AutoCAB V3

Posted on 2013-01-30
Last Modified: 2014-06-13
Now for an unusual problem!

Do any of the experts out there use or have experience in configuring AutoCAB V3 (all DOS based)

Basically, I was involved in moving 3 PCs to new premises, the main 'Dispatch PC' which houses an ISA PC/4 Serial Board went faulty and I am looking to replace all 3 PCs with somehting new and do away with this serial board as ISA isnt supported and system boards are like hens teeth!
Question by:TazDevil1674
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Expert Comment

by:Don Thomson
ID: 38835286
Assuming that the Program is running using standard Serial Port numbers 1-8
You should be able to get a new PC with PCI expansion slots and use something like this from Startech

It gives you a 4 port serial PCI card for under $100  and is fully DOS and All versions of Windows compatible

 You can configure them for the proper ports and everything should work fine

Is the PC running just DOS or DOS under XP?

If the system is running under straight DOS - you may have a problem.

In any case you will need to make sure that the Serial ports have the same IRQ for each port that the original system had. That will be much easier if you are running under a windows based OS (Device manager can configure the IRQs on each port

The only other solution is to get a hold of AutoCab international and see how much the latest version upgrade would cost them and

Author Comment

ID: 38835302
Thanks for the reply, its running purely on DOS 6.22 (4GB IDE disks which also could fail at any time...)

I will run the utility for the current board to see if it tells me the IRQs etc.

Unfortunately, this will need to be a cheap 'n' cheerful job for now... Upgrade is £££
LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:Don Thomson
ID: 38840688
I can imaging that AutoCab would want a couple of Grand to upgrade- Get the Board above and you should be fine - If you are using Just Dos 6.22 then the Startech will handle it fine
If the Utility doesn't ask about IRQs then you can most likely just use the defaults on the board.

Make sure when you first boot the new PCs - to go into the bios and disable the on board Serial  port as it will kill the Com1 on the PCI board (Most Motherboards don't have a Serial connector but they do have a Serial Port Header)

Author Comment

ID: 38861352
Further to my question above...  The most I have got from AutoCAB at present is that some customers had special builds of the software and the serial port/IRQ etc are hard-coded...

Not so useful as I can't get it working on 'new' old PCs...

Do any Experts know of DOS TSRs that may help to see what the program wants to use?

Any advice is welcome!
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LVL 14

Accepted Solution

Don Thomson earned 500 total points
ID: 38863898
What is the model on the old Serial port board?
Check the program and see if there is any type of .ini or .sys or .cfg  file that may tell you which serial ports are being used and which irq's may be in use - Most of the old DOS programs used plain text files for that sort of thing.

You said that the "Main Dispatch PC" board went faulty - What about the other two PCs - can you get the "Main Dispatch PC" Wortking with one of the boards from the other two PCs

If so - you should be able to determine which serial ports are being used -
Take a PC that has at least 1 serial port on it and load DOS on it - Put your program on it and load it up - see if you can at least see data on the Serial port 1 - (you can use a null serial modem cable connected to an XP machine - Use something like Hyperterminal to watch the data . Then change the port to com2  and sent something to that. Go through each port to verify that the program can talk to all 4 com ports - Then get the card I mentioned before and check them all out together.

I realize that a Cab company is a 24/7  deal and downtime is minimal - but other than copying over the files and hooking up the new PC  - it shouldn't take more than 30 minutes at around 3AM

Author Comment

ID: 38863925
@DTH only one of the 3 PCs has this board, the others just use COM1...

I now have 2 'working' PCs with ISA slots and hope to get time this weekend to try ISA board in a different PC.  I got the serial cable from them that goes from booking to dispatch PCs...  If I can get this working I am at lest on the right track...

I was able to run the utility to test the board which says its OK.  The IRQs/Interupts etc are set by DIP Switch banks ont he board itself - I was able to find a PDF fromt he manufacturer on the Web.  An unknown for this is that the DIP Switches may have been changed by others who apparently tried to fix this before I got involved.

Appreciate your comments as it has given me different angles to look from...  Fresh eyes as they say!
LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:Don Thomson
ID: 38864080
FYI -Here are the IRQs for the serial ports Standard Use

3F8h-3FFh      Serial port 1 (COM1)
2F8h-2FFh      Serial port 2 (COM2)
3E8h-3EFh      Serial port 3 (COM3)
2E8h-2EFh      Serial port 4 (COM4)

If you check the Dip Switches   on the old board - that should tell you if they are standard or custom

Author Comment

ID: 38930613
I am still working on this but have been up to my eyes in higher priority issues...

Hopefully get a few hours at it tonight...

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