[time-nuts] RS 232 to GPIB update on IOtech 488 series

shalimr9 at gmail.com shalimr9 at gmail.com
Thu Nov 17 21:04:29 EST 2011

I have 3 such boxes. Two are BlackBoxes (one was just the converter, which I converted into a controller by copying the EPROM from the other box, the hardware otherwise being identical) and one is the IOTech.

When they were marketted, the IOTech was about twice the price of the BB.

They work very well and are among the easiest to write software for, on a par with the Prologix. They need an external supply.

The Prologix are significantly faster though and of course, smaller, available new, reasonably priced and very well supported.

Didier KO4BB

Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless thingy while I do other things...

-----Original Message-----
From: paul swed <paulswedb at gmail.com>
Sender: time-nuts-bounces at febo.com
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2011 17:13:59 
To: paul swed<paulswedb at gmail.com>; Time-nuts<time-nuts at febo.com>
Reply-To: Discussion of precise time and frequency measurement
	<time-nuts at febo.com>
Subject: [time-nuts] RS 232 to GPIB update on IOtech 488 series

A thread has been running about using the IOtech rs232 to GPIB converters.
Thought I would share what I have run into all good.

These boxes come in two flavors
simple 1 device controller/peripheral
Full controllers that operate a full 488 bus and can also do the simple
IOtech made these for many companies as an example BlackBox, Omega and
National Instruments and a wide range of names and numbers. The rs 232 runs
all the way up to 57Kb/s on some boxes.

They all seem to hold up to the years quite well. Essentially the 5 I have
found at flea markets all work.
There has been a comment that you could simply change eproms and new
functionality would happen.
Thats most likely true in a series but not to make a simple into a full
controller. (Most desirable)
A full controller would be the IOtech 488a or 488ex most other numbers are
simple units with a bit more buffer or higher 232 speed.

But the difference between the simple and controller seem to really be 2
The eprom and the addition to the ram socket of a DS1216 clock and memory
battery chip.
Believe it or not the DS1216s available from Mouser and perhaps DigiKey for
$28 each. Thats 1988 technology with a life.
The eproms for a simple and the 488ex full controller will be uploaded to
Diddiers site in the next few weeks.
Need a safe haven for those images.

Further I had NV corruption failing the 488ex. It actually all seemed to
work just fine actually. Just a red error light.
This was fixed by;
Pulling the sram chip and grounding all pins for 30 min.
Command a warm reset and then a save. The light went away.
Further the original date time chip rolls over to 1900 not 2000. Don't
think that really matters a heck of a lot.
Or at least not $28 worth to me.

So a pretty hardy set of boxes and you can still find quite a bit of
documentation on most all of them.
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