Toughbook cf-18 serial port

Discussion in 'Panasonic' started by tuffguy, May 3, 2009.

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  1. tuffguy

    tuffguy Newbie

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    Hey guys... I'm new to this forum stuff... but I've got a Cf-18 toughbook Mk1 I beleive. It's model # has a "B" after the "cf-18". Anyhow I picked up a power/video port board with a serial port and installed it. Everything works as it did but still no serial port. It's as if windows does not see it. I'm running Xp tablet w/SP2... anyone have any ideas? I'm thinking something to do with the BIOS... I've heard of some CF-18's with the serial port... (after all I've got a board with a serial port installed) I believe it is just a matter of the correct Bios. Any info would be greatly appreciated... thanks.
     
  2. Zakalwe

    Zakalwe Notebook Consultant

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    The serial port is found on the touchscreen versions, which come with XP Pro, whereas the digitizer versions have XP Tablet Edition and no serial port, since XP TE has no support for legacy ports. That means you may now have a somewhat frankenstein-ish CF-18 :) - board from touchscreen-model, OS from digitizer. I'm not sure if anything can be done to make the serial port work, apart from using regular XP Pro, where you lose the digitizer functions.

    That being said, the CF-19 digitizer model does have a working serial port in XP TE, but the question whether this is due to special hardware, or due to some software which could be installed on a CF-18. :confused:
     
  3. ohlip

    ohlip Toughbook Modder

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    If you really want to have a serial port on your unit you may use the port on CN(16)


    ohlip
     
  4. tuffguy

    tuffguy Newbie

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    So why does the xp tablet version in the CF-19 recognize the serial port and not the xp tablet version in the cf-18? IF I understand correctly... Xp tablet is Xp tablet.... therefore ther must be differences in the bios.... no? This something I would really like to figure out....
    Secondly ... I'm not sure what CN(16) is ...ohlip... could you explain?

    Thanks guys..
     
  5. ohlip

    ohlip Toughbook Modder

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    The cn(16) is an expansion slot inside the unit where the gps, bluetooth and WWAN will be connected as an option and it has serial port. There is a posted shematic of the slot somewhere here by Zero.... NBR ID. Dig a bet and you will find it.


    ohlip
     
  6. tough-2-go

    tough-2-go Notebook Deity

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    I don't think it has anything to do with the OS as Tablet is the same as XP but with additional features. The problem is that the components needed to make the connection between the DB9 connector and the I/O chip are not existing on the motherboard. Missing are the RS232/TTL level converter and supporting caps and resistors. Even if you were to add those components it is possible that there is no provision in the BIOS to see the serial port.
     
  7. tuffguy

    tuffguy Newbie

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    Interesting... when I received the video/pwr board with the db9 connector I noticed that the board had additional components to support the serial connector.... I was hoping that all that was req'd would be a Bios update (ie install the cf-19 w/digitizer bios) >> someting to that effect... I'll see if i can't locate that schematic that "Zero" has posted... Maybe that will give me an idea...
    Thanks again guys..
     
  8. tough-2-go

    tough-2-go Notebook Deity

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    The RS232-TTL converter is located on the motherboard. If you look in the space between the docking connector and the wireless lan card you will see an unpopulated area that would normally have an ADM211EARS chip and associated capacitors. These components simply do not exist on the digitizer models so you will never get a communications port to work on your model. Connecting to the CN16 would work but you would still need a TTL-RS232 converter if you are going to route it out to the DB9 connector.
     
  9. Zakalwe

    Zakalwe Notebook Consultant

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    You may be right, but I'm not sure. Microsoft's original specification for Tablet PCs required the absence of legacy ports, but whether the OS supports them or not... Here is a discussion regarding this topic on Microsoft's forum, it goes a bit back and forth.

    As for the apparent reasons, here a quote from the tablet QA on ruggedpcreview.com:
     
  10. arwooldridge

    arwooldridge Newbie

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    I have an old cf-18 mk1 digitizer version BEL01ME with no serial com port port. I thought I would test out a theory in another thread (now closed) http://forum.notebookreview.com/panasonic/378088-toughbook-cf-18-serial-port.html
    I added the missing ADM211 rs232 level convertor on the motherboard and the feedthrough capacitors on the vga/com/power board plus the missing D9 connector.
    I found that the ADM211 was being disable by the signal DISCOM1 so disconnected those pins (24 and 25) and tied them low.
    The ADM now does its level converting ok giving 9 volt levels on the new D9 comnnector.
    But still no com1 recognised by the device manager, which recognised com5 and com6. Outputting to either of these did not produce an output to the new connector.
    Using a terminal program I also found another com port 8 which responded to AT command with OK so probably the cable modem ( but not recognised by device manager)
    Going into bios setup I disabled the irda and wireless modem which then removed com5 and com6, but still no com1 appearing.

    My conclusion therefore as hinted in the earlier thread is that the com1 serial port is not being enabled in bios, which has no option to enable it, unlike the CF-18 mk3 I have which has options to enable the serial ports.

    I am using win xp pro which incidentally does work with the digitiser using Wacom drivers.

    My question is, therefore, is there a way to load another bios perhaps from another machine which has serial ports.
    Or a way of useing com2 on the port replicator, which I suspect is disabled by bios in the same way that com1 is.
    I could live without the touchscreen as I only want to use it for a simple server running with the lid closed. I need both usb ports and a serial com port for this application, and dont really want to use usb expanders and convertors.
    Apologies for the long post!
     
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