Tuesday 24 February 2015

Getting started with the JVF2010A

OK, so you bought a JVF 2010A panel for cheap, you don't know how to use it and you got here while searching how to!

The JVF 2010A is an 80s computer that execute a DOS program that is placed on a properly formatted Floppy disk, You simply place the floppy in the drive, power on the panel , it takes a time to boot and after this it displays the default animation continuously.That system allows you to display animations that you will create or copy onto the floppy disk. You will notice an AT keyboard port on the side of the panel. you can edit your drawings and scripts directly on the panel in the main program, it's doable but I don't encourage this because we can do everything we need on the PC where the content to display will come from...

first you need to create a floppy disk that will have the basic programs and files to run.
The following archive JVF 2010A formating tool was found at http://johniii.tripod.com/jvf.html
there is lots of info on this page on how to write scripts with special effects,this subject is of course more advanced than the basics.

Using the 2010a.exe application found in the archive you can create floppy disks that will be formatted correctly and it will have the needed files/programs for the panel to work.

 You can now add new drawings and animation scripts to your floppy.

the main files types are as follows

*.DSN those are drawings, I would guess DSN comes from the french word 'dessin' since the company was based in QC,Canada... just a guess
all DSN files are kept in A:\DSN

*.SHW this is an animation file that contains commands that tells what to draw, what special effects to do and more.
all SHW files are kept in A:\

AUTOEXEC.BAT this is a batch file that gets executed when the system boots it contains the name of the animation file that will be ran when the panel is powered up.
AUTOEXEC.BAT is kept in A:\

(JVFA.exe or JVFF.exe) this is the program that does all the work.

How to add new content to the disk

In a prior blog post I was showing the DSNEditor windows application that I wrote. That application allows  the user to convert .bmp files to .dsn and generate a basic animation script at the same time. Using this tool I generated the animation that is shown in the video.
The files needed to play it are available in the following archive files

Simply extract the content on the A: drive. It will place the needed dsn and shw files where they belong and it will overwrite the AUTOEXEC.BAT file

After this just place the floppy disk into your panel and power it up, after 10 to 15sec it should start to play the animation or display an error message if something went wrong.

Another blog post will explain how to use DSNEditor to generate your own content...