Xbase++ (Win32) and Clipper (DOS) FischerTechnik Interface Drivers

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Xbase++
Clipper
Fischertechnik models
About the author Rene Nooteboom
Email address
Driver download section
Other links

Introduction

This website contains software and drivers for all the FischerTechnik Computing interfaces for the two xbase languages: Alaska Xbase++ for Win32 and Clipper for DOS.

Alaska Xbase++ is the Win32 object oriented successor of Clipper for the Win32-platform. The core-language is Clipper-syntax style but it is object-oriented and has advanced multi-threading capabilities. More information about Xbase++ can be found at the Alaska Xbase++ website .

Clipper for DOS was in the 1990-decennium a very popular development language and system to create powerful applications. In my view it can still be very interesting to operate a dedicated ( Fischer Technik ) robot-application with the DOS operating system. It has almost no overhead compared with an enormous GUI-OS like XP and a Clipper-DOS application is small and fast. For example a FischerTechnik model controlled on an old 400Mhz-laptop with Clipper-DOS is even faster than the same model operated with the RoboPro-GUI software from FischerTechnik running on XP with 1.8GHz!. This is due to the overhead and complexity of a multitasking GUI-OS and for dedicated digital interfacing of robots and other mechanical devices the functionality of these bigger operating systems is often not necessary.

Drivers for the following computer-interfaces are available for Xbase and Clipper and can be downloaded from this website : 1) the Universal 30520 LPT interface , 2) the Intelligent 30402 Serial COM interface , 3) the Multiface 72 LPT-interface from Knobloch-GmbH , 4) the ROBO- and the USB ROBO-IO extension interface also via the wireless Robo RF Data Link module.

Xbase++

Xbase++ drivers , example diagnostic programs for all the interfaces and a (simple) junction-TrafficLight demo application (see TrafficLight pdf-description) are all contained in the Xbase Fischertechnik drivers zip-file . An overview of the driver package, files and all linkable object modules is in the Xbase FischerTechnik pdf-document. For the serial interface drivers the free COM-ports are automatically detected with the help of the Alaska XbToolsIII library. To operate the LPT-interfaces I have used the LPT-IO kernel driver inpout32.dll this dll makes direct LPT-IO possible from within w9x- and winnt operating systems.Some other linkable object drivers are in fact wrapper-modules who use the famous umFish.dll"s of Ulrich Müller .Initiation ,selection and detection of the Fischertechnik interface is done in a hybrid XbpCrt()-console window . In the download section on this site Fischertechnik diagnostic applications for all kinds of interfaces and all the needed Xbase++ runtime dll's to run these programs can be downloaded, see below. To compile and create your own applications one needs Alaska Xbase++ & XbToolsIII version 1.90 build 331 or greater.

Clipper

The Clipper Fischertechnik drivers address the IO-hardware ( the COM- and LPT-port registers ) directly , IO-addresses and IRQ's can be configured at runtime or beforehand in a INI-file. This makes it possible to use every existing IO-adapter card and configuration. The architecture of the drivers makes it possible to use all different interfaces simultaneously. Clipper drivers, example diagnostics programs for all the interfaces and a generic Clipper library are contained in the Clipper Fischertechnik drivers zip-file , an overview of all Clipper source code and object files is in the Clipper Fischertechnik pdf-document .

Fischertechnik models

Next to the Traffic Light demo model ,created to illustrate the use of the Xbase++ Fischertechnik drivers, I am now working hard on the Freefall Tower model complete with a pneumatic brake-system . As a development challenge I am using one and the same source code file to create both a Clipper/DOS-exe as well as a Xbase++/win32 console application !. My next model will be a one-armed bandit gambling fruit-machine frequently seen in casinos.

About the author

Besides creating robots and playing with Fischertechnik toys the author likes singing the modest and sensitive beautiful songs of James Taylor especially: "Sweet Baby James" and "Another Day" and is a great fan of movies with actress Angie Dickinson. After my study in theoretical physics and mathematics I got a IT-job at the firebrigade of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.To see the man behind all the technical stuff on this website and this time without his beloved rollerskates look at this picture of Rene Nooteboom in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam. And here my wonderful Belgian cat Suske observing me from the balcony.

Email : r.nooteboom2@chello.nl

Download section

Xbase++ (Win32) Fischertechnik all source code drivers-zip file
Xbase++ & Fischertechnik Applications and all needed runtime dll's-zip file
Clipper (DOS) Fischertechnik drivers & diagnostic exe's -zip file
Xbase++ & Fischertechnik pdf-document
Traffic Light demo application pdf-document
Clipper & Fischertechnik pdf-document