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Notebooks that still have legacy ports

Discussion in 'Embedded' started by SMS, Jan 29, 2007.

  1. SMS

    SMS Guest

    Anyone know any current models, besides these, that still have serial
    and/parallel ports?


    Serial/Parallel

    1. Fujitsu Lifebook E8110 Drawbacks: No 1394, UMA graphics

    Serial

    1. Dell D620
    2. Dell D820
    3. Dell D520 Drawbacks: UMA graphics
    4. HP Compaq nc8430 Drawbacks: No IrDA
     
    SMS, Jan 29, 2007
    #1
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  2. SMS

    larwe Guest

    I've more or less given up on this. I'm investing in USB-connected
    debugging hardware for everything on which I need to continue working.
    I have archived two complete laptops (HP ZE4805US) with native serial/
    parallel ports in case I need to do something with an old dev system.

    Thus far I've migrated AVR, MSP430, NEC 78K0 over to USB: I'm just
    deciding which ARM hardware to buy.
     
    larwe, Jan 29, 2007
    #2
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  3. SMS

    Don McKenzie Guest

    I agree, and saw it coming about 5 years ago. It's like trying to hang
    onto DOS applications and hardware.

    If new designs ignore USB for PC comms, then they are heading in the
    wrong direction.

    Next it will be no RS-232 or parallel ports on PC motherboards.
    How many new peripheral designs use serial or parallel these days?

    It is all USB. Some new designs retain a legacy RS-232 port, but I can't
    see this continuing for any real length of time.

    Don...



    --
    Don McKenzie
    E-Mail Contact Page: http://www.dontronics.com/e-mail.html

    Crystal clear, super bright OLED LCD (128x128) for your microcontroller.
    Simple serial RX/TX interface. Many memory sizes.
    http://www.dontronics-shop.com/product.php?productid=16460
     
    Don McKenzie, Jan 29, 2007
    #3
  4. SMS

    Joerg Guest


    I just bought a Twinhead Durabook D14RA. Although not mentioned in the
    ad it showed up with an RS232 port. No parallel port though.

    As Lewin and Don pointed out it may well be that USB is the future (for
    now) but there is lots of industrial gear that has a lifetime of several
    decades. IOW about an order of magnitude longer than PCs and laptops. I
    guess that was the reason they threw in an RS232 because this laptop is
    ruggedized and for field use.
     
    Joerg, Jan 30, 2007
    #4
  5. SMS

    Gary Peek Guest

    Well, gosh, if people continue to refer to them as "legacy" ports,
    the PC manufacturer's may not realize that they will continue to be
    important to some people!

    Even if the USB to serial port converters do not always work well,
    there are PCMCIA serial ports on all but the smallest laptops.

    This all kind of cracks me up, everyone worrying about connecting
    microcontrollers to PC's. The time connected to a PC should be
    small shouldn't it, as in during development?

    Aren't we designing standalone microcontroller based products that
    get a program upload from a PC and work off by themselves most of
    the time? Often using serial ports to talk to other industrial
    devices?
     
    Gary Peek, Jan 30, 2007
    #5
  6. SMS

    larwe Guest

    While you're developing, that connection is absolutely critical
    though :) Also, a micro that needs to transfer data or control
    information to/from a PC needs a similar connection.
    You just fell into the same semantic trap of which you accused us
    above. "Industrial" PCs will continue to have RS232, RS485 et al for a
    long, long time - because they're a special market. They also cost x3
    or more what a consumer PC will cost.

    Potayto, potahto.
     
    larwe, Jan 30, 2007
    #6
  7. SMS

    Gary Peek Guest

    Well, now you got me goin' on another related topic. Sure, many
    microcontroller development programs are only available for the PC.

    But most of these "consumers" are actually just people using
    computers for entertainment, and not a lick of "work".

    They should just be getting Mac's! Wonder if _they_ still got
    serial ports. (Rhetorical, rhetorical, don't answer that.)
     
    Gary Peek, Jan 30, 2007
    #7
  8. SMS

    Joerg Guest

    Also, a lot of lab equipment, industrial control gear and other stuff
    has RS232 only. In those markets it is not customary to chuck everything
    after 5 years because that's considered too old. They use stuff for
    decades. Heck, even the old Dolch logic analyzer here in the lab is
    about 25 years old now. Works fine. Why buy a new one? And guess what
    it's port is?
    Mine was only about 1.5x and has RS232 :)))
     
    Joerg, Jan 30, 2007
    #8
  9. SMS

    cs_posting Guest

    I wonder how long it will be before we hear that some frustrated
    engineer has gone and implemented himself an entire legacy PC on a
    large FPGA eval board in order to get the real parallel port(s) needed
    to run a legacy programmer or device...
     
    cs_posting, Jan 31, 2007
    #9
  10. I probably would buy one. It will be short lived also, as the
    evaluation board and the FPGA family on which it is based become
    obsolete ...

    Roberto Waltman

    [ Please reply to the group,
    return address is invalid ]
     
    Roberto Waltman, Jan 31, 2007
    #10

  11. Of course you actually can get PCI and PC Card (PCMCIA) "real"
    parallel ports. There's at least one vendor hawking a dual function
    PC card with both a 16550 and legacy parallel port on it.

    Although with the rate at which PCI slots seem to getting displaced by
    PCI-E slots, I wonder how long it'll be before finding a PC with a PCI
    slot will be as hard as finding one with an ISA slot. Not that
    there's anything that would prevent someone from doing a PCI-E
    parallel/serial card, but I've already run into a couple of situations
    where I've had a problem because all the PCI slots on a machine were
    full with stuff that didn't have a PCI-E replacement. In the last
    case I had to discard the internal modem and install an external USB
    one.
     
    robertwessel2, Jan 31, 2007
    #11
  12. SMS

    Joerg Guest

    This situation can be alleviated to some extent by foregoing upgrades.
    Unless there is an absolutely convincing reason such as a crucial SW
    package not running on it I tend to keep PCs until something falls off.
    The PC I am writing this on has a decade under its belt and I bet it'll
    be still here next year. It's got not just one RS232, it's got two of them.

    :)
     
    Joerg, Jan 31, 2007
    #12
  13. SMS

    Rich Webb Guest

    HP's nc6320 family. UMA graphics but a pretty good range of systems.
     
    Rich Webb, Jan 31, 2007
    #13
  14. SMS

    SMS Guest

    Thin clients often still have two serial ports and a parallel port. They
    are often connected to serial scales and scanners, and receipt printers.

    A notebook for the embedded engineer is very different than one for
    "regular" use. It's very useful to have the legacy ports.

    Even worse, a lot of the new notebooks have dropped the CardBus slot.
     
    SMS, Jan 31, 2007
    #14
  15. SMS

    SMS Guest

    The loss of the CardBus slot is extremely annoying. I have a nephew who
    does video editing for a movie studio. They used to be able to take the
    memory card out of the Panasonic HD studio camera, and stick it into the
    Apple Powerbook, and do editing. Now they can't do this anymore, the
    memory card is CardBus format, and there is no CardBus slot on the new
    Apple notebooks. There are no USB to CardBus adapters other than one
    that only works with a few wireless cellular modems. Panasonic makes a
    USB Card Reader for their memory cards, but it's over $2000, and
    requires a separate power supply. So now they have to stop filming and
    download the contents of the memory card over 1394.

    Some of the editors have installed OS-X on a Sony Vaio with a CardBus
    slot. Some have abandoned Final Cut and gone back to Avid on a Windows
    platform. All for the stupid CardBus slot.
     
    SMS, Jan 31, 2007
    #15
  16. SMS

    cs_posting Guest

    Oh, that's easy... you just emulate them on a better one ;-)

    Actually, that is not a problem at all as most of the work would be in
    the HDL (hardware description language - verilog or vhdl or similar),
    and only a little in the specifics of a given FPGA device, external
    memories it was hooked to, etc.

    Actually, I guess we might say that archicetures will have three
    phases of life:

    1) HDL for initial proof of design
    2) Silicon
    3) HDL on an FPGA, either as a hobbyist project or as a means of
    resurrecting a needed platform (or alternatively, software emulation
    on a current platform).
     
    cs_posting, Jan 31, 2007
    #16
  17. SMS

    larwe Guest

    Yeah, well, even having the right port isn't always enough :( I was
    chugging along happily with my HP 54645D scope at work. Serial port
    interface, of course. Unfortunately, the interface software is written
    as an ActiveX control that lives inside MS-Office (STUPID F#$ING
    SYSTEM). IT kindly updated my system (without my knowledge, desire or
    permission) to Office 2003. Instantly I cannot access the scope.

    Engineernig machines should NOT BE SUBJECT to company IT policies
    about software updates, unified OS loads, etc.
     
    larwe, Jan 31, 2007
    #17
  18. Why not just keep an old computer to use with your old equipment?
    If it needs repairs, have several more of the same model around for
    parts. (I practice what I preach. I have a 1978 IBM Series I
    minicomputer which still works. It has about 15 RS-232 ports.)
     
    Gary Reichlinger, Jan 31, 2007
    #18
  19. SMS

    Joerg Guest

    I had a mutual agreement with our IT guy that he doesn't touch my
    machine unless I consent, and he gets to dig in when the mint cookies
    come in from the girl scout cookie sale.

    Now I am my own IT guy :)))
     
    Joerg, Jan 31, 2007
    #19
  20. SMS

    Joerg Guest


    That's what I do. But there comes a time when this stuff just falls
    apart. The hard disk in my old Contura only stays there because of a
    large piece of duct tape. The battery falls out the minute you lift it
    and the whole outer frame is cracked :-(
     
    Joerg, Jan 31, 2007
    #20
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