USB port

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torpedo
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USB port

Post by torpedo » March 30th, 2006, 8:55 pm

Just thinking out loud here...
How about the ability to plug in a wireless/wired ethernet adapter on the USB port? Similar to what you can on the Tivo's USB ports. I know the PM3 could not supply the 5volts needed for the USB device but thats easily solved with an inline adapter. Then the PM3 could have a maintenance screen where you could download the latest firmware or upload your latest results (or let C2 verify results). No stand alone PC needed. Another feature would allow you to connect a few ergs on the same network for a race.

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Post by haboustak » March 30th, 2006, 10:01 pm

You're looking to have a USB controller port on the PM3 rather than a USB device port. Unfortunately, that would require completely different hardware. And it would convert the PM3 from a USB device into a USB host.

Rather than adding a USB controller, wouldn't it be great if the PM3 had an Ethernet port? Then you could just wire it into your LAN or get an 802.11 bridge for wireless. And we could just open a TCP/IP socket to the erg and get 100Mbps.

Mike

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Post by Citroen » March 31st, 2006, 3:30 am

haboustak wrote: Rather than adding a USB controller, wouldn't it be great if the PM3 had an Ethernet port? Then you could just wire it into your LAN or get an 802.11 bridge for wireless. And we could just open a TCP/IP socket to the erg and get 100Mbps.

Mike
Even better if it had a built-in 802.11x adapter. Just fill in my WEP / WPA / Leap (or whatever security) credentials and it becomes just another address on the wireless LAN. (That would also allow ad-hoc connections to a Laptop - using the Windows 169.154.x.y addressing scheme).

Or how about bluetooth? Image
Or firewire? (Admittedly that's not so popular as USB)

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Post by BobD » March 31st, 2006, 6:21 am

You were doing OK until you said Bluetooth. Pretty much a disaster except for mobile telephones. I wonder how many stacks there are out there?

I like the idea of an Ethernet Port. check out Denon's high-end amps and receivers. All have Ethernet ports and lots of people use them wireless. :idea:
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Post by torpedo » March 31st, 2006, 6:47 am

An ethernet port would work for me...

:D

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Post by haboustak » March 31st, 2006, 10:19 am

I'd probably pick Ethernet over integrated 802.11 just because the 802.11 landscape is changing so much faster. It would be annoying if the PM3 implemented 802.11b and then couldn't support g, or i, or whatever's next. If you have a fast Ethernet port (even GigE) you could bridge it into whatever wireless technology is available, either individually or in gangs using an ethernet switch.

The problem with those other technologies is that they're all shared bus structures. With an ethernet network you can really dedicate 10/100/1000Mbps full-duplex to each erg with virtually no scaling problems.

Even with the 400/480/800Mbps available to USB2.0/Firewire, you have to share that between every connected device.

Plus, in my opinion, addressing and communication on Ethernet is just so much easier.

Mike

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Post by michaelb » March 31st, 2006, 10:49 am

For historical purposes, and my sanity, I will say that I made all the same suggestions on the original old forum before the PM3 was released in Aug 2004, when we were speculating about what features it would have. I was treated as being sort of crazy for suggesting it should have native wireless networking support via bluetooth or wifi (ethernet was my fall back suggestion).

Ethernet would be good, but that would still require a host computer, right? To me, the killer feature would be for the PM3s to be able to network themselves wirelessly without a host computer. So you could put a few C2s together in a room, they would sense each other, offer the option to setup a network, and then switch to the venue racing mode.

Maybe this all sounds so high tech, but Apple did this with the Newton way back in what was that, 1995?
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Post by whp4 » March 31st, 2006, 11:10 am

michaelb wrote:For historical purposes, and my sanity, I will say that I made all the same suggestions on the original old forum before the PM3 was released in Aug 2004, when we were speculating about what features it would have. I was treated as being sort of crazy for suggesting it should have native wireless networking support via bluetooth or wifi (ethernet was my fall back suggestion).

Ethernet would be good, but that would still require a host computer, right? To me, the killer feature would be for the PM3s to be able to network themselves wirelessly without a host computer. So you could put a few C2s together in a room, they would sense each other, offer the option to setup a network, and then switch to the venue racing mode.

Maybe this all sounds so high tech, but Apple did this with the Newton way back in what was that, 1995?
Ethernet could be done like it is on the recent Apple offerings with auto-sensing ports that automatically detect whether they are wired directly to another host without a crossover cable. You could plug two of them together with just a cable, and if you wanted more than that, you'd have to spring for a cheap hub.

Probably it's just the fault of the cheap wireless card I bought for my PC, but my PC reliably hangs within a few minutes if I run RowPro (v1.8, haven't tried the experiment yet with v2.0) and use the WiFi card for internet connectivity. I've also lived in places with enough wire mesh and other metal in the walls to make decent WiFi connectivity nearly impossible; I would find a WiFi-only connection minimally attractive, I'm afraid.

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Post by haboustak » March 31st, 2006, 3:06 pm

I had a lot of problems with my 802.11b network and my 2.4Ghz Panasonic cordless phone. Whenever I used the phone it would step all over the WiFi network, and because the phone was spread spectrum it wasn't even something I could fix by changing the 802.11 channel. I felt like I had returned to the days of dialup when I would hope and pray no one else in the house needed the phone while I was using the modem.

Having the ability to create an ad-hoc network of rowing machines sounds interesting (you could do this with either ethernet or wireless). But it's probably a huge firmware development effort. I'm not sure I'd want that much code (read: bug potential) in the firmware. Especially when you could just plug any computer into the network (WiFi or otherwise) and have it manage the races and the Ergs with a much less clunky interface. It's a good idea in principle though.

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Post by Citroen » March 31st, 2006, 3:48 pm

haboustak wrote: Having the ability to create an ad-hoc network of rowing machines sounds interesting (you could do this with either ethernet or wireless). But it's probably a huge firmware development effort.
The PM3 with Part # 1983 ("racing hat") has a RS485 network (cabled with CAT-5) between the PM3s. There's firmware support for that. It could be simple to change the driver/hardware to make that into stock 10/100/1000baseT ethernet.

We don't have the problem with 802.11x and cordless phones interfering. Our UK cordless phones use the DECT protocol on the 1880-1900 band.

I'd still vote for 802.11b/g WiFi (disregarding any newer standards) and the ability to create an ad-hoc network. [It's not easy at regional venue races with the CAT-5 cables all over the place. It's a trip hazard - needs lots of gaffer tape.] Put it on the wish list for the PM4.

I'm amused that folks scoffed at the suggestion of Bluetooth.

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Post by haboustak » March 31st, 2006, 4:03 pm

Citroen wrote:
haboustak wrote: Having the ability to create an ad-hoc network of rowing machines sounds interesting (you could do this with either ethernet or wireless). But it's probably a huge firmware development effort.
The PM3 with Part # 1983 ("racing hat") has a RS485 network (cabled with CAT-5) between the PM3s. There's firmware support for that. It could be simple to change the driver/hardware to make that into stock 10/100/1000baseT ethernet.
From my perspective, the RS485 support via a PM3 hat is more same-old serial data communication. It's just another bus with a proprietary protocol. By Ethernet support, what I really want is not just an Ethernet port, but a full TCP/IP stack and a DHCP client. Build the serial communication over TCP/IP, so that we can route it using cheap, mainstream gear.

In the ad-hoc network sense, I think that it's dropping the central master computer that's the difficult firmware initiative. The ability for the PM3's to self-assemble into a network and race without the computer controlling it. I think that's what michaelb wants, and to me that sounds like a tough job for an embedded machine with 5 soft-keys.

Mike

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Post by MomofJBN » March 31st, 2006, 5:27 pm

I'm glad to see that no one is championing firewire. My husband connects his laptop to his music stuff w/firewire, and it is very tempermental. If the wire so much as gets touched, the connection is lost. I can just imagine how well that would work with an erg. :roll:
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Post by BobD » March 31st, 2006, 5:34 pm

Ethernet is good for me because I use a DSL Modem Router as a DHCP Server. :D
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Post by torpedo » March 31st, 2006, 6:10 pm

haboustak wrote: From my perspective, the RS485 support via a PM3 hat is more same-old serial data communication. It's just another bus with a proprietary protocol. By Ethernet support, what I really want is not just an Ethernet port, but a full TCP/IP stack and a DHCP client. Build the serial communication over TCP/IP, so that we can route it using cheap, mainstream gear.

In the ad-hoc network sense, I think that it's dropping the central master computer that's the difficult firmware initiative. The ability for the PM3's to self-assemble into a network and race without the computer controlling it. I think that's what michaelb wants, and to me that sounds like a tough job for an embedded machine with 5 soft-keys.

Mike
We use some Fluke Ethernet test equipment at work that ony has two buttons. Its a great little device about the size of a pack of cigs and can do DHCP and ping other devices on the network.
http://www.flukenetworks.com/us/LAN/Han ... erview.htm
An embedded Ethernet controller IC is very tiny now a days.
I could dream up a "Network" Screen on the PM3:
DHCP < Turn DHCP on and off
Status < Would show connectivity, link speed, etc
IP < address aquired
Scan < Scan LAN for other ergs
Race < Race selected ergs on the local LAN- Would kick off a count down timer after each erg "accepts" the race on the screen.
Just dreaming...

:D

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Post by haboustak » March 31st, 2006, 6:47 pm

torpedo wrote: Race < Race selected ergs on the local LAN- Would kick off a count down timer after each erg "accepts" the race on the screen.
Yeah, but what happens when you don't want to race with every available Erg? And then what if you don't want to race a 2K, but a 6K or 10K. Or what about the screen that lets you use the Ergs as a training tool and setup variable interval workouts. What about the features of the Venue Race application that lets you assign a racer to an Erg and have it display their name, etc? It just seems like all of this is more appropriate for a PC-based application than the monitor. Not that I don't really like the idea, but what's C2's benefit of writing all this into the firmware when we can do it on a PC?

One thing I will say to qualify all of my comments, is that C2 has really done a great job of providing tools, and access, and resources for developers. If I were C2 I'd probably be thinking "look at all that we've provided and compare it to what you've created"

I feel somewhat guilty adding to my list of demands when I haven't produced any results with what's already there.

Mike

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