Zilla FAQ02 Mar 2008 07:06 pm

Many computers these days are sold with no RS-232 serial port. The Hairball requires a standard RS-232 serial port and any flavor terminal program in order to set settings, retrieve error codes, collect data and update firmware if required. All except the firmware update can of course be done with the Palm Pilot handheld computers that I sell pre-configured, but naturally people with laptop computers would rather use them.

I suggest that people who do not have a serial port built in to their computers obtain a serial to USB adapter such as this one made by Keyspan. USA19HS

There are cheaper units available that seem to work well once they are set up, I like the Keyspan one since it has worked well for me and was easy to set up on Macintosh and Windows computers.

For more more details, please see the section titled “Using a Computer to Communicate with the Hairball” in the Hairball owners manual.

People often ask why I didn’t integrate USB directly into the Hairball. This would be equivalent to installing such an adapter inside the Hairball. Unfortunately, terminal programs do not work directly with USB adapters and it becomes necessary to install drivers in your computer in order to recognize the USB port as a communication port. The primary reason I avoid that is because operating systems are constantly changing and I don’t want to take on the responsibility of supporting computers. It would add “software provider” to my support duties and I don’t want to dilute my efforts on things so weakly related to EVs. With the external USB to serial adapters, driver and support issues are handled by the manufacturer of the adapter.


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