JP Vossen on 18 Oct 2010 23:31:46 -0700

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[PLUG] Serial & parallel ports; lack thereof

At dinner last night after PLUG W we were talking about the difficulty of getting newer computers, esp. laptops, with serial or parallel ports. Those ports can be important for controlling certain devices (notably CNC devices, see And the USB<-->serial adapters do NOT work for CNC due to various timing issues, according to...Eric, I think it was?

The short answer looks like, lots of people [1] still sell PCI Parallel Adapter and PCI serial Adapter (and combo) cards. Not so useful on a laptop, but if you have a PCI slot, you're golden.

Longer answer:
I didn't look that hard, but I didn't find any current laptops with either.

I thought that my Atom-based System76 Meerkat NetTop has a serial and a parallel port, and I was right. Unfortunately, the NEW one does not:

None of the S76 laptops have either.

All of the System76 servers do have 1 serial port, but I didn't find any parallel ports.

A couple of ZA Reason servers had a serial port too:

Finally, my old backup server was a Synertron Twister, and they still sell some stuff with serial & parallel ports. They have fanless units and CF-CARDs as well, which is perfect for high contaminate, high vibration environments, like mounded on the side of a CNC rig. Most of these are available with up to 4 serial ports:

This is the only one that claimed to have a parallel port, but the picture doesn't show it:

Some of the boards have what looks like a parallel port, but from reading the specs it may be a serial port... Like:

Anyone else have any ideas?
[1] I still have a StarTech ISA Parallel Adapter Card, and it's the same distinctive triangle shape as the newer PCI ones. Funny.
JP Vossen, CISSP            |:::======|
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