parallel port programming using Python?

Mike Linnen mlinnen at
Mon Nov 1 22:46:01 EST 1999

Most of my robotic projects have revolved around 8 bit microcontrolers and
various languages like Basic, Forth and assembly.  I was always running into
problems like lack of floating point arithmetic, or running out of memory.
So I recently moved to Windows 98 platform on a laptop with Visual Basic as
the language. The laptop would communicate through the RS232 port to a slave
computer.  The slave computer handled all the time specific stuff like PWM
to the motors,  collision avoidance ect.. Visual Basic was used for the high
level stuff.

I wanted to try some Object Oriented techniques and I ran across Python.
Since it is an interpreted language I thought it would be easy to prototype
new ideas. So far it has worked very well for me. I do not have a full robot
functioning with Linux and Python yet, but I did write some C code to access
a Vector 2X compass on the parallel port.  I then extended the Python
language with my new V2X module.  I used the demo/extend/xxmodule.C as an
example for my module.  Now I can simply import my new module inside Python
and read the direction my robot is facing with a couple of commands.  All
the high level mapping/ navigational planning can be done with Python.  This
seems like a cool way to go as far as I am concerned.  Modeling Behaviors in
Python using OOP would be really neat.  Extending the robots functionality
should become easier also.

I am not a real C programmer myself but I was able to port my Visual Basic
V2X code over to C fairly easy.  I got it working on a Linux box without
Python first.  Then I merged Python and my working C code together.

Currently I am researching what Single Board Computer will best suit my
needs.  I will be using Linux, Python, and C together to achieve almost all
of my I/O.  I suspect I might have to go to RTLINUX to achieve this.

I am also interested in your progress with Linux and your Bot.  I have only
used DC motors and PWM myself but have thought of going to steppers for more

Mark Ricketts <mricket2 at> wrote in message
news:7vc1tg$5477 at
> I'm kind of a novice when it comes to c programming, I've used basic on
> pc but since I'm acquaninting myself with linux I figured the best way to
> learn a new language is to attempt an actual useful project.  I'd like to
> build a little xyz robot using stepper motors for motion control that will
> be operated via the parallel port.  I've already got the thing working in
> the DOS/Windows world, but I am so into the whole linux philosophy that I
> want to redo it using Python in Linux.  Python is said to be a very easy
> language to pick-up but so far I haven't found any language routines that
> will allow me to access the parallel port for this type of control.  So
> I'm very interested in what you are doing, maybe you could expand on what
> your project is all about, and how it's progressing.
> ------
> msdr at
> Mike Linnen <mlinnen at> wrote in message
> news:KimO3.9837$pL5.20871 at
> > I am in the process of rolling my own extension to python that allows
> > parrallel port access.  If you know C it is not to hard to extend
> > functionallity.
> >
> >
> > Mark Rickets <markr at> wrote in message
> > news:19991014.22042400 at
> > I want to use python for data acquisition from the parallel port.  I
> > am using Mandrake-Linux as the operating system  on a PC if that makes
> > a difference.  Are there any modules available in Python that allow
> > one to access the system parallel port for this type of function?
> >
> > msdr at
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >

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