Author Topic: Suggestion on what interface to purchase  (Read 11245 times)

rodentkj

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Suggestion on what interface to purchase
« on: 11 Sep 2013, 19:51:16 »
Hello all.

Long story short. I'm a long time user of PDW. Had a setup using a RS scanner w/ dtap in to a sound card on a XP box. It was rock solid. Worked great for years.

I recently built a new PC with Win 7 64bit with an AMD octo processor. After doing this, using the same radio hardware setup, the decoding went in to the toilet. In the past I have always been able to iron out the issues one way or the other. However, in this case I have exhausted my troubleshooting options along with my patients.

I've come to the conclusion that I need to purchase one of the interface boards (sold here) for my setup. However, I am not real clear on what the best option would be for my setup. And most of all the best option of reliability.

My PC's mobo does not have an onboard RS232 port. However I installed a PCI2 board that has four RS232 ports (two of which are used to PC control some scanners). And of course I have several USB ports available that could be used for USB to RS232 converters.

I only need to run one instance of PDW. Although having the option to run more than one instance in the future would be nice.

The pipe dream would be to buy a board, configure PDW and have it just work. But I know some tweaking will likely come in to play.

I "think" the route I want to go is the "RS232 interface, with serial to USB converter (Prolific chipset) and audio cable (3.5 mm connectors)"?

Thanks in advance for the help.



VidarParry

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Re: Suggestion on what interface to purchase
« Reply #1 on: 12 Sep 2013, 07:01:52 »
Hi,
Are you decoding POCSAG?

Wait a couple of weeks and I'll tell you how my new 4x RS232 interface, with serial to USB converter configuration works when they arrive (hopefully in the next few days!).

Albeit mine will be on XP boxes, but I might be able to sneak in a quick test on my W7 64 bit laptop...

Expectations are high that it will work perfectly:-)

BTW, remember that you'll need one interface converter for every Baud rate that you want to decode. That's why I need four (2 POCSAG frequencies monitored, with 1200 and 512 baud messages on both).

Check out this topic http://www.discriminator.nl/forum/index.php/topic,528.0.html

Cheers
...Steve
« Last Edit: 12 Sep 2013, 07:04:44 by VidarParry »

rodentkj

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Re: Suggestion on what interface to purchase
« Reply #2 on: 12 Sep 2013, 14:39:55 »
Hi.
Thanks for the reply.

I knew I would leave out something important in my original post.
Yes I want to only decode POCSAG at 1200 baud.

Yesterday while surfing the forum I did read that thread. My setup is much more basic than what you are wanting to do.

I'm trying to understand the physical difference between the RS232 Interface vs. the RS232 Interface w/ USB adapter.

Can someone please comment?

RS232 Interface - I have to provide the RS232 serial port on the PC side. USB to Serial or PCI board with Serial ports will both work. The cable used to connect the interface to the PC will be a 9 pin serial cable (modem or null)?

RS232 Interface with Serial to USB converter - The USB to Serial chip (Prolific) is on the interface board? The physical connection between the interface board and the PC is USB? When plugged in the PC will install the drivers to create a com port?

Thanks again.

Discriminator

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Re: Suggestion on what interface to purchase
« Reply #3 on: 12 Sep 2013, 15:17:22 »
I'm trying to understand the physical difference between the RS232 Interface vs. the RS232 Interface w/ USB adapter.

The last one includes an RS232 to USB converter cable.

Quote
RS232 Interface - I have to provide the RS232 serial port on the PC side. USB to Serial or PCI board with Serial ports will both work. The cable used to connect the interface to the PC will be a 9 pin serial cable (modem or null)?

A straight 9 pin serial cable.

Quote
RS232 Interface with Serial to USB converter - The USB to Serial chip (Prolific) is on the interface board? The physical connection between the interface board and the PC is USB?

No, it isn't. The interface board has a female DB9 connector. http://www.discriminator.nl/rs232/index-en.html - 'A standard RS-232 output is implemented, not a USB port. Next to the advantages mentioned earlier, the reason is that USB chips only come in SMD (Surface Mounted Devices).'


-Rene

rodentkj

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Re: Suggestion on what interface to purchase
« Reply #4 on: 12 Sep 2013, 15:26:29 »
Thanks for the reply.

Being that I already have a few USB to Serial adapters and a couple of com ports already on my PC (albeit from a PCI 2 card), my best option is to purchase the RS232 Interface then.

Does that sound correct?


Discriminator

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Re: Suggestion on what interface to purchase
« Reply #5 on: 12 Sep 2013, 15:32:52 »
Thanks for the reply.

Being that I already have a few USB to Serial adapters and a couple of com ports already on my PC (albeit from a PCI 2 card), my best option is to purchase the RS232 Interface then.

Does that sound correct?

Absolutely! And since the interface observes the standard RS232 protocol, it will also work with a PCI-based RS232 port. Usually it's plug and play: no tweaking of soundcard levels required.

rodentkj

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Re: Suggestion on what interface to purchase
« Reply #6 on: 12 Sep 2013, 15:36:46 »
Alright thanks.

Lastly. I have not seen this mentioned anywhere. With regards to the audio cable. Is it best practice to use a stereo or mono cable?

VidarParry

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Re: Suggestion on what interface to purchase
« Reply #7 on: 26 Sep 2013, 21:10:14 »
Hi,

Not sure whether you've decided  yet, but I highly recommend the USB/RS232 interface.

See Reply #17 here (click on the "Quote from" to get to the full post):
<snip>
For the first time in nearly 18 years of decoding, I'm pretty confident that this is now picking up 100% of messages, where I knew that the 2-level slicer was missing loads (just by hearing the message on the scanner and seeing PDW -not- detecting it.)

I highly recommend the RS232/USB interface for serious decoding - well worth the money, and it helps Rene support this great site as well as a little thank you to Peter Hunt.
<snip>

Cheers
...Steve