I have an ICE Technology Micromaster LV parallel port programmer which I use for some (old!) legacy devices. This runs fine on an elderly XP box with some drivers I found, however I'd like to run it from a newer PC, which of course doesn't have a parallel port.
Anyone know of a USB to parallel converter which is likely to work? ICE Technology (or their successors) don't.
Highly unlikely. When you install such a device you won't get a simulated standard parallel port you'll get "USB Printing Support." No LPT number, no IRQ, no I/O address.
I just ran into this yesterday, using an ExpressCard parallel port adapter on Windows 7 (which appears to be an ExpressCard to USB adapter and a USB to parallel adapter combined together). I also tried running XP under a virtual machine but this didn't help. Now if you had a CardBus adapter it would likely work but no new laptops have a Cardbus slot.
If it's desktop then you could buy a parallel port PCIe card, i.e. .
Bottom line is that those parallel adapters will work for printing but probably not for other stuff.
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In my experience USB to parallel converters do pretty well for ordinary parallel printers but not for other devices. Most of the times there are timing problems. Especially USB-1 is way too slow and often quits without any warning. That's why I still have an archaic XT to run those prehistoric applications.
If your computer has an extension slot you can look for a PCI-e parallel printer port card (and hope the drivers will work on the new engine).
Unfortunately, you're likely to need a custom implementation of some sort. As I understand it, the commercial USB-to-parallel converters use a protocol which is byte-stream-oriented and is designed only to drive printers and such similar devices. There's no standard USB-printer protocol for bit-banging the port pins (which is what many of these parallel-port-programmer devices require).
may have a few hints.
Your best bet may be to keep an old-style laptop PC around for this purpose. Doesn't need to be fast or modern.
I think your only option is to retain legacy kit for this purpose or find one of the handful of real parallel printer port cards that are still made and hang onto it until your programmer finally expires.
The thing almost certainly relies on peeky pokey operations directly on hardware registers to function and that is decidedly non-portable.
I doubt if any will even with a very smart virtual driver. Your best chance is if the OEM offer support for Win7 operation of their old kit.
And you may run into interesting problems with race conditions in old drivers for ancient legacy hardware on fast pipelined multicore machines.
If the laptop has a _working_ PCMCIA/CardBus/PC Card slot that will also work (with XP and perhaps Windows 7).
However I just discovered that my old Dell D630 with a PCMCIA slot actually doesn't work with any cards. The laptop freezes when you insert a card. This is a well known problem with the D630, at least with older ones. Yet my old D610 with a PCMCIA slot works just fine with a Koutech Cardbus to Parallel Port adapter (but it's not needed because the laptop already has a parallel port) .
Dell D series Latitudes also can use a Dell dock which has a real parallel port if the laptop itself doesn't have one, but it's kind of a pain to carry that around.
I have some stepper motors that need to be programmed via SPI using the manufacturer's utility and their parallel port to SPI cable. It would cost me $163 for their USB to SPI cable with the proper connector that works with their utility. I was disappointed that the ExpressCard to Parallel Port adapter didn't work. It's essentially two chips in that card, a PCIe to USB and a USB to parallel.
However, you can thank me or blame me (partially) for the fact that parallel ports didn't disappear even longer ago. I attended a meeting in South Dakota many years ago that Gateway called to discuss Microsoft's PC98 initiative which would have _forbidden_ legacy ports. If a manufacturer included the forbidden ports then they would have lost lucrative discounts on OS purchases. There was push back from computer and semiconductor manufacturers and Microsoft backed down.
The first thing to do is to make sure that you get an adapter that supports ECP, EPP and SPP modes. Also, IEEE-1284 compliance is good. USB-parallel port adapters do work with parallel port devices such as scanners (bi-directional data transfer).
Paul Hovnanian mailto:Paul@Hovnanian.com
For those that just need a parallel port for programming embedded devices it's probably a better deal to buy an old laptop on Craigslist for $100 or so. The thing is that often you need a system that's more portable than a desktop system. I.e.
But if you want a modern laptop with a parallel port the only real option is to buy a laptop with an Expresscard slot (such as many Thinkpads) and then carefully buy an Expresscard card that uses the PCIe interface on the Expresscard interface, not an Expresscard card that uses the USB interface on the Expresscard interface. This will work as long as the application uses the logical port (LPT1, LPT2, or LPT3) and doesn't try to write directly to the I/O address of these ports 0x3BC,
0x378, 0x278) and doesn't require an ISA IRQ. It would have to be a really old DOS app that wrote directly to the I/O address.