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Okay, I should know this, but I can't find any straight answers anywhere on the Web... or in my manual. I'm trying to connect my telescope's computer - which uses a 4-pin phone-cord-like cable - to my computer (lacking such, of course). Meade (the telescope manufacturer) makes a DB9F RS-232 serial port connector cable that terminates in said 4-pin cable for transferring data from the computer to the telescope.

Is the port that such a connector plugs into the same thing as the 2-row, 9-pin video(?) port on the back of my computer? It looks the same, with all the same pins and even the little hold-down bolts:

I mean, geez, there's a lot of talk out there about COM ports and serial ports... but nothing about if they're the same as monitor ports. The identifier on the back of my laptop is identified with this icon: |0|0|

Thank you!


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 24th, 2009 04:15 am (UTC)
Well, if you have a serial port on your video card for a monitor, I don't think it will do you any good plugging your telescope into your video card. Is it on your video card or do you just have a serial COM port? Serial ports are rare in recent machines with USB and Firewire being much faster.

You probably need a DB-9 to USB bridge so you can plug it into a USB port.
Aug. 24th, 2009 04:22 am (UTC)
Oh, and what happened when you plugged it in?
Aug. 24th, 2009 04:13 pm (UTC)
Not sure if it's attached to a video card; it's on the back of my laptop, has 9 pins, and is identified with an icon I don't recognize:


Just assumed it was low-res video.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 24th, 2009 09:14 pm (UTC)
Aug. 24th, 2009 04:24 am (UTC)
The video port looks similar, but has 15 pins in three rows. The serial port has only 2 rows, with a total of 9 pins.

And it's the serial port that you want. (-:

There's no other standard connector on a PC that uses the same connector as a serial port, so if you find a place where it plugs in, it's almost certainly correct.

Edited at 2009-08-24 04:26 am (UTC)
Aug. 24th, 2009 01:47 pm (UTC)
Re: no
I second nibot. The high density monitor plug is called a DE-15, whereas the low density serial plug is called a DE-9. See D-subminiature wiki article.

That being said, many newer computers lack a DE-9 serial connection. Mine is five years old and it lacks it. Modern computers have supplanted the D-Sub serial ports with USB ports. In order to hook your telescope up, you'll have to get an adapter like stuology suggests. Many of these can be clunky. More svelte models are available.
Aug. 24th, 2009 04:16 pm (UTC)
Re: no
I guess it's not a video port, then - looks like that serial port! It's on the back of my laptop, has 9 pins, and is identified with an icon I don't recognize:

Aug. 24th, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC)
That's right! The "10101" is a symbol for a serial port, i.e. a bunch of zeros and ones being sent one ofter the other. It's the correct port.
Aug. 24th, 2009 07:07 pm (UTC)
Re: yes!
Awesome, woohoo! Thanks!

I don't know why I never learned this little tidbit, nor why it's so tough to find identification on teh intarwebs.
Aug. 24th, 2009 11:10 am (UTC)
Computers these days mostly have USB ports, not the old 9 pin serial ports. They make things that will connect the two, as stuology suggested. I have some old peripherals that use these - they work OK, but may need a bit of software tweaking - port number and baud rate - when used.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 24th, 2009 04:19 pm (UTC)
Yup, the port in question has 9 pins. That would be uber-cool to be able to control the telescope from indoors!
Aug. 24th, 2009 06:09 pm (UTC)
Aren't those called VGA ports or am I showing my age again?

Aug. 24th, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC)
To echo some others, you should try to get a serial->USB connector for it, and then tweak it to run. And even then, there's no guarantee it will work.

However, it's very possible that the manufacturer has a newer connector that is USB compliant. I'd check with them -- it's probably the safer route.
Aug. 24th, 2009 09:15 pm (UTC)
Good ideas, thanks!
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )