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WHOOSH 02-26-2003 02:09 AM

Electronic charting without a serial port...
I''m switching over to a new laptop and, as with most laptops these days, it has no serial (DB-9) ports.

In trying to run my 1999 Capn charting software, it only knows to look for the COM 1 port (the serial port) while I can only offer it 1 of 3 USB ports. The Capn website does not address this issue and their BB files holding user commments are being changed over, and not available.

Surely someone has stumbled onto this before me. How do you reconfigure older charting software to look to a different port?

Many thanks...


jklewissf 02-26-2003 05:36 AM

Electronic charting without a serial port...
I had a similar problem on my laptop in that it did not have enough ports for all my intended applications. On the internet I found a product called "edgeport" that I bought for 100$ from the manufacturer. Its a box (110v powered) that you plug into a usb port. It provides 2 rs232 ports, a couple of usb ports and a printer port.

I think the name of the manufacturer was "inside out networks". A google search on "edgeport" whould find them.

mikehoyt 02-26-2003 06:07 AM

Electronic charting without a serial port...

You need to purchase a USB - Serial adaptor. In Canada there is a product for sale at Futureshop that does this. It is called "Belkin Serial to USB Adapter" and is $49.99 Cdn.

It is also available from their web site and has web id 10010579. Their site is

You might also try your laptop manufacturer web site. They likely sell such an adaptor or a docking station for your laptop.

Best of luck




WHOOSH 02-27-2003 12:36 PM

Electronic charting without a serial port...
Thanks, Mike...but I can see I should have worded by question more carefully. I''ve got several different brands of adapters (''dangles'') but the challenge is not a mechanical one - it''s a software one.

Serial ports were defined as COM 1 etc. ports; USB ports apparently don''t have that designation by the computer. When the software is authored at a time of ''serial port abundance'', it''s written to go looking for a port the computer no longer knows exists. So...I suspect many have already struggled thru the process of finding a table or initialization file somewhere in the Cap''n and redefining the port #s. I''m trying to find one of those folks. <g>


mikehoyt 02-28-2003 05:27 AM

Electronic charting without a serial port...

What operating system are you using?

You can probably change the memory addresses and IRQ routing of the USB port in either BIOS or the OS. I believe COM1 is IRQ4 and address 3E8. Probably simplest thing is to disable any serial ports that the PC might thing are built in and go from there. Alernately you might find that the built in modem is currently COM1. I thinki n the BIOS setup you might be able to change the com port that modem uses thus freeing COM1 for Windows to assign to your new port.

This is now basically a task for the Techie that is setting up your new laptop. If you have a choice of laptops you can specify one with a serial port as many still have this as well.

Good luck and enjoy your frustrations.


WHOOSH 02-28-2003 11:15 AM

Electronic charting without a serial port...
Thanks for the detail, Mark. I''ll save your post as I almost understand it <g> and haven''t seen thatinfo before.

I honestly have to wonder about the digital world on occasion, because devices act so ''analog''. Today I uninstalled/reinstalled The Cap''n, made sure all the dangles were plugged in before booting up as before, and Voila! it (Cap''n) finds the NMEA data in one of the USB ports - even tho'' it calls the same port a different COM # this time. Geesh!

If I succeed two days in a row, I''m gonna declare victory!


mikehoyt 03-03-2003 10:05 AM

Electronic charting without a serial port...

I agree. Sometimes I think that analog is better than digital because things seemed to be more compatible. Of course that is probably just because I am getting older and memory lapses have caused me to conveniently forget the hassles of the time.

I have a serial port on my laptop and actually managed to build my own data cable from an old serial mouse cord. Windows found all the data as detailed in the Captain''s testing instructions but alas The Capn never did recognise my GPS.

At least the old technology of my 1979 sailboat still seems to work!

Glad to hear it is working.



WHOOSH 03-03-2003 12:27 PM

Electronic charting without a serial port...

Loved your last post! Yes, my 1979 Pearson''s "technology" is (mostly) working, too. But boy, it sure does take a lot of TLC to keep it that way, doesn''t it!

BTW have you found a way to unravel a chart CD that is full of Maptech charts but the Cap''n can''t see as a ''chart CD''? I''m not sure why this is happening, but someone gave me a CD of the Atlantic Islands charts and I''d love to use it if I could make the Cap''n "see it".


olson34 03-03-2003 02:53 PM

Electronic charting without a serial port...
I feel your pain.
I have contacted several nav. software suppliers about why they did not see the change coming to laptops that would have only CD drives and only USB or Firewire ports that started with many computers over 4 years ago. Evidently they have all been ignoring these changes (I will not go so far as to say "improvements") in technology that have happened.
Heck, I have not had a serial or parralel port or even a floppy drive in any home computer for over two years now. Still shopping for a laptop and some nav. software...
Same people probably still use flax sails and hemp halyards!


Portland Sailor

Sailmc 03-04-2003 09:41 AM

Electronic charting without a serial port...
I recently bought a new laptop without a serial port myself. I use Nobeltec software and they have available a serial to USB converter. There are other converters out there but I was lead to believe theirs was propritary. I kind of doubt it. It is a small device that plugs into the serial cable output and the USB port on the computer. I have seen these available at local retail computer stores for $20 to $40. Nobeltec wants $50. I haven''t purchased one yet but I think the Nobeltec is the way I will go to avoid yet another computer related headache.

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