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PICList Thread
'PIC on ethernet'
1997\05\17@093607 by Henrik Jensen

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Has anyone tried to connect a PIC or any other microcontroller to an
ethernet card ? If so, where can I get the relevant information, and what
kind of  extra hardware would be needed (sugestions welcome!).
Any links to URLs with this kind of information would be apreciated.

1997\05\17@093936 by Christopher Zguris

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At 09:16 AM 5/16/97 +0200, Henrik Jensen wrote:
>Has anyone tried to connect a PIC or any other microcontroller to an
>ethernet card ? If so, where can I get the relevant information, and what
>kind of  extra hardware would be needed (sugestions welcome!).
>Any links to URLs with this kind of information would be apreciated.
>
>

It would probably be simpler and cheaper to get an old PC, put a $30
ethernet card in it, and attach a PIC(s?) through serial and/or parallel ports.

Chris

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1997\05\17@100410 by Henrik Jensen

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----------
> From: Christopher Zguris <.....czgurisKILLspamspam@spam@INTERPORT.NET>
> To: PICLISTspamKILLspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU
>
> It would probably be simpler and cheaper to get an old PC, put a $30
> ethernet card in it, and attach a PIC(s?) through serial and/or parallel
ports.
>
> Chris

The thought had crossed my mind! But if I could connect the Pic directly to
the ethernet card + simple power supply + some pic code, I would get a much
smaller and cheaper device ( I'm planning more than one here!). I think if
it is possible to make a ethernet card that connects to the parallel port,
why shouldn't it be possible to connect it to the PIC.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Henrik Jensen
.....np20igKILLspamspam.....mail.telepac.pt
Universidade do Algarve

1997\05\17@101557 by Christopher Zguris

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At 03:01 PM 5/17/97 +0200, Henrik Jensen wrote:
>The thought had crossed my mind! But if I could connect the Pic directly to
>the ethernet card + simple power supply + some pic code, I would get a much
>smaller and cheaper device ( I'm planning more than one here!). I think if
>it is possible to make a ethernet card that connects to the parallel port,
>why shouldn't it be possible to connect it to the PIC.

I think you're talking about a _major_ coding job to run the ethernet card,
assuming the PIC could handle the timing and background stuff necessary to
even _run_ an ethernet card. For the cost of a parallel port ethernet
adapter ($30 would buy a e-net card, _not_ a parallel one), you could
probably put together and old 286 machine equipped to do the e-net thing.

If you're talking about running _lots_ of PICs why not RS-485?

Chris

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                 Christopher Zguris  -  EraseMEczgurisspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTinterport.net
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   ======================================================================

1997\05\17@143421 by Lee Jones

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> Has anyone tried to connect a PIC or any other microcontroller
> to an ethernet card? If so, where can I get the relevant information,
> and what kind of extra hardware would be needed (sugestions welcome!).

Let me start by saying that I think the low- (16C5X) and mid-level
(16C6X & 7X) PICs aren't appropriate cores for an Ethernet based
unit.  They have sufficient CPU performance, but lack bus bandwidth
(support circuitry) and memory (both code space and data buffers).

The high-end 17C4X series running in microcomputer mode might be OK.


Now it would certainly be doable to create a PC ISA bus using
multiple 8-bit ports on any PIC.  I'd build an 8-bit wide ISA
bus.  Going with a 16-bit wide AT style ISA bus would complicate
the connector (2 pieces required) and bus cycle (since the PIC
deals with data in 8-bit chunks anyway).

Then plug in an 8-bit ISA Ethernet card.  With such a narrow
bus, the performance suffers in a PC or clone (so the industry
has moved away from this to other, faster & wider buses).  ISA
8-bit bus Ethernet cards might still be available new.  They
are available on the surplus and clearance market.

I'd choose one which has on-board buffer memory.  That way, the
PIC doesn't have to try and deal with incoming & outgoing octets
at Ethernet speeds (10Mbps = 1 octet each 800 nanoseconds) during
packet reception & transmission.

As I recall, the 3Com 3C503 meets these criteria.

Then you have to either get the programming information for the
ISA Ethernet card from the manufacturer or by reverse-engineering.
Any card will have some Ethernet controller chip, but you need to
know where the buffers live, how to toggle the support circuitry,
and all the minutea of initializing it and handling packets.

Then you get to write a device driver to talk to the Ethernet card.

This brings up another design choice.  What are you going to use
as the on-wire protocol for your actual application?  Is it going
to be raw Ethernet packets?  If so, then the above would be all
you'd need.  If not, then you'd need to write the upper level
protocol stack such as IP (plus UDP or TCP), IPX, AppleTalk,
DECnet, etc to run over your raw Ethernet interface.

This is all perfectly do-able.  But it takes a fair amount of
memory to hold all this code and some additional memory for data
and configuration information.

If you're really serious about this, I'd suggest building a unit
with a PIC 17C4X series CPU, ROM, RAM, and an Ethernet controller
chip on-board.  Hardest part would be doing the analog circuitry
to deal with the Ethernet wire connection (AUI, coax, and/or UPT).


An alternative CPU is the Motorola 683XX series.  At least one
model has a built-in serial port than can run at 10Mbps.  So you
can do an integrated Ethernet interface.  It only needs ROM, RAM,
and analog circuitry for the Ethernet wire.  I know of at least
1 router manufacturer that uses it in this fashion.

                                               Lee Jones

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1997\05\17@214540 by Darren Humphrey

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Lee Jones wrote:

[snip]

> As I recall, the 3Com 3C503 meets these criteria.
>
> Then you have to either get the programming information for the
> ISA Ethernet card from the manufacturer or by reverse-engineering.
> Any card will have some Ethernet controller chip, but you need to
> know where the buffers live, how to toggle the support circuitry,
> and all the minutea of initializing it and handling packets.
[snip]

If you choose your card wisely, you can get 8086 assembly code for the
packet driver.  For instance the CRNWYR packet drivers support 3c503, as
does Linux.  Linux comes with C source, CRNWYR with asm source.

Darren

1997\05\18@014648 by William Chops Westfield

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   Then plug in an 8-bit ISA Ethernet card.

   I'd choose one which has on-board buffer memory.

The most popular 8bit (and 16 bit too, I think) ethernet design for PCs
(NE1000 style) is based on a national Semiconductor "reference circuit" for
their low-end ethernet controller.  These ALL have some on board buffer
memory (usually 8k.)  They're under $20 now (new), I think.  You can
probably still get copies of the reference design, even though the whole
thing has since become a single chip.

I *believe* that bus-mastering on ISA bus was sufficiently difficult and
incompatible with the buffering schemes of higher performance ethernet
controllers that there was NEVER an ISA ethernet card that didn't have
on-board buffers...

BillW
cisco

1997\05\18@032706 by Antti Lukats

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At 09:16 AM 16/5/97 +0200, you wrote:
>Has anyone tried to connect a PIC or any other microcontroller to an
>ethernet card ? If so, where can I get the relevant information, and what
>kind of  extra hardware would be needed (sugestions welcome!).
>Any links to URLs with this kind of information would be apreciated.

A young lady from Finland has done that, there is full project available
schematics and source code. Motorola MC68HC11F1 is used if I remember.
I dont have the URL handy (made a quickie search) but I might be
able to track it down if you dont find it yourself.
the docs where in english I think. hm not so sure I read 5 languages
and dont notice if the current one I am reading is changed.
anyway the schematics and assembly are generally the same.

antti

-- Silicon Studio Ltd.
-- http://www.sistudio.com

1997\05\19@020418 by Dominic Peterson

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>At 09:16 AM 16/5/97 +0200, Antti wrote:
>>Has anyone tried to connect a PIC or any other microcontroller to an
>>ethernet card ? If so, where can I get the relevant information, and what
>>kind of  extra hardware would be needed (sugestions welcome!).
>>Any links to URLs with this kind of information would be apreciated.
>
>A young lady from Finland has done that, there is full project available
>schematics and source code. Motorola MC68HC11F1 is used if I remember.
>I dont have the URL handy [snip]

A bit of searching turned up <http://www.iti.fi/hc11.html> which is almost
certainly the one you were thinking off.  Motorola 68HC11K processor with
Ethernet based around an SMC chipset.  Includes schematics (get the
postscript ones - fuzzy isn't a harsh enough word for the GIFs).  A link is
given to a minimal TCP/IP implementation but it doesn't connect to anything.

Hope this helps.  Best regards,

Dominic

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