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LaserBees and Third-Party Software

Trevor

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I thought I'd spin a thread off to deal with the issue of third-party software interfacing with LaserBee hardware. Members here have used generic terminal applications for Mac and Windows, generic datalogging programs, and programs made specifically for datalogging from laser power meters (such as Peregrine).

Recently there's been a misconception going around, perpetuated by Jerry, that a LaserBee might be damaged by interfacing with it via a program other than the utility distributed with the meters. I thought it appropriate to try to clear up this misconception and set everyone's mind at ease.

LaserBee Characteristics

All LaserBees that involve a PIC microcontroller operate at 5V. 5V is logical high and 0V is logical low.

The following LaserBee products include a DB9 connector intended to be used as RS232:

  • LaserBee I
  • LaserBee I-X
  • LaserBee II
  • DL-Module

These LaserBee models must use RS232 to USB adapters in order to connect to most modern computers.

The following LaserBee models include an RS232 to USB adapter built-in:

  • LaserBee 2.5W USB
  • LaserBee 3.7W USB

They already have a little logic board inside that enables you to plug the LPM into USB natively.

Why does Jerry claim that "damage" could be done by using other interface software? Well, there's no possible way that transmitting data to the computer could in any way harm the LaserBee. After all, the LaserBee transmits data to the bundled software. The other potential area for "damage" is in receiving data. If you plug an RS232 connector straight into the LaserBees that allow it, you are potentially exposing it to voltages greater than its operating voltage (5V). However, this cannot possibly harm the LaserBee. I'll outline why below.

Let's examine the way data moves in and out of LaserBees.

A couple years ago, the most ubiquitous type of LaserBee was the 1W LaserBee I. The "OEM" version of the LaserBee I has a DB9 connector soldered to the pads on the left side of the board. The male connector looks like this:



There is a (mirrored) female version of this connector on some LaserBee boards. The LaserBee, of course, will be transmitting data on the pin labeled RXD - because that's what the computer reads from.

As you can see, on the top, the RXD and Ground is soldered to the board. There is one pin soldered on the bottom.

However, the TXD pin, which would be used to send data to the LaserBee, is electrically isolated.

Check it out:



So, the solder pads for all the pins except ground and the data transmission pin are electrically isolated. There is one pin on the bottom soldered on for support, but it is not electrically connected. Furthermore, the unused solder pads are insulated from the contacts on the connector - there will be no accidental contact. So all the pins but the transmission pin are, in fact, quite electrically isolated.

The LaserBee I, I-X, and II all share the same basic board - so this will be the case on all of those.

Now, moving on to the USB LaserBee - the most ubiquitous one now:



You see that only the ground and the transmission coming from the LaserBee are even connected. It is impossible for any transmission from the computer to get anywhere near the board with the PIC on it. It is absolutely impossible for this board to be damaged by interface software.

Now, last but not least, the "deluxe" LaserBees that come in the project boxes:



Once again, you can see that there is no possibility for any stray voltage to reach the PIC board.

So what does it mean?

Because of the electrical isolation of the pins other than those necessary to transmit data to the computer, there is no possible way for the LaserBee to do anything but spew data back to the computer.

Moreover, Jerry accounted for the possibility of someone trying to transmit data to the LaserBee at a voltage that could damage it. Thus, he ensured that those pins were isolated from the rest of the circuit to prevent any damage from occurring.

I think that he is knowingly lying to prevent LaserBee users from using anything but the datalogging software he distributes. To me, it seems that is the only logical conclusion.

Since it has been proven that damage is not physically possible, I think we can conclude that it is perfectly fine to use third-party programs to stream data from the LaserBee - be it StampPlot Pro, the Arduino monitor, CoolTerm, or Peregrine.


I'm sad that I had to post this thread to dispel such a bald-faced lie, but such is the state of "competition" in the hobbyist LPM world.

But at least people can rest easy, knowing that third-party software cannot damage a LaserBee.

Trevor
 
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lasersbee

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I thought I'd spin a thread off to deal with the issue of third-party software interfacing with LaserBee software. Members here have used generic terminal applications for Mac and Windows, generic datalogging programs, and programs made specifically for datalogging from laser power meters (such as Peregrine).

Recently there's been a misconception going around, perpetuated by Jerry, that a LaserBee might be damaged by interfacing with it via a program other than the utility distributed with the meters. I thought it appropriate to try to clear up this misconception and set everyone's mind at ease.

LaserBee Characteristics

All LaserBees that involve a PIC microcontroller operate at 5V. 5V is logical high and 0V is logical low.

The following LaserBee products include a DB9 connector intended to be used as RS232:

  • LaserBee I
  • LaserBee I-X
  • LaserBee II
  • DL-Module

These LaserBee models must use RS232 to USB adapters in order to connect to most modern computers.

The following LaserBee models include an RS232 to USB adapter built-in:

  • LaserBee 2.5W USB
    [*]LaserBee 3.7W USB

They already have a little logic board inside that enables you to plug the LPM into USB natively.

Why does Jerry claim that "damage" could be done by using other interface software? Well, there's no possible way that transmitting data to the computer could in any way harm the LaserBee. After all, the LaserBee transmits data to the bundled software. The other potential area for "damage" is in receiving data. If you plug an RS232 connector straight into the LaserBees that allow it, you are potentially exposing it to voltages greater than its operating voltage (5V). However, this cannot possibly harm the LaserBee. I'll outline why below.

Let's examine the way data moves in and out of LaserBees.

A couple years ago, the most ubiquitous type of LaserBee was the 1W LaserBee I. The "OEM" version of the LaserBee I has a DB9 connector soldered to the pads on the left side of the board. The male connector looks like this:



There is a (mirrored) female version of this connector on some LaserBee boards. The LaserBee, of course, will be transmitting data on the pin labeled RXD - because that's what the computer reads from.

As you can see, on the top, the RXD and Ground is soldered to the board. There is one pin soldered on the bottom.

However, the TXD pin, which would be used to send data to the LaserBee, is electrically isolated.

Check it out:



So, the solder pads for all the pins except ground and the data transmission pin are electrically isolated. There is one pin on the bottom soldered on for support, but it is not electrically connected. Furthermore, the unused solder pads are insulated from the contacts on the connector - there will be no accidental contact. So all the pins but the transmission pin are, in fact, quite electrically isolated.

The LaserBee I, I-X, and II all share the same basic board - so this will be the case on all of those.

Now, moving on to the USB LaserBee - the most ubiquitous one now:



You see that only the ground and the transmission coming from the LaserBee are even connected. It is impossible for any transmission from the computer to get anywhere near the board with the PIC on it. It is absolutely impossible for this board to be damaged by interface software.

Now, last but not least, the "Deluxe LaserBees" that come in the project boxes:



Once again, you can see that there is no possibility for any stray voltage to reach the PIC board.

So what does it mean?

Because of the electrical isolation of the pins other than those necessary to transmit data to the computer, there is no possible way for the LaserBee to do anything but spew data back to the computer.

Moreover, Jerry accounted for the possibility of someone trying to transmit data to the LaserBee at a voltage that could damage it. Thus, he ensured that those pins were isolated from the rest of the circuit to prevent any damage from occurring.

I've concluded that he is knowingly lying to prevent LaserBee users from using anything but the datalogging software he distributes. To me, it seems that is the only logica conclusion.

Since it has been proven that damage is not physically possible, I think we can conclude that it is perfectly fine to use third-party programs to stream data from the LaserBee - be it StampPlot Pro, the Arduino monitor, CoolTerm, or Peregrine.


I'm sad that I had to post this thread to dispel such a bald-faced lie, but such is the state of "competition" in the hobbyist LPM world.

But at least people can rest easy, knowing that third-party software cannot damage a LaserBee.

Trevor
1) Another feeble attempt to get a rise out of me.... so sad...:tired:
At least get your facts straight if you want to TROLL and not look silly...

2) We have never had any issues with 3rd party SOFTWARE interfacing
with our EagleEye™ SOFTWARE as you state above... I have no clue what you are mumbling about...:thinking:

3) You have never seen the inside of our new LaserBee 3.7W USB. If
you would like to see the insides you will need to buy one.

4) What part of the Legal Disclaimer did you not understand...:thinking:

Legal Disclaimer

Please be advised that this disclaimer is for Legal reasons and
to be absolutely clear.

J.BAUER Electronics is the sole designer and manufacturer of all
the LaserBee Laser Power Meter products and is the sole owner
of all copyrights and trademarks for the LaserBee™ products and
the EagleEye™ software.

Anyone that implements/uses any unauthorized nor approved nor
tested (by J.BAUER Electronics) 3rd party firmware on any of our
products will unconditionally void any Warranty and/or any present
or future Customer Service for their LaserBee product.

This or any future unauthorized 3rd part mimicking of our Intellectual
Property (IP) and work product is not recognized, recommended
or approved to be used on any LaserBee product ever manufactured
by J.BAUER Electronics.


Do you not comprehend the written English word...:thinking:

5) Since I haven't given you the satisfaction of actually being able to
effectively Troll me you have now stooped so low that you need to
attack me personally by calling me a liar.
Manipulating and misinterpreting what I say to make you look better
is just too transparent...

6) As for statements that you have made that seem to be contrary
to what you have been doing like this one where you state...
I'm not interested documentation so that I can write software for your customers.
http://laserpointerforums.com/f64/no-longer-available-here-add-data-logging-your-lpm-62132.html#post883757

Yet that is exactly what you are doing...writing software for our customers

Then there is this one which is basically the same BS you posted
recently about J.BAUER Electronics and its Lawyers Endorsing your
inferior products...

http://laserpointerforums.com/f39/wtb-laserbee-1w-73849.html#post1066487

Legal
Good news - Peregrine is officially endorsed (or at least, tolerated) by Jerry and his lawyer!
We have never APPROVED or ENDORSED any of your projects and
never will because we don't trust you. Its that simple.

Oh and not to forget the cream of the crop where you boasted about
a fictitious paper that you wrote just to give yourself some credibility
on the Forum that you were called out on...

http://laserpointerforums.com/f39/fs-kenometer-usb-firmware-upgrade-0-1mw-precision-30-a-60393.html#post873257

I'd consider those posts and attribute and proof of a LIAR....

7) I remember that before we contracted a professional programmer
to design our now popular EagleEye™ data logging software we offered
you a chance to design a data logging software package for our
LaserBee LPM product line and you declined... You decided instead to
hitch your programming wagon to another LPM train...
How's that working out for you...;)

8) I see that you have purchased a lot of used 1st generation LPMs that
were sold years ago... but never from us directly.
You seem to be overly obsessed by our products and want to ride our
coat tails...
I would suggest that you get some professional help for your obvious
obsession with our products. That can't be too healthy...

BTW... I won't respond to any more of your trolling until I deem it necessary...:beer:


Jerry

You can contact us at any time on our Website: J.BAUER Electronics
 
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Trevor

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Well, I am in fact not trolling at all - all I want is an explanation of why there is this discrepancy between the actual hardware properties of your products and the things you tell your customers.

2) We have never had any issues with 3rd party SOFTWARE interfacing
with our EagleEye™ SOFTWARE as you state above... I have no clue what you are mumbling about...:thinking:
Zoops. Good catch, fixed it in the post. But you know what I mean... why are you beating around the bush?

3) You have never seen the inside of our new LaserBee 3.7W USB. If
you would like to see the insides you will need to buy one.
It's safe to say it's another DL-Module hooked up to a TEC and USB converter. Just like how the LaserBee I, I-X, and II all use the same board.

It's logical, based on all of my other work with the LaserBee ecosystem.

Why are you focusing on this, instead of the actual issue?

4) What part of the Legal Disclaimer did you not understand...:thinking:

*snip*

Do you not comprehend the written English word...:thinking:
That disclaimer directly deals only with firmware - I'm not sure why you've put it in a thread about interface software.

5) Since I haven't given you the satisfaction of actually being able to
effectively Troll me you have now stooped so low that you need to
attack me personally by calling me a liar.
Manipulating and misinterpreting what I say to make you look better
is just too transparent...
You said Peregrine might cause damage to LaserBees. Have I misrepresented that in any way, shape, or form?

Why are you skirting the question that this thread raises?

6) As for statements that you have made that seem to be contrary
to what you have been doing like this one where you state...

http://laserpointerforums.com/f64/no-longer-available-here-add-data-logging-your-lpm-62132.html#post883757

Yet that is exactly what you are doing...writing software for our customers

Then there is this one which is basically the same BS you posted
recently about J.BAUER Electronics and its Lawyers Endorsing your
inferior products...

http://laserpointerforums.com/f39/wtb-laserbee-1w-73849.html#post1066487

We have never APPROVED or ENDORSED any of your projects and
never will because we don't trust you. Its that simple.
Those threads you linked were separated by more than a year... I think it's obvious that I occasionally change where my programming focus is (Luminosity / Kenometer Firmware / LumenOS P1 + R1 / Radiant Electronics / Peregrine / LaserBee Firmware... the list goes on).

You gave Peregrine your stamp of approval in the original thread in April 2012. I quoted it in the Peregrine thread.

When you said that you didn't endorse it, I updated the OP accordingly.

Anyhow. I'm writing free software for everyone. Your customers are a subset of everyone. So it is indeed true now - I'm writing software for your customers.

Why are you avoiding the question?

Oh and not to forget the cream of the crop where you boasted about
a fictitious paper that you wrote just to give yourself some credibility
on the Forum that you were called out on...

http://laserpointerforums.com/f39/fs-kenometer-usb-firmware-upgrade-0-1mw-precision-30-a-60393.html#post873257

I'd consider those posts and attribute and proof of a LIAR....
Dang, that's old. I'll shoot an email over to the ECE department... the document is Virginia Tech's property, and should be somewhere in the ECE department's repository of things that underclassmen wrote. If they never did anything with it, I can probably have them release it somehow. It's been two years, after all.

Though at this point I don't think you actually care.

7) I remember that before we contracted a professional programmer
to design our now popular EagleEye™ data logging software we offered
you a chance to design a data logging software package for our
LaserBee LPM product line and you declined... You decided instead to
hitch your programming wagon to another LPM train...
How's that working out for you...;)
Just fine. I've ended up writing code on every single hobbyist LPM platform and learning a whole lot in the process.

All in all, it's been a great investment of time.

8) I see that you have purchased a lot of used 1st generation LPMs that
were sold years ago... but never from us directly.
You seem to be overly obsessed by our products and want to ride our
coat tails...
I would suggest that you get some professional help for your obvious
obsession with our products. That can't be too healthy...
I'm developing firmware for all of them. Got to be thorough, you know. :)

And in all that... you never responded to what the OP was about. I laid out a logical progression that came to what I believe to be a logical conclusion.

If Peregrine (or other PC software) can actually cause damage, you should be able to prove it with a couple of photos and a short explanation.

So... how about it? Here's a quick summary:

1) LaserBees are not modified in order to work with Peregrine.
2) LaserBees are not designed in a way that could allow damage by interface software.

What say you? How can damage occur?

Trevor
 
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ARG

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Reply to LaserBee's revised post.
1) This is not a troll this is a message to LB users that their LPM cannot be damaged by third party software. I don't know how or why you perceived it as such.

4) That's a very bad business practice to threaten your customers, but it is your decision; if you want to threaten customers for using third party software that cannot damage your LPM's go right ahead!

6) Why are you bringing that old thread up? It's not relevant here. To me it looks like you're trying to troll Trevor. Lets keep this civilized, shall we?

There was one question in this thread, you replied to everything but that question.
What damage can happen to the laserbee's from reading serial data?
 
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Multimode

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There was one question in this thread, you replied to everything but that question.
What damage can happen to the laserbee's from reading serial data?
It's a good question.......me as a laser user looking buy another LPM, if I buy a Laserbee can I use 3rd party software (not firmware) without voiding the warrantee?
 

BShanahan14rulz

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what about a DB-9 M-F adapter that has properly selected protection components for each conductor, that will, through it's use, protect the laserbee's DB-9 interface from any possible miswiring, voltage surges, etc.?

This device would have to be purchased from LaserBee directly for him to keep accurate records for warranty purposes, but it seems like this could be a possible median for both parties?

I know this is just more work for Jerry, just so that he can make his product safely compatible with current and possible future third party logging software, but the benefits to consider are not only monetary, and might even allow for an unofficial "partnership" of sorts, where the makers of the software could be allowed to list the laserbee as a recommended sensor and data creator, albeit with caveat of using LaserBee brand in-line protection module for the db-9 connection.

Here's to finding a win-win resolution! No way to find a resolution without conversation, though! :beer:
 

Multimode

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This device would have to be purchased from LaserBee directly for him to keep accurate records for warranty purposes, but it seems like this could be a possible median for both parties?

:beer:
I don't need to buy a "device" from Dell to connect my PC to 3rd party RS232 accessories:beer:
 

BShanahan14rulz

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Motherboards often have PTCs around the backplane ports. They don't need to put those there for the ports to work properly.

I have a VGA monitor with a vga cable that has a ferrite bead on both ends. It doesn't need to have that bead there to connect to a display.

I have a flashlight that takes a protected 14500 cell. The protection circuit isn't needed; the flashlight works fine without it.

Saved my best analogy for last:
We have a Xerox printer, we buy it special xerox brand toner. Aftermarket toner works just as well.
 

Things

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The point is it doesn't _need_ protection. There is literally no way you could damage it short of sending higher voltages into the RX pin, and if you're using a plain ol USB-TTL adapter, it's not gonna happen.
 

Trevor

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The point is it doesn't _need_ protection. There is literally no way you could damage it short of sending higher voltages into the RX pin, and if you're using a plain ol USB-TTL adapter, it's not gonna happen.
Even if you sent the highest possible voltage under the RS232 standard, it would only reach +/-15V.

This is not enough to arc anywhere else on the board, or between pins. And if it was enough to arc, the RS232 standard would have been abandoned decades ago.

It's literally physically impossible to damage a LaserBee by reading from it or writing to it. You would have to be TRYING in order to damage one.

Trevor
 




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