NPGS  : Updated PC


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Moving NPGS v9 to a new PC*

(or when recovering from a hard disk failure)

*These instructions only apply to the NPGS PC which is used to control the microscope.

For NPGS v9, the PC must have physical supports at BOTH ends of a full length board and an extra dedicated cooling fan for the board area.

IMPORTANT: To avoid damage to the NPGS PCI516 board, use proper anti-static precautions when handling the board or any cables attached to the board.

The PC must have a  32 bit Professional version of Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7.  (If moving to Vista or Windows 7 from an earlier OS, send e-mail to request an updated Windows driver for the PCI516 board.)

In many cases, NPGS can also be installed under 64 bit Win7 Pro.  However, this will require a free updated driver for the NPGS PCI516 board and other software used with NPGS must be checked for compatibility.  Before using 64 bit Windows, send e-mail to get additional information.

For NPGS v9, the recommend reinstallation procedure is:

  1. If possible, make a backup of the entire \NPGS directory structure on the original system. (In the case of a hard disk crash, if a backup is not available, a clean installation can be done which will require the writing field size calibration step as listed in the NPGS Installation Guide.)
  2. Locate the NPGS Installation Guide (a white 3 ring binder) which should have the original NPGS Installation CD *and DesignCAD CDs**.
  3. Install the PCI516 board into the new PC. (No jumper changes are needed on the board.)
  4. When Windows boots, it will prompt for the driver for the PCI516 board*** which is on the original NPGS Installation CD*.
  5. Install NPGS from the original Installation CD* according to the Installation Guide (this information is also contained in the NPGS Manual).  If the original NPGS CD is not available, but a complete backup of the previous installation is available, then the installation can be done with the latest update of NPGS (which will not have any specific files for your microscope which is why step 7 must be done in this case).
  6. Install DesignCAD** according to the Installation Guide.  (Note that it must be installed in the appropriate directory under \NPGS\.)
  7. From the backup (if available), copy all files in the \NPGS\ directory, including all sub-directories, to the new installation. If the drive letter of the NPGS installation on the old PC was different from the drive letter on the new PC (for example D:\NPGS on one and C:\NPGS on the other), send e-mail for additional details.
  8. If only backups of individual projects are available, you can optionally run NPGS and recreate your active project directories using "Project - Create New Project".  Then, use your backups of these directories to copy all files from each project to the new installation.
  9. Run the most recent NPGS Update that is available.****
  10. If the USB Remote Enable Switch is used, two drivers must be installed after the first time the USB Switch is connected to the PC. These drivers will be on the original NPGS Installation CD or can be provided by e-mail.  Note that the older USB Enable Switch (with white insulation on the BNC) cannot be used under 64 bit Windows.
  11. If an Ethernet interface is used to communicate with the SEM, see the NPGS Installation Guide for specific instructions on configuring the software for the NPGS PC.
  12. If a serial interface is used to communicate with the microscope or a Keithley 6485 picoammeter, no changes will be needed, unless a different COM port is used on the new PC. In this case, see the NPGS Installation Guide for specific instructions on configuring the software for the new COM port. Typically, this will be the first line in a system file for the serial interface software, such as Pg_LEO32.sys, Pg_FEI.sys, Pg_H232.sys, Pg_DBB.sys, or Pg_Pico.sys.
  13. If the new PC has Windows 7, it may be beneficial to upgrade to DesignCAD v21.2.  Send e-mail for pricing.
  14. For Windows versions newer than XP, the Microsoft support to enable the popup help in NPGS must be downloaded from Microsoft at no charge.  Send e-mail for the details on this step. 

*If you do not have the original NPGS CD, use the most recent NPGS Update to install NPGS, then be sure to copy all system files from the backups in order to restore the proper configuration parameters (the NPGS Updates do not include the specific settings for any particular microscope model).  For the board driver, send e-mail to request that it be sent, since it is not included in the NPGS Update.

**DesignCAD is a separately licensed program. If the original CD is not available, the registered owner of NPGS can send e-mail to request a downloadable version and the serial numbers for the original copies supplied with NPGS. Older versions of NPGS used DesignCAD LT 2000, while newer versions use DesignCAD Express v16.2 or DesignCAD v21.2. All versions are supported by the latest release of NPGS v9, however, when running under Windows 7, DesignCAD LT 2000 may have random crashes. In this case, send e-mail to get information on buying the newer version of DesignCAD. 

***Under Win7, the user must go to the Device Manager, since Windows will not prompt for the driver.  If the driver for the PCI516 board is not properly installed, the error "No SP_INTERFACE_DEVICE_DATA available for this GUID instance" will be displayed whenever any NPGS function tries to communicate with the board. In this case, go to the Device Manager in Windows, then select either 'NPGS PCI516 Multifunction Board' (will be seen when Windows has recognized the board) or the 'Other bridge device' (which means Windows doesn't recognize the board) under the "Other Devices" heading.  Next, under the "Driver" tab, click the button to reinstall the driver from the original NPGS Installation CD*.

****If you do not have the latest free update to NPGS v9, send e-mail to request the download information.

If you have other questions regarding moving NPGS to a new PC, please send e-mail to "info@jcnabity.com".

Moving NPGS v8.0 and earlier to a new PC*

*These instructions only apply to the NPGS PC which is used to control the microscope.

For NPGS v8.0, use the NPGS installation program to install the NPGS software on the new PC and then install DesignCAD LT 2000 for Windows on the new PC. Project files (e.g., \NPGS\Projects\Samples, etc) can then be copied from the old PC to the new PC.

For NPGS v7.6 or lower, all of the NPGS software should be copied from the old PC to the new PC. This includes DesignCAD (in \dc6), the NPGS executables (in \pg) and all of the pattern directories below (e.g., \pg\pat, etc).

It would also be a good idea to copy "\config.sys" as "\config.pg" and "autoexec.bat" as "autoexec.pg". This will allow easy comparison between the old versions and the new versions.

The NPGS hardware should be moved to the new PC.  This includes the DT2823 board, the Blanker Control Circuit (BCC), if used, and the white security plug on the parallel port.

The main hardware concern is to make sure there are no interrupt or DMA conflicts between the DT2823 board and other components of the PC. When moving the DT2823 board, it will be a good idea to write down the jumper positions (the jumpers W19 through W31 are most important). The DT2823 manual provides information on the functions of these jumpers. The program "DT2821.exe" was provided on a "Diagnostic Disk" with the DT2823 board. This program will allow you to check for conflicts in the new PC.

The factory configuration for the Data Translation DT2823 board is: base address=240 (hex), DMA channel #1=5, DMA channel #2=6, interrupt level=15, bipolar input, coding=two's compliment binary, and differential input. For the factory configuration, jumpers are installed in only the following positions: W2, W4, W15, W16, W18, W19, W21, W23, W25, W28, W32, W34, W39. The DT2823 jumpers and switches are described in the DT2821 Series operator's manual in Section B (see Figure B-2 and Table B-12). The coax cable that connects to the BCC board has been soldered to pin 13 on chip U8 (74LS123) of the DT2823.

If a conflict is found, change the jumpers on the DT2823 board to eliminate the conflict. Typically, this will mean changing the interrupt level of the DT2823 to an unused interrupt. Usually, when the default interrupt setting of 15 (jumper in the W28 position) causes a conflict, the solution is to use interrupt 10 (jumper on W27). Other available interrupts on the DT2823 are: 3 (W29), 5 (W30), and 7 (W31).

Sometimes the conflict will be with the DMA channels.  In that case, the jumper settings for the first DMA channel are: 5 (W19 and W23), 6 (W20 and W24), 7 (see board manual); and for the second DMA channel: 5 (see manual), 6 (W21 and W25), 7 (W22 and W26), none (W21, W22, W25, W26 not installed).  If the default configuration does not work, typical alternates for first and second DMA channels are:  6 and 7, 5 and none, 6 and none, respectively.

It is very unlikely that the base address of the board will need to be changed.  If the factory default of 0x240 (jumpers W15-In, W16-In, W17-Out, W18-In) does have a conflict, an alternate jumper configuration is for address 0x300 is jumpers W15-Out, W16-In, W17-In, W18-In. Other configurations are given in the DT2821 Series manual.

If you are using Windows 95/98, please see the tips below for additions information on resolving interrupt and DMA conflicts.

After resolving any jumper conflicts, you should copy the correct driver file for the DT2823 board. For NPGS v8.0, the driver should be copied from "\NPGS\Program\Backups\DT2823". For NPGS v7.6 and lower, on the NPGS installation disk #2, driver files are in the directory "\dt2823" (on older disks it was called "\root"). A "readme" file in the directory explains which file to use for different configurations of the DT2823. Be sure to list the correct driver in "\config.sys". Note that older systems used the name "pgdrv.sys" for the driver for the factory configuration, which was the same as "pgdrv15.sys".

Finally, compare "autoexec.pg" (from the old PC) to the autoexec.bat" on the new PC. For NPGS v7.6, the main concerns are that "\pg" must be listed in the PATH statement, "dac0 0" should be listed on a separate line, and a DOS mouse driver should be loaded, otherwise the Windows 95/98 mouse driver will often have jerky motions within DesignCAD. Also, compare "config.pg" to "config.sys" and make the appropriate changes. The main concerns are the driver for the DT2823 is loaded, as well as the "ansi.sys" driver. Memory managers such as "emm386" should not be loaded.  An example listing of "config.sys" follows:

FILES=20         (or larger)
BUFFERS=25    (or larger)
DEVICE=C:\PGDRV10.SYS          (for NPGS v7.6 and lower - or other driver name, if DT2823 configuration has changed)
DEVICE=C:\NPGS\PGDRV10.SYS          (for NPGS v8.0 - or other driver name, if DT2823 configuration has changed)
DEVICE=C:\DOS\ANSI.SYS          (only needed with NPGS v7.6 and lower)
DEVICE=C:\DOS\HIMEM.SYS
DOS=HIGH,UMB

You may also want to check in the PC CMOS setup program if options are available to enable "Shadow BIOS" and "Shadow Video ROM". On some systems, these options will significantly increase system performance when enabled.

One other issue can be encountered when using "setup2d.exe" in the "\dc6" directory to configure DesignCAD v6 for DOS for the new hardware. Please use the following links to jump to the "Solutions to Problems" page for information regarding the selection of the graphics board within setup2d: "DC6: Graphics Board Support" and "DC6: Missing Zoom Menu".

Tips for using NPGS with Windows 95/98:

When using Windows 95/98, first read the general instructions above.

Resolving device conflicts:

Often, Windows 95/98 systems will have a sound board, graphics board, and a PCI/IDE controller which can lead to conflicts with the DT2823, because of limited interrupts and DMA channels. Fortunately, there is a relatively easy way to check IRQ and DMA usage:

  1. Go to "Control Panel", then "System".
  2. Select the "Device Manager" tab and double click on the "Computer" entry in the displayed listing.
  3. From there, select either to display IRQ usage or DMA channel usage.

Typically, by reconfiguring the DT2823 as explained above, you will be able to eliminate the conflicts. Often if the default interrupt level of 15 is used, level 10 will be available. On new PCs, you can reserve an interrupt through the "System" area of the Windows Control Panel and most other boards will dynamically adjust to stop using the reserved interrupt.

Changes to CONFIG.sys:

Under Windows 95/98, the "ansi.sys" and "himem.sys" files should be entered into "config.sys" as shown below:

DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\ANSI.SYS   (only needed with NPGS v7.6 and lower)
DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\HIMEM.SYS

Running NPGS  v7.61 and earlier under Windows 95/98:

The following describes four options for how to run NPGS v7.61 and earlier from a PC with Windows 95/98:

1) DOS Mode:  

In the C:\MSDOS.sys file, setting "BootGUI=0" will boot directly to DOS without loading Windows 95/98 at all. This will give the maximum performance for running NPGS and is different than running in a MSDOS window. Typing "win" at the DOS prompt will start Windows 95/98, if desired. In this mode, a DOS mouse driver must be loaded in "c:\autoexec.bat".

The "MSDOS.sys" file is usually hidden. If it does not appear using "Explorer", select "View", then "Options" and check the box to "Show All Files". It is also probably set to "Read Only". In that case, while in Explorer, use the right mouse button to click on the file, select "Properties", and uncheck the "Read Only" box.

Other settings that can be put in the [Options] section in MSDOS.sys are:

Logo=0  (this will suppress the Microsoft logo when processing autoexec.bat and config.sys)
BootMenu=1  (this will enable a menu of choices when the PC is booted)
BootMenuDelay=3  (this will cause the menu to be displayed for 3 seconds, before continuing with the default choice)

Also, when Windows 95/98 begins to load, if "F8" is hit, a menu of boot options will be displayed, even if the "Bootmenu" parameter is not enabled. Choosing the "Command Prompt Only" option will boot to DOS without loading any Windows 95/98 software. This can be very useful when debugging problems in the hardware setup with DOS programs running under Windows 95/98. Subsequently typing "win" will load Windows 95/98 as usual.

2) MSDOS Window:

To run from within Windows 95/98, do not add the "menu" command at the end of the autoexec.bat file. From within Windows 95/98, selecting the "MS-DOS Prompt" command will move to a DOS window, from which NPGS can be run if the following settings are correct. Under the "Properties" for the "MS-DOS Prompt" icon, go to "Program", then "Advanced...". Here the "Suggest MS-DOS mode as necessary" box and the "Prevent MS-DOS based programs from detecting Windows" box should be checked. Also, under "Properties" - "Memory", the Expanded (EMS) memory MUST be set to "None". Also, under "Properties" - "Misc", the "Allow screensaver" box should not be checked.

3) NPGS Desktop Icon:

You may use "Explorer" to highlight "MENU.exe" in the C:\PG directory and hit the right mouse button and select "Create Shortcut". Drag the "Shortcut to Menu..." file to the desktop and an icon will appear. Highlight the "Shortcut to Menu..." icon and use the right mouse button to rename it to simply NPGS. Then, use the right mouse button to access the "Properties" of the icon and under "Program" set the Working directory to "C:\PG", under "Memory" set the Expanded (EMS) memory to "None", the other memory to "Auto", under "Screen" select "Full-screen", and under "Misc" do not check the "Allow screensaver" box. Finally, select "Properties" for the new "NPGS" icon and go to "Program", then "Advanced...". Here the "Suggest MS-DOS mode as necessary" box and the "Prevent MS-DOS based programs from detecting Windows" box should be checked.

In the "Properties" dialog box under "Program", the "Change Icon" button will provide default icons that may be selected, if desired. Changing the filename to "C:Windows\System\Shell32.dll" will provide a larger list of available icons. In this mode, a DOS mouse driver should be loaded in "c:\autoexec.bat", otherwise the mouse movements within DesignCAD may not be smooth.

4) NPGS Desktop Icon (reboots the PC):

An advanced option is to set up an icon as above, but in the "Properties:Program" window, select the "Advanced..." button. Once there, select the "MS-DOS mode" and the "Specify a new MS-DOS configuration" choices. Then enter the config.sys and autoexec.bat information required for NPGS in the dialog box. Finally, remove the NPGS information from the config.sys and autoexec.bat files in the C:\ directory. This setup will reboot the PC for NPGS whenever the NPGS icon is selected and reboot for Windows when NPGS is finished. The advantage is that the NPGS setup and the Windows setup can be optimized independently from each other. The obvious disadvantage is that the PC must reboot to change modes. In this mode, a DOS mouse driver must also be loaded.

If you have other questions regarding moving NPGS to a new PC, please send e-mail to "info@jcnabity.com".


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