In the past, computers used serial cable technology and serial port cards when connecting to most peripherals such as modems, scanners and digital cameras. USB technology has replaced serial connectivity, but if you have one or more serial devices, you may be wondering how to connect it to your computer.
Desktop computers have open slots so you can install add-on cards. To do this you need to open the computer, determine the correct type of card, buy it and install it. Two common kinds of add-on cards are ISA for older computers and PCI for modern ones. If you have a laptop with a PCMCIA slot, you can buy a PCMCIA serial port card, and plug it in without opening the computer.
Connect a computer to one or more of the following with a serial port card:
1. Dial-up modems or networking devices
2. Printers designed to connect to a serial board
3. Serial mice
4. GPS receivers
5. Bar code scanners or other point of sale devices
6. Consumer devices
Add or replace a serial port on an older computer with an ISA serial boardMany older computers used ISA technology for add-on cards. Replace a broken serial port with a new card, or add more serial ports so you can connect all of your devices. Be sure your computer's motherboard has ISA connectors before you purchase this type of board.
Connect your newer computer to a serial device with a PCI serial cardNewer computers often have open slots for PCI add-on cards. Add a serial port if you computer doesn't have one, or install a multi-port card if you need to connect several serial devices to your computer.
Attach a serial device to your laptop with a PCMCIA serial port cardYou will find PCMCIA slots in laptops, mostly. This technology lets you add a variety of different functions to your laptop and you just plug it in. Connect one serial device with a simple 1-port PCMCIA card or connect several with a 2- or 4-port serial card.
- Many serial port card vendors can help you determine which kind of add-on card or serial port PCI card to use in your computer if you are unsure.
- If the alphabet soup for-PCI, PCMCIA or ISA-is beyond you, look for a USB to serial adapter to connect your newer computer to a serial device.