Getting data off a pre-USB laptop with a dead floppy drive.


A

AL_n

Hi all,

I have an old Compaq Armada 4220T laptop with no USB ports and a dead
floppy drive. Floppy drives for these old laptops do occasionally surface
but they are not cheap.

I'm never likely to need this laptop again, after I salvage the old data
files from its hard drive. How can I get the data off it, cheaply?

The laptop has a printer port and a serial port and a port marked IOIO. Is
it possible that I could connect an external floppy drive to one of those
ports - or perhaps find some kind of serial-to-female-USB adapter or
parallel-t-female-USB adapter that would work? The laptop has a docking
station with a SC-Rom drive but it is read-only drive. It also has a PCMCIA
port.

I tried removing the hard drive, hoping it would fit one of my USB portable
harddrive cases, but the connector is different.

Did anyone make protable hard-drives prior to USB? If so, which port did
you plug them into?

I just want to get the data off with as little outlay as possible.

Thank for any helpful suggestions.

Al
 
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A

AL_n

Thank for any helpful suggestions.

Al

PS, the full list of ports on the Compaq Armada 4220T is as follows:

1 x PCMCIA
1 x keyboard / mouse - generic - 6 pin mini-DIN (PS/2 style)
1 x docking / port replicator - 176 pin docking
1 x headphones - output - mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm
1 x parallel - IEEE 1284 (EPP/ECP) - 25 pin D-Sub (DB-25)
1 x microphone - input - mini-phone mono 3.5 mm
1 x serial - RS-232C - 9 pin D-Sub (DB-9)
1 x display / video - VGA - 15 pin HD D-Sub (HD-15)
1 x display / video - composite video output
1 x audio - line-in - mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm

and
1 x infrared - IrDA (according to the online handbook, though I've never
discovered it!)
 
F

Flasherly

I tried removing the hard drive, hoping it would fit one of my USB portable
harddrive cases, but the connector is different.

Coming through the PCMCIA with a device to transfer to reach the HD is
one way. Say a usb pcmcia card, a controller...all kinds of those
sorts of things, maybe a little cheaper than a floppy.
Did anyone make protable hard-drives prior to USB? If so, which port did
you plug them into?

I just want to get the data off with as little outlay as possible.

Fast hard and as dirty as possible - (among options) you want to pull
the HD, figure out the interface and buy the right adaptor to
interface into a desktop PC's PATA/SATA ports. Probably one of the
cheaper routes...lots of $10 stuff like that on Ebay (off the Pacific
Rim - 20, 30 days to ship).
 
P

Paul

AL_n said:
Hi all,

I have an old Compaq Armada 4220T laptop with no USB ports and a dead
floppy drive. Floppy drives for these old laptops do occasionally surface
but they are not cheap.

I'm never likely to need this laptop again, after I salvage the old data
files from its hard drive. How can I get the data off it, cheaply?

The laptop has a printer port and a serial port and a port marked IOIO. Is
it possible that I could connect an external floppy drive to one of those
ports - or perhaps find some kind of serial-to-female-USB adapter or
parallel-t-female-USB adapter that would work? The laptop has a docking
station with a SC-Rom drive but it is read-only drive. It also has a PCMCIA
port.

I tried removing the hard drive, hoping it would fit one of my USB portable
harddrive cases, but the connector is different.

Did anyone make protable hard-drives prior to USB? If so, which port did
you plug them into?

I just want to get the data off with as little outlay as possible.

Thank for any helpful suggestions.

Al

"USB portable harddrive cases"

You could pick up one of these, or even borrow one. These convert from
44 pin dual row 2mm centers on the laptop side, to 40 pin
dual row 0.1" centers on the desktop side. You connect the desktop pin
side, to your USB 3.5" enclosure ribbon cable. The hard drive can draw
up to 1 amp from the 5V rail in the enclosure, when the 2.5" drive
spins up.

"Laptop 2.5" to Desktop 3.5" IDE Hard Drive Adapter Converter" $2.36
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812119245

"Cables To Go Laptop to IDE Hard Drive Adapter Cable - 2.5" Laptop to 3.5" Desktop" $4.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=81&item_id=016080

The reason I list two of them, is I could order one online for 2.36 plus
shipping, or drive to a brick and mortar store like the second entry,
and get it today for $5.

In terms of "exposures" with such an adapter, the pins on the adapter can
be bent, if you're not careful. Some of the older 80 wire IDE cables have
reasonably lubricated connectors and won't fight too much. I have some
more modern IDE cables with higher insertion force. The adapter doesn't give
any protection to the pins. (Some other IDE connector formats have the
plastic box around the pins to protect them.)

The power connector is the other weak point. The pins in the connector will
flop around, so you have to wiggle them a bit to get the power connector
in your USB housing, to mesh with the adapter power connector. The adapter
power connector only has two pins, because the small laptop drives just
use the +5V power source. Whereas, the larger 3.5" drives use both +5V and
+12V, and have a couple ground pins as well. That's why the adapter doesn't
have all the pins on its power connector. They're not needed.

You can probably find a pinout diagram online, to understand why the
44 pin and 40 pin, not all the pins get connected. The extra pins
on the 44 pin were intended for power, which is why the power cable goes
on the pins on one end of the connector.

*******

A cheaper still solution, would depend on materials on hand. I have a
collection of RS232 cabling, null modem cables, male to female adapters,
9 to 25 pin adapters, the works. My bag of junk is probably worth a hundred
bucks at one time. I used to use that to get myself out of a jam at work,
but I've also used it to join balky computers together here at home.
For example, I can boot a Linux computer, point the console port output
to the serial port, then use Hyperterm on the Windows PC, to talk to the
Linux computer. If the Linux computer has a bug and freezes, I can then use
the Hyperterm port to test whether the machine is responsive. This is typically
used if Xwindows has a focus/selection bug (and the GUI freezes), or dbus
dies and the mouse/keyboard on the Linux machine stop working. Frequently,
the CPU is still running, and all that is needed is a working software
path.

So if you had another computer with a serial port, you'd need a "rolled" cable
(null modem cable), so the tx and rx get flipped from one end of the cable
to the other. As far as I can remember, a regular cable is intended for
connection between a DCE and a DTE. To connect two similar devices
(two computers over serial port), you need a null modem dongle to swap
the wiring. Once that is done, two computers can be connected together,
and talk over Hyperterm.

But that's the weak part of this plan. You have no way to get software
into the computer. No working network connection. The floppy used to
be your "port of entry", but it is broken.

And I don't even know if Windows 95 has Hyperterm (bundled with my copy
of WinXP). Hyperterm has a menu entry to "send a text file", and apparently
that uses Kermit protocol.

Back in the day, we might have used copies of the actual Kermit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kermit_(protocol)

Back in the lab at work, I used to do some sort of
procedure between a Mac and a PC, which involved something
like "type blah ... com1". Some sort of command which
streams a file out the PC serial port. And I had some other
command on the Mac end, to suck up the data. No Kermit
protocol was used. No Zmodem protocol either. No error checking.
After the PC command was executed, you followed that by sending
some control character. I transferred maybe fifty files that
way, at God awful speed. Because the boss didn't care how
you got stuff done, just that it got done. So that's an example
of just how crude this stuff can get. I expect you could use
such a protocol (no Kermit) on your current setup. I just
don't remember all the details. I might have been running
those two pigs at 4800 or 9600 baud. I'm guessing the PC
I was given, didn't have a network card, and that's why
I was doing it :) Good times.

*******

It's possible to set up networking over IRDA. I've never used
an IRDA port, so don't know the details. There are USB to IRDA
dongles to plug into a modern PC, to give you a "receiving end"
on the other PC. There may be a red plastic lens or aperture
on the Armada.

The fun part, is data rate. A proper (good) IRDA runs at 4Mbit/sec.
Which is 0.5MB/sec. That would give a painful but useful transfer
rate, to get off a few valuable files.

The motherboards I have here, came with IRDA headers, but they
use the slower rate. I think the best those motherboard ones
could manage, is 115Kbit/sec. Which is really not all that much
better than a modem. The main advantage, is if the OS happens
to have a TCP/IP stack to run over IRDA.

(only if you're interested)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared_Data_Association

Does Win95 have file sharing ? Working on that method, would
only be worthwhile if you knew for sure the whole protocol stack
was present. Just too many details.

*******

They made ZIP drives with parallel connectors on them. My ZIP
drive cartridges hold 250MB of data (size varies with vintage),
and I think my drive still works. Mine has the USB connector on
it, and the previous generation were parallel. There is a picture
of one of the older parallel port versions in this article.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zip_drive

You would need a well stocked junk bin, to have one of those sitting
around. Those drives seemed to be popular with certain segments
of the computer user population. Perhaps photographers were
using those at one time, doing backups or machine to machine
transfers. I think the reason I bought my drive, is we had
a drive at work as well (one drive, shared over a whole
bunch of computers).

*******

So right now, from this distance, the $5 adapter purchased
from a local computer store is looking the most practical.
if you pay yourself $5 an hour to work on computers, I cannot
imagine any of the other methods being done in an hour. You'd
need to do at least an hour's worth of online research first.

Paul
 
V

VanguardLH

AL_n said:
Hi all,

I have an old Compaq Armada 4220T laptop with no USB ports and a dead
floppy drive. Floppy drives for these old laptops do occasionally surface
but they are not cheap.

I'm never likely to need this laptop again, after I salvage the old data
files from its hard drive. How can I get the data off it, cheaply?

The laptop has a printer port and a serial port and a port marked IOIO. Is
it possible that I could connect an external floppy drive to one of those
ports - or perhaps find some kind of serial-to-female-USB adapter or
parallel-t-female-USB adapter that would work? The laptop has a docking
station with a SC-Rom drive but it is read-only drive. It also has a PCMCIA
port.

I tried removing the hard drive, hoping it would fit one of my USB portable
harddrive cases, but the connector is different.

Did anyone make protable hard-drives prior to USB? If so, which port did
you plug them into?

I just want to get the data off with as little outlay as possible.

Thank for any helpful suggestions.

Al

If there aren't many files and not too big, just e-mail them as
attachments to yourself. Be careful about e-mail providers that block
e-mails sent to yourself from yourself (e.g., Gmail) which is an old
spammer trick or any server- or client-side rules you defined to test on
e-mails you receive that specify you as the sender.

Or use online file storage. There a many of such sites but they usually
restrict the maximum size of the file. You gave no indication what file
sizes are involved. There are online file services which are designed
to help transfer files between users, like MediaFire, Megashares,
Sendspace, or TransferBigFiles. There are online file services designed
for you to store your files online, like Dropbox, SpiderOak, iDrive,
Syncplicity, and aDrive. I use aDrive which has a 50GB of storage but a
10G limit on filesize for free accounts. If you have a Hotmail, Live,
or Outlook.com account, you get 15GB of disk space to store files online
(25GB if you're an older Hotmail user that signed in using the webmail
UI before the 1-week expiration when Microsoft squashed their users down
to 7GB and then tried charging to get back the removed storage quota,
then later they upped the 7GB quota to 15GB).

With Dropbox or the OneDrive service in Hotmail/Live/Outlook.com, you
could install their clients on both your computers. Although they have
a max storage quota, and as long as your files are smaller than the max
filesize they permit, you could drag a file on your old laptop into its
local Dropbox or OneDrive folder which would then transfer that file
into the Dropbox or OneDrive folder on your other computer. Of course,
this requires transferring the file over the Internet. While you might
have 20, 30, 50, or more, Mbps download speed from your ISP, you very
likely have asynchronous bandwidth which means your upload speed is far
less, like only 3-5 Mbps. So the upload from your laptop will be slow.
I believe the clients will indicate which syncrhonization has completed
(but that is just from client to server, so you'll have to wait for the
upload sync to complete from laptop to Dropbox or OneDrive and then wait
for the download sync to complete from Dropbox or OneDrive to your other
host running their client).

Your own ISP probably provides "personal web page" space (a disk quota
on their server) to where you can upload and download files. Just be
aware that once off your computer that it is on someone else's computer
and you have to trust they don't peek in your files, redistribute them,
or get hacked. So for files with sensitive info in them, put them into
a passworded .zip file. Or better yet, dump several sensitive files
into a TrueCrypt container the size of which is less than the maximum
file size for the online file service and use that to transfer files.
In either case, be sure to use a strong password. You're using the
"cloud" to transfer your files and that isn't that secure.
 
V

VanguardLH

AL_n said:
PS, the full list of ports on the Compaq Armada 4220T is as follows:

1 x PCMCIA
1 x keyboard / mouse - generic - 6 pin mini-DIN (PS/2 style)
1 x docking / port replicator - 176 pin docking
1 x headphones - output - mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm
1 x parallel - IEEE 1284 (EPP/ECP) - 25 pin D-Sub (DB-25)
1 x microphone - input - mini-phone mono 3.5 mm
1 x serial - RS-232C - 9 pin D-Sub (DB-9)
1 x display / video - VGA - 15 pin HD D-Sub (HD-15)
1 x display / video - composite video output
1 x audio - line-in - mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm

and
1 x infrared - IrDA (according to the online handbook, though I've never
discovered it!)

And what ports are available on the OTHER computer? There is software
that will let you do serial-to-serial port file transfers. See
http://www.bing.com/search?q=file transfer serial port.

You cannot connect this old laptop to a network? You did not list an
Ethernet port. If there is no RJ-45 Ethernet port, doesn't that laptop
have a PCMCIA slot? If so, get a PCMCIA Ethernet card
(http://www.citylabinfo.com/410-943-thickbox_default/pcmcia-ethernet-card.jpg,
example only). Are you posting here using the old laptop? If so, it is
already hooked up to a network. If the old laptop can be networked, why
not use file sharing over your intranet to transfer files from host to
host? If you are connecting only one computer to however you connect to
your ISP (dial-up, DSL, cable modem) then you will need to add a router
so you can have multiple computers connected to the Internet plus those
computers can be networked together on your intranet (LAN side of the
router).

I take it the old laptop doesn't have an inbuilt CD-R optical drive so
you could use sneakernet to transfer files.
 
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M

Michael Black

Coming through the PCMCIA with a device to transfer to reach the HD is
one way. Say a usb pcmcia card, a controller...all kinds of those
sorts of things, maybe a little cheaper than a floppy.
YOu can get a PCMCIA to CompactFlash card adapter, and then get a
CompactFlash card. Or a PCMCIA to ethernet card, or PCMCIA to modem card.
Or a PCMCIA wifi card.

The problem is, will they be easy to get at this point, when the PCMCIA
bus is long gone from laptops? ONe may have to track them down, and i'm
not sure if they'd be cheap or expensive (depending on whether the seller
decides nobody wants them, or decides they are now hard to get so the
price should go up).

I know I have Powerbook 1400 and though I'm not likely to really use it at
this point, I have bought PCMCIA cards at garage sales for a dollar each
or so. So I have that modem, and I did get that wifi card. I was at one
sale that had some ethernet cards, and as I was walking away, the guy
rushed after me and gave me a couple of others. I think that was the
place that had the PCMCIA to CompactFlash card, with a relatively small
COmpactFlash card in it, but it wsa one of those things with built in
wifi, which has potential.

So long as the hard drive uses the IDE interface (I'm thinking it's likely
that old, what with PCMCIA and no ethernet), I'd just get it out of there
and connect it to a computer with an IDE interface. Lots of old computers
around that do that, cheap if you just need to get the data off the drive.
But I've just opened up my main computer and hooked up an IDE drive
externally, just connect the IDE connector and a power connector, leaving
the drive outside the box for the brief time it takes to copy the drive.

Michael
 
F

Flasherly

-fl
Got'cha.

Been that long since I ruined my eyes with laptops (my first and last
were OH-MY-GOD Toshiba CGA mono, then Satellite/IBM ThinkPads -
386/486 circa, respectively). ...Well, to be honest, I did dabble a
bit with a RF-analogue modulator/converter for hooking "luggable,"
post-FORTRAN lunchboxes to a 5" B&W TeeVee screen. Such nasty, nasty
things and so very addictive.

So you're saying PCMCIA (Revs I-X) are be showing a bit of ageware.
Duly noted.

Really. Laptop users should be stood against the Wall of Shame and
shot in mass if they first don't do their homework, and well, when
planning for these sorts of future contingencies. It should be
thought of an extension to the desktop/PC, often necessary for the
fieldwork types, and never left afar from a desktop's backup and
protective policies.

Then, again - it's the Age of Cloud Reasoning, and the distinction
might begin to blur with online subscription storage faculties.

Not that I'm any better off, being quite bad that way. I tend to be a
packrat and store what's turned into extant fuzzballs oozing from the
Well-o-Well One Throws One's Money Down. ...Still have my ThinkPad
and its PCMCIA 28.8 modem, next to my feet as a matter of fact;- as
well as a Toshiba CGA powered by an Intel 8088, that's actually in
quite beautiful condition.

At one point in time, either would have sufficed for the price of a
brand new car at some entry, sub-highperformance factor, rather than
the cost of a house and what a present crop of vehicles, daily
interspersed into Google's Tech News reviews, fetch from an upwardly
zoomzoom-minded crowd.
 
A

AL_n

VanguardLH said:
And what ports are available on the OTHER computer? There is software
that will let you do serial-to-serial port file transfers. See
http://www.bing.com/search?q=file transfer serial port.

You cannot connect this old laptop to a network? You did not list an
Ethernet port. If there is no RJ-45 Ethernet port, doesn't that
laptop have a PCMCIA slot? If so, get a PCMCIA Ethernet card
(http://www.citylabinfo.com/410-943-thickbox_default/pcmcia-ethernet-ca
rd.jpg, example only). Are you posting here using the old laptop? If
so, it is already hooked up to a network. If the old laptop can be
networked, why not use file sharing over your intranet to transfer
files from host to host? If you are connecting only one computer to
however you connect to your ISP (dial-up, DSL, cable modem) then you
will need to add a router so you can have multiple computers connected
to the Internet plus those computers can be networked together on your
intranet (LAN side of the router).

I take it the old laptop doesn't have an inbuilt CD-R optical drive so
you could use sneakernet to transfer files.

Thanks for your helpful suggestions. The old laptop has no internet
connectivity at present. Unfortunately my PC doesn;t have a serial socket,
so good suggestion about serial-to-serial data transfer is not an option. I
guess my best bet may be to get a PCMCIA ethernet port card,per your last
suggestion.

Many thanks

Al
 
A

AL_n

Coming through the PCMCIA with a device to transfer to reach the HD is
one way. Say a usb pcmcia card, a controller...all kinds of those
sorts of things, maybe a little cheaper than a floppy.


Thank you for your suggestions. I did buy a PCMCIA-USB adapter, but I
cannot find a driver that will work with Windows 98. I found one that is
*supposed* to work with W98, but when I try to install it it says it is
expecting a newer version of Windows! I could try installing XP onto the
old laptop, but I'm not sure if there are sufficient resources and since it
wouldn't be a clean installation, I fear I could risk fouling up the
contents of the hard drive entirely, and so never get access to the vital
data I need from it.
Fast hard and as dirty as possible - (among options) you want to pull
the HD, figure out the interface and buy the right adaptor to
interface into a desktop PC's PATA/SATA ports. Probably one of the
cheaper routes...lots of $10 stuff like that on Ebay (off the Pacific
Rim - 20, 30 days to ship).

Thanks - that may be a way to go if all else fails. It's a rather fiddly
and hazard-fraught option, so I will probably try the other cheap options
first...

Many thanks!

Al
 
A

AL_n

YOu can get a PCMCIA to CompactFlash card adapter, and then get a
CompactFlash card. Or a PCMCIA to ethernet card, or PCMCIA to modem
card. Or a PCMCIA wifi card.

The problem is, will they be easy to get at this point, when the
PCMCIA bus is long gone from laptops? ONe may have to track them
down, and i'm not sure if they'd be cheap or expensive (depending on
whether the seller decides nobody wants them, or decides they are now
hard to get so the price should go up).

I know I have Powerbook 1400 and though I'm not likely to really use
it at this point, I have bought PCMCIA cards at garage sales for a
dollar each or so. So I have that modem, and I did get that wifi
card. I was at one sale that had some ethernet cards, and as I was
walking away, the guy rushed after me and gave me a couple of others.
I think that was the place that had the PCMCIA to CompactFlash card,
with a relatively small COmpactFlash card in it, but it wsa one of
those things with built in wifi, which has potential.

So long as the hard drive uses the IDE interface (I'm thinking it's
likely that old, what with PCMCIA and no ethernet), I'd just get it
out of there and connect it to a computer with an IDE interface. Lots
of old computers around that do that, cheap if you just need to get
the data off the drive. But I've just opened up my main computer and
hooked up an IDE drive externally, just connect the IDE connector and
a power connector, leaving the drive outside the box for the brief
time it takes to copy the drive.

Michael

Hi there,
Yes, PCMCIA flash card readers are easily available, but not very
cheaply. A PCMCIA-wifi card seems to be a cheaper option - ar a PCMCIA-
ethernet card.

As for connecting the hard drive to a desctop PC with IDE may be an
option. I will have to start digging through my garage in search of an
old PC that didn't get thrown away. Thanks...

Al
 
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S

SC Tom

AL_n said:
Thanks for your helpful suggestions. The old laptop has no internet
connectivity at present. Unfortunately my PC doesn;t have a serial socket,
so good suggestion about serial-to-serial data transfer is not an option.
I
guess my best bet may be to get a PCMCIA ethernet port card,per your last
suggestion.

You can get a serial port-to-USB adapter fairly cheap:
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/o8qejcj>

I have this one that I bought to connect my automobile code reader to my PC
so I can D/L the data logs. Works well for that anyhow :)

There are also ethernet-to-serial adapters. We used those for telnet-ing
into our routers for flash updates and programming. Don't know how well that
would work in your circumstance, though.
 
A

AL_n

"Laptop 2.5" to Desktop 3.5" IDE Hard Drive Adapter Converter" $2.36
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812119245

"Cables To Go Laptop to IDE Hard Drive Adapter Cable - 2.5" Laptop to
3.5" Desktop" $4.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=81&item_id=016080

The reason I list two of them, is I could order one online for 2.36
plus shipping, or drive to a brick and mortar store like the second
entry, and get it today for $5.

Great suggestion - thanks. I have ordered such an adapter today and hope
it arrives by Saturday. It may be my best option.

In terms of "exposures" with such an adapter, the pins on the adapter
can be bent, if you're not careful. Some of the older 80 wire IDE
cables have reasonably lubricated connectors and won't fight too much.
I have some more modern IDE cables with higher insertion force. The
adapter doesn't give any protection to the pins. (Some other IDE
connector formats have the plastic box around the pins to protect
them.)

The power connector is the other weak point. The pins in the connector
will flop around, so you have to wiggle them a bit to get the power
connector in your USB housing, to mesh with the adapter power
connector. The adapter power connector only has two pins, because the
small laptop drives just use the +5V power source. Whereas, the larger
3.5" drives use both +5V and +12V, and have a couple ground pins as
well. That's why the adapter doesn't have all the pins on its power
connector. They're not needed.

You can probably find a pinout diagram online, to understand why the
44 pin and 40 pin, not all the pins get connected. The extra pins
on the 44 pin were intended for power, which is why the power cable
goes on the pins on one end of the connector.

This could be useful to know. Much appreciated!
*******

A cheaper still solution, would depend on materials on hand. I have a
collection of RS232 cabling, null modem cables, male to female
adapters, 9 to 25 pin adapters, the works. My bag of junk is probably
worth a hundred bucks at one time. I used to use that to get myself
out of a jam at work, but I've also used it to join balky computers
together here at home. For example, I can boot a Linux computer, point
the console port output to the serial port, then use Hyperterm on the
Windows PC, to talk to the Linux computer. If the Linux computer has a
bug and freezes, I can then use the Hyperterm port to test whether the
machine is responsive. This is typically used if Xwindows has a
focus/selection bug (and the GUI freezes), or dbus dies and the
mouse/keyboard on the Linux machine stop working. Frequently, the CPU
is still running, and all that is needed is a working software path.

So if you had another computer with a serial port, you'd need a
"rolled" cable (null modem cable), so the tx and rx get flipped from
one end of the cable to the other. As far as I can remember, a regular
cable is intended for connection between a DCE and a DTE. To connect
two similar devices (two computers over serial port), you need a null
modem dongle to swap the wiring. Once that is done, two computers can
be connected together, and talk over Hyperterm.

I remember doing the above once, back in the days when all PCs had serial
ports. Unfortunately my presnt PC doesn't have one, but I may have an old
PC buried in the garage buried under tons of junk...

But that's the weak part of this plan. You have no way to get software
into the computer. No working network connection. The floppy used to
be your "port of entry", but it is broken.

The laptop does have a CD-rom drive, so I can get executables onto the
laptop this way.

It's possible to set up networking over IRDA.

I wondered about that - but, like you, I've never used an IRDA port
before.



I've never used
an IRDA port, so don't know the details. There are USB to IRDA
dongles to plug into a modern PC, to give you a "receiving end"
on the other PC. There may be a red plastic lens or aperture
on the Armada.

That is a possibility. I may have a search for some kind of user manual
on how to use the IRDA feature of the laptop.
The fun part, is data rate. A proper (good) IRDA runs at 4Mbit/sec.
Which is 0.5MB/sec. That would give a painful but useful transfer
rate, to get off a few valuable files.

The motherboards I have here, came with IRDA headers, but they
use the slower rate. I think the best those motherboard ones
could manage, is 115Kbit/sec. Which is really not all that much
better than a modem. The main advantage, is if the OS happens
to have a TCP/IP stack to run over IRDA.

(only if you're interested)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared_Data_Association

I'm grateful that you mentioned that; I think I may have one of those
dongles somewhere!

Does Win95 have file sharing ? Working on that method, would
only be worthwhile if you knew for sure the whole protocol stack
was present. Just too many details.

*******

They made ZIP drives with parallel connectors on them.

YES! That's a VERY good point! I could buy one of those on ebay for about
$10...

So right now, from this distance, the $5 adapter purchased
from a local computer store is looking the most practical.
if you pay yourself $5 an hour to work on computers, I cannot
imagine any of the other methods being done in an hour. You'd
need to do at least an hour's worth of online research first.


That's the thing! Whenever I have gotten into dismantling my desktop in
order to achieve something, I find I end up using up loads of time, so I
always try and find ready-made solutions that you just plug-in and use.
Your zip drive suggestion strikes me as being a quick and easy option,
albeit slightly more expensive than the IDE adapter suggestion.

One way of another, I will get that data off the laptop, and now feel
confident that it can be done without too much more time-consuming
fiddling around and gambling away my loose change!

Many thanks indeed for your detailed and helpful input. This newsgroup
seems to be as excellent as it ever was! A fine tradition upheld... Long
may it go on!

Al
 
A

AL_n

If there aren't many files and not too big, just e-mail them as
attachments to yourself.

Thank you. Yes, this had accurred to me as an option. If I can get hold of
a PCMCIA-ethernet adapter and successfully get it working on the laptop, I
will do that. Otherwise I will pull the hard drive and connect it to an old
IDE desktop, if I can find the one I think I have somewhere.

Much appreciated...

Al
 
A

AL_n

SC Tom said:
You can get a serial port-to-USB adapter fairly cheap:
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/o8qejcj>

I have one - but could not find a driver that will work under Windows 98.
There is one that claims to work under W98SE - but it doesn't!

I have this one that I bought to connect my automobile code reader to
my PC so I can D/L the data logs. Works well for that anyhow :)

There are also ethernet-to-serial adapters. We used those for
telnet-ing into our routers for flash updates and programming. Don't
know how well that would work in your circumstance, though.

One thing I do have is a PCMCIA 56K modem (minus the cable). Does anyone
know if it is still possible to access the internet using TCP/IP (dial-up
protocol, as per the days of yore)? That is, via a typical 21st century
broadband internet provider...?

Al
 
A

AL_n

Paul said:
It's possible to set up networking over IrDA. I've never used
an IRDA port, so don't know the details.



The old Compaq 4220T laptop in question, has infrared (IrDA), and so does
my Nokia e90 mobile phone. In theory, I should be able to transfer the
required files from the laptop's hard drive onto the E90 phone. The phone
has as a micro-SD card, so I can plug the micro-SD card into my desktop PC
and transfer the files that way, after the files are transferred onto the
phone's sd card.

However, it seems easier said than done; I have IR switched on, on both
devices, but the the laptop is not finding the phone even though it's in
close range. Do the IR ports have to be within eyesight of each other? I
cannot find any kind of IR lense or suchlike on either device. According to
the laptop's user manual at:

http://tinyurl.com/p4c9v9w

, the laptop should detect the phone and then automatically transfer the
necessary transfer software from it (I think). But it isn't happening.
Laptop says "no infrared devics within range".

Al
 
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A

AL_n

, the laptop should detect the phone and then automatically transfer the
necessary transfer software from it (I think). But it isn't happening.
Laptop says "no infrared devics within range".

PS.. it would help if I could find the actual physical IR sender/receiver
on either device, but I can't... Weird! I'm not familiar with IrDA, but
shouldn't there be some kind of red light-emitting LED or something visible
on the phone and/or the laptop?

Al
 
A

AL_n

PS.. it would help if I could find the actual physical IR
sender/receiver on either device, but I can't... Weird! I'm not
familiar with IrDA, but shouldn't there be some kind of red
light-emitting LED or something visible on the phone and/or the
laptop?

Al

PS... Okay, I have located the IR port on each device (black shiny thing).
Now I'm getting somewhere... Stay tuned..

Al
 
P

Paul

AL_n said:
PS... Okay, I have located the IR port on each device (black shiny thing).
Now I'm getting somewhere... Stay tuned..

Al

Years ago, I got an "IR converter strip" from Radio Shack.
It was around $5 or so. It is a strip of stiff plastic, with
a "brown patch" on one end. You "charge up" the strip by holding
it next to an incandescent light (presumably energetic UV from
the light, does the charging).

Then, you hold the IR strip next to the lens of the optical
device, to "sniff" for infrared. For example, TV remotes,
you can see them pulse when the button on the remote is
pushed. The brown patch gives off visible light, after
it is charged, and then the strip is hit by the infrared.
It's a means to make infrared visible.

*******

A second way to debug infrared, is with silicon based cameras.
I have a surveillance camera that can pick up infrared, as the
sensitivity goes out into the infrared. That camera happens to
be a black and white camera. I can see the pulsations of a TV
remote with the surveillance camera. You could search for the
infrared emitter that way.

Color surveillance cameras, have an infrared filter on the
optical path. This is for "color balance" in sunlight. Still,
you might be able to spot a light source with the camera,
even if it is filtering a lot of the infrared light.

I did a search on "IRDA wavelength", and a patent mentions 875nm.
I think a silicon camera can see out to 1100nm or so.

This is an example of an IR illuminator, for a parking lot.
This one emits at 850nm, so the LEDs here would be similar
to the IRDA ones. Unlike an incandescent lamp with an IR gel
filter over it, a human shouldn't be able to see this. That's
why they're using infrared. The old fashioned illuminators,
you could see a dull red glow if you looked into the thing.

http://www.supercircuits.com/accessories/infrared-illuminators/150-ft-outdoor-ir-illuminator-ir34

LEDs don't have a very sharp output wavelength, so when I say
850nm, the optical peak is a bit on the broad side. Unlike a laser,
which has a very narrow ("pure") color. The LEDs are sloppy.

You should hold the devices within a foot of one another,
with optical ports facing, for best results. If there is
any question about the health or power level of one of them,
that might help. And hope they both have the protocol stack
to talk to one another.

Have fun,
Paul
 
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A

AL_n

Paul said:
Then, you hold the IR strip next to the lens of the optical
device, to "sniff" for infrared. For example, TV remotes,
you can see them pulse when the button on the remote is
pushed. The brown patch gives off visible light, after
it is charged, and then the strip is hit by the infrared.
It's a means to make infrared visible.

Fascinating! I think I was confused because the IR emitters on my security
cameras at home are actually visible, but I guess that's so that burglars
have something they can visibly see. The IR emitters on my phone and old
laptop are obviously using true (invisible) IR.

Anyway, I am ustterly elated!!!! I have done what I needed to do!

I had no luck transferring the files using my Nokia E90 phone, but my old
HTC Blue Angel phone, running Windows Mobile was what did work, (after a
lot of trial and error and device-jiggling, puzzling and fretting! When the
IR connection was finally set up, all of my three critical Word files
transferred accross within about three minutes!

Getting these vital files onto my desktop has saved me a massive amount of
work! Best of all, it cost me nothing and took me a mere hour or so to do.
And I evern learned something useful in the process: how easy to transfer
files using IR or bluetooth.

WOOOHOOOOOOOOOO!!! (as Homer, the famous Greek philosopher said)

Thanks so much to all who advised on this one. I am so relieved!!

Al
 

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