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Could anyone give me the path to follow in order to add an additional DB9 serial port to my HTPC. Is a pci card the way to go? I read somewhere that there is an additional unused connector on the CUCSL-2C. Is this true? I couldn't find any mention of it on the ASUS website. If so, is the hardware I require standard and easy to find?


Thanks for any help you can give this HT veteran/HTPC newbie.
 

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There are two ways with that motherboard -- there is a serial port socket on the far left corner of the board (opposite the CPU) that accepts a plug on a small ribbon cable that was supplied with board. The other end of the ribbon cable contains a standard serial port and is designed to screw into an expansion slot. The other way is to use a PCI card. Both options work and should be extremely inexpensive.

- Ken
 

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Thanks Ken


I'll pop the cover off of the case and take a look.


Jeff
 

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By the time I was finished adding ports, I found I needed 4. One for my Pronto cable; one for the home controller; one for the Pinnacle remote; and one for receiver firmware download & control.


The CUSL2 should have come with an additional DB9 connector & ribbon cable, to provide you with a total of two serial ports.


If you want/need more than this, I have had good success with LAVA cards. See the LAVALink website for more information. The card that I bought is the DSERIAL-PCI, which provides two additional DB9s. Although the drivers do not specifically indicate XP support, I am running it, and have not had any problem.
 

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Wow Dean - $229 for a 4-port card is pretty pricey. I would expect to pay maybe $50 for that card. Still looking, I guess...


Chris
 

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Well, maybe I fell for the 'expensive speaker wire' syndrome :) But they make very high quality cards that you don't have to worry about whether they are affecting the performance of your system or not. They have a whole section in their catalog about how crappy many PCI boards are and what it can mean for your system performance and stability. And their drivers seem to install easily and work well.
 

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Dean,


I have no doubt it's a high-quality card. The Lavalink looks like the same type of design too. The ports share the same IRQ. I'm just having a hard time spending that kind of money on ancient serial technology. Heck, you can buy a cheapo computer with 2 built-in serial ports for that price.


In regards to the Lavalink. What a pain in the butt. There is only one distributer in the Bay Area. I called them up and they don't want to sell me just one. Furthermore, this place wants a minimum $300 order. The place is "Computer Direct Wholesale". I don't think I'll be doing any business with them, with that attitude. I did a search and couldn't find any on-line dealers.


Chris
 

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Maybe that's why Quatech charges $299 Would they have any genero multi-port cards at Frys? I've never really looked for such things when I was there.
 

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Pretty much any old multi I/O card should have a couple of serial ports on it. As long as you can disable everything but the serial ports then your good to go.


All you really need to look for are the 16550 UARTs on the board and the ability to select the ports as COM3 and COM4. COM3 and COM4 are going to share the same IRQs as COM1 (IRQ4) and COM2 (IRQ3).
 

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In a quick search I found a 2 Port card with a 16C950 UART from StarTech.com . Supposedly the 16C950 UART is newer and better than the 16550 UART chips, but still backwards compatible. CNet Shopper has it listed selling for $37.95 from Buy.com.


Why haven't the AV equipment manufacturers start using USB?


Graham
 

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That should be fine, I guess even serial ports get new technology :)
 

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CompUSA sell a 2 serial/1 parallel PCI card for about $50. Bestbuy probably do too.


Eventually more HTPC gear will be more USB-centric. It is only a matter of time. Remember that USB is only a couple of years old, but serial ports have had decades of development.
 

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Another alternative: A USB attached serial hub (like the RocketPort ); 4 ports; plug it in; it works. I use one at home for my projector, scaler, X10 and IR control hookups.
 

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It looks like SIIG makes a reasonably priced 4-port PCI card. Plus they are available from CompUSA and Fry's - although I have never seen the 4-port version on the shelves. I might have to special order it.


I would prefer a PCI card that shared one interrupt, rather than using Com3 and Com4 and sharing interrupts with com1 and com2. I have had problems with this in the past. Plus I may need more than 4 ports total.


I have also tried a USB to serial adaptor and discovered that most of my serial devices didn't work with it. So I'm kind of down on that approach, not to mention that it's expensive going that route too!


Chris
 

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I picked up a SIIG PCI serial card for $69 for 2 ports, expandable to 4. I picked it up at Fry's. It seems to work fine and I have moved 2 devices to com4 and com5. With the add-on ports, I will have 6 com ports which will do for the forseeable future. Dean, I have moved the QuadScan to com5 in CQC and it's fine.


Chris
 

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I had to special order the expansion kit from CompUSA. It cost $39. So the total cost for a 4-port PCI solution was $108. This is cheaper than other solutions I was looking at.


Chris
 

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I'll add some of these alternative sources to the web site. Right now I only mention the Quatech ones, which I've used and therefore was comfortable recommending. But if you guys are safely using others, I'll add them in there too, as lower cost alternatives.


Currently, CQC is designed to handle up to 32 serial ports. Actually its not CQC that sets that limit, its the underlying CIDLib C++ Frameworks serial frameworks that set that limit. That's probably more than enough for any single computer. Since CQC is fully distributed, of course you can use another computer to control other devices and its all the same from CQC's perspective.


Do you have a URL for the one you got?
 
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