The thrill of having a sleek new laptop can quickly change to regret when a disappointed owner realizes that the new computer lacks a standard serial port. There is an easy solution though! The user can purchase a serial card that will provide a standard DB9 serial port for nearly any laptop. (As with all electronic products, before making a purchase, confirm with the manufacturer to be sure the product will work with your laptop.) An example of this type of card is the PCMCIA Serial Card. Most laptops today come with a USB Serial Port, but there is no set solution to connect a CNC machine via a laptop using this USB technology. Ideally, users need a USB Serial adapter that works under Windows 2000 and XP.
An ideal solution is using a RS-232 serial PCMCIA card. These can work with any laptop to add additional ports for various portable systems. They function like standard COM ports and can be left in the computer at all times. The small size and the fact that the card itself can be left inside the computer at all times is convenient and practical for use with portable systems. To connect a laptop to any CNC, purchase a PCMCIA card along with an RS232 extension cable. Many users wonder how an RS232 connector can be soldered to an USB extension cable—but the differences in design between RS232 and USB technologies don’t yet allow for this.