Old software never dies. But it does loose support.
April 30, 2010 12:15 PM   Subscribe

How can I get this 25-pin serial DayStar embroidery software "dongle" to work in a newly-installed 25-pin serial PCI expansion card?

A client is running an embroidery software called DayStar. It is from March of 2002. The company no longer supports the software.

In order to run the software, a unique and exclusive "key" (aka "dongle") must be plugged in to a 25-pin serial port. On the old Integrity computer—which came with a 25-pin port—it works great.

However, that computer is running on borrowed time. They have a newer computer, a HP Pavilion a1648x, and would like to run the DayStar software on it. Problem: the HP lacks an indigenous serial port.

I have tried two different PCI expansion cards and a serial-to-usb adapter, and the software does not recognize the dongle is plugged in. So, the software won't run.

I am mystified. There is very little on DayStar's software (or their keys) on the internet. And serial port PCI expansion cards seem rudimentary but I am clearly missing something here.

Help?
posted by Mike Mongo to Technology (9 answers total)
 
Did you check to see which COM port that the software is looking for?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:20 PM on April 30, 2010


Most of those kinds of dongles don't go on serial ports, they go on parallel ports. On the PC side, parallel ports have female connectors, while serial ports have male connectors. Since dongles have both kinds (they're designed to pass through), it's understandable to confuse what kind of port it plugs into. 25-pin serial ports on PCs haven't been common for a loooong time, probably since the mid-90s. Check the port on the old PC that they plug it into. Odds are it's a parallel port with a female connector.

Get a PCI parallel port card instead.
posted by zsazsa at 12:37 PM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, while USB to parallel port adapters do exist, they likely won't work with any dongles as they're only made to connect to printers. PCI is your only reliable choice.
posted by zsazsa at 12:39 PM on April 30, 2010


My guess, and it's just a guess, is that you need the tell the serial (or parallel) port which port it should emulate. If the software is looking for COM1 and the add-on port defaults to COM5 it won't work. You would set it, i believe, in the Windows Device Manager.

I don't have one of these cards in my PC, but I do have some virtual serial ports. To adjust those I find the port in device manager (listed under "Ports (COM & LPT)"), then find the port listed. It should be obvious which is the add on card. Right click it, go to properties. Then the port settings tab, then advanced. There's a COM port number drop down there.

Of course this is in XP and may not even be how to fix it.
posted by bDiddy at 12:54 PM on April 30, 2010


You might also try to reinstall the software with the PCI card and dongle installed.
posted by Ferrari328 at 1:42 PM on April 30, 2010


a good way to check to see if you have a serial port or parallel port dongle is by looking at the thumbscrews on it (if it has any). D-type connectors (like they use on serial/parallel ports) usually have screw connectors to make sure the cable or dongle stays connected. if there are screws on either side of the male side, it's parallel. if there are screws on either side of the female side, it's serial. for example, examine the screws on this parallel port dongle.
posted by mrg at 1:49 PM on April 30, 2010


If it's serial, you might need a com port redirector to set the right one or your PCI card hopefully came with configuration tools to set the com port that gets advertised to the OS.
posted by plinth at 4:59 PM on April 30, 2010


Most of those kinds of dongles don't go on serial ports, they go on parallel ports.

Whoops: Vernacular correction. I mean parallel.

And bDiddy, I have to wait until Monday to give that suggestion a shot, but I have to tell you I am excited like Monday is Christmas! I bet that's it.

Oh hurry Monday!

[Excited!]
posted by Mike Mongo at 9:50 PM on April 30, 2010


My guess, and it's just a guess, is that you need the tell the serial (or parallel) port which port it should emulate.

Okay, that was a good guess but...it didn't work.


On the computer the dongle is currently working on, the parallel port is hard-cased into the back of the computer. Meaning it is NOT PCI.

On that computer, under Device Manager>Ports, what is listed is:

Communications Port (com1)
Communications Port (com2)
Printer Port (LPT1)

On the NEW computer—the one with the parallel port PCI card—they read:
PCI Parallel Port (LPT1)*
PCI Serial Port (COM1)*
PCI Serial Port (COM2)*

* originally read (LPT3), (COM5), (COM6), respectively.

And the software still won't install. When I restart, nada.

Challenging but I feel as if I am learning, and thank you for the suggestions so far.

Further suggestions?
posted by Mike Mongo at 2:01 PM on May 17, 2010


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