to go. Which is exactly what Jeff has done with his PIL-Box, awesome!



I found this USB to ISA-Bus motherboard. It's a bit expensive but sounds like it offers an reasonable way to keep using all those old ISA cards, including the HP82973A. Has anyone here tried it?

Yes. Like Peter, no luck. I tried both Windows and Linux. Their technical support is abysmal. With Linux I could never get a kernel module to see the ISA adapter. With Windows I was able to chat with the adapter using their debug tool, but had no luck with EMU41 or EMU71 using their DOS shim. According to their documentation it should work.

Even if it did work, it is still a non-solution. Their software replaced the standard USB Windows support breaking other USB device compatibility. So, I gave up. If another wants to give this a shot for the good of the community, let me know and I'll send you mine (if I can track it down).

My objective was to get it working with Linux and DOSEMU so that I could reduce the size of my Linux-based HP-IL gateway. The new PILBox gives me hope for a much better solution. Drivers are available for Windows, Linux, and OS/X. Its compact and modern, and the technical support is undeniably superior. And, the SDK is free and source is included.


Hi Egan,

Have you ordered the Pill-Box already? I didn;t know it was done yet, can you share the details on the availability? Did J-F announce it in the Forum and I missed it?



JFG announced the PILBox sometime ago, but I do not know if availability was announced. I simply emailed JFG months ago with a commitment to purchased when available. ~2 weeks ago I got an emailed invoice. I just got word today that it has shipped.


How much was the unit?


How much was the unit?

97 euros + 15 euros shipping to US + 3 euros Paypal fee.


I want one!


Me Too!


Go to http://www.jeffcalc.hp41.eu/hpil/index.html for more info, then email JFG.


Hello and thank you for your responses.

I've been doing research on this issue this afternoon and have made some progress but also have some questions. First, I found that I was using the wrong version of the 82973A's Owner's Manual. My card is a revision A, which is not covered in Edition 4 of the Owner's Manual, dated May 1987. I ended up using Edition 3, dated November 1985, and it covers revision A and the I/O range address switches are identified properly. Edition 4 of the Owner's manual covers revisions after A and those address switches are labeled differently.

Second, I've been looking at my card it is set to use IRQ 7 which isn't talked about anywhere in the Owner's manual. It can be set via jumpers to any IRQ between 2 and 7. Is an interupt required for this card to work properly? If it doesn't this might help resolve the conflicts with this PC motherboard.

I found another HP-IL I/F card pictured on that unmentionable site today and the picture of that I/F card shows that it is strapped for no interrupts and this pictured version of the card actually connects to different lines on the address bus in the ISA connector. My card uses address lines 0, 1, 2, and 8 through 15. In the other card's picture, it uses address lines 0 through 10 as far as I can tell. I don't know if it makes any difference which address lines the card accesses but I find it curious as I also have Christoph's book on how to build the HP-IL I/F card and I would like to figure out how he designed his card. I haven't done this yet as I have spent the rest of my time today working on this problem by adjusting the settings in the PC BIOS.

I disabled the MB from stopping booting on any errors and I was able to get the PC to boot once with the I/F card plugged in. It hasn't happened since but in comparing the I/O ranges and interrupts in use by the hardware through XP, IRQ 7 and I/O range 1700 looks like a good choice.

I'll keep chasing this down and if you have any insights into this mystery, I would appreciate it.



Dear Garry,

no IRQ is needed for the HP-IL/PC Interface Card.

For WIN XP operating system you need the address setting 300 by dip switches plus the address routing software tool, described in my book.

The latest hardware version of the HP-IL/PC Interface Card is available from me.

Best regards - Christoph Klug

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