Using the HP200LX to offload and program the OWL2c

(c) 1998 EME Systems, Berkeley CA U.S.A.
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Contents: (updated 12/20/99)

Data offload from the OWL2c to the HP200LX palmtop

The HP200LX palmtop computer from Hewlett Packard is a good choice for retrieving data from the OWL2c in the field. It is small, light and has a built in communications program that can be used to transfer large data files without a hitch. It also has some other built-in features you may find useful for field work. The HP200LX can also be used for programming the OWL. There are a few settings and procedures to follow.

Step 1--enter the settings and the macros.

First you need to create a settings file. This holds the settings that are used by the HP200LX to communicate with the OWL2c. Step-by-step:

&...            ; brings up applications list
comm            ; opens telecom channel
menu            ; shows the telecom main menu
CS              ; brings up the settings dialog
alt-D           ; revert to factory default settings
menu            ; shows the telecom main menu
CS              ; brings up the settings dialog
alt-B           ; set baud rate
right-arrow     ; to 9600 baud (or, choose the baud for your OWL)
right-arrow     ;
alt-A           ; save this settings file as
OWL2            ; OWL2.DCF
enter           ; ENTER KEY

By default, these settings are saved as a file called OWL2.DCF in the _DATA directory on the HP200LX.

There must be a directory present to receive the OWL data. This will be C:\OWLDATA. To create a directory on the HP200LX, you press the blue filer key, then menu/File/creaTe, and type in "C:\OWLDATA" and press ENTER.

Now, you need to enter three short macros. A macro on the HP200LX is a sequence of key-strokes that are recorded one time and stored to be played back later. The following procedure will create a macro that prepares the HP200LX to receive a file from the OWL. It starts up the HP200 COMM application and configures it to talk to the OWL.


shift-Fn-f1     ; starts recording #1
&...            ; brings up applications list
comm            ; opens telecom channel
menu            ; shows the telecom main menu
CS              ; brings up the settings dialog
alt-O           ; open settings file
C:\_DAT\OWL2.DCF    ; settings file
enter           ;
enter           ; ENTER KEY
shift-Fn-f1     ; stops recording


A second macro opens a file to receive data from the OWL:

shift-Fn-f2       ; starts recording #2
menu              ; menu open
CT                ; closes any open files
menu              ; menu open
CA                ; open files dialog appears on screen
C:\owldata\*.*    ; shows owldata directory
enter             ; ENTER KEY
shift-Fn-f2       ; stops recording
                  ; leaves HP200 waiting to receive
                  ; filename from user

And the third macro closes that file and opens the OWLDATA directory in the filer so that you can verify that the file has been transferrd properly before erasing the data in the OWL memory.

shift-Fn-f3       ; starts recording #3
menu              ; menu open
CT                ; closes any open files
filer             ; blue filer hot key
f5                ; f5 hot key "goto"
C:\owldata        ; show the owldata directory
enter             ; ENTER KEY
shift-Fn-f3       ; stops recording

The keys you need to press in sequence to create each of the three macros are listed, along with comments about what each keystroke accomplishes. To enter the macro, you press the key or key-combination at the beginning of the line. Do not enter the comment at the end of the line. Once you have stored the macro, you will only have to press Fn-f1, Fn-f2 or Fn-f3 in order to execute it. These instructions assume that you have not already stored macros under the Fn -f1, -f2, or -f3 hotkeys; if you have, you can use different hot-keys. More detailed instructions on macros in general are to be found in the HP200 help system and documentation.

It does not matter what else is on the screen when you start to enter the macro. Single named keys you press are shown in lowercase type by name, e.g., menu, or the combination shift-char-f1.

Once you enter the macros, you can save a copy by selecting "save as" from the file menu of the Macro application. To get to the macro application, press the blue "&" key, and then press the letter "M". You will see the listings of the macros you just entered. You can edit them here, and give them names, although that should not be necessary. Consule the HP200LX documentation. If you have a ram card, it is a good idea to store a copy of the macros there in case the originals are lost. There is also an "open" command on the Maco file menu that allows you to load in specific macro files.

Cable required

Null modem adapter is required to connect the OWL2c to the HP200LX connectivity cable. The OWL2c is wired DCE (like a modem). The connectivity cable for the HP200LX a null modem cable, meant to connect to a DTE device. So a male-male null modem adapter is necessary to adapt it to the OWL2c. Here is how the pins on that adapter should be wired: This is shown as a full null wiring, so the adapter can be used in either orientation.


OWL2c end                           HP200 cable end
   n/c       1 ------------------ 1    shield, not needed
data      2 -----------------> 3    data in
data      3 <----------------- 2    data out
atn       4 <----------------- 6    dtr
common    5 ------------------ 5    common
loopback  6 -----------------> 4    dsr
loopback  7 <----------------- 8    rts
n/c       8 ------------------ 7    cts not needed
n/c       9 ------------------ 9    ri  not needed

This male-male null modem adapter is available directly from EME Systems, or Radio Shack and other sources can supply a two part solution: a standard male-female null modem adapter along with a standard male-male straight through adapter.

The OWL2c has a position for a programming capacitor. When this capacitor is installed, it will be possible to wake up the OWL by turning the HP off and then on again. Usually, this jumper should be left in place. Every OWL2c is delivered with it already installed.

Using HP200LX macros to offload OWL2c data.

Here are the steps necessary to use the HP200LX to retrieve data from the OWL2c. There is an "in case of difficulty" section after these instructions.

1) Connect the cable. (and the null-modem adapter if necessary.)

2) Press the Fn-f1 hot key on the HP200LX. This runs the first macro and sets up the HP200LX to talk to the OWL.

3) Turn the HP off and then on again, or press the reset button inside the OWL2c. (Some OWL2c systems are set up wake up only in response to an internal or external pushbutton on the OWL2C system; others will wake up when the HP computer is turned off and on again.) The red indicator light on the OWL2c should come on and a message should appear on the HP screen. The message shows the current time and date in the OWL2c, and the current number of records stored in relation to the total capacity, and a menu of OWL2c commands. If the message does not appear, turn the HP off and on a second time, or press the reset button on the OWL2c. You should now see the message.

4) Press the Fn-f2 hot key on the HP200LX. A dialog box will open on the HP screen, asking for you to choose a name for the new data file. The names of existing data files will appear for reference. Type in a name for your data file, using the DOS "8.3" convention for file names, and press ENTER. A word of advice: Be consistent in naming these file. If you leave off the ".3" extension, the raw data file will be given the ".CAP" extension, which should be fine unless you want to convey some other information in the extension. Press ENTER when you have typed in the name. The dialog box will close.

5) Press letter R on the HP keyboard. This is a command to the OWL2c and prompts it to send the data contained in the logging memory. The data will march up the HP200 screen and will be put into the file you named. (If the data does not appear, the OWL2c may have gone to sleep while you were typing. Try pressing the reset button on the OWL or turn the HP off and then on.)

6) After the data flow stops, press the Fn-f3 hot key. This will close the captured file and will show you the list of files that exist in the OWLDATA directory. Among them you should see the file you just created and its size in bytes. Move the cursor over the file name and press the F8 key. You should see the first few lines of the data file. Do this to be sure that the file has been captured correctly before you erase the data on the OWL2. Press esc on the HP200LX to put away the file listing.

7) Press Fn-f1 to return to communications with the OWL2c. Turn the HP off and on again to call up the OWL2c menu, or press the reset button on the OWL2c.

8) Press ^E to erase the copy of the data file on the OWL. If you do not erase the file, old data will remain and the new data will be added onto the end of the old file. The ^E means the key-combination CTRL-E. The command does not ask for confirmation, so be sure you are ready to erase before taking this step. When the erasing is finished, which takes about two minutes, the menu will reappear.

9) If you need to reset the clock on theOWL2, press S and follow the prompts described on page 6-9 of this manual. Be sure to check that the time and date are set correctly. There are other commands available too, that allow you to look at current readings and to test the system operation.

10) When you are finished, press L to put the OWL2 into logging mode. Press menu-Quit on the HP200 to quit the communications program. Turn off the HP200 and disconnect the cables. If you do not press L, the OWL2c will automatically enter the logging mode anyway after 1 minute.

11) Be sure the OWL2 and the interface box are closed and protected from the elements before you leave the site.

In case of difficulty

If the OWL2 does not respond to commands, it may have gone to sleep. Turn the HP200LX off and then on again to wake it up, or press the reset button on the OWL2c. It may be necessary to do this twice in some cases. This is likely in case you take to long to respond to an question. The OWL only waits one minute before it drops back to sleep.

If all the text bunches up on one line, press F from the command line to tell the OWL2c to add line feeds.

If the data does not come across, check to be sure that the cable is plugged solidly at both ends.

If you can see the message coming from the OWL2c, but it doesn't seem to receive any of the commands you type at the keyboard, try the following. Or iIf the HP200 seems to "freeze up", try this too. press CTRL-ALT-DELETE key combination. This is a "warm boot". If the computer asks questions for the time and date, simply press ENTER in response. If the screen ends up at a DOS prompt, type in "200" and ENTER. Then try the macros again.

If the computer totally freezes up, and the problem can not be alleviated by the CTRL-ALT-DEL trick, as a last resort, then try a "cold boot". Hold down CTRL and Shift as you turn the computer off and then on. IMPORTANT: Answer NO to the question about initializing the RAM disk. Fill in the time data as prompted. When you see the C:\ prompt, type in "200 ENTER". You will now see the owner screen. Now you will have to enter the macros again, because the cold boot will wipe them out. A ram card can be a great boon, because you can keep a copy of the macros on the card. From the macro application (blue key &/M) , you can save and open macro files.

HP200LX palmtop to program the BS2

The HP200LX can be used for programming the OWL2c, and for editing the programs. It cannot be beat for portability. You have to use the DOS version of the Stamp editor, not the WINDOWs version.

The Stamp2.exe program can be located either on the main drive or on a PCMCIA card. Create Stamp2.bat:

stamp2.exe /1 /m

This will start up the program using com1 and in the monochrome mode. Always invoke the program by going to the Filer application and select Stamp2.bat from the Filer menu. Other methods (from the application manager) will probably not work, because they do not set aside enough memory for the Stamp application. If you want to be able to switch over to other HP200LX applications while running stamp2.exe, start them first. When you start Stamp2.exe from the filer, it will grab all remaining free memory. It is very convenient to run the COMMunications applictation at the same time as stamp2.exe.

It is very convenient to be able to test the communications routines immdediately after downloading them into the stamp. You can switch back and forth by pressing the "more" hotkey and then either "D" for "Dos" (Stamp2.exe) or "C" for communications. Note that you have to start the HP COMM application before you start Stamp.exe.

There is a problem with the way the HP200LX defines the arrow-keys. A tsr called "EXkey" is available that corrects the problem. Without the tsr, pressing the arrow keys will simply insert unwanted letters in the program, instead of acting as navigation commands. The tsr is available from the compuserve HPhandhelds forum and from other shareware libraries. (c)1994 Yoshihiro Hanaoka (Maruha)

The cable that comes with the HP200LX "connectivity pack" has a special connector for the HP on one end, and a DB9S on the other end that is meant to plug directly into a PC serial port. It is a null modem cable. To use that cable with the Stamp, you will need a male to male null modem adapter. You can get a DB9 null modem and a male-male adapter at Radio Shack. Alternatively, EME Systems has a special one-piece male-male null modem adapter available.

You will need a capacitor jumper in the ATN line on the OWL2c. The OWL2c is always shipped with the jumper in place.

The size of the print on the editor screen can be changed between three different sizes by using the ZOOM hotkey. This is the blue Fn key along with the space bar. When the screen has one of the larger print sizes, you are actually looking into a window into the larger screen. Press and hold the MENU key while pressing the arrow keys to move the window around to see different parts. MENU-SHIFT-arrow moves in larger jumps.

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