Membership Card Serial Adapter

The Membership Card has a 25-pin control port that Lee intended to be used with a PC parallel port to control the Membership Card. Unfortunately, many new PCs, especially laptops, do not have a parallel port; or the PC runs Windows Vista or Windows 7, two operating systems that do not provide easy access to the parallel port for user programs. These two issues will prevent many people from using a PC control program for the Membership Card.

I decided to solve the problem by creating a hardware RS-232 to Membership Card adapter that can be used by any serial port-aware application – from a simple terminal program to a purpose-build front end. The RS-232 adapter works with a USB-to-Serial adapter, opening up Membership Card control programs to computers that lack a standard serial port as well. I also wrote a Windows program to use the serial port to talk to the adapter, one that implements an interface familiar to anyone who has used an ELF-class computer.

Getting the software -- the short form

I’ve created an archive that contains the documentation for the serial port adapter, a schematic, the Picaxe BASIC program for the Picaxe 20X2, and an installer for the Membership Card Control Panel. There is also an archive that contains the Visual Studio 2008 project file for the Membership Card Control Panel – see the notes in the documentation for important information about additional packages that you need to build the code.

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