plipbox

What is it?

plipbox is an Arduino-based device that allows to connect low-end classic Amigas via Ethernet to your local network. It bridges IP traffic received via PLIP on the parallel port of the Amiga to the Ethernet port attached to the Arduino.

Introduction

With the plip2slip project I already presented a device that uses a cheap AVR 8 bit microcontroller (as found on the popular Arduino boards) to bridge network traffic from the Amiga’s parallel port (with the MagPLIP protocoll) to another machine via a fast serial link.

plipbox extends the plip2slip project and replaces the serial link for IP traffic with an on-board Ethernet port. This allows you to connect your Amiga directly to your local network without any other machine assisting.

With the on-board Ethernet port the plipbox HW is more complex than the plip2slip HW, but I tried to use common and easy available HW modules to simplify the recreation of this device. This allows even novice users to build their own plipbox. (See the hardware document for details).

Firmware Releases

The current release is:

  • v0.5 30.11.2014plipbox-0.5.zip
    • size: 322835
    • md5: fcdb43b225a9c544e5c5928b8f4279c0
    • sha1: 276d2e963bebca37b55796de80bcd7f9c09d5641
    • changes:
      • plipbox device now automatically receives its MAC address from driver
      • you can change your MAC address with SANA-II command in software (if your TCP/IP stack supports it, e.g. Miami DX or Roadshow)
      • plipbox device maps online/offline state to Ethernet module and disables it if devie is offline
      • parallel line protocol completely rewritten to use a client server model
      • added optional Ethernet full duplex support
      • added optional Ethernet flow control
      • improved device statistics
      • added error log
  • v0.4 1.6.2013plipbox-0.4.zip
    • size: 214433
    • md5: 67e143d0f9acc750d201df7662c57d92
    • sha1: ee5a84038547f5e45091cddf5c97f1012fc6b512
    • changes:
      • added hardware description for plipbox nano hardware
      • added schematic and board design for plipbox nano base board
      • added new firmware -nano for new plipbox nano pinout
      • Amiga driver unchanged and stays at 0.3
  • v0.3 25.5.2013plipbox-0.3.zip
    • size: 199269
    • md5: f64e0d8053ea93634495dfd178b21914
    • sha1: 6f6dd491556c87b76855193ba36cff23477119cd
    • changes:
      • firmware and Amiga driver update. no hardware change.
      • major redesign: removed NAT device and introducded MAC bridge, i.e.  plipbox behaves like an Amiga Ethernet adapter and bridges all packets  from there without alteration
      • dropped lots of network code found in plipbox that is not needed for the  MAC bridge
      • rewrote and renamed Amiga SANA-II plipbox.device to be an Ethernet driver
      • added a Python-based software emulation for the plipbox that operates with a patched FS-UAE Amiga emulator
      • new approach makes the device zero-conf. Just attach and it works.
  • v0.2 2.9.2012plipbox-0.2.zip
    • size: 158248
    • md5: 3d5b998f80ce5b48e2c151f756712467
    • sha1: ed06ce9bdf52911b1d0eeeafd6fef89072423233
    • changes:
      • added support for AVR-NET-IO board
  • v0.1 22.7.2012plipbox-0.1.zip
    • size: 140029
    • md5: f16007cb4e09f6adb2a2566b22fb6c84
    • sha1: 1db80031969395371647e6e974f0dd738e49c79e
    • changes:
      • first public release
      • initial feature set: DHCP, ARP and full TCP/UDP bridging

The firmware for plipbox is open-source and hosted on GitHub: plibbox@gitbub. Clone this repository if you want to build the firmware yourself or if you want to play around with it.

Documentation

Quick Start Guide

  1. Build the hardware (see Hardware page)
  2. Flash the firmware
    • Connect the device to your Mac/PC via USB only
      (no Amiga or Ethernet connection yet!)
    • Flash the supplied firmware file with avrdude (see Firmware page)
  3. Optional: Configure plipbox via serial terminal
    • Since 0.3 firmware should work out of box with default settings. Configure is only needed for special settings and for diagnosis (see step 4 and step 5) and debugging.
    • Setup your terminal program on your Mac/PC to connect to the plipbox firmware
    • See Firmware page for command reference
  4. Test Ethernet Connectivity
    • Connect your plipbox to the Ethernet (keep PC terminal connected)
    • Have a look in the serial terminal: If you can see a eth: link up then everything seems to work fine.
  5. Test Amiga PLIP Connectivity
    • Setup networking on your Amiga (see Amiga Setup page)
    • Connect device to Amiga (keep Ethernet and Mac/PC link)
    • Enable plipbox.device on your Amiga
    • Have a look at the plipbox terminal: plip: link up tells you the magPLIP device was successfully detected!
    • Ping directly from your Amiga (call ping command in CLI):
      • ping a host on your local ethernet (use numeric IP first then name)
      • ping a remote host
      • ftp/telnet/do whatever to test the network
    • Ok, plipbox seems to work!
  6. Standalone Operation
    • Disconnect Mac/PC and stop terminal program there
    • Use a USB power supply to supply the Arduino with power
    • Connect Ethernet and Amiga to plipbox

Have fun!

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