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controlling RS232 device from USB Palm ?

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2006 7:29 am    Post subject: controlling RS232 device from USB Palm ? Reply with quote

I have T3 / TX, both of these are 'USB-only' devices
I'd like to 'control' (issue commands, read output) a DB9 RS232 device, an RFID reader

I've tested RFID reader with 'old' 'serial-only' Palm 3C;
using a terminal app, Palm cradle & null modem, it works fine

so: would this app work ? no way ? maybe ? perhaps ? yes ?

what sort of DB9 USB connection would I need ?
do the USB/DB25 cables differ, is there some smarts in them, or it it just wires ?
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Conklin Systems

Joined: 09 Mar 2005
Posts: 244
Location: Mid-Michigan

PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2006 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The T-3 and T|X each have 'combo' ports, the T3 is using a Universal Connector and the T|X is using the Multi-Connector. These ports support both USB and RS-232 serial signalling, you just need the appropriate cable.

USB and RS232 are very, VERY different beasts, but the Palm has hardware to speak to each. However, as Palm has added more and more USB support, their serial support has gotten worse. Some devices can speak to the Palm's "partial RS232" implementation, but many devices need a 'smart' cable that includes electronics to compensate for the missing signals. Another option is a Bluetooth-to-serial adapter, which may also work in your application. We suggest checking out the CS Online FAQ.

For real RS232 signalling, or as close as it gets, the only people making the needed smart cables are And actually, now you can just go over to the PCables forum here. Since our products are so complementary, many of the technical questions overlap so they've joined us here and have their own forum.
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Palm Explorer

Joined: 27 Nov 2006
Posts: 3
Location: Michigan

PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2006 8:23 pm    Post subject: RS232 cables for T3 and TX Reply with quote


For your Tungsten T3, a very good RS232 cable is the PDCTU-M9-6:

And for the Palm TX, a good RS232 cable is the PDCT5-M9-6 (found at the top of the same web page given)

Both of these cables terminate in a 9 pin male Dsub, which has the same pinout configuration as a PC serial port. This is relevant, as many applications such as RFID readers have cables available which would connect them to the serial port of a PC. Generally, you can use the same cable to connect it to our M9-6 cables, such as the PDCT5-M9-6.

Most Palm Pilots nowadays use a Multi-connector. If your palm has a Multi-Connector, then we sell a RS232 serial cable for it. These cables are found on And, if you have any problems in figuring it out, you could always send an email for help to, or give us a call on 248-596-0411.

My name is Ben from I would say for almost every application we've looked at, we have been able to use one of our off-the-shelf cables to make an RS232 connection to any Palm Pilot sold which has a serial port. (Now, getting any arbitrary software package to work with the serial port on a particular Palm is a beast of a different color, which is why I am very happy that Terry from Conklin Systems is hanging in there handling the "tricky" problems.)
Serial Cables and Bluetooth Serial
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