What’s wrong with my connection?

There are times when you setup your equipment, just like you always do, and your writer just won’t talk to your laptop. What’s wrong with the connection? It could be several things. If you’re using a USB-Serial adapter, unplug it from the USB port and plug it back in. If your laptop volume is up, you should be able to hear a couple of beeps. If you don’t, go into Device Manager (in Windows XP you would use one of these methods – – Click Start, click Run, and then type “devmgmt.msc” (without the quotation marks).- Right-click My Computer, click Manage, and then click Device Manager.- Right-click My Computer, click Properties, click the Hardware tab, and then click Device Manager.) (in Windows Vista you would click Start  | Control Panel | System and Maintenance | System | Device Manager (Device Manager is located under “Tasks” in the left hand column of the “System” menu). Double click on the Ports (Com & LPT) line. This should open the Ports item and list the available Com ports. See if your USB device is listed and note what Com port it was assigned. Check your CAT software settings to make sure your realtime option is set to the same Com Port. If there is no USB Serial device listed under the Ports list, unplug the adapter and plug it in again to see if it shows up. If it’s listed, but has a yellow exclamation mark on it, there’s a driver problem and may need to be reinstalled. Occasionally with USB adapters, it could switch port numbers on you. If the Com Port is the same and it’s still not connecting, it could be your cable. Try a different writer cable to see if that’s the culprit. Over time, with the cables being wound and unwound, folded and unfolded, the wires inside get week and could break, preventing a connection from occurring. If none of these fixes the issue, it could be your writer that’s causing the problem and at that point, it would be best to take it in and get it serviced. – AskBillFirst


2 Responses

  1. Hi Bill. This is a great post. I attach my writer to my laptop via a USB serial cable. A couple of months ago, in the middle of my deposition, after resuming from a break, my “realtime” would “freeze” and I needed to power down and reboot everything to continue. Lo and behold after a few more days of this, I changed to a new USB serial cable and everything has worked beautifully since. Sometimes the USB serial cable simply doesn’t work anymore.

  2. Good point. We’ve been replacing those with PCMCIA serial cards whenever possible. They’re so much more consistent but if they’re not an option, it’s best to try another adapter.

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