This morning I woke up and looked at the calendar and started shitting bricks. A week and a half before the show. Ack. And still haven’t successfully talked to the Vorne 87/415 numerical displays. These things are beautiful if I could only get them to listen to me via the RS232 serial port.
I called up Scott at Vorne technical support who walked me through everything, wiring, switches, software, and serial commands.
Things are the things I learned from Scott.
1. It is good if the RS232 serial cables are not reversed. Transmit to Receive and vice versa. Not Tx to Tx. Classic RS232 mix-up.
2. The position of the dip switches matter, particularly switch 7 which has something to do with a pull-down resistor or some shit that involves a jumper which should be set to Sink. Naturally, you know more about this than I do, so you can talk endlessly about it in the comments below.
3. Each numerical display has an address, and you need to use it to talk to the display. “Broadcast” doesn’t work.
4. The Vorne software is useful for the test. I was running it on James’ vintage Windows XP machine, but talking to the serial port directly from my RPi should work too.
5. Bonus discovery from Scott: There is a $#%@* software-addressable relay on board the Vorne with helpful screw terminals. I can make the relay click open or click closed with a simple command to the RS232 port. Rather than kill myself trying to get a relay (plus transistors and resistors and whatnots) to fire from the RPi’s GPIO pins, I can hook the alarm bell to the screw terminals and fire it with the command “<SOH>S0:R1<CR>” Goddamn magic, if you ask me.
So with Scott’s help, I was able to talk to the displays for the first time. Very exciting.
Just to make things sweeter, I got the displays working from the command line on the Rpi.
Hell fucking yeah.