Interfacing PC to circuit without firmware involved.

Discussion in 'Computing and Networks' started by HalfMadDad, Jun 10, 2016.

  1. HalfMadDad

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 10, 2016
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    Hi Everyone

    I am just wondering if anyone is working with circuits directly from their PC without any firmware. I know Arduinos and other SBCs can be controlled by a computer but I mean situations were the target has no firmware at all.

    I have found people using:
    1)The Printer port
    2)IC2 to USB, USB bridges
    3)GPIO expansion cards

    Could you help me brainstorm more options?

    Here is my rational. If you have a remote control, you don't want a PC attached to it. Sometimes you need low price and portability but sometimes you don't. I have been servicing scientific instruments for about 18 years but I have never designed anything and I would like to change this. Almost all of these instruments are PC controlled and have firmware. However many of these instruments are based on old designs and there might be a better option now. It might be nice to think of the instrument as expansion to the PC rather then another computer being interfaced to it.

    Thanks for reading
     
  2. ScottWang

    Moderator

    Aug 23, 2012
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    767
    1)The Printer port -- you need a dll file and to do strobe and read from the printer port.
    2)IC2 to USB, USB bridges -- these are more complex.
    3)GPIO expansion cards -- as I know these cards all need to write the program to do the read and write from the chips, unless the control software included.

    I'm not sure what you really want or don't want as you don't want to write the program or you just don't want the peripheral device have the firmware?
     
  3. HalfMadDad

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 10, 2016
    10
    1
    Hi Scott

    I am happy to program but I prefer desktop programming, I would like to avoid the restrictions of firmware programming
     
  4. ScottWang

    Moderator

    Aug 23, 2012
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  5. nsaspook

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 27, 2009
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    There are USB daq boards that offer basic I/O interfaces.

    Some low cost kits if you can solder small parts.
    https://www.vellemanstore.com/en/catalog/product/view/sku/K8055N
     
  6. joeyd999

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
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    Here's an excellent modern idea:

    Recently, I have been working with Microchip's RN4020. For my purposes, I wrote firmware to directly control the RN4020 from a MCU, but this is not necessary.

    You only need to preprogram the RN4020 via the serial port on your PC, and you can install scripts that allow it to take actions including reading/writing I/O ports, read A/D channels, and write PWM outputs. Once programmed, the chip will run stand-alone and can be controlled via bluetooth LE up to 100m away from a PC or mobile device.

    If you don't mind learning the (relatively easy) scripting language, this seems like a good way to go. You'd still need to write/use software to communicate via bluetooth from the PC or your mobile device.
     
    nsaspook likes this.
  7. joeyd999

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
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  8. HalfMadDad

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 10, 2016
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    1
    These are really helpful ideas. I just have to figure out what the overhead might be in running them. These likely have firmware but interpret the input commands.
     
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