Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Build 222 of the vCOM virtual serial port driver is released.

New Features:

Build 222 will now allow you to create up to 10 virtual com port pairs. Each pair acts like a virtual null modem cable.

By default, the inf file that comes with the download will create 1 pair (COM4 and COM5) by default. To change there settings you have to edit the inf file as follows:

Look for the section titled "Localizable Strings"

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
; *******Localizable Strings*******
N8VB= "N8VB vCOM"
Desc_x860= "N8VB vCOM MultiportSerialdrivers"
N8VBvCOMDesc= "N8VB vCOM Virtual Serial Port Driver"

;NOTE: Edit the following to change com port number and amount of paired ports

;Number Of Pairs
;************
PAIRS=0x01
;PAIRS=0x02
;PAIRS=0x03
;PAIRS=0x04
;PAIRS=0x05
;PAIRS=0x06
;PAIRS=0x07
;PAIRS=0x08
;PAIRS=0x09
;PAIRS=0x0A
;NOTE: MAX is 10 pairs

;Pair 1
;************
PORT1="COM4"
PORT2="COM5"

;Pair 2
;************
PORT3="COM6"
PORT4="COM7"

;Pair 3
;************
PORT5="COM8"
PORT6="COM9"

;Pair 4
;************
PORT7="COM10"
PORT8="COM11"

;Pair 5
;************
PORT9="COM12"
PORT10="COM13"

;Pair 6
;************
PORT11="COM14"
PORT12="COM15"

;Pair 7
;************
PORT13="COM16"
PORT14="COM17"

;Pair 8
;************
PORT15="COM18"
PORT16="COM19"

;Pair 9
;************
PORT17="COM20"
PORT18="COM21"

;Pair 10
;************
PORT19="COM22"
PORT20="COM23"

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To change how many port pairs the driver creates you must uncomment one of the settings in the ";Number Of Pairs" table above. By default it is PAIRS=0x01. To create two pairs you need to comment out PAIRS=0x01 by putting a semicolon in front of that line (;PAIRS=0x01) and then uncomment PAIRS=0x02 by deleting the semicolon in front of that entry.

To change what port numbers are used for each pair you must edit the Pair(n) tables where n is 1 through 10. You must not use com port numbers that are created by a real hardware com port or driver installlation will fail.

Bug Fixes:

It is worthwhile to upgrade to build 222 even if you do not intend to use more than one pair of virtual com ports. I found a few bugs in the DeleteDevice section of the driver that caused problems with creating symbolic links if the driver was previously installed and them removed. The symbolic links were not being deleted correctly. This could either cause BSODs or failure of the driver to reinstall. Since I had to completely rwrite the AddDevice and DeleteDevice functions within the driver I corrected the bugs and now deletion of the symbolic links appears to work correctly.

See the installation procedure below for updating to build 222. Once this installation procedure is done and build 222 is on your system you should be able to uninstall, make changes to the inf file and then reinstall the driver without having to reboot the system. Also, future builds will be able to be installed without rebooting (hopefully ;-)).

Installing Build 222:

To upgrade to build 222 for an earlier build:

1. Go to Control Panel->System->Hardware->Device Manager and uninstall the current vCOM driver. It will be under Multi-port Serial Adapters in Device Manager.

2. Open Start->Run->RegEdit. In RegEdit navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE\DEVICEMAP\SERIALCOMM. If you see any entries named \Device\vComDrvx where x = 0...n, right click on these entries and select delete. This will delete any symbolic links that were supposed to be deleted when build 114 or earlier was uninstalled.

3. REBOOT your computer. This is important! Do not try to install build 222 until after you have rebooted your computer.

4. Go to Control Panel->System->Hardware->Device Manager and verify that the vCOM driver has not been loaded.

5. Edit the N8VB_vCOM.inf file as described above to select your virtual com ports and number of pairs.

6. Navigate to the N8VB_vCOMBuild222 folder and run install.bat (make sure you have admin privileges!). Some users have reported that just double clicking on install.bat in a Windows Explorer window does not work for them. It appears to be releated to Windows XP Home Edition. They have reported success by first opening a console window and running install.bat from there.

HRD NOTES:

To use PowerSDR with Ham Radio Deluxe you should select TS-50S for the radio type. The current CAT command support in PowerSDR does not implement all of the TS-2000 commands so HRD will update very slowly if you set it for TS-2000. Eventually HRD will support the SDR-1000, but right now selecting TS-50S works ok.

OTHER NOTES:

Eventually the vCOM driver will have a proper installation program that will make it easier to configure all of the settings.

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