Psion Connectivity under VirtualBox

An older guide to getting a Psion 3a communicating with a Mac; Very outdated, but will probably still work.

I'd use this approach instead.

Steps

Download Ubuntu Server:

www.ubuntu.com/download/server

In this example, I’ve used the current LTS release, which is 14.04.3 LTS.

Also, download VirtualBox:

www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads

Create a new VM like so:

Run the following:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade && sudo halt reboot

sudo apt-get install plptools

Now time to test the connection. Plug the cable into the Psion and the USB port on your Mac.

Switch on link mode on the Psion at 9600 bauds and type this:

sudo ncpd --verbose=all --serial=/dev/ttyUSB0 --baudrate=9600

If the service started successfully, you should see it listed here:

ps -ef | grep ncpd | grep -v grep

Now initiate the FTP connection to your Psion:

plpftp

If you see the > prompt, try typing dir c:, and you should see the contents of your main drive. If this work, congratulations! You’ve successfully formed an FTP connection to your psion.

When you’re done testing, type bye to exit the FTP session, and then at the bash prompt sudo pkill ncpd to terminate the connection with your Psion.

Now we can proceed to connect the VM to your Mac, and create a complete interface between your Mac and your Psion.

mkdir ~/bin

At the moment, your VM won’t know how to identify itself on the network by name (we’ll get to that in a bit), so you’ll need to ssh to the ip address:

ifconfig

ssh <username>@XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX

sudo apt-get install plptools

ncpd

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