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Unofficial VGP-XL1B2 Thread - Page 41

post #1201 of 1644
I am trying to get this software to work with my Powerfile R200. I am probably doing something wrong (or perhaps my units is broken) but I can not get the software to recognize and load/mount any discs. When I do a Full Slots scan I get 200 entries which all look like this:

IsSlotFull(0) failed with 0x80070006

The only thing that changes for the 200 entries is the number inside the parans (i assume this is the slot number).

Can anyone help? Am I doing something wrong?

Thanks,
Steve
post #1202 of 1644
Just a quick followup...In addition to my not being able to get the software to see any discs, I do not think nything is happening when I do a scan. There is no noise coming from the R200 nor does anything (other than the standard display) appear on the units LCD.

Thanks,
Steve
post #1203 of 1644
@sredmyer
If it's any consolation to you, I get the same exact results when using my PowerFile C200 on WinXP Pro with GUI-056x. I'm assuming I have the system misconfigured or I'm missing some kind of Windows update or whatever. Based on how long it took me to get it working in Linux, I decided I won't have time to figure it out in Windows. They are just too weird.
post #1204 of 1644
On a happy note, I was able to reflash the firwire bridge so that it was able to detect a slave drive. Unfortunately, it wasn't able to talk with the Changer board when installed back into the changer. Sony/Powerfile must have some funky way of identifying the bridge. Might be as simple as naming it properly. What's cool is that it's completely reversible. I reflashed it back to the Sony version and it works fine when placed back into the changer (although I haven't tested thoroughly).

Anyway, my point in mentioning this is that it's definitely possible to enable the slave drive, one just needs to figure out how to ensure compatibility with the Changer board. That may require some kind of firmware disassembly understand how each firmware image is different. Could also be something really simple like using proper identifiers. If this is possible, one should be able to do some cool things: combine two Sony changers into a single changer with two drives; replace a PowerFile's flaky boards with all boards from Sony + firmware update for dual drives.

I'll keep playing with this in my spare time. Will keep you updated when I find something good.
post #1205 of 1644
Hey Kejava,

I remember looking at the Oxford material and thinking about hacking at that some tme ago. I had worked with some embedded peripheral programming many years ago, but I was not sure that was actually the correct controller board for these changers, so I was hesitant to just risk a flash and crash the only unit I had at the time. That was part of the reason for wanting the parts. I have been tied up with work lately, but hopefully I will have some spare time soon. Anyway, I doubt this would be based on any processor I have used before (embedded processors have changed a lot in recent years), but it would be interesting to see if we could reverse engineer some aspects of its firmware. I don't think it is worth a large investment of effort since the devices are discontinued, but it would be interesting to see if with moderate effort we could at least make the devices a bit more stable and create a real reinit call so they could be gotten in working order after failures without having to repower them... I would defnitely be interested in hearing what you find... I am waiting for some spares to arrive now so I can start taking more risks with these.

Which firmware items were you able to succesfully use against the Sony changers ?
post #1206 of 1644
Quote:
Originally Posted by kejava View Post

@sredmyer
If it's any consolation to you, I get the same exact results when using my PowerFile C200 on WinXP Pro with GUI-056x. I'm assuming I have the system misconfigured or I'm missing some kind of Windows update or whatever. Based on how long it took me to get it working in Linux, I decided I won't have time to figure it out in Windows. They are just too weird.

So are you saying these things do not really work in windows?
post #1207 of 1644
Sounds like we have similar backgrounds. I went to school for electromechanical engineering. I had few classes on writing assembly for the Motorola HC11 and HC12 microcontrollers but it ended there. I still work with embedded systems but only write high level code for them.

At the moment, I'm focussed on enabling the slave drive because the firewire board seems to have the most information available. Providing a reinit or home option would involve messing with the changer board's firmware. So far I have no information on that board, just the chip names. Would probably require some kind of an eeprom reader.

The firmware I ended up using was directly from the Sony firmware upgrade utility found here. The utility is supposed to only be used to restore or upgrade the firmware on the firewire bridge pcb. If you run the normal way, it installs and then requests that you reboot. When you boot back into Windows you get a dialog explaining that the firmware will be upgraded for the Oxford chip. I kept mine unplugged at first. It prompted me to turn it on. I jumpered the Force Flash pads and then powered it on. Then I let the utility continue with its attempt at flashing the chip. It will sit there forever if you let it so you have to close the dialog. The point in doing that so that the utility doesn't delete the java interface, uploadergui.jar, used for the flashing / configuring the Oxford chip. I think the reason they delete the java app after you run it is so that you can't muck with the Oxford chip's firmware. For some this particular java flash interface works way better than the others I have found for this chip.

When I ran uploadergui.jar directly, I found I could enable the slave drive by reflashing it with Program Files\\Sony\\Oxsemi Uploader\\data\\FW911Atapi\\fw911A_v1.01.bin. Once you do that you can configure each drive with all kinds of options. The strange thing is that when Sony's stock firmware (PFBridge_v0.08.bin) is loaded, uploadergui.jar won't even allow you to view how the bridge is configured. You can only view and edit when it's flashed with fw911A_v1.01.bin.
post #1208 of 1644
Quote:
Originally Posted by sredmyer View Post

So are you saying these things do not really work in windows?

Heh. Well from what I've seen so far, they don't. But I'm sure someone has gotten them to work. Some posts by MediaDogg a while back seemed promising.

I heard a while back that the PowerFiles worked great with Macs. Based on that I looked around and found a free app called The Rip Monkey. I borrowed two Macs from a friend. One with OS X 10.3, the other with 10.4. Neither one could work well with the PowerFile. I was able to rip/encode one CD in OS X 10.3. After that, the OS could rarely detect the changer. One thing that was interesting, the Sonys were always detected properly.

When I tried under Linux I ran into big problems at first. The VIA firewire host controller did not play nice with the changer. Had to email lots of stupid questions to the developers on the linux-ieee1394 mailing. I ended switching the firewire controller to one that uses an LSI chipset. After that it seems to be working quite well under Linux. The one big problem is that there's a 10 second delay after sending each MTX command. On the Sony it's only 3 seconds.

So to summarize, I don't think the PowerFiles work as one would expect on any OS. But I've only tested one so far. Hopefully somone will chime in and give some positive experiences.
post #1209 of 1644
Hi,
I have been trying to manually add/remove discs directly into the slots, with the Changer's top cover off. This in part to prevent the possibility of misalignement due to loading/unloading 200 disks.

So time for me to share at least one thing i found in the process and saw was asked a number of time in the forums: the physical vs logical slots mapping.

Seems it can be summed up in a formula
Disc N+1 Physical slot = Disc N physical slot + 13
in other words:
[Physical slot] = MOD([Logical slot]*13, 200)
Physical and Logical Slot 0 being the one with the black mark.

Ive built the 2 following mapping tables added as attachements.

Someone wishing to avoid risk of disalignement due to too many repeated spins, saving time or troubleshooting by physicaly accessing discs in the changer could even pensil mark the slots on the carousel i guess.


For me so far i can batch alright when swapping Discs on slots reported to be "Full" in the Changer's internal database with a combination of bogus "savedTitlesA*****.txt" filled with 200 "?" lines and ticking "Bypass Changer Query" in the MCGUI. But no luck to force mounting discs known as "Empty" to it, even using MediaChanger.exe directly from the command line. I'm heading at Loading the remaining "empty" slots with the regular procedure just to get them to "Full" status, regardless of their content. Once all slots are full, i should be all set to batching 200 by 200 as i intended.
Well crossing fingers, as i still struggle to master the beast given my alignement issues so far and the many hundreds of discs i want to transfer.

Any tip to force mounting regardless of Changer's internal empty/full status very welcome. The last messages in this board look encouraging in the prospect of manipulating the Changer's internal DB from the PC. Keep it up !:-)
Was thinking that maybe having a look at the 'changer diagnostic tool' provided only by email from Sony Support to reset the internal DB could of help to you (that sort of low-level programming is way out of my reach...) ?

Bests,
LL
LL
post #1210 of 1644
Quote:
Originally Posted by DMBoxer View Post

Was thinking that maybe having a look at the 'changer diagnostic tool' provided only by email from Sony Support to reset the internal DB could of help to you (that sort of low-level programming is way out of my reach...) ?

Holy crap, I didn't know they provided an app for that. Do you have it? Anyone else on this list have it? That could be really useful. Sniff the bus while it's reseting and we could get some ideas about what kind of commands it's sending. Anyone know of other Sony/PowerFile apps that could be useful for sniffing unusual commands? Of course, anything that can force a Home would be perfect

BTW, I'm not suggesting that know how to do this stuff. I'm just willing to gather the information to do it later (when I learn) or to pass it on to someone with more knowledge in this area. Much of this reminds me of the work done by gspca project for USB webcams. The vendors wouldn't provide much info for the webcams so this French guy decided to reverse engineer everything by sniffing the USB bus.
post #1211 of 1644
Quote:
Originally Posted by kejava View Post

Holy crap, I didn't know they provided an app for that. Do you have it?

Not living in the US, didnt try to (would love to have it though). Saw reference to the tool in some forum threads.

"Its Sony's secret. The only way you can get it is if the email it to you. Its not on the support site. I would give them a call, and ask specifically for the Changer Diagnostic Tool for the Digital Living System VGX-XL1B (and other versions)."
Off http://thegreenbutton.com/forums/thread/258775.aspx
post #1212 of 1644
As long as we are asking for software...anybody got the original Windows software for the Powerfile units (I believe it was/is called ProView 5.0). I would really like to have a copy of that so I can see if my unit still does not load/mount any disks. That way I would know I had a hardware problem and not just a software not quite right problem.

Thanks,
Steve
post #1213 of 1644
Quote:
Originally Posted by kejava View Post

Heh. Well from what I've seen so far, they don't. But I'm sure someone has gotten them to work. Some posts by MediaDogg a while back seemed promising.

I heard a while back that the PowerFiles worked great with Macs. Based on that I looked around and found a free app called The Rip Monkey. I borrowed two Macs from a friend. One with OS X 10.3, the other with 10.4. Neither one could work well with the PowerFile. I was able to rip/encode one CD in OS X 10.3. After that, the OS could rarely detect the changer. One thing that was interesting, the Sonys were always detected properly.

When I tried under Linux I ran into big problems at first. The VIA firewire host controller did not play nice with the changer. Had to email lots of stupid questions to the developers on the linux-ieee1394 mailing. I ended switching the firewire controller to one that uses an LSI chipset. After that it seems to be working quite well under Linux. The one big problem is that there's a 10 second delay after sending each MTX command. On the Sony it's only 3 seconds.

So to summarize, I don't think the PowerFiles work as one would expect on any OS. But I've only tested one so far. Hopefully somone will chime in and give some positive experiences.

I agree with most of what is said here. GUI-056x will control Powerfiles to a certain extent. My experience can be summarized as:
  • Sony VGPX - mostly solid on XP and Vista. Can withstand hotplug.
  • Powerfile R200 - Not as solid as Sony. Hotplug can confuse it. Depending on how your code is written, may require some timing adjustments to prevent destroying handles too quickly.
  • Powerfile C200 - unstable. Gets confused whenever the firewire bus is dsiturbed, even by hotplug of another box. I cannot get mc/GUI-056x to work with C200 reliably under Vista, only XP so far.
    Some of my earlier problems with the C200 were caused by a bad job of soldering in the replacement battery. Once I fixed that, it started to work a bit better on XP.

I've been enjoying the good info coming in on slot maping, etc. If I run across any of those diagnostics, I'll certainly post it.

Edit: I think it was R220 earlier in one of these threads who found a bunch of Sony software and drivers. I know that I have downloaded and installed the firmware update tool in the past. If you can't find it, I'lll look for mine. I would think that the firmware module and the updater program might be useful - it is communicating with the device at the lowest level I guess.
post #1214 of 1644
MediaDogg,

Good to know the PowerFile is working under WinXP. My setup is probably just screwed up.

I sent a PM to the guy on TheGreenButton that DMBoxer referenced about 3 days ago. Haven't heard back. I'll probably end up calling Sony to get "Changer Diagnostic Tool" emailed to me. The firmware uploader/upgrader is accessible directly on Sony's website, unless you were referring to something else completely different. I agree, understanding how that works and communicates with the changer could be useful.
post #1215 of 1644
Hi folks,

Attached the ScanBatch.bat for the MediaChanger GUI i came up with to batch-transfer Data discs using the highly recommandable BeyondCompare utility.

It transfers each disc selected in the MC/GUI's "Full Slots" pick-list to a new folder in the target path named after the actual disc's Label.

I picked BC because:
- It can be used from the DOS CommandLine
- It has very simple yet powerful scripting capabilities on top of this
- It can log much of what it does, including Errors
- It can reset the read-only attribute as well as clone the original disc folders' Timestamps that are normally lost when copying with most utilities (in this script just the 1st level folder timestamps, which is enough for my needs but that can be easely expanded)
- It has a powerful binary compare feature to guaranty data integrity is preserved with transfer (not leveraged here, but quite easy to add in the BC script if you are ok to roughly double batch duration)

Also, due to the recurring misalignement issues i've had while transferring the first 200 discs, i added an additional simplified log file to easely check what slots/discs transferred alright in a given Scanbatch session and then retry these that failed for some reason. Likewise, it will automatically skip transferring a disc when a folder with the disc's volume name already exists in the target folder.

There's some more in the ScanBatch.bat starting comments, including the variables to adjust to your particular setup, target folder... i'll leave up to those interested by the scripts set to check.

As a reminder, i've chosen to work with the Changer's top cover off because with misalignement can come a whole host of possible mishaps like disc being unmounted to the adjacent slot where a disc is already present, thus the disc ending up hitting the top elements of the Changer when the carrousel is spinning. No actual harm to CDs so far but certainly not safe to leave the unit batch-running completely unattended when it happens (i got to love the "Stop scanning" button of the MC GUI for that :-).
The other reason being that i loaded the 200 first discs with the regular "Load" feature so that the Changer's internal DB reckons the corresponding slot as "full". Yet for the next batches i didnt "Unload" these discs but rather manually removed them and replaced them with the next batch (i don't care in which order they are transferred so i'm fine with any slot for each disc).

/DMBoxer


PS to MediaDogg: not sure this isnt a known issue but last disc 199 isn't included in the ScanBatch. One the symptoms is that when you pick just 199 in the "Full slots" list and trigger Scanbatching nothing happens and GUI says "Processed 0, Picked 0" (where's the link to the your support bugtool again ?:-)
[EDIT] MediaDogg was kind enough to fix it since in his latest GUI version

 

MediaChangerGUI_ScanBatch_BeyondCompare_v0.02.zip 3.0341796875k . file
post #1216 of 1644
Quote:
Originally Posted by DMBoxer View Post

PS to MediaDogg: not sure this isnt a known issue but last disc 199 isn't included in the ScanBatch. One the symptoms is that when you pick just 199 in the "Full slots" list and trigger Scanbatching nothing happens and GUI says "Processed 0, Picked 0" (where's the link to the your support bugtool again ?:-)

What a nice job! (based on the preview you sent me privately). Seems like this forum just gets better and better ...

The "slot 199" bug also existed in mediachanger.exe. I think that one is fixed. So, I'll check the GUI. I assume you are using 056x?
post #1217 of 1644
Correct, i'm using 056x indeed.
post #1218 of 1644
Quote:
Originally Posted by DMBoxer View Post

Correct, i'm using 056x indeed.

Found the bug, and fixed in gui-057x.exe. Just copy into the same folder with gui-056x.exe. I also changed the scale factors for automatic sizing. Let me know if the thing is now too big on your display. At some point, I'll find a way to let the user adjust the scale.
post #1219 of 1644
Excellent, thanks !:-)

Seems to work now.
I picked just slot 199 and initiated Batch-scanning: it loaded disc and started ScanBatch.bat alright.
Attached a first screenshot on how the UI now looks like on my WinXPSP2: overall slightly bigger with 1024x768 resolution. Buttons have now a visible border around the icons i didnt notice with previous version. Controls dont overlap each other anymore like was the case, neither is the "mediadogg" signature in the upper right corner truncated like it was.

On the minus tip the gui.exe now triggers a Windows security warning when starting it. Don't think it has been the case before.
LL
post #1220 of 1644
Quote:
Originally Posted by DMBoxer View Post

Excellent, thanks !:-)

Seems to work now.
I picked just slot 199 and initiated Batch-scanning: it loaded disc and started ScanBatch.bat alright.
Attached a first screenshot on how the UI now looks like on my WinXPSP2: overall slightly bigger with 1024x768 resolution. Buttons have now a visible border around the icons i didnt notice with previous version. Controls dont overlap each other anymore like was the case, neither is the "mediadogg" signature in the upper right corner truncated like it was.

On the minus tip the gui.exe now triggers a Windows security warning when starting it. Don't think it has been the case before.

Man, you really have earned my respect and appreciation for good work, feedback and follow-up. This is one of the things that keeps me going.

I'm not sure what the deal is on the security warning. Didn't change anything but a couple of lines of code for the size calculation and slot bug (subtracting one by mistake).

When you get the time, PM me some details on the message, etc. We can have that discussion privately until we figure it out, then report results.

Thanks again for your dilligence!
post #1221 of 1644
@kejava

I just downloaded that installer for the firmware updater and cracked it apart... I see it is loaded with Oxford binary images to play with. I have questions about it for you though. Did you actually run the downloaded Sony installer ? I am a bit worried about the comments about not running the installer after the MCE rollup is applied. Is that comment just related to the MS Firewire driver update part of it, or is there some risk of the Oxford installer actually clobbering my working MCE 2005 setup ?

You also mentioned running the jar file manually to get the full UI, how did you do that... I tried java -jar xxx and got some init messages but no UI. That may have been because I did not run the installer, but I wanted to check if I actually used the correct method before taking the risk of installing the whole thing if that is not actually necessary...
post #1222 of 1644
I hope somebody (maybe MediaDogg) can tell me if I am using the GUI-057x/MediaChanger apps correctly or not. I have been trying to use these apps with my Powerfile R200 and I must admit to total ignorance. I have not been able to get anything of value to happen.

Here is what I know. I have a Powerfile R200 two CD drives are seen by windows when it is connected. I have tried to use the demo version of Mammoth software's PowerExplorer it does see my changer (see screenshot) and correctly determines that there are 18 discs loaded. PowerExplorer also correctly recognizes both disc drives. It however crashes windows explorer if I try to expand the Slots folder.

When I try using the GUI-057x/MediaChanger apps I get pretty much nothing.
As noted above this may well be due totally to my ignorance on this app. Here is what I do step by step
1) Start GUI-057x/MediaChanger (double click GUI-057x.exe) (see picture 1)
2) Click "ID Scan/Auto" button and wait for it to finish (see picture 2 and 3)
3) I then click on the "All Slots" button. (see picture 4)

I have attached some screen shots of what I am getting now they are:
1) Startup.JPG (taken before doing anything except starting the app)
2) ID Scan _ Auto.JPG (taken during the activty after having clicked the ID Scan/Auto button)
3) After Scan.JPG (taken after the activty clicking the ID Scan/Auto button)
4) AllSlotsScan.JPG (taken after clicking the All Slots button)

I am beginning to think (as I have stated before) that my Powerfile unit is broken. Unfortunately, due to my total ignorance with the unit and all of the software I have tried, I have no idea if the unit is bad or I am just not doing things correctly.

Thanks for your help,
Steve
post #1223 of 1644
OPPS I forgot to attach the screenshots...here they are
LL
LL
LL
LL
LL
post #1224 of 1644
@sredmyer
from your startup.jpg the dropdown list for the mediachanger (all fields actually) appear empty, suggesting (to me) the app doesnt recognize your unit, thus nothing would work.

Stating the obvious [edit: so tired i didnt notice your previous posts that you might well beyond that already] but it's likely the problem is still with getting your OS recognize it properly even ? Do you have any entries in the Device Manager ? Do you see the PowerFile's drive in Windows Explorer, etc...

Good luck wit it.
post #1225 of 1644
Quote:
Originally Posted by DMBoxer View Post

@sredmyer
from your startup.jpg the dropdown list for the mediachanger (all fields actually) appear empty, suggesting (to me) the app doesnt recognize your unit, thus nothing would work.

Stating the obvious [edit: so tired i didnt notice your previous posts that you might well beyond that already] but it's likely the problem is still with getting your OS recognize it properly even ? Do you have any entries in the Device Manager ? Do you see the PowerFile's drive in Windows Explorer, etc...

Good luck wit it.

Yes the device is recognized by windows (see attached screen shot) and by PowerExplorer (shonw in previous Screen shot).
The drives are also visible in Explorer (see second screen shot the Powerfile drives are the selected drives)
Any further ideas?

Thanks,
Steve
LL
post #1226 of 1644
OOPS again...I just can't seem to get the hang of these image attachments.
Here they are
LL
LL
post #1227 of 1644
As mentioned in a previous post, although windows does indeed recognize the drives, I have no means by which to load/mount disks. So I had no way of knowing if the unit was any good or not. It was for that reason that I downloaded the demo from Mammoth software (PowerExplorer). Although that software also recognizes all the parts of the device (drives, slots, etc.), it was not able to load/mount any disks (it did however correctly recognize that there were 18 disks loaded). When I first installed this software it was able to display the list of slots (simply that there was a disk loaded or not as in "Empty" or "Unidentified Disk"), however when I try to display the slots now it (the software) crashes explorer (it is an explorer extetion)

I really appreciate the help from you guys.
Steve
post #1228 of 1644
Quote:
Originally Posted by sredmyer View Post

Yes the device is recognized by windows (see attached screen shot) and by PowerExplorer (shonw in previous Screen shot).
The drives are also visible in Explorer (see second screen shot the Powerfile drives are the selected drives)
Any further ideas?

Thanks,
Steve

PowerExplorer owns the changers. Medichanger.exe does not work when powerexplorer is running or HAS BEEN RUN. Run the task manager and terminate any powerexplorer / powerfile programs. Try mediachanger.exe on the command line. If it finds the changers, so should the GUI.
post #1229 of 1644
Quote:
Originally Posted by MediaDogg View Post

PowerExplorer owns the changers. Medichanger.exe does not work when powerexplorer is running or HAS BEEN RUN. Run the task manager and terminate any powerexplorer / powerfile programs. Try mediachanger.exe on the command line. If it finds the changers, so should the GUI.

Yep that was it...I uninstalled the PowerExplorer program and now the GUI/MediaChanger app does indeed find the device. It still has some strange results from scanning the disks though. Here are the new screen shots.

Thanks for the help...I feel like I'm on the right path and getting closer.
Steve
LL
LL
post #1230 of 1644
Quote:
Originally Posted by shizzle View Post

@kejava
I just downloaded that installer for the firmware updater and cracked it apart... I see it is loaded with Oxford binary images to play with. I have questions about it for you though. Did you actually run the downloaded Sony installer ?

yes, i ran the Sony installer.
Quote:
Originally Posted by shizzle View Post

I am a bit worried about the comments about not running the installer after the MCE rollup is applied. Is that comment just related to the MS Firewire driver update part of it, or is there some risk of the Oxford installer actually clobbering my working MCE 2005 setup ?

yes, you should totally be worried. I know nothing about the different flavors of Windows so I tend to assume the worst. All my testing is on a WinXP install that I care nothing about. My goal is to screw with the firmware in WinXP and then test the change under Linux. I noticed that the java app does come with shared library (.so) but I couldn't get it to work under linux, too many funky dependencies. May try that more later.

If you really want to play with it safely, install Windows to another partition/drive and get a another Sony firewire bridge PCB.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shizzle View Post

You also mentioned running the jar file manually to get the full UI, how did you do that... I tried java -jar xxx and got some init messages but no UI. That may have been because I did not run the installer, but I wanted to check if I actually used the correct method before taking the risk of installing the whole thing if that is not actually necessary...

I just double click mine and it opens. The java app, uploadergui.jar, needs some special dll to run. I forget the name and don't have my test box in front of me. When you install via the Sony installer, it gets copied locally to the java app. Since it doesn't sound like you're using the installer, you may only need to drop that dll in the same folder as the java app you extracted from the installer. Let me know if you need me to dig up the name of the dll.
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