Daqarta for DOS Contents



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Daqarta for DOS
Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis
Shareware for Legacy Systems
(Use Daqarta for Windows with modern systems)

From the Daqarta for DOS Help system:


Initial Release: 5-22-99


This WILSONIC.ATN driver supports Wilsonics PATT attenuators, using either direct or GPBA (General Purpose Bus Adaptor) control. These are "legacy" devices, among the earliest high-quality audio attenuators with digital controls.

This system, either direct or GPBA, uses the A and B ports of a 8255-type parallel port (not a standard printer port) for control. Using the GPBA option, this driver will control up to 4 attenuators.

The GPBA is a Wilsonics interface for controlling more than one device from a single parallel port card. If your system has more than one PATT in a chassis, it is probably using the GPBA system.

Although PATT attenuators feature 0 to 99.9 dB control in tenth-dB steps, only integer steps are used here for ease of operation. The control range is thus 0 to 99.0 dB, plus an "Off" condition of very high attenuation. Please contact us if you need tenth-dB control.

The control menu for this board is activated by CTRL-F10... think of "F10-uator" as a mnemonic.



This driver allows you to specify certain parameters on the WILSONIC.ATN line, which may come anywhere after the first four lines of the DQA.CFG file. Each parameter is given as a letter and colon, followed immediately by a value or a letter-plus-value combination. Use a space to separate parameters. For example:
    WILSONIC.ATN    A:h310  D:A3  R:1  B:0
The order of the parameters is not important.

Note that this driver assumes that you have a GPBA system if you give any B: (Box), D: (Device), or R: (Rack) parameters. Otherwise, direct port control is assumed.

If you place the .ATN line too early in the DQA.CFG file, Daqarta will exit with:

 'Non-ADC module must not appear before 5th line of
     DQA.CFG file.'

You can check to see which parameters have been set, either via the configuration line or by default, by checking the board information summary available via the ALT-H Plug-In Help system.


Use this to tell Daqarta the base I/O address of the 8255-type parallel port that controls your Wilsonic equipment. A single 8255 can control a single PATT using direct wiring. With the GPBA option, it can control up to 3 Racks, with each Rack consisting of up to 8 Devices. At present, however, only 4 PATT attenuators can be controlled by this driver.

To tell the Daqarta parameter parser that the value is in hexadecimal, precede it with an 'h', as in:

    WILSONIC.ATN    A:h330
The default address is h310.

Daqarta checks at the address given, and if it does not find a valid 8255-type port there it exits with a message giving the address it tried:

  '8255-type parallel port for WILSONIC attenuator control
    not found at 0330h.'
The only exception is if you set A:0 to allow viewing of this board Help system without having a board installed.


This parameter is only used with large GPBA systems. The GPBA was designed to control up to 3 Racks of up to 8 Boxes each, each Box holding up to 4 PATT attenuators. If you have only one Box (chassis unit), this defaults to B:0 (Box 0).

In larger systems, the B: parameter is needed to specify which Box the driver is actually controlling, from B:0 to B:7. Note that this driver can still only control 4 attenuators maximum, but this allows you to specify where they are.

Please contact us if you have more than 4 PATT attenuators, or if they are in more than a single Box.

Systems without a GPBA use direct control of only a single PATT. Do not use a B: parameter in this case, since it is used to signal the presence of a GPBA, which uses a different control protocol.


This parameter is used only with GPBA systems. The GPBA can control up to 8 Devices in one Box, though only four actual modules such as PATT attenuators will actually fit and are numbered 0 through 3. Devices 4 through 7 are for special purposes only, and are not presently supported here. Please contact us if you believe your system needs to use these.

The conventional Wilsonics numbering system begins with Device 0 on the left end of the Box and proceeds to Device 3 on the right end. This driver only supports PATT attenuator devices at present, though support for BSIT tone switches or other devices may be provided in the future. For this reason, you must specify each Device type as A for Attenuator, as in:

    WILSONIC.ATN    D:A2  D:A3

This would indicate a system with two PATT modules, A2 and A3, which would be the two right-most units in the Box. Here is the standard module numbering scheme:

    | PATT  | PATT  | PATT  | PATT  |
    |       |       |       |       |
    | D:A0  | D:A1  | D:A2  | D:A3  |

The default if you give no D: parameter is to assume that all 4 devices are present and that they are all PATT attenuators. However, this default is only assumed in the case that you have supplied a Box or Rack parameter to indicate a GPBA system. Otherwise, if no B:, D:, or R: parameter is found, direct control of a single PATT is assumed.


This driver normally attempts to load this associated Help file on start-up, and exits with an error message if it can't find it. Setting F:0 on the WILSONIC.ATN configuration line tells the driver not to look for the file. You would probably only want to use this option if you are really short of DOS memory, since loading the Help file only increases memory use by a few hundred bytes for its separate link stack and directory. (The file itself shares the text buffer of the Main Help file.)

Note that ALL Help files, including main, can be omitted via an F:0 parameter on the INIT line (first line) of the DQA.CFG file. If this is present, no individual module Help will be loaded.


This parameter is only used with large GPBA systems. The GPBA was designed to control up to 3 Racks or "Banks" of up to 8 Boxes each, each Box holding up to 4 Devices such as PATT attenuators. You would only need the R: parameter if you had more than 8 Boxes, to specify which group of 8 holds the Box where your attenuator(s) reside.

Possible Rack numbers are 1 to 3. If no R: parameter is used, R:1 is assumed. This will be the normal case for most GPBA systems. However, if you have a single Box with 4 PATT attenuators installed, you can avoid having to specify each individual Device number by accepting the 4 PATT Device default. To do that you must give either a Box or Rack parameter simply as a flag to indicate that a GPBA is being used, instead of direct control over a single PATT. So if you have a Box of 4 PATTs you might want to use something like:



Many users naturally think of attenuation controls in the same sense as ordinary "volume" or "level" controls, where "up" always gives higher level output. This is the default setting for Daqarta attenuation modules. Level is shown in negative dB, so when you scroll up to get higher output you get less-negative dB values. Maximum output is at 0 dB.

Others prefer that "up" actually increase the attenuation, since that is the variable being controlled. You can tell Daqarta to use that convention via the U:1 parameter, as in:

With this option the maximum output is still 0 dB, but now you must scroll DOWN to get to there from the starting Off (high attenuation) state. Attenuation is shown in positive dB.

This is simply a matter of personal preference.

Note that for direct entry, you never need to include a minus sign... it will be ignored if you do, regardless of which option has been chosen.


Controls the dB setting of the indicated PATT attenuator. The headers like 'Attn0 dB' refer to Device Number 0, which should correspond to the module position in the Box. The controls appear on the menu such that the left-most module is at the top, and the right-most is at the bottom.

Think of the control menu as though you were viewing the module box tipped on end clockwise. Thus, if you have two PATT modules and they are located in the two right-most locations, only controls 'Attn2' and 'Attn3' would be shown, and they would be near the bottom of the menu.

If you have used the U:1 parameter option, then scrolling up will give increasing attenuation, which means less output. The default will give decreasing negative dB values as you scroll up, which means more output.

For direct entry, you never need to enter a minus sign.

If you enter or scroll to a value beyond 99 dB, the display will show 'Off' and the output will be muted. In that case the total attenuation will be much more than 100 dB.


                 PIO-12 or PIO-24
        8255 Parallel Port - GPBA Control
                   DB37 Female
              Gnd  | 19    \
            + 5 V  | 18  37 |  PA0  (GPBA XD0)
              Gnd  | 17  36 |  PA1  (GPBA XD1)
           + 12 V  | 16  35 |  PA2  (GPBA XD2)
              Gnd  | 15  34 |  PA3  (GPBA XD3)
           - 12 V  | 14  33 |  PA4  (GPBA XD4)
              Gnd  | 13  32 |  PA5  (GPBA XD5)
            - 5 V  | 12  31 |  PA6  (GPBA XD6)
              Gnd  | 11  30 |  PA7  (GPBA XD7)
  (GPBA XD8)  PB0  | 10  29 |  PC0  (Unused)
  (GPBA XD9)  PB1  |  9  28 |  PC1  (Unused)
  (GPBA XD10) PB2  |  8  27 |  PC2  (Unused)
  (GPBA XD11) PB3  |  7  26 |  PC3  (Unused)
  (GPBA XD12) PB4  |  6  25 |  PC4  (Unused)
  (GPBA XD13) PB5  |  5  24 |  PC5  (Unused)
  (GPBA XD14) PB6  |  4  23 |  PC6  (Unused)
  (GPBA XD15) PB7  |  3  22 |  PC7  (Unused)
    (Unused)  Int  |  2  21 |  Gnd
(Unused)  Int Dis  |  1  20 |  + 5 V
                   |       /

                WILSONICS GPBA (Typical)
                 DB25 Female
 (8255 PB4) XD12  | 13    \
 (8255 PB3) XD11  | 12  25 |  XRD7 (Unused)
 (8255 PB2) XD10  | 11  24 |  XRD6 (Unused)
 (8255 PB1)  XD9  | 10  23 |  XRD5 (Unused)
 (8255 PB0)  XD8  |  9  22 |  XRD4 (Unused)
 (8255 PA7)  XD7  |  8  21 |  XRD3 (Unused)
 (8255 PA6)  XD6  |  7  20 |  XRD2 (Unused)
 (8255 PA5)  XD5  |  6  19 |  XRD1 (Unused)
 (8255 PA4)  XD4  |  5  18 |  XRD0 (Unused)
 (8255 PA3)  XD3  |  4  17 |  -NC-
 (8255 PA2)  XD2  |  3  16 |  XD15  (8255 PB7)
 (8255 PA1)  XD1  |  2  15 |  XD14  (8255 PB6)
 (8255 PA0)  XD0  |  1  14 |  XD13  (8255 PB5)
                  |       /
                  `----- '
NOTE: There is no ground connection. Wilsonics specifies that GPBA ground should be by means of a common ground point shared by the computer and the analog equipment area.
                 PIO-12 or PIO-24
        8255 Parallel Port - Direct Control
                   DB37 Female
              Gnd  | 19    \
            + 5 V  | 18  37 |  PA0  (Direct D04 - 1 dB)
              Gnd  | 17  36 |  PA1  (Direct D05 - 2 dB)
           + 12 V  | 16  35 |  PA2  (Direct D06 - 4 dB)
              Gnd  | 15  34 |  PA3  (Direct D07 - 8 dB)
           - 12 V  | 14  33 |  PA4  (Direct D08 - 10 dB)
              Gnd  | 13  32 |  PA5  (Direct D09 - 20 dB)
            - 5 V  | 12  31 |  PA6  (Direct D10 - 40 dB)
              Gnd  | 11  30 |  PA7  (Direct D11 - 80 dB)
    (Unused)  PB0  | 10  29 |  PC0  (Unused)
    (Unused)  PB1  |  9  28 |  PC1  (Unused)
    (Unused)  PB2  |  8  27 |  PC2  (Unused)
    (Unused)  PB3  |  7  26 |  PC3  (Unused)
(Direct D00)  PB4  |  6  25 |  PC4  (Direct XFR H)
(Direct D01)  PB5  |  5  24 |  PC5  (Direct LDHB H)
(Direct D02)  PB6  |  4  23 |  PC6  (Direct NOBUTS)
(Direct D03)  PB7  |  3  22 |  PC7  (Direct RESET)
    (Unused)  Int  |  2  21 |  Gnd
(Unused)  Int Dis  |  1  20 |  + 5 V
                   |       /

                      WILSONICS DIRECT (Typical)
                         DB25 Female
(8255 PB4) D00 - 0.1 dB  | 13    \
(8255 PB5) D01 - 0.2 dB  | 12  25 |  RESET  (8255 PC7)
(8255 PB6) D02 - 0.4 dB  | 11  24 |  NOBUTS (8255 PC6)
(8255 PB7) D03 - 0.8 dB  | 10  23 |  LDHB H (8255 PC5)
  (8255 PA0) D04 - 1 dB  |  9  22 |  (Unused)
  (8255 PA1) D05 - 2 dB  |  8  21 |  (Unused)
  (8255 PA2) D06 - 4 dB  |  7  20 |  (Unused)
  (8255 PA3) D07 - 8 dB  |  6  19 |  (Unused)
 (8255 PA4) D08 - 10 dB  |  5  18 |  (Unused)
 (8255 PA5) D09 - 20 dB  |  4  17 |  (Unused)
 (8255 PA6) D10 - 40 dB  |  3  16 |  Dig Gnd
 (8255 PA7) D11 - 80 dB  |  2  15 |  Dig Gnd
      (8255 PC4)  XFR H  |  1  14 |  Dig Gnd
                         |       /
                         `----- '


NOTE: The actual Daqarta WILSONIC.ATN index allows you to move through it by hitting the first letter of any entry. We apologize for this "dumbed-down" Web substitue: You may scroll through it as usual, select a letter from the following line, or simply use your browser's "Find" function to search this page.



 Address Parameter A: 
 Attenuation Control 
 Attenuation / Level Preference 


 Bank (Rack) Number R: 
 Box Number Parameter B: 


 Configuration Parameters 
 Connector Pinout Diagrams 
 Control Menu F10 


 Device Number Parameter D: 
 Direct Port Control 
 Direct Port Wiring Diagram 


 F: Parameter (Help File Omit) 


 GPBA Connector Wiring Diagram 
 GPBA General Purpose Bus Adaptor 
 Ground Connection, GPBA 


 Help File Parameter F: 


 Mute, Output 


 Parallel Port Connector Pinouts 
 Parameters, Configuration 
 PATT Atttenuator 
 Pinouts, Connector 


 Rack Number Parameter R: 


 Scroll Direction Preference 


 Up Scroll Parameter U: 


 Wiring Diagrams, Connector 

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