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Another "Unitor8 + serial RS232 + XP" thread. How do I choose the port?
Old 19th February 2009
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Question "Unitor8 + serial RS232 + XP" thread. How do I choose the port? Pic inside!

What's up?! Just grabbed an old non-USB Unitor8 on ebay for $30 in emaculate condition. It works fine as a stand-alone, but I can't get the serial port to see the unit. I got the unidrv227 drivers from another thread on this site and installed them.

Also, my computer didn't have a RS232 port, so I bought a PCI card with 2 of them and installed that as well. In device manager, the card shows up as COM4 and COM5. However, also in the device manager, it's shows the Unitor8 installed, but the location is unknown by the computer? How do I point the port to the Unitor. I am trying to use Control 3 and it doesn't see the unit. I read pages 28-30 in the manual and see where it says to select a serial port. But when I got to into the Unitor settings in the control panel, there is no field for serial port. There are only the inputs and outputs ports.

Also, as a secondary question just in case someone might know, when I was installing the drivers for the RS232 card, there were about 7 folders cantaining drivers on the cd. There was like a 1S, 1P, 2S...4S, 8S... Three of the folders had a couple 32-bit XP drivers. How do I know which folder to select? I selected 8S and one of the 32-bit driver within that. Is that ok?

Here is a screen print of what the Unitor setting menu looks like in the Control Panel. Is there a Port selection setting missing?
Old 19th February 2009
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Bump!
Old 20th February 2009
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Somebody? Anybody?
Old 20th February 2009
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Bump. Pic added!
Old 21st February 2009
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The Unitor 8 installation is a finicky one, and in the past I've ended up with a non-responsive unit too (I have a Mk II). But let's start with this first:

It's highly unlikely that your motherboard doesn't have a built-in com port. Not all recent motherboards have a com port on the back plane, but most of them have a com connector somewhere on the motherboard. It's likely that the rather dumb Unitor drivers connect to the first available com port and that it doesn't even care about your new ones.

Check your motherboard's manual to see if there's a com port (in the device listing) or look at the motherboard diagram to see if there's a com port connector; you should also boot your computer and check in the BIOS to see if there's a com port enable/disable there.

If your motherboard does have a com port, then you can do one of two things:

1. Disable it and save your new BIOS settings, and reboot to see if it worked. You might need to uninstall the drivers, and retry the install again.
-or-
2. If you have the com port bracket (with connector) that often comes with motherboards, install it and connect the Unitor to that; don't forget to remove the new card.

Let me know what you find....
Old 22nd February 2009
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So you are saying it's possible to have a COM port on the motherboard and not have an actual serial connector for it? The computer is only 8 months old. Also, where would my motherboard manual be? It's a Dell that I didn't build myself, so I don't have the bracket or any extra parts. In the device manager, the only COM ports that show are the ones I just installed. I checked the BIOS a few days ago to see if there was a COM on off switch. There wasn't one, that I could find anyway! I tried installing this on my old computer to see if it would work and it still didn't. And that one came with a serial port/connector on the back.
Old 22nd February 2009
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Hiya.. if you have a com-port yeah.. plug it in.. from your config it lookz like itz all registered. (coz u havit in device mngr) etc..

how are you testing it?

sometimez. there are settings in the bios for com ports 1,2,3 etc. where 3 and above are emulationz of 1 & 2.. you can try going into the bios and disabling any com ports not in use..

you may try a printer port.. as a last refuge.. these work as well..

i got an amt8 which is similar. running on xp sp2 via serial/com.. with cubsx/ableton etc.. works fine. you'll need to turn on your device before you intitialize the audio app.. otherwise it wont detect it...

! it shouldnt matter whether u have other midi ports or not. i have a lynx with midi and a gameport/midi serial cable.. i can use them all concurrently!

Best (",)
Old 22nd February 2009
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Thanks all for everything. I didn't see anything in the bios that mentioned any ports, and I went through all the menus, twice. I will check again. I'll look into the null modem cable thing. I gotta pull the package out the trash! heh And yeah joykrash, I am on SP2 as well. Trying to work this all in with Pro Tools. The only reason I need this interface is because I just got a second MPC and want my Mbox to sync to both of them when I need, as well as use both MPC's to sequence my hardware and soft synths, all without having to move cables around. Everything was so simple with 1 MPC.

The one thing I am really confused on is where exactly am I supposed to go to even select a port for the unit to connect to? The manual says to do so right in this following menu, but there is no where to select it??? And how is the unit detect? To my understanding, it's not like USB where you plug it in and it just pops up. I tried turning the power on and off and nothing ever happens.
Old 22nd February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mick Emouze View Post
be sure you are using a "null modem" serial cable or the Unitor will not work correctly.

How do I tell if it's a null modem cable? It's from Radio Shack and just says DB9. Does DB9 always necessarily equate to null modem? Am I right in assuming that some of the Pins in a Null modem cable are crossed on the other end? If so, I don't thing I have one. On the back of the box, it says pin 1 to pin 1, 2 to 2, 3 to 3, etc. But on Wiki, those ****s go all over the place. So that may be my issue. Tomorrow I will call PC City and see if they have this cable! This is the cable I have now:
6-Ft. Serial RS-232C Cable - RadioShack.com

...and this is what I need:
Cables To Go 6-Ft. DB9 F/F Null Modem Cable - RadioShack.com

I read on here where someone mentioned "handshaking." Do I need a cable with full handshaking, partial handshaking, or does it matter?

Also, which driver exactly do you install? In the Win2K folder, there are 3 to choose from: EMGICUS5, UNI2k226, UNI2k227. I picked the 3rd.
Old 22nd February 2009
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(Man, I hate OEM machines....) The BIOS information you have is probably incomplete because OEM BIOSes may hide some parameters.

What is your computer's EXACT model number?
Old 22nd February 2009
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Inspiron 530 with the 2.4 Core 2 Quad! Also, I've noticed in the COM settings, when I go to the option to change the COM number, COM3 is already in use. But the ports I just installed are 4 and 5. What could 3 be? Could it have anything to do with the Serial to USB dongle I had installed?

And is there any reason the "Lock" button on the Unitor8 flashes?
Old 22nd February 2009
  #12
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OK, it looks like your 530 really doesn't have any built-in com ports. BTW, since I have a "Mark II", I don't think I'll be able to help you beyond the following information. Please read the entire post before trying any of it out.
  • You may not have installed the right driver for your serial card? "8S" could mean "8-serial ports", and they may make cards with "4" "2" "1" serial port(s)?; "P" could stand for parallel. These are just guesses but you should definitely try to track down the original manufacturer of this card and see which driver you should have installed. They are NOT all created equal. Try making sure you install the correct driver and see if it starts working. Is there really not a single "ReadMe" file on the entire disk?
  • Are you using the proper power supply? I would double check the voltage output using a VOM to see if it's the right one. I assume the unit's power LED lights up?
  • Are you using the right cable? This is a tricky issue. Seems to me I used to connect my U8MkII with a standard serial cable (I'm now USB...) and it worked. After reading the other replies in this thread I looked around and found this link which says it's neither a null or a serial, but a special cable. Honestly, I'm not sure about this one. I would try with the cable you have first as I've also read elsewhere that it's NOT a null-cable.
  • It would be useful to know if the com ports work. One way to test a com port is to use an old serial port mouse and boot your system up with it connected. If all is well with your com port, it should do the "hardware wizard dance", install generic drivers and just work. Another way is to try installing a serial modem. Other than that there is some hardware checking software around that requires you install a special plug to check the continuity and connection of all the wires. Note that com ports are not hot-swap ports: you have to turn off the computer, connect a device to them, power up the device, and then start the computer if you want the OS to see the connected device.
Regarding the driver installation itself, make sure you've installed the correct driver the correct way. Again, it's really temperamental software. You can uninstall it this way:

======================================
Start the computer in safe mode and delete the EMAGIC nodes in the device manager in Multimedia _and_ USB-Devices.

Then delete in the C:\WINDOWS\INF folder EMGIC*.INF, *.BIN and in
C:\WINDOWS\INF\OTHER all Emagic*.INF-files.
======================================

And re-install it following the original instructions to the letter. I suggest you download the drivers from Apple here. The package includes the instructions for XP: follow them to the letter.

There's one more thing: If you install and uninstall many MIDI devices on your computer, you could hit the 10-device limit XP has with regards to how many devices it can keep track of. Uninstalled items don't always get deleted from the list and when 10 items are already enumerated, any new items don't get added to the list and XP just doesn't see them. This happened to me once, and I couldn't understand why my DAW wouldn't see a new MIDI port. More information and a fix from RME on the subject here.

In hope something in the above helps you out. Try to be as rational and methodical in your troubleshooting as you can, and don't skip any steps.
Old 23rd February 2009
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Thanks a lot Undertone! I will try everything you said. I got a null cable anyway. It was only $6. As for the powersupply, it didn't come with one, but the one I bought has the exact same specs as the info someone posted about it in another thread. It powers up fine and all LED's work. It it is sending midi. I can still sync my MPC's perfectly with Pro Tools. But I really need patch mode to stop the midi messages from being outputted to all channels. No way I can make beats with all my synths going at once. The card driver info you mentioned makes sense. I went to the manufacturers website and they didn't specify. But what you said is likely. I'll give it all a try! And I really appreciate everything! I also really appreciate USB much more now!heh
Old 23rd February 2009
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Man, nothing is working. I even tried rewiring the cable so the pins match the diagram in the manual. What I don't understand is why I don't even have a selection to choose the com port in the settings. I've read other people say they can easily select it in that menu, and the manual even says to go there and select it, but I don't even have the ****in option in there. WTF?!

As for the serial card drivers, I think you were right. There is one folder on the cd that says 2S1P, which obviously means 2 serial 1 parallel. However, I don't have a 2S1P card. I just have a 2 serial. There is no 2S folder on the disc.
Old 23rd February 2009
  #15
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If you did fiddle with the wiring, I hope you did it right

Usually if you can't select options in a driver, it's because hardware isn't installed properly. You said you had another machine with a built-in com port. Since it's more likely that the com port is operational on that machine (check that it's enabled in the BIOS), try it on that machine, but completely uninstall the Unitor drivers via add/remove (or if that doesn't work, use the procedure in my last post) and reboot before you do.

BTW, if the COM port was disabled in the BIOS, reboot once for the COM drivers to take and then shutdown and connect the Unitor before you restart and then follow the XP installation instructions.

On your original target machine, I still think your most likely problem is the COM port drivers. Try to get XP to find new drivers online. Or maybe write to Dell and ask them that you need a COM port and ask them for a recommended card. That might be the most direct way of making sure there isn't a hidden resident COM port in the machine, and/or getting a card that works for it.

Of course, nothing has ruled out the possibility that the Unitor serial connection is dead... but we remain optimistic
Old 23rd February 2009
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Old 23rd February 2009
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by undertone View Post
If you did fiddle with the wiring, I hope you did it right

Usually if you can't select options in a driver, it's because hardware isn't installed properly. You said you had another machine with a built-in com port. Since it's more likely that the com port is operational on that machine (check that it's enabled in the BIOS), try it on that machine, but completely uninstall the Unitor drivers via add/remove (or if that doesn't work, use the procedure in my last post) and reboot before you do.

BTW, if the COM port was disabled in the BIOS, reboot once for the COM drivers to take and then shutdown and connect the Unitor before you restart and then follow the XP installation instructions.

On your original target machine, I still think your most likely problem is the COM port drivers. Try to get XP to find new drivers online. Or maybe write to Dell and ask them that you need a COM port and ask them for a recommended card. That might be the most direct way of making sure there isn't a hidden resident COM port in the machine, and/or getting a card that works for it.

Of course, nothing has ruled out the possibility that the Unitor serial connection is dead... but we remain optimistic

Yeah, I'm sure I wired it right. I'm an auto technician by day, so I am experienced with electrical. heh What I did was cut and strip the wires, then used the continuity tester on my meter to see what color wires went to what pins. Then I just wired pin to pin according to the diagram in the manual. The only thing I wasn't able to do was reshield the spliced sections, but I doubt that really matters.

I think the possibility of a the Unitor port being dead is a good one since I had the same success on my old computer. But I didn't go into the bios to make sure the port was on. I am gonna try that now. I got updated drivers for my card right from here: PCI Peripheral Card As you see, there is only one selection for 32-bit XP in there, so I am assuming that one works for all their cards. We'll see.
Old 23rd February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esaias View Post
I didn't read all posts but I didn't see any screenshots from Unitor8 Control which you might find very useful

here you go:

http://voyager.pp.fi/esaias/u8setup.exe

-Tomi

Thanks, but I already have the program. I won't detect the unitor because the computer doesn't even see it.
Old 23rd February 2009
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OK, COM is enabled in the bios on my old computer. Installed everything as instructed and still nothing. Still have no option to set the unit to the com port. But now I see why. I just went back through the manual and is states: "This parameter is currently unavailable for the Windows NT/2000 driver." So I am guessing it is supposed to somehow find the port on it's own? But then, it says the same thing for the input and output ports and titles, but I do have those options.

Does anyone have a copy of the original driver disc that they can make an image of and send to me?
Old 23rd February 2009
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Alright Undertone, I think the unit is shot. I forgot to tell you some information that I found out about a few days ago, but didn't understand what it meant. Take a look at these screen prints:

These are the messages I get when I first open Control 3 (The Mbox 2 In and Out are the Unitors In 1 and Out 1, I just renamed it to what I have connected to it):












Now, if I keep pressing the Panic button while it's scanning, it takes longer to get back with an error message, but does eventually come back with this:




And here is another random error I got:








Now, here is the tricky part. This is why I believe the port on the Unitor is shot. If the unit is not being detected on the serial port, how is it that when I go into the Midi Monitor and press keys on my keyboard, Control picks up on the notes that I am playing from my keyboard? Is it reading it through the Mbox, or some how through the serial port?:




Also, when I do a Loop Back test, the unit does not send data back. I got all these same messages before I chopped up the cable, and got them on both computers.
Old 23rd February 2009
  #21
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All of the error messages you're getting from Unitor Control are typical if your Unitor is improperly installed. Unitor Control is practically useless unless you've installed the Unitor driver correctly in the first place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ Hellfire View Post
Now, here is the tricky part. This is why I believe the port on the Unitor is shot. If the unit is not being detected on the serial port, how is it that when I go into the Midi Monitor and press keys on my keyboard, Control picks up on the notes that I am playing from my keyboard? Is it reading it through the Mbox, or some how through the serial port?:
Is the MBox MIDI connected in any way? If yes disconnect all cables from it and test the connection like this:

Keyboard Midi Out -> Unitor -> Computer COM port

Are you still getting notes?

BTW: did you check the 10-MIDI-device limit issue (RME page - the link is a few posts back...) and made sure that's not the problem?
Old 24th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by undertone View Post
All of the error messages you're getting from Unitor Control are typical if your Unitor is improperly installed. Unitor Control is practically useless unless you've installed the Unitor driver correctly in the first place.



Is the MBox MIDI connected in any way? If yes disconnect all cables from it and test the connection like this:

Keyboard Midi Out -> Unitor -> Computer COM port

Are you still getting notes?

BTW: did you check the 10-MIDI-device limit issue (RME page - the link is a few posts back...) and made sure that's not the problem?
Yes, the Mbox is midi connected. I will try disconnecting it.

Also, yes, I checked the registry and there were only a couple midi items in there. I will post a screen print of that for you so you can double check, since you'd know exactly what to look for. Also, there were only two or three duplicate items, but I believe they weren't midi related. The only other midi device connected to the computer is the Mbox 2.
Old 24th February 2009
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OK, the midi notes were being activated by the Mbox being connected. With it disconnected, Midi Monitor didn't see the notes.

And here is the registry:


Old 24th February 2009
  #24
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So if:

1. Your cable is good and of the right type.
2. The Unitor is properly powered.
3. Your MIDI device limit hasn't been reached in XP.
4. Both Unitor and its drivers have been installed, uninstalled properly, and re-installed properly according to emagic's instructions.

Then the ONLY thing we don't know for sure is whether or not the COM ports work. So if you're sure the above is true AND that your COM ports work, then the only conclusion, unfortunately, is that your Unitor's serial connection simply doesn't work.

Unfortunately there's no way to test the COM ports than to actually use them with something or do a test that cross-wires the pins to create a loop and run a test to check it, like this page describes. Since you're not "wiring-challenged" that's what I'd do. If the COM ports are confirmed working and the rest of the requirements check out, then sadly you've got a dud.

Hope that's not the case...
Old 24th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by undertone View Post
Unfortunately there's no way to test the COM ports than to actually use them with something or do a test that cross-wires the pins to create a loop and run a test to check it, like this page describes. Since you're not "wiring-challenged" that's what I'd do.

Ironically, I think that will be quite the challange since now all the wires are all crossed! heh
Old 24th February 2009
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I can't get the loopback test to work. I tried the one in Control 3 and got nothing. I followed the instructions on how to use Hyperterminal and I can't even type in a command. I think my wiring is fuked!

Notice this pic I snatched from the manual. See how the connector terminals are numbered from left to right? I wired it accoriding to that.


But every other DB9 pic I see online is numbered right to left. Which do I go by? The site you posted seems to contradict itself with the way they displayed it. At the top, the pic shows left to right and if you scroll down the same page, it shows another pic right to left.
or?
Old 24th February 2009
  #27
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There's 4 ways you can look at a connection plug: from the back or from the front and from the female or male perspective (what kind of wiring did you say you did? )

Usually DB9 pins are numbered with tiny letters in the plastic (you might need to magnify), either in the front, or in the back if you can open the connector. Or alternatively go here where all the views seem to be into the connector from the front. When in doubt follow the numbers.

("Inn maee contree, wee 'ave dis ting, iss cauld 'Google'....")

UPDATE: If you refer to the connection page I just linked to in this message, the diagram from the manual is in fact a null modem cable. So Mick is right - if that is the right cable.
Old 24th February 2009
  #28
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just having another look @ this thread! wooh.. it'z got big.. i just wanted 2 add apart from seeing ur device in device manager.. there's no other way 2 really see what'z happening apart from opening up a cubase/ableton/fruity etc and testing it. can you select these ports in your application? ?? i cant see if u have said or not in tha thread.

i got an mpc.. i just use a £5 gameport midi cable workz fine.

Com portz are old technology. they're not plug and play.. (so u have 2 tell windows xp how to deal with it) they're the equivalent of an ISA card (",)

so all ur ever gonna see is the driver up.. which u have.. so now 2 select this port in ur app and test, windowz wont tell u itz working.. it doesnt have a midi sensor app builtin! your app will light midi 4 incoming information.. or u could download midi-ox and test "incoming midi data" with that..

not sure about tha loopback test.. but why cant you open up your app.. choose it.. then test it?

it maybe something 2 do with tha config of it. which can be modified with soundiver.. (awful app!) lol! not tha easiest!

u get lightz on tha front on tha in.. (flashing!) when u hit ur keyboard?

wat givez!? (",)
Old 24th February 2009
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I remember that the unitor manual has some wiring pin-outs.

Do you have the manual?

-Tomi
Old 24th February 2009
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by undertone View Post
There's 4 ways you can look at a connection plug: from the back or from the front and from the female or male perspective (what kind of wiring did you say you did? )

Usually DB9 pins are numbered with tiny letters in the plastic (you might need to magnify), either in the front, or in the back if you can open the connector. Or alternatively go here where all the views seem to be into the connector from the front. When in doubt follow the numbers.

("Inn maee contree, wee 'ave dis ting, iss cauld 'Google'....")

UPDATE: If you refer to the connection page I just linked to in this message, the diagram from the manual is in fact a null modem cable. So Mick is right - if that is the right cable.

Good info! I wired it backwards as I was going of the male diagram. I should have followed the pin numbers on the cable like I first thought to. But since that one site said it was a "special" cable, I just followed the diagram. So I will first rewire it again from the female perspective and try again.

As for what I did specifically, I started with a standard serial cable where each pin goes to it's own respective pin on the opposite side. I pretty much rewired it according to the diagram so Pin 2 when to Pin 3, 3 to 2, 7 to 8, 8 to 7, etc. That was simple. But like I said, I was going as if the pins were numbered left to right, which is as you posted, incorrect for a female connector.
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