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Good low cost laptop for embedded work?

Started by Joerg December 4, 2004
"Grant Edwards" <grante@visi.com> wrote in message
news:41b386cf$0$9709$a1866201@visi.com...
> On 2004-12-05, Lewin A.R.W. Edwards <larwe@larwe.com> wrote: > > >> I've never had any problem with the $20 USB->serial interfaces > >> under Linux. Windows support for them isn't great... > > > > Which particular ones are you using? All the devices I've used > > either don't work with the evbs I need to use, or cause kernel > > panics sometimes (I can't work out the exact circumstances). > > I've used a couple different no-name "brands" but they were all > based on prolific chips. > > The one that I've got handy right now says "micro innovations" > on the DB-9 end. It's the style w/o the lump in the middle. > I've also got another prolific one with a lump in the middle > that plugs into my cell phone. There's one at work with a > different brand that's identical to the "micro innovations" > one.
I'm using LabWindows for my serial stuff and have yet to find one that works flawlessly. I have tried three different types, Prolific, U232-P9 (from purple computing, http://pfranc.com/usb/usb.mhtml) and a third noname type. They all had the problem if I setup the program to for example 9600 baud and wrote several bytes to the comport at a fast sucsession rate it would miss some bytes and in some cases boot the machine. The only way I found to make it work, was to add a loop in my program to let the bytes be written to the comport at or lower than the baudrate. But that unfortunately means more delay than one would want And moreover application programs not under my control are not sure to work since they would probably just write to the port in the normal way Cheers Klaus
Grant Edwards wrote:

>If your lab is in a constant state of being reconfigured, it's >a royal PITA to keep shuffling desktop machines around from one >bench to another.
PC104 stacks in ruggedized cans are *easier* to shuffle from one bench to another than laptops are.
On 2004-12-06, Guy Macon <_see.web.page_@_www.guymacon.com_> wrote:
> > Grant Edwards wrote: > >>If your lab is in a constant state of being reconfigured, it's >>a royal PITA to keep shuffling desktop machines around from one >>bench to another. > > PC104 stacks in ruggedized cans are *easier* to shuffle from > one bench to another than laptops are.
And they have keboards and displays? -- Grant Edwards grante Yow! KARL MALDEN'S NOSE at just won an ACADEMY AWARD!! visi.com
Grant Edwards wrote:
> >On 2004-12-06, Guy Macon <_see.web.page_@_www.guymacon.com_> wrote: >> >> Grant Edwards wrote: >> >>>If your lab is in a constant state of being reconfigured, it's >>>a royal PITA to keep shuffling desktop machines around from one >>>bench to another. >> >> PC104 stacks in ruggedized cans are *easier* to shuffle from >> one bench to another than laptops are. > >And they have keboards and displays?
Mine has a small 640x480 LCD display and a mini-keyboard hooked to it. I can still tuck the whole system under my arm, and it takes less benchtop space than any laptop.
Joerg wrote:

> Hi Tim, > >> For me, the lab is the penultimate stopping place for desktops before >> they become one with the landfill -- why use a laptop at all? > > > > Yes, if it were just my lab. But then comes the time where things have > to be tried out at the customer or sometimes in the field. The real > field where the next power pole could be a couple miles behind the > Klondike. Also, you have to fit it all into your carry-on, along with > the nice slacks, shirt and tie for the final presentation to the big guys. > > Totally OT: Is there a version of your PID article that has the figures > inside the text? I think that paper is just the ticket to show someone > how feedback works in daily life. Seems they don't learn much of that at > college nowadays. > > Regards, Joerg > > http://www.analogconsultants.com
Theoretically ESP magazine owns the rights to that. I need to get off my fat ass and write another article that I can post with a clear conscience. -- Tim Wescott Wescott Design Services http://www.wescottdesign.com
Hi Ian,

>Whichever one you choose, be sure to check it has a serial interface. Many >laptops these days no longer have one. > >
Actually I was just about to settle for a little Dell this morning. Then, just before ordering, I found that it doesn't even have a parallel port. Ouch. So now I am wondering if an MSP430 tool works via a bidirectional USB-parallel adapter such as the Micro Innovations USB545C. Else we'd have to buy the more expensive USB programming pods. I posted a question on the MSP430 Yahoo forum and to TI support. Let's see. Regards, Joerg http://www.analogconsultants.com
"Joerg" <notthisjoergsch@removethispacbell.net> wrote in message 
news:m75td.29578$zx1.21889@newssvr13.news.prodigy.com...
> Hi Ian, > >>Whichever one you choose, be sure to check it has a serial interface. >>Many >>laptops these days no longer have one. >> > > Actually I was just about to settle for a little Dell this morning. Then, > just before ordering, I found that it doesn't even have a parallel port. > Ouch. > > So now I am wondering if an MSP430 tool works via a bidirectional > USB-parallel adapter such as the Micro Innovations USB545C. Else we'd have > to buy the more expensive USB programming pods. I posted a question on the > MSP430 Yahoo forum and to TI support. Let's see. > > Regards, Joerg > > http://www.analogconsultants.com
The Dell group that handles leased laptops has an eBay store where they sell factory reconditioned Dell laptops. I have bought a couple and they seem quite nice. Not as cheap as you might get a laptop elsewhere but I was comforted by the fact they have been reworked by Dell technicians. Perhaps you can find a year or two old model that still has parallel and serial ports. http://stores.ebay.com/Dell-Financial-Services_W0QQsspagenameZstrkQ3amefsQ3amesstQQtZkm If this link doesn't work just go to eBay and search for "Dell-Financial-Services" and you should eventually end up at their eBay store. Rob Young (no affiliation with Dell, just satisfied with their products)
> So now I am wondering if an MSP430 tool works via a bidirectional > USB-parallel adapter such as the Micro Innovations USB545C. Else we'd > have to buy the more expensive USB programming pods. I posted a question
I've tried some USB-parallel solutions and none of them worked with the FET.
Joerg wrote:

> > So now I am wondering if an MSP430 tool works via a bidirectional > USB-parallel adapter such as the Micro Innovations USB545C. Else we'd > have to buy the more expensive USB programming pods. I posted a question > on the MSP430 Yahoo forum and to TI support. Let's see. >
I don't use one, but I think it's VERY unlikely. The parallel port JTAG programmers work by direct bit- poking; you'll usually find they come with an access- protection- defeating driver such as giveio, Port95 etc. You can program the MSP430s using the serial port, but tyhe debugger doesn't work that way, you have to revert to old-fashioned LED blinking, strategically-places printf()s etc. Paul Burke
Hi Lewin,

>I've tried some USB-parallel solutions and none of them worked with the >FET. > >
That's sad. It probably is not working for the reasons Paul gave. What puzzles me is that TI still sells their MSP430 trial kits with a parallel-only connection with the far end soldered to the proto board. This means a lot of people with laptops can't use them. Regards, Joerg http://www.analogconsultants.com