View Full Version : Serial Port Failure - Reboot

10-01-2005, 12:24 PM
My search of the forum did not bring up an issue along the lines of what I've just run into, so I thought I would pose the question here.

I have a (new to me) PRT96 and am running the windows version of the control software with a P4 1Ghz PC with Windows XP. I've been running with this setup for a few months with only occasional loss of communication issues. When these have come up, the software would always reconnect again on the first try. Earlier this week, however, I got back to working with the bot after about two weeks off and discovered a new and more serious problem. It appears that now my PC will shutdown and reboot (just like you hit the reset button) at random time intervals anytime the Shopbot control software is running. The software does not actively have to be cutting a file, it only has to be running. Without the control software running, the PC will hum along all day with no problem. In troubleshooting, I've basically determined that the issue has something to do with the serial port. This was most obvious when I attempted to upgrade the control box firmware and the PC immediately reset. For now, I'm running the bot on a slower backup PC (also running the same control software and XP) and have no issues yet (have only cut a few files). This all leaves me with the following questions...

Has anyone experienced a similar issue and can you provide some insight?

Does anyone see any issue with trying a USB to serial adapter with the first PC?

The bigger question.... Do I need to be concerned that something in my control box is haywire and may have led to the serial port issues on the first PC? The intermittent communication issues and now the failure make me leary. I can take the loss on the first PC, but I don't want to lose any more or fight this problem forever.



Brady Watson
10-01-2005, 02:14 PM
It certainly does sound like your original computer had hardware issues with the serial port. You can use a USB to serial adapter, but not the Belkin brand. I believe there is a post here somewhere that lists compatable brands. USB is a different flavor of serial. Whether your motherboard's serial bus is toasted or not, I don't know. This may or may not influence the probability of the USB working or not since it may share the same hardware bus as the standard DB9 serial port that is bad. At any rate, I would try either the USB adapter, or get a PCI Serial card and try it that way.

I have never had any issues with my serial port running DOS or SB3 software. Sometimes motherboards/devices just go bad.

As far as your communication issue goes, this is directly related to the reliability of the serial port. I would also download the latest version of SB3 for the PRT and use that. It has improvements over earlier releases in the area of communication and disconnects etc.


10-01-2005, 04:43 PM
Brady - Thanks. I'll give the USB to serial adapater a try then next week (found the post you were referring to). I hope the failure was only due to the PC. It was a cheaply built, no-name model that I got for free, so I would not be surprised if the serial components in it weren't the most reliable or high quality.

The backup PC that I'm running now had similiar problems communicating with the control box before I replaced it. I was running a version of SB3 that I downloaded from Shopbot in June on that PC and the one that just failed as well. I've upgraded to the latest release (3.4.8 I think) on both PC's now. It was after doing that on the PC that just failed that I noticed the reboot as I tried to update firmware as part of that update. I'll just have to wait and see in the new SB3 version encounters the same communiciation issues on the backup PC until I get the other setup. I'm trying to get in as much playing around time as I can before going to the Midwest Camp next week, so I have good questions to ask.

Thanks again.