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'[PIC]: preferred modern I/O'
2001\10\26@092720 by Douglas Butler

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       A couple of years ago I designed a measuring product.  My box connects
to a PC to do user interface and higher math functions, and the PC then
outputs the computed data to a recording device, usually another PC.
This existing system uses RS232 for both data links box<>PC and
PC<>recorder.  This works fine with rack mounted industrial PCs.
       Now customers want to use my box with a laptop.  The laptop is ideal
except for one problem.  I can't find one with two RS232 ports!  For the
short term there are a few kludgy fixes, but I want to know what I
should do in the long term?  If I redesign my box what I/O should I use?
The options I see are:

GPIB            Archaic, difficult, not available on common laptops
USB             Windows-centric, hard to make a non-PC based master if I needed one
Firewire        ??? I know almost nothing about it
Ethernet        Seems capable, stable, available on uPs (but not PIC) and
laptops
Bluetooth       Bleeding edge technology, no need for wireless

       Is there anything I have overlooked?  Is Ethernet a clear winner?

Sherpa Doug

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2001\10\26@093559 by jason

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What about IrDA?? basically IR RS-232.
Don't most laptops these days have an IrDA port?
MCHP has a couple parts for it that would make your design change easy
from your existing RS-232 design.....
just a thought....
Jason

>{Original Message removed}

2001\10\26@094002 by Kathy Quinlan

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Hi Doug,

I would say Ethernet or USB, depends on what data rates etc, I have helped
in the design at work using 10Mbit, but would hate to design 100Mbit (the
crystal Lan chip does not go that high, and even then we had a FPGA in
between the Uc and the Lan chip) USB is supported under UNIX and Windows (ok
unless you need to use dos, as I am not sure of a dos based driver)

RS 232 seems to be dead, more and more is moving to USB and Firewire, I am
having trouble finding laptops with one RS 232 port :o( another option is to
use the PS2 port to communicate with the PIC and then use Ethernet to
communicate with the other PC ?

Regards,

Kat.
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{Original Message removed}

2001\10\26@094402 by Alan B. Pearce

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>USB             Windows-centric, hard to make a non-PC based master if I
needed one

This would be the way I would look at going, using a pair of USB-Serial
adapters. AFAIK Linux is pretty advanced at using USB, especially for
generic devices like this, so making a non-PC based unit should not be a
problem. When you say PC based, I assume you mean Wintel based, as Macs use
USB as well, so to say USB is PC based is not really correct.

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2001\10\26@094811 by Don Hyde

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USB is not easy to design, and you need to write drivers, so it's a lot of
trouble.

We've had good luck with 4-port USB to RS-232 adapters, which are readily
available and cheap.  You might want to look into them.  RS-232 is so cheap
and easy to do...

> {Original Message removed}

2001\10\26@095226 by Gerhard Fiedler

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At 09:24 10/26/2001 -0400, Douglas Butler wrote:
>         A couple of years ago I designed a measuring product.  My box
> connects
>to a PC to do user interface and higher math functions, and the PC then
>outputs the computed data to a recording device, usually another PC.
>This existing system uses RS232 for both data links box<>PC and
>PC<>recorder.  This works fine with rack mounted industrial PCs.
>         Now customers want to use my box with a laptop.  The laptop is ideal
>except for one problem.  I can't find one with two RS232 ports!

How about adding USB serial ports? I've been using them with very good
results on my notebook (and on my desktop). A lot less "kludgy" than most
of the options below... of course, the non-Windows problem may remain (but
doesn't apply to Macs).

>  The options I see are:
>
>GPIB            Archaic, difficult, not available on common laptops
>USB             Windows-centric, hard to make a non-PC based master if I
>needed one
>Firewire        ??? I know almost nothing about it
>Ethernet        Seems capable, stable, available on uPs (but not PIC) and
>laptops
>Bluetooth       Bleeding edge technology, no need for wireless

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2001\10\26@095434 by Douglas Butler

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I wasn't sure Linux and Macs had good USB support.  It is good to see
they do.  My remaining concern about USB is if I had an application
(none on the horizon yet) where I control my box from another PIC based
box.  That would require the new PIC to be a USB master, which I hear is
very hard.

Sherpa Doug

BTW, I currently use 115200 baud RS232, a little faster would be nice.

> {Original Message removed}

2001\10\26@101711 by Thomas McGahee

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Belkin and some others make USB to serial converters.
There are even USB to DUAL serial converters. Some
of these are also hubs. Prices range from $35 USD
to about $100 USD depending on manufacturer and
features.

The advantage of going this route is that USB can
be used both on MACs and IBM PCs.

Fr. Thomas McGahee

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2001\10\26@150621 by Olin Lathrop

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>         A couple of years ago I designed a measuring product.  My box
connects
> to a PC to do user interface and higher math functions, and the PC then
> outputs the computed data to a recording device, usually another PC.
> This existing system uses RS232 for both data links box<>PC and
> PC<>recorder.  This works fine with rack mounted industrial PCs.
>         Now customers want to use my box with a laptop.  The laptop is
ideal
> except for one problem.  I can't find one with two RS232 ports!  For the
> short term there are a few kludgy fixes, but I want to know what I
> should do in the long term?  If I redesign my box what I/O should I use?
>  The options I see are:
>
> GPIB            Archaic, difficult, not available on common laptops
> USB             Windows-centric, hard to make a non-PC based master if I
needed one
> Firewire        ??? I know almost nothing about it
> Ethernet        Seems capable, stable, available on uPs (but not PIC) and
> laptops
> Bluetooth       Bleeding edge technology, no need for wireless

Another possibility is to use Ethernet between the PCs, and continue using
RS-232 between the box and the PC.  That requires few code changes and will
work with a laptop that has a network connection and a serial port, which is
far more than have two serial ports.

If you're willing to do a little more work you could think about changing
RS-232 link to USB.  Newer machines, laptops particularly, don't come with
serial ports anymore.  But all these machines have USB, which is how they
justify dropping serial.


********************************************************************
Olin Lathrop, embedded systems consultant in Littleton Massachusetts
(978) 742-9014, spam_OUTolinTakeThisOuTspamembedinc.com, http://www.embedinc.com

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2001\10\28@172429 by Tony Nixon

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Don Hyde wrote:
>
> USB is not easy to design, and you need to write drivers, so it's a lot of
> trouble.
>
> We've had good luck with 4-port USB to RS-232 adapters, which are readily
> available and cheap.  You might want to look into them.  RS-232 is so cheap
> and easy to do...

Why do thay make something that is totally integrated in a PC and make
it a nightmare to use? Surely they could create an interface layer that
allows communications via C, Pascal or whatever.


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