HP-IB Mass Storage Emulation (Help)

From: Vassilis Prevelakis <vp_at_mcs.drexel.edu>
Date: Mon Feb 17 06:16:00 2003

I have been working for some time on a pet project to make a mass
storage emulator for HP-IB systems. Given the massive improvement in
capacity that has taken place the past 10 years, most mass storage
devices from the 80s look pathetic.

For example, take the HP 9133H which is a massive unit that can store
about 5Mb. Even the compact flash cards that are bundled with popular
digital cameras can do better than that.

I started my project by trying to utilize the HP-IB drivers that are
part of the NetBSD Open Source Unix clone (which runs on the HP 300
series), but I have come to realize that the HP-IB cards are the
creating a new legacy issue.

Open Source drivers for HP-IB cards are very hard to find and thus any
solution that depends on them becomes de facto legacy (once the card
itself is no longer sold, finding the card becomes almost as difficult
as finding HP 9133H drives).

So I looked hard at the HP-IB bus itself (using the schematics from the
Series 80 adaptor) and it looks like a simple parallel bus. So why use
a custom card, if the PC parallel port can be adapted to drive an HP-IB

If the PC parallel port can be used, then I can port the NetBSD drivers
to use the parallel port, rather than the HP 300 HP-IB interface. The
NetBSD drivers also support SS-80 compatible mass storage devices,
which means that the implementation can be verified against a real
HP-IB mass storage device. If this works than the drivers will have to
be modified so that they become a mass storage "server" rather than a
"client" (i.e. a device that responds to mass storage requests, instead
of a computer that issues such requests).

Small i386 compatible single board computers are easily procurable and
embedded versions of *BSD and Linux systems run on these SBCs (they
even accept compact flash cards or more traditional hard disks). This
means that we can make a mass storage device that can physically fit
inside the cabinet of the main unit (e.g. Integral PC, or HP-87).

Anybody willing to provide assistance to this effort, is welcome to
contact me. However, I think that going through this list may be
more beneficial so that other people can contribute in the technical

Received on Mon Feb 17 2003 - 06:16:00 GMT

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