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Resolving Test System Upgrade Issues

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Member level 3
Oct 4, 2001
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Currently I am exploring the possibility of upgrading an old Test System which has a 286 host computer to a pentium-based PC. But I am aware that the solution is not as straightforward as replacing the PC alone.

First, there is the issue of difference in speed of execution of existing programs that control the various instrumentation, which may result in erratic behaviour of the test system during test runs.

Secondly, only executable (object) codes are available which means there is no way to change and include delays into the test routines to cater to the faster PC hardware, not to mention upgrading the older ISA/EISA bus GPIB cards to the faster PCI bus type.

The second issue can be addressed since some pentium motherboards still support one or two ISA slots, though not a very good one. The main problem lies in slowing down the speed of execution of the test programs.

One mehtod that I feel workable is to write a GPIB card emulator and give it the same interrupt address as the ones that the test programs talk to, and let it act as a middle man between the test programs and the real GPIB cards. This also solves the problem of the ISA bus issue discussed earlier.

I am not a good C/C++ programmer and certainly quite handicapped at writing device drivers or emulators of this sort. Is there any source or reference which I can refer to, that anyone in this board knows of and is kind enough to direct me to? It would, of course, be better if someone has experience with programming in this area to provide personal advice or share his/her experience, which would be a very nice thing to do. :wink:

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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