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An Emulator of Aydin Display Generators

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PC5200 is a software emulator of the Aydin 5205, 5215 and 5217 display generators and the model 5219 display system.  The standard build of the emulator provides full support of the Aydin 5215 and 5217 command sets, including support for data trending (DTCS) extensions.  It supports the 80x48 display format, four display channels and the standard Aydin character sets.  Custom character sets can be accomodated easily.  Other display formats, including a 72x48 format associated with the model 5205 DG, can be accomodated with special builds of the software.  Different builds of the software are also available to allow display channels to be viewed simultaneously in separate windows, spread across an extended desktop, or one at a time in a single window.

All Aydin keyboard functions are mapped to standard PC keyboard keys. The Windows version of the emulator provides, in addition to keyboard support using the PC keyboard, an on-screen key-for-key replica of the Aydin keyboard that can be activated by mouse or touchscreen.  This keyboard is configurable by the user to provide custom keycap legends, etc.  Custom keyboards can be supported with special builds of the software.

PC5200 supports serial, TCP/IP and parallel communications with a host system. Serial communications, standard for the original 5217 and 5219, has built-in support in PC5200; likewise TCP/IP, which is used in some systems in which original Aydin equipment has been replaced by RISC processor based display stations. To support parallel communications, standard for the original 5205 and 5215 models, and used, for example with Honeywell, Gould and Modcomp systems, PC5200 functions as a client to Mirador's parallel to TCP/IP server. The parallel server makes use of a high-speed digital I/O card and an interface adapter. Interface adapters are available for the ELCO (90-pin) and TVD-193 (2x50-pin) interfaces (both 8-bit plus parity, full-duplex bi-directional), and for the TVD-293 interface (16-bit, half-duplex bi-directional).

Mirador offers Windows and Linux versions of PC5200.  Both versions use the same proven Aydin protocol interpreter.  See the side bar below for details.

To download PC5200 for Windows for a free 30 day evaluation, please see the downloads page.


Sample process screen

PC5200 screen 1

Sample Data Trend Channel Set (DTCS) screen

PC5200 screen 3

Why use PC5200? The Aydin display generators have been out of production for some time, and it is becoming more and more difficult and expensive to maintain them as spare parts and repair expertise become more and more scarce. PC5200 allows replacing failing display generators with standard, low-cost PC hardware.

Even when the old display generators continue to function acceptably, a maintenance problem arises on account of the difficulty and expense of finding replacement slow-scan monitors for them. Slow-scan CRT and LCD monitors remain available, but only from a few vendors; and these vendors tend to charge high prices for these specialty items. After replacing an Aydin display generator with a PC running PC5200 it becomes possible to use standard, low-cost PC monitors as display devices.

Aydin Graphics Symbol Sets Supported

Both versions of the PC5200 emulator support the following Aydin character sets:

  • Standard alphanumeric and punctuation symbols (05-5014A and 05-5125)
  • Standard SCADA graphic symbols (05-5014A and 05-5053A)
  • Standard SEER graphic symbols
  • Standard large Greek letters and large graphics, numeric and punctuation symbols (05-5054 and 05-5056A)
  • Standard large upper and lower case alphanumeric symbols (05-5054 and 05-5058B)
  • Additional graphic symbols (471-5212)

PC5200 for Windows

The Windows version of PC5200 runs on most Windows 32-bit operating systems, including Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista.  It features a sizable main window, Windows-style menus and dialogs for configuration, an optional on-screen keyboard, printing the screen to any Windows printer and support for remote communications over a TCP/IP network.

PC5200 for Windows is supplied on CD for installation on a user-supplied PC.  It is especially well suited for providing an auxiliary "window" into the process control system, whether from a control engineer's desk in the plant, or from a remote location (used in conjunction with Mirador's Remote Terminal Server).

The requirements for running PC5200 for Windows are:

  • Pentium or better CPU
  • RAM consistent with operating system requirements
  • one serial port required for host communications (a USB to serial adapter may be used if Windows drivers are installed)
  • additional serial ports optional for secondary host, locator device or serial printer
  • parallel port optional for parallel printer support
  • USB port required (a software protection key is attached here)
  • additional USB port optional for USB printer support
  • VESA compliant video card
  • CDROM drive (needed for loading the software)
  • hard drive (The emulator occupies only about 8MB of disk space when installed.)
  • PS/2 Style keyboard
  • PS/2 Style mouse
  • Any 32-bit MS Windows operating system that supports USB (2000, XP, Vista)

PC5200 for  Linux

The Linux version of PC5200 has minimal operating system and hardware requirements, making it well suited for installation on older PC hardware or on an embedded PC platform. This version is recommended to all user's who want to dedicate a PC to providing Aydin display generator emulation in a mission-critical system.

PC5200 for Linux is supplied pre-installed on an eBOX-2300 embedded computer.  The computer boots from Compaq Flash (no hard disk) and is configured to launch PC5200 automatically following boot.

This version of the emulator runs full screen.  The screen can be printed to any HP PCL3 compatible USB printer.  A multi-page menu system allows for easy configuration of communications settings, print settings, DG address, etc.  The eBOX's sound chip can be used as an alarm.  A mouse can be used to emulate a light pen.

Below is an example of the on-screen keyboard available with the Windows version of PC5200.  The function keys can be legended as appropriate for the user's application.  Colors and legends for the function keys are assignable in a user editable configuration file that is read by PC5200 when it starts up.

PC5200 Soft Keyboard Example

PC5200 for Windows' on screen keyboard may be invoked as required from the menus.  The on screen keyboard is movable and sizable independently of the main window.

The screen shot below illustrates one way to deploy PC5200 for Windows' on screen keyboard. Here, a wide format LCD monitor with screen resolution of 1920x1080 and screen diagonal of 24 inches is used as the display device. The screen is set up in portrait mode.   As can be seen, PC5200's main window fits nicely into the area at the top of the screen, leaving plenty of room for the on screen keyboard at the bottom.  With this configuration, the on-screen keyboard does not obscure PC5200's main window at all when it is up and so may be left up all the time without interfering with the operator's view.

If desired, this or another type of monitor could be equipped with a touchscreen, and the on screen keyboard keys could be activated by touch.  Otherwise, the keys would be activated by mouse clicks.

Display example, 16x9 portrait mode

Installation Example

The photos below document an installation of Mirador's  PC5200 emulator at a power plant. Here, PC5200 replaces an Aydin 5215 four-channel DG. PC5200 is attached to a Honeywell TDC-2000 using 8-bit (plus parity) bi-directional parallel I/O. It is configured to support four displays and two keyboards, just as the old 5215 did. One display and one keyboard are situated in the engineering lab near the computer; the other three displays and the other keyboard are situated in the plant's main control room, some distance from the computer.

Installation example, front view

This photo shows a front view of a rack in the engineering lab. An industrial PC is installed at the top, above the old 5215. This PC runs Mirador's parallel to TCP/IP server for PC5200 and one instance of PC5200 itself.

Installation example, rear view

This is a view of the rack from the rear. Note the violet CAT5 cable attached to the PC's Ethernet port. This cable connects to another PC in the control room, which is running a multi-window version of PC5200. Note also the large diameter grey cable connected to a 100-pin SCSI II connector on the PC. This cable carries the parallel signals to and from the Honeywell computer. (See next photo.)

Installation example, detail

The parallel I/O cable from the PC  connects to the old VIC cable by way of a Mirador-supplied adapter, shown here in close-up.

Installation example, operator station

The last photo shows the operator station in the engineering lab.  The LCD monitor is equipped with a resistive touch screen so that PC5200's on screen keyboard  (not shown here) can be activated by touch.


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Mirador Software
1040 West End Blvd.  Winston-Salem, NC 27101  USA
e-mail sales@pc8800.com  Telephone 1-770-850-9100 / FAX 1-770-881-7958


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