Browse Prior Art Database

IBM Asset Protection Data Programmer

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000016714D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Jul-10
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jul-10
Document File: 3 page(s) / 86K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

A device for programming IBM Vital Product Data / Asset Protection Data into IBM product cards.

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IBM Asset Protection Data Programmer

  Disclosed is a device consisting of a complete hardware and software solution for programming IBM Vital Product Data (VPD) into IBM product cards. The VPD is used for card identification, asset protection and card tracking. This VPD is present on nearly every card designed by IBM for use in its various systems. The design consists of a small, portable hardware unit that connects to a PC or laptop via a standard serial port. The unit interfaces to the IBM product card to be programmed. The software application running on the PC allows the user to select the chip parameters, voltage, dataset and other specifics. The user then chooses to write or read the data set. The device can read and write both types of VPD/Asset protection modules used on IBM cards. These two types are I2C (non-secure) and smart-chip (secure/encrypted) data. The unit supplies power to the device while programming so no other connections are needed and the individual cards may be programmed on a bench-top without requiring attachment to a system.

    The solution used in the past was to purchase a partial system and make numerous modifications and create custom software to allow programming of this data. This was expensive and was not available until late in the program. The solution discussed in this document allows VPD programming with minimal cost, high speed and no special fixture design requirements. With this tool, VPD may be programmed beginning with the initial card builds, this eases card tracking requirements by allowing the card location to be electronically verified. This electronic verification is possible because the card identification information is stored in a VPD memory device on the card and may be read by software. Previously, early card tracking required partial system disassembly to read barcode information.

    The software residing on the PC communicates with the hardware controlling all module read and write transfers. The software provides two types of interfaces. An intuitive graphical windows environment and a command line interface. The graphical environment allows simple 'point and click' programming requiring the user to simply scan the card with a barcode reader then select 'write' to program all modules on the card. The command line interface allows scripting and execution from other programs. The software has numerous other features including printing, logging and ASCII/binary save functions. All software was written using Microsoft Visual C++*.

    The programming unit is a small portable device measuring approximately 5x5x2 inches. The unit receives commands for powering on, setting voltage, setting module type, reading and writing VPD data. The hardware unit is flash-based which allows for code updates by sending a new programming file over the serial port with a special command sequence that instructs the unit to re-program itself with new data. This allows for easy updates at remote locations. The u...