BlinkenBone - Possible simulator configurations

Parent Category: Projects Category: BlinkenBone Written by Administrator

With the network-based interface between SimH and the panel-server and the UARTs on the BlinkenCapes, you have many choices to setup a simulation.

A typical setup consists of

You can almost freely combine the panel with the SimH running machine and the console terminal.

Here are some actual setups in use (but more are possible) :

1.1. If you have just have a desktop PC: "Java PanelSim Distribution, all-in-one"

SimH, Java panel simulation and console terminal run on the same machine.
These are the setups distributed as GitHub releases.

Console terminal: Desktop terminal (DOS box, XTERM)
SimH client: Desktop (Win32, Ubuntu, RPi)
Panel server: same machine as SimH
Lights & Switches: Java AWT windows application
network: only single machine

1.2. If you have two desktops (PC or RPi): "Java PanelSim Distribution, console&panel separated"

SimH, Java panel simulation run on one machine, console terminal access from remote. So you have no collision of serial console and Java panel on a single screen, and can operate console and panel with different mouse cursors. Finally terminal and panel are two devices, so they should run on different screens!

Console terminal: Desktop terminal (DOS box, XTERM)
SimH client: Desktop (Win32, Ubuntu, RPi)
Panel server: other PC or RaspberryPi
Lights&Switches: Java app on other PC or RaspberryPI
Network clients: PC and PC/RPi

1.3. If you want to connect multiple physical terminals: "Multi RS232"

Since the BeagleBone / BlinkenCape provides 4 UARTs with RS232, you can attach multiple physical terminals to your SimH.

In new SimH 4.x, this is should work with

sim>set dz lines=n 
sim>attach dz <port>

The BeagleBone is not controlling a panel in this case, but a Java panel simulation can also be active.

Console terminal: Physical VT terminal over UART on BlinkenCape
SimH client: BeagleBone+BlinkenCape, or RPi with UART
Panel server: optional Java on same or remote PC or RaspberyPi
Lights&Switches: Java app
Network clients: BeagleBone and optional PC/RPi

2.1. If you want to reanimate a physical panel: "Pure BlinkenBone"

This is all these pages are about. You have a vintage console panel in the basement and connect it to BeagleBone/BlinkenCape/BlinkenBus/BlinkenBoard. Console access to the SimH is over telnet.

Console terminal: Terminal emulator over telnet from remote PC
SimH: BeagleBone
Panel Server: same
Lights&Switches: Vintage panel connected over BlinkenCape/BlinkenBus/BlinkenBoard
Network clients: BeagleBone and PC

2.2. If you have connected a physical panel and have physical terminals: "RetroMax!"

This configuration is same as before, but console access is over a physical terminal like VT100. No PC is needed, access is only over vintage equipment. Best for shows!

Console terminal: Physical VT terminal over BlinkenCape UART
SimH: BeagleBone
Panel Server: same
Lights&Switches: Vintage panel connected over BlinkenCape/BlinkenBus/BlinkenBoard
Network clients: none

3.1. If you have a PiDP11 replica: "PiDP11 stand alone"

Oscar Vermeulen's "PiDP11" is a down-scaled PDP-11/70 replica, based on a RaspberryPi and a light&switch panel. It's internally driven by BlinkenBone (if you're lucky, you will not notice anything of it).

Console terminal: terminal emulator over telnet from remote PC
SimH client = RPi
Panel server = RPi
Lights&Switches: replica
Network clients: PiDP and PC

3.2. If you want remote control a PiDP8 or PiDP11 replica: "PiDP slave"

If you'd like to experiment, you can disable the SimH running inside the PiDP8 or PiDP11 and run the PiDP as pure slave. Just start the Blinkenlight API server for the panel electronic, and run SimH or other clients on a desktop PC.

Console terminal: terminal emulator on PC
SimH client: Desktop (Win32, Ubuntu, RPi)
Panel server: RPi
Lights&Switches: replica
Network clients: RPi and PC

4. If you are developing a physical or virtual panel: "Panel Test"

Whenever you connect a physical panel over BlinkenCape/BlinkenBus/BlinkenBoard, write a Java simulation or construct a replica, you need to test the panel indepented of any simulator. Before you can modify SimH, the lights and switch should work!

In this case, you stimulate the panel server not with a SimH client, but with the special "Blinkenlight APi test client".

Console terminal: MS-Windows DOS box, or Linux term session.
Client: "BlinkenLight API test program" on PC
Panel server: "device under test". any server: Java, BeagleBone, Rpi
Lights&Switches: device under test
Network clients: PC and D.U.T.


5. DECbox

The DECbox is a VT100 which has several DEC systems build in as simulations. Technically it's the same as the "3.1. Multi RS232" configration, but packaging is different. Normally no panel is attached.

Console terminal: physical VT100 over BlinkenCape UART
SimH client: BeagleBone, build into VT100
Panel server: none
Lights&Switches: none
Network clients: none