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1980s_john

Installing and running Kermit under CP/M on a Northstar Advantage

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Hi,

Following are my notes explaining how to install Kermit from scratch, using a PC running Windows.

The Advantage must have a serial (or SIO) board fitted, set up with the default DIL configuration headers (one sets port as a modem, other sets async mode).

The Advantage has 6 slots for I/O boards, numbered from 1 (nearest to floppy) to 6. The default assignments in Advantage CP/M for serial devices are:

LST: - board in slot 1, 9600 baud (output)
PUN: - board in slot 1, 1200 baud (output)
RDR: - board in slot 2, 1200 baud (input)

Installing CP/M Kermit
----------------------------
The first stage is to copy .HEX text files to the Advantage. On the PC, I used putty as a terminal emulator to transfer the text files. Set the PC baud rate to 1200 baud in putty.

Connect a straight RS232 cable from the Advantage SIO board in slot 2 to the PC COM port (eg COM1: )

Thanks to Peter for this guide which has links to the necessary files:
http://www.z80.eu/kermit.html

Download to the PC the files MLOAD.HEX, CPSKER.HEX and CPVADV.HEX, and open them in Notepad.

These files now have to be transferred from the PC to a CP/M disk on the Advantage. Under CP/M type:

PIP MLOAD.HEX = RDR:

and on the PC use cut-and-paste from Notepad to putty, which causes each character to be sent out over the serial link. The file should then start being copied to the CP/M disk.

Under CP/M create MLOAD.COM with the command:

LOAD MLOAD.HEX

Copy CPVADV.HEX with PIP as above. I found that CPSKER.HEX was too large to transfer this way (as there is no flow control), so I split it using Notepad into 3 smaller files (CPSK1.HEX/CPSK2.HEX/CPSK3.HEX) and transferred them one at a time, eg:

PIP CPSK1.HEX = RDR:

and then merged the 3 files into one:

PIP CPSKER.HEX = CPSK1.HEX, CPSK2.HEX, CPSK3.HEX

Finally create the Kermit .COM file, using the CP/M command:

MLOAD KERM411 = CPSKER, CPSADV

This takes a few minutes, and should result in KERM411.COM of about 29k in size.

This version of Kermit is built to use an SIO board in slot 1, so if you have only one SIO board you need to power off and move it from slot 2 to slot 1 at this point.

Using Kermit
-----------------
I used 'Kermit for Windows' for the PC from http://kermit.wwarthen.com/Download.htm, this worked fine, one limitation is that files transferred to the PC end up in the Kermit program directory. (I have also installed C-Kermit under Linux but have yet to use it.)

Plug the serial lead from the PC into SIO board in slot 1.

Start Kermit on the Advantage, you should see the Kermit command prompt. There is a good built in help system, type ? for list of commands, or a command then ? for list of options. The screen text formatting is not perfect (eg some options are displayed bnched up), but I transferred a group of CP/M files without issue at 9600, using XON/XOFF flow control. The CP/M Kermit commands were as follows. First set baud to 9600:

> SET SPEED 9600

Set XON/XOFF:

> SET FLOW_CONTROL ON

Set binary file transfer mode:

> SET FILE-MODE BINARY

Send file:

> SEND FILE.EXT

Send multiple files:

> SEND AB*.TXT

On Kermit for Windows, use the menu Configure -> Communications to set speed to 9600 and handshaking to XON/XOFF. Then set to receive files with menu option Kermit -> Receive.

I've yet to send files from PC to the Advantage, but the commands are:

CP/M Kermit:

> RECEIVE

Kermit for Windows: menu Kermit -> Send

If anyone has any problems getting KERM411.COM onto the Advantage and can post me a disk, please PM me (whilst I have a working machine).

Regards,
John

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Updated December 27th, 2014 at 02:50 PM by 1980s_john (Added Set Binary mode)

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  1. 1980s_john's Avatar
    Edit - I have sold my Northstar Advantage, but know a couple of owners in the UK.