Wednesday, January 27, 2016

WIFI enabled!

I took the day off from work, so I had a chance to get some real RetroChallenge work done!

It took a while to figure out that the USR-WIFI232 needs a null modem adapter to connect to a normal computer (but not to the Apple IIe in Terminal mode). I did not see that documented anywhere. Once I figured that out, I played around with the converter on my MacBook and my good ol' Macintosh G3. Some well-hidden tips:

  1. Use a null modem to connect
  2. type +++ to set the terminal mode. the module will respond with a
  3. type a and the module responds with +ok
  4. type AT+H for a list of commands.

I have struggled for a while to get my Apple IIe to connect to anything but my Macintosh G3, running ZTerm. This problem was apparent when I was unable to communicate between my Apple IIe and the USR-WIFI232 device. Oddly, I noticed that anything I typed was being echoed by the USR-WIFI232, but it would not respond to the Apple IIe. In fact, I was able to connect my Apple IIe, the G3 and the USR-WIFI232, at the same time, and view a complete transaction between the G3 and the USR-WIFI232 from the Apple IIe, but it would still not communicate with the USR-WIFI232!

I played around with the settings and discovered that the problem is that the (just mine?) Apple IIe Super Serial Card (SSC) does not seem to communicate correctly in the 8 Data, 1 Stop, 0 Parity mode. I had enabled the "No Extended Characters (strip hi bit)" setting in ZTerm which fixed the problem, but only for ZTerm. I think the Apple IIe was sending data with the high-bit enabled, which being echoed by the USR-WIFI232, then the Apple IIe would strip the high-bit making it look OK, even though the characters were junk.

Anyway, 7 Data, 1 Stop, 0 Parity mode works correctly. So, to enable this setting on the Apple IIe, enter <ctrl-A> and then at the APPLE SSC: prompt, enter: 1D . For the USR-WIFI232, enter: AT+UART=9600,7,1,None,NFC, then AT+Z. Once I did that, I was able to send and receive commands between the Apple IIe and the USR-WIFI232! I am losing a little bit of data from the USR-WIFI232 at speeds greater than 300 Baud though.

Using the Terminal mode of the SSC, I could send various AT commands to the USR-WIFI232, but I couldn't really do much with it other than PING or scan for WIFI networks. Then, I discovered the built-in web socket webpage. This allowed me to send data through the webpage to the Apple IIe! When I exited the SSC terminal mode, I could send commands to AppleSoft BASIC, and I even ran a little program.

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