Upgrade Kit Remote Control under DOS (VmWare and Netop)

Our pattern generator and stepper upgrade kits usually run as standalone, real time controllers. The steppers and pattern generators reside in semiconductor fabrication cleanrooms so there are advantages to allowing for remote control of the machines from locations outside these cleanrooms. These notes describe how to implement remote operation of the stepper or PG using freely available software and a network supporting the IPX protocol. It is assumed that the PG/Stepper upgrade kit is running DOS 7.1 and that the user has a licensed copy of DOS 7.x as part of Windows 95/98/98SE/Me.

Step 1
Download the 'Netop for DOS' host and client software (now freeware but no longer available on the netop.com website) from here (the zip password is 'netop').

Step 2
On the host machine (the PG or stepper controller computer), install IPX network support as described in this document. Once installed, the IPX network support can be started by the command:

c:\>net start nwlink

Step 3
On the host machine, copy the Netop host files from Step 1 into a directory on the boot drive (e.g. c:\netop). From this directory, launch the host software for IPX networks :

c:\netop>rempcipx ned /u
This command names the host controlled machine as 'ned', assumes the IPX protocol and specifies that the host should broadcast it's name on the network.

Step 4
On the client machine (the networked computer outside the cleanroom), download and install the 'VmWare Player' virtual machine software from here (the download is free but registration is required).

For Windows XP
DOS real mode IPX packets use the Ethernet 802.3 frame type. By default, at least for Windows XP, the IPX/SPX protocol uses an 'Auto detect' frame type. If you experience problems connecting to the remote DOS machine, you may want to force the IPX Ethernet frame type to 802.3. This may need to be done for the VmWare virtual network adapters, in addition to the actual hardware adapter, but we didn't test this in any depth. Sample screen images showing this operation follow:

XP Net 1 XP Net 2 XP Net 3

Step 5
For the client machine, we have created a .vmx configuration file and a small (2 Meg) .vmdk disk file. They are available in ZIP format from here. These files create a small DOS virtual machine running DOS 7.1 (Windows 98SE DOS) with IPX network support. The Netop client software runs immediately upon powering up. Note that DOSIDLE and SPEEDVM are included in the virtual machine so that it does not take 100% of the CPU i.e. other tasks can run when the DOS virtual machine is idle.

For those who don't have a licensed copy of Win98SE DOS, we have also created a .vmx configuration file and a 1.44Meg .vfd (virtual floppy disk) file. This configuration runs Datalight's ROMDOS (free for personal use from here) along with Microsoft MS Client (available free from here). This virtual DOS machine is available in ZIP format from here. As above, DOSIDLE (SPEEDVM isn't necessary with ROMDOS) is included in the virtual machine so that it does not take 100% of the CPU when idle.

Sample screen images for the Netop client software, running in a DOS virtual machine under Windows XP, are shown below. Once connected to the remote machine, the user can press [Ctrl-U] to toggle between a full screen view and a modal window view (the default 'zoom screen' hot key [Ctrl-Z] was redefined to [Ctrl-U] since [Ctrl-Z] has a function in DOS). The [Alt-F1] help menu will only appear in a modal window view (not full screen) so the only active hotkey sequence, when running in full screen mode, should be [Ctrl-U].

Netop 2 Netop 3
Netop 4 Netop 5 Netop 6
Netop 7 Netop 8

H&L Associates, 21 Parkmount Crescent, Ottawa, Ontario K2H 5T3, Canada
Tel: (613) 828-1462 Last updated : 2023-Jun-01