PIL-Box meet DOSBox


A new feature of the latest EMU41 (http://www.jeffcalc.hp41.eu/emu41) is support for the PIL-Box (http://www.jeffcalc.hp41.eu/hpil). This allows a modern Windows-based PC to access HP-IL devices in the same manor an ancient DOS-based PC accesses HP-IL devices via the HP-IL ISA adapter.

This is great--if you run Windows. Fortunately, many of us do not run Windows, and fortunately there are DOS alternatives for non-Windows platforms. DOSBox (http://www.dosbox.com) happens to be one of them. DOSBox is available for just about any platform (I use it on my Mac). Because DOSBox emulates DOS and the x86 instruction set it will be slower (but still much faster than necessary) than Windows/DOS or Linux/DOSEMU. However, the upside is that if you have a Power Mac or a low power portable ARM-based Linux machine, then you are still in luck. DOSBox like Windows/DOS and Linux/DOSEMU also utilizes a shared file system directory making it easy to use your native OS environment to setup and edit files.

Getting EMU41/DOSBox to talk to the PIL-Box is fairly straightforward. I'll be using my Mac as an example.

  1. Install DOSBox from the URL above.

  2. Define a directory for all your DOS needs. I will be using /Users/egan/dosbox.

  3. Install EMU41 into your dosbox directory. E.g. /Users/egan/dosbox/EMU41.

  4. Install BNU 1.70 (http://www.pcmicro.com/bnu) into your dosbox directory. E.g. /Users/egan/dosbox/BNU.

  5. Edit your DOSBox Preferences. Read the DOSBox documentation to find the preferences file. E.g. on my OS/X machine I edit: /Users/egan/Library/Preferences/DOSBox\ 0.73\ Preferences (NOTE: the backslash space is because I edit files from the command line).

    Make the following edits:

    In the serial section:
    serial1=directserial realport:cu.usbserial-FTE03NXR
    Where realport is the name of the PIL-Box. It will differ from platform to platform, the example above is for OS/X (NOTE: /dev/ is omitted).

    In the autoexec section:
    mount c: /Users/egan/dosbox
    cd bnu
    cd ..
    Save and exit your editor.

  6. Edit EMU41.INI and add in the [DEVICES] section XIL COM1:. Follow the EMU41 documentation for more details on how to use the PIL-Box with EMU41.

  7. Run DOSBox.

  8. Start up EMU41:
    cd emu41
That's it. Enjoy. Now when will see EMU71 with PIL-Box support?


Interesting that Emu41 works better with the PIL-Box in an DOS emulation environment than in Windows!

I just released an updated Emu41 version (2.48) with improved native support of the PIL-box. What I did basically is to increase the communication timeout values to take into account the very slow response time of serial communications in a DOS box inside Windows. On my dual-core system with Win2k, it works reasonably well, but on a small Centrino-based, XP tablet PC machine it is quite slow.

Still, the recommended solution for file exchange between Emu41 and HP-41 with the PIL-Box is to use the ILPer software.



Interesting that Emu41 works better with the PIL-Box in an DOS emulation environment than in Windows!

For some reason with Windows/PIL-Box, EMU41 (2.47) intermittently does not see anything on the loop until I power on/off something on the loop. I did not have this problem with DOSBox/EMU41--works every time.


Quick note, I downloaded EMU41 version 2.48 last night to my 5 year old laptop and tried it with my PIL Box and 9114B disk drive. Works great!

Thanks for the update.

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