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Question asked by VRFuser on Mar 26, 1996
send q PnP_Drivers ww vrf potts@GDEsystems.COM

from: Greg Goebel / HP-MXD / 970-679-3030 / FAX 970-679-5971
to:   John Potts / GDE (VRf)
date: Wednesday, 27 March 1996 1348 MST

> Hello. I have a series of questions regarding HP VEE and it's compliance to
> the VXI Plug&Play specification generally and regarding Plug&Play drivers
> and SoftPanels for the HP1416 (Power Meter) and the HP1428 (Digital O-scope)
> specifically.
> First of all the VXI Plug&Play spec states that compliance means that
> drivers must include (according to the HP VXIplug&play Systems Alliance
> Tutorial):
> 1. C Function library files
>       C Function library files contain a dynamic link library (.sll or .sl),
>    ANSI C source (.c, .h), and a functionpanel file (.fp). This library
>    uses the VISA I/O libary for all I/O functions.
> 2. Interactive soft front panel executable programs
>       The soft front panel is a stand-alone executable program that
>    provides an interactive, mouse-driven graphical interface to control
>    an instrument and display the results. The soft front panel uses the
>    VISA I/O library panel as well.
> 3. Knowledge base files
>       The knowledge base file is an ASCII file that describes all of
>    the specifications for an instrument, including card size, power
>    specification, number of required slots, and ID.
> 4. Help files
>       A Windows help file is provided to give programming exaqmples,
>    information on the C function library, an instrument overview, and
>    help for the soft front panel.
> I am confused because we are currently investigating a program where
> the target system is a Pentium connected to a VXI chassis via a MXI2
> interface (ala National Instruments) and running Windows NT Workstation.
> Two of the instruments to be hosted in the VXI chassis are HP instruments
> (the HPe1416 and the HPe1428). I contacted my local HP Rep and was told,
> unequivocally, that the instruments in question were fully supported, via
> the specification details listed above (which were faxed to me in response
> to my query) for Windows NT. And that HP VEE was, as a result, NOT required
> on the target system to use the soft front panels.
> My confusion comes from the fact that since that initial conversation, I
> have received e-mail response from 2 other HP technical support reps who
> say that all of the above is BS and that the ONLY way to use VEE front
> panels for the two instruments in NT is to have an HP VEE license installed
> on the target system.

They were confused.  I think they were thinking of traditional VEE drivers,
in which that was the case.  The soft front panels for P&P drivers are
stand-alone software and do not require VEE to operate.

We are the central division for these drivers (for HP that is) and I can
assure you that we speak the truth.

However, there is a problem here that we haven't released the drivers in
32-bit form yet and so for the moment -- we don't have drivers for NT.
We are waiting on various software to be ported to 32-bit Windows -- NI
CVI for one, plus some internal HP software -- and we have no reliable
schedule we can give you.

> So --
> 1. Are the HPe1416 and the HPe1428 supported under Windows NT Workstation?

This is ugly ... we're working on the 1428 but it will be some months before
it will be available.  There are no plans to do a 1416 (though the lab person
says it is trivial and they will likely do it once the rush is over).

Again, however, we don't have drivers for NT at all and can't say when we
will have them because of the external elements in the critical path.

> 2. Are the soft panels and drivers truly VXIplug&play compliant or must
>    the soft panels be run under HP VEE?

No.  They do not need to be run under VEE.

> Thanks for any assistance ANY of you can offer in firming this up for me.


> Hello. We are trying to find a platform for use in experimenting with
> HP VEE Instrument Driver development (on a budget). Since I do NOT have
> a PC available with either an HPIB or VXLink card installed, I had hoped
> to use a National Instruments VXIpc-486 Model 500 (P/N 18129-250 Rev. B2)
> that we already have and which is not currently in use.
> So -- I plugged the VXI-486 into a chassis and went to install my VEE 3.0
> license and read the following in "Installing HP VEE for Windows", page
> 1-5:
>    HP VEE provides direct access to the VXI backplane through select
>    code 16 for the EPC-7 and EPC-8 VXI Controllers. However, the
>    EPConnect software, provided with the controller, must be
>    installed before you install HP VEE.
> OK -- I know that this in NOT an EPC-7 or an EPC-8 and I do NOT have the
> EPConnect software. What IS installed is the National Instruments NI-VXI
> stuff (which I have been told accessed the backplane just fine for the
> previous users who were experimenting with LabView/CVI). So, I installed
> HP VEE anyway and can NOT see the backplane or anything on it (HP VEE
> does not see VXI as an available interface).
> What can I do?
> 1. Can I get (download) the EPConnect software and will it (maybe/probably)
>    work on the target computer in question?
> 2. Is there someway to otherwise use the existing NI-VXI stuff to get
>    HP VEE to acknowledge the VXI backplane as an available interface?
> 3. ???


I am afraid there is no reasonable way that you can get this to work.  If you
had a VISA driver for the backplane, you could get P&P drivers to work, but
none of VEE's other I/O works.

We will eventually have better support for VISA I/O under VEE but as things
stand now or for the useful future, this is not a workable configuration.

If you have other questions, let us know.

[<>] regards -- gvg