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Want to set up Hardware profile to make COM1 available for a program to use

Posted on 2007-03-17
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PC is a Sony VAIO laptop PCG R505B running XP SP2. I want to connect a data logger to COM1, but its program cannot read COM1. It works OK on a desktop. The problem seems to be that the internal modem on COM3 interferes with COM1. I have set up a hardware profile ('No Modem') which disables the modem, and disables the 'Telephony' service. Still no go. I have got it to work by disabling COM1 in the profile, starting the machine, (which then cannot grab COM1). I then enable COM1 and can run the data logger. But how do I find out what is grabbing COM1 so I can disable it to make this procedure more user friendly?
I wondered about using Security event logging, but cannot see how you can set auditing on a com port.
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Question by:kmaynard
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10 Comments
 
LVL 39

Expert Comment

by:PUNKY
ID: 18742392
What kind of datalogger you are using? Agilent / HP Data aquisition data switch? If so, install data logger software from Agilent website, install and run. It will automatic configure and choose COM# for you.
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Expert Comment

by:shayneg
ID: 18742840
A program called Sisoft Sandra will tell you everything you need to know about your computer including full reports on com port usage etc :0)
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Author Comment

by:kmaynard
ID: 18743169
Punky: it's a 9005 Multimeter with RS232 output.  I want to log current taken over time to assess where the household electricity is getting used, and whether it's at the cheap (night) rate. The meter comes with its own software which finds the right port when that port is free. It works fine on a desktop which has COM ports independent of each other.

Shayneq: unfortunately, Sandra doesn't want to come to the party, well not without being paid! But thanks for the suggestion.

Isn't there anything built-in to XP? Mr Gates seems to log almost everything else? The OS knows that something has a prior claim to the resource I want, but can it be made to tell me what? Is there some COM port logging function that could be enabled?
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LVL 39

Expert Comment

by:PUNKY
ID: 18743784
Uninstall and reinstall software again, technically when you run application first time to setup, it will search and detect COM# for you, sometime it will fail to detect. Use Hyper Terminal to test the COM ports first see if it working, then try run again.

The thing is, in bios, how do you set the COM? try different setting for them and pick one it works. OS has nothing to do with that, but if software is not supported by XP, then search for update that software from vendor.
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Author Comment

by:kmaynard
ID: 18760080
The software lets you choose the port at run time. With COM1 enabled,  the software says 'no free port'. Hyper Terminal won't work in my cut-down h/w profile because Telephony (TAPI) isn't running. If I disable COM1 in the profile, and reboot, then enable it, it all works OK, presumably because whatever grabs COM1 does so at boot time, and gives up if it's disabled.

On this basis, I now have a potentilal workaround using DEVCON downloaded from Microsoft. This allows me to boot with COM1 disabled in this profile, then run a logon script with DEVCON ENABLE <port id>.  At the end I will need to do a DEVCON DISABLE probably in a shutdown script to prepare for next time.

Not very elegant, but it should work.

I am just surprised that there isn't a Windows feature to show how all the system resources are being used. The PSTools program PORTMON is no good in this case either, because it cannot connect to COM1, no doubt for the same reason.
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Expert Comment

by:PUNKY
ID: 18760187
Interesting! is that happening on other PC?
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Author Comment

by:kmaynard
ID: 18760804
No. Desktop PC works OK. I suspect that the laptop has some complicated port sharing arrangement. Its internal modem appears as connected on COM3. Device manager shows only COM1 and LPT1, which corresponds to the 2 sockets on the back.  In normal profile, Hyperterminal can call via the modem, and if you connect to COM3, it responds to AT commands. I don't have an external modem to connect to COM1 to see if HT can talk to it.

This is the first time I have attempted to use its COM port under XP. I have run a standalone diagnostic program (Tufftest #1) on the laptop and the COM port works OK under test when a loopback plug is fitted. So XP is grabbing it at startup.
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LVL 39

Expert Comment

by:PUNKY
ID: 18761082
I think that is all you can get from that system (Sony VAIO laptop PCG R505B). Might be too many devices being shared IRQ resources and will not accept.

Good luck.
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Accepted Solution

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kmaynard earned 0 total points
ID: 18871304
I don't think that I am going to find out how to stop XP grabbing the COM1 port. My workaround of disabling it in a Hardware profile, and enabling it just before running the program which uses it, is working fine. I am asking for this question to be closed.
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