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Minimalist laptop for embedded work?

Started by Joerg November 8, 2006
Jim Granville wrote:
> Joerg wrote: > > Hello Folks, > > > > Looks like I'll have to debug code for a small uC (MSP430) in the field > > pretty soon. ... > > The programmers work via USB. The bootloader I may have to provide would > > be RS232 but that could be handled via a USB-RS232 converter. ... > > I heard mention last week, that RS232 ports are making something of > a come-back and are re-appearing in some business laptops.
Yep, execs can't do without their EEPROM burners. Or do they frequently need serial console to rack servers? :) Seriously, any reason for this supposed trend?
> > -jg
toby wrote:
> Jim Granville wrote: > >>Joerg wrote: >> >>>Hello Folks, >>> >>>Looks like I'll have to debug code for a small uC (MSP430) in the field >>>pretty soon. ... >>>The programmers work via USB. The bootloader I may have to provide would >>>be RS232 but that could be handled via a USB-RS232 converter. ... >> >> I heard mention last week, that RS232 ports are making something of >>a come-back and are re-appearing in some business laptops. > > > Yep, execs can't do without their EEPROM burners. Or do they frequently > need serial console to rack servers? :) > > Seriously, any reason for this supposed trend?
Good question, all we could think of was to talk to the emerging Cell Phone Modems ? [for those who don't have/trust bluetooth ?] -jg
toby wrote:
> Jim Granville wrote: >> Joerg wrote: >>> >>> Looks like I'll have to debug code for a small uC (MSP430) in the >>> field pretty soon. ... >>> The programmers work via USB. The bootloader I may have to provide >>> would be RS232 but that could be handled via a USB-RS232 converter. >> >> I heard mention last week, that RS232 ports are making something of >> a come-back and are re-appearing in some business laptops. > > Yep, execs can't do without their EEPROM burners. Or do they > frequently need serial console to rack servers? :) > > Seriously, any reason for this supposed trend?
What about to connect to a real modem? -- Chuck F (cbfalconer at maineline dot net) Available for consulting/temporary embedded and systems. <http://cbfalconer.home.att.net>
Joerg wrote:
> Hello Folks, > > Looks like I'll have to debug code for a small uC (MSP430) in the field > pretty soon. Cramped space, things can be banged around a bit, the > usual. What would be a small, low cost and bare minimum laptop to do > that with? Or is there a nice PDA where a keyboard can connect to? > > The programmers work via USB. The bootloader I may have to provide would > be RS232 but that could be handled via a USB-RS232 converter. In the lab > I use a baseline Dell Inspiron. Works nicely but it is quite large and > the plastic enclosure looks a bit too flimsy for such jobs.
We use Dell Latitude D600's - get a 2nd hand one off eBay. They have a serial port and seem to be reliable, even when bumping around in the field. In Australia they are fairly cheap so, comparatively speaking, you could get 2 duds before it became more expensive than a new one! Peter
On 2006-11-09, Jim Granville <no.spam@designtools.maps.co.nz> wrote:

>>>>Looks like I'll have to debug code for a small uC (MSP430) in >>>>the field pretty soon. ... The programmers work via USB. The >>>>bootloader I may have to provide would be RS232 but that could >>>>be handled via a USB-RS232 converter. ... >>> >>> I heard mention last week, that RS232 ports are making >>> something of a come-back and are re-appearing in some business >>> laptops.
I would applaud that if true, but I have a real hard time believing it.
>> Yep, execs can't do without their EEPROM burners. Or do they frequently >> need serial console to rack servers? :) >> >> Seriously, any reason for this supposed trend? > > Good question, all we could think of was to talk to the emerging Cell > Phone Modems ?
All of the ones I've seen in the past few years were USB.
> [for those who don't have/trust bluetooth ?]
-- Grant Edwards grante Yow! I want to so HAPPY, at the VEINS in my neck STAND visi.com OUT!!
On 2006-11-09, CBFalconer <cbfalconer@yahoo.com> wrote:
> toby wrote: >> Jim Granville wrote: >>> Joerg wrote: >>>> >>>> Looks like I'll have to debug code for a small uC (MSP430) in the >>>> field pretty soon. ... >>>> The programmers work via USB. The bootloader I may have to provide >>>> would be RS232 but that could be handled via a USB-RS232 converter. >>> >>> I heard mention last week, that RS232 ports are making something of >>> a come-back and are re-appearing in some business laptops. >> >> Yep, execs can't do without their EEPROM burners. Or do they >> frequently need serial console to rack servers? :) >> >> Seriously, any reason for this supposed trend? > > What about to connect to a real modem?
Laptops all come with built-in modems. -- Grant Edwards grante Yow! .. Do you like at "TENDER VITTLES?"? visi.com
Grant Edwards wrote:
> On 2006-11-09, CBFalconer <cbfalconer@yahoo.com> wrote: >> toby wrote: >>> Jim Granville wrote: >>>> Joerg wrote: >>>>> >>>>> Looks like I'll have to debug code for a small uC (MSP430) in the >>>>> field pretty soon. ... >>>>> The programmers work via USB. The bootloader I may have to provide >>>>> would be RS232 but that could be handled via a USB-RS232 converter. >>>> >>>> I heard mention last week, that RS232 ports are making something of >>>> a come-back and are re-appearing in some business laptops. >>> >>> Yep, execs can't do without their EEPROM burners. Or do they >>> frequently need serial console to rack servers? :) >>> >>> Seriously, any reason for this supposed trend? >> >> What about to connect to a real modem? > > Laptops all come with built-in modems.
But they aren't real modems - they are often so-called winmodems. Usually useless under a real OS. -- Chuck F (cbfalconer at maineline dot net) Available for consulting/temporary embedded and systems. <http://cbfalconer.home.att.net>
Hello Peter,

>> >>Looks like I'll have to debug code for a small uC (MSP430) in the field >>pretty soon. Cramped space, things can be banged around a bit, the >>usual. What would be a small, low cost and bare minimum laptop to do >>that with? Or is there a nice PDA where a keyboard can connect to? >> >>The programmers work via USB. The bootloader I may have to provide would >>be RS232 but that could be handled via a USB-RS232 converter. In the lab >>I use a baseline Dell Inspiron. Works nicely but it is quite large and >>the plastic enclosure looks a bit too flimsy for such jobs. > > > We use Dell Latitude D600's - get a 2nd hand one off eBay. They have a > serial port and seem to be reliable, even when bumping around in the > field. In Australia they are fairly cheap so, comparatively speaking, > you could get 2 duds before it became more expensive than a new one! >
They seem to be around $370 after a brief look on EBay. My latest Inspiron was about $500 (new) but if the D600 is more rugged it could be worth it. I am really missing the small and efficient laptop of yesteryear, my old Compaq Contura. Their Aero was the best of them all but they are long gone and wouldn't run the bloated softwares of today anyway. AFAICT there was never anything that came close in efficiency after the Contura series. Mine lasted over 5 years and got a whopping 6hrs out of its little NiCd. Then its enclosure began to crack around the perimeter after too many rough flights :-( -- Regards, Joerg http://www.analogconsultants.com
Hello Grant,

> >>>>>Looks like I'll have to debug code for a small uC (MSP430) in >>>>>the field pretty soon. ... The programmers work via USB. The >>>>>bootloader I may have to provide would be RS232 but that could >>>>>be handled via a USB-RS232 converter. ... >>>> >>>>I heard mention last week, that RS232 ports are making >>>>something of a come-back and are re-appearing in some business >>>>laptops. > > > I would applaud that if true, but I have a real hard time > believing it. > > >>>Yep, execs can't do without their EEPROM burners. Or do they frequently >>>need serial console to rack servers? :) >>> >>>Seriously, any reason for this supposed trend? >> >>Good question, all we could think of was to talk to the emerging Cell >>Phone Modems ? > > > All of the ones I've seen in the past few years were USB. >
Exec market or not, a good indicator is usually Walmart. If they ain't got it, it ain't popular. They do carry a USB-parallel adapter but I have never seen any USB-RS232 adapter there. -- Regards, Joerg http://www.analogconsultants.com
Hello Chuck,

>>>>> >>>>>>Looks like I'll have to debug code for a small uC (MSP430) in the >>>>>>field pretty soon. ... >>>>>>The programmers work via USB. The bootloader I may have to provide >>>>>>would be RS232 but that could be handled via a USB-RS232 converter. >>>>> >>>>>I heard mention last week, that RS232 ports are making something of >>>>>a come-back and are re-appearing in some business laptops. >>>> >>>>Yep, execs can't do without their EEPROM burners. Or do they >>>>frequently need serial console to rack servers? :) >>>> >>>>Seriously, any reason for this supposed trend? >>> >>>What about to connect to a real modem? >> >>Laptops all come with built-in modems. > > > But they aren't real modems - they are often so-called winmodems. > Usually useless under a real OS. >
But execs, marketeers and Power-Point jockeys rarely use a real OS ;-) -- Regards, Joerg http://www.analogconsultants.com

Memfault State of IoT Report