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#129745 - 09/12/2002 12:15 Connecting USB devices to the Empeg
Chimaera
enthusiast

Registered: 10/09/2002
Posts: 285
Loc: DFW Area, Texas, US
OK, so I was reading the FAQ and it says it is not possible as standard, but thinking about, I think it should be doable. I know there will be some HW required (I am guessing a small microcontroller in the cable should be OK, plus some 'support' devices) and the host (I am assuming the Empeg) will need some new custom written software, but nothing too hard to begin with.

The problem is to try and support ALL USB functionality to begin with will be a major task, so I think starting with just getting one device working is the way to go, the question is then though, What device?

So if anyone has and ideas as to what would be really cool, write them down here so we can decide what to focus on.
Also if anyone wants to lend a hand then let me know.

Mark.
20GB MKII 090000916
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Mark. [blue]MKI, MKII & MKIIa, all Blue, and all Mine![/blue]

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#129746 - 09/12/2002 13:56 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: Chimaera]
robricc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/10/2000
Posts: 4909
Loc: Orange County, NY USA
I would like to see support for an 802.11b adapter. Also...

[pipe dream]
The ability to plug in a USB NIC so we could "shotgun" it with the onboard NIC in an effort to transfer tunes faster. I forgot what the real networking term for shotgun is (multilink?).
[/pipe dream]
_________________________
-Rob Riccardelli
80GB 16MB MK2 090000736

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#129747 - 09/12/2002 14:03 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: robricc]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Trunking, usually.

Edit: Or link aggregation, as I think it's referred to by the IEEE.


Edited by wfaulk (09/12/2002 14:09)
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Bitt Faulk

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#129748 - 09/12/2002 14:24 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: Chimaera]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30788
Loc: Seattle, WA
I know there will be some HW required (I am guessing a small microcontroller in the cable should be OK, plus some 'support' devices) and the host (I am assuming the Empeg) will need some new custom written software, but nothing too hard to begin with.

So, do you have any experience or knowledge of either the required hardware or software? In other words, are you just asking this as a general question, or are you saying "I am willing to help with the necessary work to get this job done."?
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Tony Fabris

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#129749 - 09/12/2002 14:33 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: wfaulk]
robricc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/10/2000
Posts: 4909
Loc: Orange County, NY USA
I was thinking of multilink except it only seems to apply to dialup devices.
_________________________
-Rob Riccardelli
80GB 16MB MK2 090000736

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#129750 - 09/12/2002 14:35 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: tfabris]
Chimaera
enthusiast

Registered: 10/09/2002
Posts: 285
Loc: DFW Area, Texas, US
Hi Tony,

I am willing to lead the work (I want to get my hands dirty again) and will do it by myself if no-one else is interested, but as I don't really have a use for this at the moment I want someone else to come up with the killer app (preferably one that can run in the background so we don't have to worry about screens and keys at first).

As for having experience, I am a senior SW engineer at a large telecoms company (I write embedded RT stuff), I have an electronics degree, and if you search some of the latest USB specs you will find my name as a contributor, so I know what I am getting myself into.

Mark.
20GB MKII 090000916

ps: Anyone worked out my name or the company yet?
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Mark. [blue]MKI, MKII & MKIIa, all Blue, and all Mine![/blue]

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#129751 - 09/12/2002 14:41 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: Chimaera]
mcomb
pooh-bah

Registered: 31/08/1999
Posts: 1649
Loc: San Carlos, CA
I want someone else to come up with the killer app

USB Ricochet (yes they are back) modem for wireless email/gnutella/music streaming access maybe?

-Mike
_________________________
EmpMenuX - ext3 filesystem - Empeg iTunes integration

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#129752 - 09/12/2002 14:48 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: mcomb]
Chimaera
enthusiast

Registered: 10/09/2002
Posts: 285
Loc: DFW Area, Texas, US
Mike,

firstly they have no service in my area, which kind of makes it difficult to know if it is working correctly.

Secondly, I am not sure I want to get into a subscription service for something I am not sure I would use.

Sorry,
Mark.
20GB MKII 090000916
_________________________
Mark. [blue]MKI, MKII & MKIIa, all Blue, and all Mine![/blue]

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#129753 - 09/12/2002 15:09 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: Chimaera]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30788
Loc: Seattle, WA
As for having experience, I am a senior SW engineer at a large telecoms company (I write embedded RT stuff), I have an electronics degree,

Ah, good. I mention it because sometimes people will come here and spout off pie-in-the-sky ideas without any real notion of how to get the job done. Sort of like walking into a bank and shouting "I sure wish someone would give me some money."

But those credentials seem to indicate that you know what you're talking about. That's a good start. Now can you detail how an interface box might actually allow a USB slave port to magically behave like a USB master port?

Regarding the "killer app": Look at the list of things in the FAQ that you "can't do" because of USB-slave and decide what would be the most useful.

For the Mark1 player, I think that would be allowing a USB-to-ethernet or USB-to-802.11 converter to be attached to it. For the Mark2 player, I think the killer app would be attaching a USB CD-ROM drive so the player could do Jupiter-style realtime ripping.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#129754 - 09/12/2002 15:30 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: tfabris]
Chimaera
enthusiast

Registered: 10/09/2002
Posts: 285
Loc: DFW Area, Texas, US
In reply to:

Now can you detail how an interface box might actually allow a USB slave port to magically behave like a USB master port?



That is the the thing that is simple in my head, but I am sure will be an absolute bu66er when I come to actually implement it. I will assume everyone knows a little about how USB works (anyone who doesn't speak up, and I may try to simplify it from the specs) and the main problem is that a USB device cannot TX on the USB cable unless it is answering a request from a host (don't use master/slave, USB went to a lot of trouble not to).
So my idea is to have a small microcontroller to act as a limited function host with about as much inteligence to enumerate the connected device (the empeg in this case), and set a configuration that has one pipe/endpoint, the micro then sends requests for data to be sent to the other device to the Empeg down the open pipe, the Empeg responds, and the micro just forward the data to the connected device, any response gets forwarded back to the Empeg. This continues until the devices are unplugged or the Empeg stops sending commands.

This should move the processing of the USB stack to the empeg (as it has a little more processing power than a micro), and may even allow us to use existing Linux class drivers.

For me at the moment the main question is how is the Empegs USB port represented on the player, and how easy will it be for us to bind to an endpoint.

In my mind the USB CD-ROM is the current leader, as I can get my hands on one pretty easily, but I am still listening if anyone has a particular preferance for something else.

Mark
20GB MKII 090000916
_________________________
Mark. [blue]MKI, MKII & MKIIa, all Blue, and all Mine![/blue]

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#129755 - 09/12/2002 15:59 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: Chimaera]
genixia
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/02/2002
Posts: 3411
I'm currently working on a PIC-powered serial extender design to allow multiple serial devices to connect to the empeg (GPS, OBD etc), and also 1-wire, a couple of ADCs. I eliminated USB as a possibility because I don't have any USB experience and the lack of USB master on the empeg. I'm now wondering if the 2 ideas could be merged...

As to USB uses, for starters;
1) Keyboard - for entering addresses for GPSapp, searching for tracks, shell console.
2) Gamepad - empeg games are rather limited by the buttons.
3) *Big* on my wishlist - the means to plug in a flash card (SD, MMC, MemoryStick etc) writer. This would allow a flash card to be used to log data from eg GPSapp or OBD, or allow the empeg to be used as an image store during long road trips.
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#129756 - 09/12/2002 16:12 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: tfabris]
FireFox31
pooh-bah

Registered: 19/09/2002
Posts: 2491
Loc: East Coast, USA
>Ah, good. I mention it because sometimes people will come here and spout
>off pie-in-the-sky ideas without any real notion of how to get the job done.

Haha, that's me. But hey, I'm only ever just trying to spark people's interest. Ah, ya never know.

My pie-in-the-sky idea about USB is this:

Connect the Creative Labs Nomad MuVo to the empeg.

That way, the empeg could be your digital hub for all your in-car and portable music needs. Write some software to speak to the MuVo (windows drive mapping?) and control the USB Master ability (if needed). Then, support for other players (Sonic Blue players) could be developed. That way, the empeg could truely be the music hub for home, car, and portable players. Not to mention that you could reload tunes on your portable while at work or wherever your empeg is.

Possible? I don't know. Pie-in-the-sky? From me, of course! Interesting, I hope so.
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FireFox31
110gig MKIIa (30+80), Eutronix lights, 32 meg stacked RAM, Filener orange gel lens, Greenlights Lit Buttons green set

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#129757 - 09/12/2002 16:20 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: Chimaera]
mcomb
pooh-bah

Registered: 31/08/1999
Posts: 1649
Loc: San Carlos, CA
firstly they have no service in my area, which kind of makes it difficult to know if it is working correctly.

Secondly, I am not sure I want to get into a subscription service for something I am not sure I would use.


Fair enough, although for me some type of interaction with the outside world would still be more interesting than a CD drive. A USB to serial adapter would seem interesting as well as it would allow the user to attach a variety of devices via serial without needing to have direct support for them in your hardware.

-Mike
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EmpMenuX - ext3 filesystem - Empeg iTunes integration

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#129758 - 09/12/2002 17:44 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: genixia]
Chimaera
enthusiast

Registered: 10/09/2002
Posts: 285
Loc: DFW Area, Texas, US
Adding a USB-serial adaptor could be a good idea, once we get the core code working we could always add USB hub support, that would give you lots of serial ports (although the first hub would need to be self powered, as there is no way the cable will put out 500mA).

Keyboards would be doable in boot mode, but I don't fancy writing the whole HID class as a first step.

As for the flash card reader, I think they use mass storage class, so adding this may give us the CD-ROM and hard disk support too.

So the new list is:
1- USB-serial adaper
2- CD-ROM (and HD and flash maybe)
3- Keyboards

Mark
20GB MKII 090000916
_________________________
Mark. [blue]MKI, MKII & MKIIa, all Blue, and all Mine![/blue]

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#129759 - 09/12/2002 17:51 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: FireFox31]
Chimaera
enthusiast

Registered: 10/09/2002
Posts: 285
Loc: DFW Area, Texas, US
To be honest, I did wonder if you had already suggested something

As to support for the Nomad, I think that is going to be pretty near the bottom of the list, unless you have one you want to give me that is (in which case you may move up to last but one )

At the moment I think the serial adapter is going to take a lot of beating as it enables so many other uses.

Mark
20GB MKII 090000916
_________________________
Mark. [blue]MKI, MKII & MKIIa, all Blue, and all Mine![/blue]

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#129760 - 09/12/2002 18:42 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: Chimaera]
tman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/12/2001
Posts: 5528
The USB drivers for the Empeg are actually quite simple. It's all in the kernel tarball on the Empeg site. The driver implements it as set of character devices and allows you to access the endpoints directly. We don't have full control over endpoint 0 however but we shouldn't need to anyway.

Do you know of any low cost microcontrollers with a built in USB master capability however? If not then we'd need to implement the USB protocol directly which to be honest, will be a pain.

Technically we'd need a device with two USB master interfaces or add a USB hub chip. If the microcontrollers aren't too expensive, we could just connect two of them back to back.

- Trevor

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#129761 - 09/12/2002 19:34 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: tman]
klaruz
journeyman

Registered: 19/11/2002
Posts: 55
Loc: Omaha, NE


Edited by klaruz (09/12/2002 19:43)

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#129762 - 09/12/2002 20:00 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: klaruz]
tman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/12/2001
Posts: 5528
Didn't know about the Transdimension chips but I've looked at the Cypress stuff before.
It's quite easy to make a USB slave device with the Cypress microcontrollers. No idea about a USB master one though, never looked at that. The devkit for their hardware isn't that hideously expensive as well which is a bonus.

- Trevor

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#129763 - 10/12/2002 07:52 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: tman]
Chimaera
enthusiast

Registered: 10/09/2002
Posts: 285
Loc: DFW Area, Texas, US
Hi Trevor,

I don't know of any USB host capable micros and my quick research yesterday revealed all the micros with built in USB are all devices, that was when I found the SL811 and printed out the datasheet. I think adding a hub will not make things to much harder as we know it will be there. I guess there may be a slight performance advantage of running 2 SL811's but as each end needs to wait for the other anyway I think it will be close to nothing.

As for having to write a USB implementation for the micro, I don't think we have to, all the micro has to do by itself is:
- Detect the hub Si (if we are only using a single 811)
- Activate each of the ports in turn to find the Empeg
- Connect a pipe to the endpoint in the Empeg we are using
From that point on the Empeg controls everything (which may mean we need to write a stack there, but hopefully the existing Linux USB one can be hacked).

So I think my next step is to get an 811, hook it up and see what starts happening.

Mark.
20GB MKII 090000916
_________________________
Mark. [blue]MKI, MKII & MKIIa, all Blue, and all Mine![/blue]

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#129764 - 13/12/2002 02:18 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: Chimaera]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7867
Loc: Seattle, WA
If you want a minor USB hacking task that is software only, theres always the ideas in this thread about changing the empeg USB driver to look like a USB to Ethernet device, or a storage device.
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Tom

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#129765 - 13/12/2002 09:09 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: drakino]
Chimaera
enthusiast

Registered: 10/09/2002
Posts: 285
Loc: DFW Area, Texas, US
Cool, I hadn't seen that, and it may give me something to do while I wait for the HW for this one to arrive.

It looks like Ethernet can be done using the CDC class, but I haven't seen anything using that (not that I have been looking), but a storage device can use the Mass Storage class which I have seen work on W2K and linux, so I think I will start with that and see what happens.
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Mark. [blue]MKI, MKII & MKIIa, all Blue, and all Mine![/blue]

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#129766 - 01/01/2003 14:04 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: Chimaera]
tecnodude
new poster

Registered: 11/06/1999
Posts: 5
How about this?

http://www.natecarlson.com/linux/sanyo-4900.php

Ok, ok, I realize its a little selfish but this is a wishlist. :-)

Tecno

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#129767 - 01/01/2003 15:11 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: Chimaera]
number6
old hand

Registered: 30/04/2001
Posts: 744
Loc: In The Village or sometimes: A...
Hi Chimaera,
hows progress going, need any help from the rest of us?

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#129768 - 02/01/2003 07:35 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: tecnodude]
Chimaera
enthusiast

Registered: 10/09/2002
Posts: 285
Loc: DFW Area, Texas, US
Tecno,

Sorry none of the phones I currently have use USB, and I don't plan on taking out service for something I don't need just for development purposes.

Once I have something that works I will release it, so you could always have a hack yourself after that.
_________________________
Mark. [blue]MKI, MKII & MKIIa, all Blue, and all Mine![/blue]

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#129769 - 02/01/2003 08:10 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: number6]
Chimaera
enthusiast

Registered: 10/09/2002
Posts: 285
Loc: DFW Area, Texas, US
number6,

Current progress - I have spent most of my available free time working on one of the ideas from the thread that Drakino linked to, and almost have the Empeg acting as a Ethernet adaptor. At the moment it doesn't think there is a network cable connected so will not send Ethernet traffic, but it is getting closer.

As for the connecting other devices, well I now have a bag of bits, but was seperated from my solding iron over Christmas. I think I will try and finish the Ethernet adaptor thing first before starting the next project.
_________________________
Mark. [blue]MKI, MKII & MKIIa, all Blue, and all Mine![/blue]

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#129770 - 02/03/2003 14:57 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: Chimaera]
shapeless
new poster

Registered: 09/08/2002
Posts: 49
Loc: Italy
hi, i've an iPAQ 3630 (with pocket pc 2002) with both USB and SERIAL sync cables. i've got a "female (normal) USB" to "male (little) USB" adaptor like this http://www.national-tech.com/specs/30u1-03300.htm that permits to physically connect the iPAQ to my MKII via USB. is there a chance to share a file in the empeg HD (possibly over tcp/ip, i'm thinking to a divx .avi) to be used with the iPAQ ? if the answer is yes, is it possilbe to do it with the USB sync cable and pocket pc 2002 ? if no, will it be possible if i'll install familiar linux over the iPAQ ? i've no budget for a pcmcia jacket and a pcmcia eth adapter and to use the USB sync cable will be a real legend for me thanks for help


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#129771 - 03/03/2003 04:30 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: shapeless]
tman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/12/2001
Posts: 5528
Sorry. It won't work with the USB cable. The adapter you've got is used to convert from the larger USB connector to the smaller USB connector (I can't remember what the type letters are). It won't let you connect two USB slaves together since it's got no electronics inside it.

You could connect to the Empeg with the serial though but it won't be that fast.

- Trevor

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#129772 - 03/03/2003 08:58 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: tman]
shapeless
new poster

Registered: 09/08/2002
Posts: 49
Loc: Italy
thanks for the so clear as sad answer, so it's sure that the iPAQ usb sync port is a slave one :\.
you know if is it absolutely impossible to use one of the ports as a master via software of if the 300$ jacket+pccard is the only way to connect the iPAQ to the Empeg for file sharing ? thank you

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#129773 - 03/03/2003 09:10 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: shapeless]
tman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/12/2001
Posts: 5528
I've actually got a iPAQ H3630 as well. There was a big effort a while ago on the Linux mailing list to find a way of attaching a standard USB keyboard and mouse which are both slave devices to the iPAQ but from what I remember there wasn't any workable solutions.

You may want to get a CF sleeve as it's quite a bit cheaper than the PCCard sleeve which has to include an extra battery.
Another method would be to connect to the Empeg by IrDA but you'd need to keep the iPAQ pointing at the Empeg display.

- Trevor

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#129774 - 03/03/2003 20:22 Re: Connecting USB devices to the Empeg [Re: tman]
shapeless
new poster

Registered: 09/08/2002
Posts: 49
Loc: Italy
that's it, I'll give up. I'll probably wait for the pcmcia jacket because of the wide variety of cards available (that are cheaper respect the CF cards if I remember well). do you think it will be possilbe to play a divix .avi from the empeg to the iPAQ with pocket pc 2002 and pocketdivx player with a legal eth pccard ? will I need to install samba over the empeg ? will jemplode work over pocket pc java VM or i'll have to use the http web interface only ? really thank you for the help, this will be really useful for me to decide if spend that lot of money.

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