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Suggestion on using os as well as d8bridge - virtual machine

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Suggestion on using os as well as d8bridge - virtual machine

Postby johnno » Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:33 pm

Hi Marc,

First off, I dont (yet) own a D8B but i have been following your work on the d8bridge for some time. I am intrigued by the way it works and even more so after bob tudor chimed in on the other monster thread.

I have been thinking about the problem users have posed about switching between native OS mode and d8bridge mode and the fact that a hardware switch would be required to switch serial connections between the CPU and the host computer. I was also thinking about your attempt (or future attempt as it may be) to implement the I/O sections of the mixer in d8bridge.

Well, why not just try running the d8b OS inside a virtual machine on the host PC and bypass the cpu altogether. The serial cables can be attached to the host PC and then the switchover is virtual.

In an attempt to try a proof of concept, I have done the following with positive results:

1. downloaded the trial v5.1 os from the mackie website and created images of the installation disks
2. downloaded microsoft virtual PC and created a new blank virtual machine with 64MB of RAM, and set COM1 and COM2 to use named pipes \\.\pipe\d8bCom1 \\.\pipe\d8bCom2
3. downloaded and installed the named pipe tcp proxy utility and set up two items, pointing the above pipes to ports 87 and 88 respectively.
4. opened two hyper terminal sessions, and connected to 127.0.0.1 port 87 on one and 127.0.0.1 port 88 on the other (to listen to the data being sent over the serial ports by the d8b os.
5. mounted the image of installation disk1 to the virtual machine and turned on.
6. Upon booting, a brief mackie os spiel comes up then a green asterisk on the right hand side of the screen. At this point, in the COM1 hyper terminal i see the character "R"
7. after some experimentation I worked out that I should type back on COM1 the same character "R". Bingo - the mackie os installer sends over the firmware code from control.asc
8. Once this firmare code is sent over, again after some experimentation, I type in "R" again to simulate a response from the mixer board. The mackie OS VM sends back some interesting characters:

80u 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v
20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v
20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v
20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v
20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v
20v C0u 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v
20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v
20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v
20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v
20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v
20v 20v 89u 4Cv 6Fv 61v 64v 69v
6Ev 67v 91u 44v 69v 73v 6Bv 96u
49v 6Dv 61v 67v 65v 9Cu 31v 2Ev
CAu 4Fv 6Ev 65v CEu 6Dv 6Fv 6Dv
65v 6Ev 74v D5u 70v 6Cv 65v 61v
73v 65v 2Ev 2Ev 2Ev 47Ei 80u 50v
6Cv 65v 61v 73v 65v 87u 69v 6Ev
73v 65v 72v 74v 20v 44v 69v 73v
6Bv 20v 32v 2Ev 96u 20v 20v 20v
20v 20v 9Cu 20v 20v CAu 20v 20v
20v CEu 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v
D5u 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v 20v
20v 20v DFu 43v 6Fv 6Ev 74v 69v
6Ev 75v 65v

(these are not separated by spaces or line breaks, they are all one string. I ahve just grouped them into clusters of 8 for readability purposes)

....at this point I am stuck. I expect that the OS has just sent something to display on the LCD which is asking the user to press a button of some sort. I notice that in tools.ini of the system directory in the installer disk, there are some definitions for buttons:

enterSWITCH: 26C
cancelSWITCH: 26B

but typing these down COM1 (or COM2) results in nothing. My guess is that once I can crack how to fake the correct button press combination, the OS will continue to install.

I'm thinking that the best way for this to be tested further is for someone with a d8b, real installation disks and a way of connecting the serial ports of their PC to it should try it out. Unfortunately for me, I don't have a d8b so I can't!!

Does this interest anyone?
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Re: Suggestion on using os as well as d8bridge - virtual mac

Postby johnno » Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:44 am

ok slightly more progress made. First off, i realised that it's probably a good idea to set format:on in the tools file so that the virtual hard disk is correctly formatted. this brings a slightly different message back from the "CPU" at point 8. Better still, through trial and error i think I worked out the magic code to simulate pressing "Enter" on the d8b: the code 26Cs (26C being the value in tools.ini for the "enterSWITCH" and "s" must indicate "pressed".

I get through a lot of prompts from the CPU, replying with 26Cs but there's a point where i hit a loop. Remember, i'm not yet able to interpret what the CPU is telling the d8b to do - my guess is it's saying display some text on the LCD but what that text is I don't know....it would be nice to know the sequence of questions for a fresh install of the OS but unfortunately the documentation just says "follow the instructions on the LCD". So my next task is to decipher the commands of displaying text on the LCD
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Re: Suggestion on using os as well as d8bridge - virtual mac

Postby synthjoe » Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:32 pm

The message is: 'Loading disk image1/One moment please/Please insert disk 2/Continue'
I guess that explains why the loop occurs... :)
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Re: Suggestion on using os as well as d8bridge - virtual mac

Postby johnno » Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:01 pm

aha, yes. you beat me to it! it's just hex ascii characters followed by a "v", then some other commands probably telling it to refresh the LCD (80u, C0u, 89u, CAu, 47Ei etc..)...using a handy hex to ascii converter (http://www.idea2ic.com/PlayWithJavascri ... Ascii.html), as you say, i get roughly...

Loading‘Disk–Imageœ1.OneÎmomentÕplease...Please‡insert Disk 2.– œ Ê Î Õ ßContinue

I will play more when i'm home later!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Marc, how I envisage this working for you (in theory) is as follows:

D8B OS in a Virtual Machine (VMWare/VirtualPC), COM1 and COM2 piped through named pipes, your d8bridge software acts as a middle man for these pipes, intercepting them.

If the user is in "d8b mode", then your software simply passes them down the physical serial ports to the mixer.

When the user wants to switch to "d8bridge mode", they click some button or key combination on the mixer and your software starts sending/receiving the MCU commands.

Bye bye CPU
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Re: Suggestion on using os as well as d8bridge - virtual mac

Postby johnno » Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:30 pm

ok so i got through the installation ok, using my ascii converter and sending the 26Cs command down the COM1 channel. The OS asked me to remove the floppy and reboot and i duly did. The restart results in it saying "Loading Mackie OS, please wait..." with the green blinking asterisk on the right hand side. No activity on the Serial channels and it's just been sitting there for a while. I'm wondering if it's expecting some sort of "I'm here" command from the mixer console.

Anyway, attached is a screen grab as "Proof". I'm sure someone who actually owns a d8b and has a got a serial link from it to their pc could have some fun trying this out for real.
Attachments
screengrab3.png
First this...
screengrab3.png (Array KiB) Viewed 3991 times
screengrab2.png
Then this...
screengrab2.png (Array KiB) Viewed 3994 times
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Re: Suggestion on using os as well as d8bridge - virtual mac

Postby synthjoe » Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:59 pm

Well done, nice results! Do not despair, been there, done that. You'll need a specific video card emulation - mackie OS aborts on not being able to switch to the proper video mode. Even without anything on the serial port you get to the graphical mixer surface on a real d8b (plus an error message complaining about the missing physical DSP/control surface, of course).

Let me know once you've found the compatible Cirrus or ATI emulation for virtual PC, or any other virtualisation, for that matter (I didn't)... I'm afraid it is a no go until then.
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Re: Suggestion on using os as well as d8bridge - virtual mac

Postby johnno » Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:28 am

oh you let me get this far and you knew that much already?! :P

It was fun though...
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Re: Suggestion on using os as well as d8bridge - virtual mac

Postby synthjoe » Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:57 pm

I bet you wouldn't have believed me, you'd have done it anyways, wouldn't you? I know you! :D
Besides, I did not know the install process with 'simulated' control surface, I had an installed disk image to work from. However, I really hope one day we'll find the proper video card emulation and then I could go virtual - getting rid of the bulky and noisy CPU box plus have a chance to work out an easy switch-over from d8b to d8bridge... Same as you. I told ya I knew ya! :D
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Re: Suggestion on using os as well as d8bridge - virtual mac

Postby bitSync » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:08 am

Cheering from the sidelines!
Win7 Pro x64 SP1 / SONAR 2016 Platinum x64 Newburyport / 2x Mackie d8b 5.1 + (D8Bridge v1.1 x32 or ProBox) / 3.20 GHz Intel i7 950, 24 GB DDR3 RAM, 2TB SATA3 SSD / RME HDSP9652 PCI (ASIO) / RME ADI-8 QS / New Belgium 1554
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Re: Suggestion on using os as well as d8bridge - virtual mac

Postby High C Double G » Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:29 am

This concept and desire has been around since I can remember - is there such thing as a Software Developer Kit... aka known as a SDK? ...and where is it?
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