Universal serial port drivers for RISC OS 2.02
Most standard RISC OS machines, such as the Risc PC, A7000, etc., have
only one serial port. Over the years, several podule expansion cards
have been made available to overcome this limitation, added any number
of extra serial ports to the machine. As each card was developed by a
different company, there was no common standard to allow application
software to select, use and configure the required interface.
In an attempt to create a uniform interface for each available serial
interface, several years ago Hugo Fiennes created the serial BlockDriver
specification. Since then, most existing applications have been using this
standard to allow flexible selection and configuration of any available
As Hugo is no longer able to provide support for the BlockDrivers,
we've taken the liberty to introduce this webpage as a common resource for
the existing BlockDrivers. This is particularly important today, as for
any new hardware, the drivers have to be 32-bit and ARMv7 compatible.
At present, only a few BlockDrivers have been converted to 32-bit,
as indicated by the icon.
Over the years a number of different expansion cards (podules) have
been designed by various companies. Below is a non-exhaustive list
of these interfaces.
- Internal serial port
This is the fixed RS232 port that is present on most machines.
On most machines only a single port is available, although the
new IYONIX pc has two internal ports.
- SP_Dual - The Serial Port
This card, originally designed by Hugo Fiennes and later sold by Atomwide,
came in two flavours: as a 2-port and a 3-port
variant. Multiple cards can be used and the maximum number of
extra ports is 8 (numbered 0-7).
The device driver module has been converted by Tank and is available
from his website.
- IIDual - Intelligent Interfaces Dual Serial Card
This card is still available from Intelligent Interfaces in the UK
and consits of two high speed serial RS232 ports. Multiple cards
can be used and the maximum number of ports supported by the software
is 16 (0-15). A 26/32-bit neutral version of the BlockDrivers and
the device driver module have been made available by Intelligent
Interfaces and are included in the current release of the BlockDrivers.
This is a dedicated card, developed by X-Ample Technology for some
special projects. It consist of two serial RS232 ports and one RS422
synchronous port. It has not been converted to 32-bit.
Although not exactly a serial card, it behaves like one. The card
reports itself as a standard RS232 interface to which a modem is
connected. Initially developed by Acorn, the card was available from a
number of dealers, including X-Ample Technology.
10 Jul 2004|
Release 2.02 of the BlockDrivers now available for download.
New icons added for all components as designed by Richard Hallas.
10 May 2004
A completely new Enhanced BlockDriver Specification has been
created, based on the original BlockDriver specification by Hugo
Fiennes. The new specification contains support for 26 and 32 bit
systems and serial ports that use a DeviceFS interface, rather than
the common SWI interface.
The !SerialDev application still holds the BlockDrivers in separate
directories as before, but some new features have been added:
- A BlockDriver support module has been included.
- Each BlockDriver directory may now contain a !Boot file (and additional files) that are executed when !SerialDev is launched (e.g. at boot-time).
- Support for bith IYONIX serial ports has been added.
- 26/32-bit neutral drivers for the IIDual card have been added.
- A new Shareware application !Serial has been added to allow monitoring of all serial ports.
The latest release of the blockdrivers can be downloaded here.
If you happen to have a blockdriver which is newer that the one
provided here, please send it to us and we'll
make it available to other users.
Current release: BlockDrivers 2.02 (10 Jul 2004) (197KB ZIP file)
This is the latest release of the BlockDrivers for RISC OS.
It contains a support module, called BlockDriver, and uses
the extended BlockDriver specification, which will be made
available shortly. This release supports both serial ports on
the IYONIX computer and contains 26/32 bit neutral drivers
for the Intelligent Interfaces dual serial podule.
Below are some older releases of the blockdrivers. They are mainly
supplied here for reference only and may be useful if you want to
bring a very old machine back to life. They are not suitable for
the currently available hardware.
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No part of this website may be copied without our written approval.
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Last changed: Wednesday, 13 August 2014 - 09:06 CET