I have been in much the same situation as you, i.e. new computers use USB
with no serial or parallel ports. Further the number of USB ports provided
is really insufficient as the number of plug-ins (including KB & mouse) that
require USB ports have increased. Spare PCI slots in new computers are
often one-to-none or are not available (my PCI slots were mostly used and
the one that was open was not accessible due to adjacent card width - when
the computer was delivered) and the availability of quality serial cards has
My answer was to use a single USB port for a Bluetooth adapter for KB &
Mouse to free-up/provide sufficient USB ports (printers are accessed via the
home Ethernet network). I have considered using USB hubs for my radio
computers to provide more USB ports (considering future needs). When
connecting with Ten Tec radios which still use serial ports I use
USB-to-DB9, USB-to-DB25 adapters, and several adapters I make myself
(DB15-to-stereo, etc.) additionally Ten-Tec also requires on some radios
that you only use 2 or 3 wires from one port in your connections and cannot
use a standard DB-to-serial interface.
CAUTION: not all USB-to-serial adapters work the same. Some brands of
USB-to-serial adapters will not work at all for your application and some
will work, but will not work well. It is best (read "easiest and cheapest")
to use the brand of serial adapter that the manufacturer recommends.
If you utilize the Google search engine and search for "USB to parallel
adapters" you will find several manufacturers that make USB-to-parallel
adapters for about $10 to $20. I found several on a quick search. Which
ones are correct for your installation or which one is best, I do not know
(not sure anyone does). Unfortunately, this will probably have to be trial
Using the USB as a serial port, you will have to determine which COM ports
your software (EQF) can use, as some software will only use ports 1 through
4. Then you will have to determine which COM ports are in use. If you use
Windows XP (as I do) then you would go into START, CONTROL PANEL, SYSTEM,
HARDWARE, DEVICE MANAGER - than click on the "+" in front of "Ports (COM &
LPT)". The drop down should tell you which ports are in use and for what.
When you install your USB-to-Serial port adapter you will have to install a
driver for it. It will show up here under "Ports (COM & LPT)". If it does
not initially install as the COM port number your software (EQF) needs than
double click on it. The properties of that COM port will open up. Select
"Port Settings", then ADVANCED and in the bottom of the new window is a "COM
Port Number:" you can change it to the COM port number you need or want.
Remember that no two COM ports can use the same number at the same time; you
may have to do a bit of COM port juggling (changing some others so that you
can get the one you need). If you have to change COM ports already in use,
you will have to adjust the software that uses it so that it knows what he
new port number is.
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
On Behalf Of RLBrannigan
Sent: Tuesday, May 19, 2009 6:32 AM
Subject: [TenTec] Still dumb
I guess I wasn't too clear on my original posting. For years I have been
using the EQF logging program connected via serial port to my laptop.
When laptop "A" died, I replaced it and had to use USB/serial adapters
to run the radio. So far, so good.
In each instance, the computers had a parallel port on the back and,
using optoisolators, I was able to key the radio from the logging
progran. Very convenient.
Now, laptop "B" is getting squirelly. My latest acquisition has 3 USB
ports and NO parallel port.
What to do? Answers /off the board, please/.
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