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Serial Port communications and your modem.

Serial Port communications can be likened to sending a letter through the mail. Someone picks up the letter from one mailbox, takes it to a central location where it is processed, then delivers it to the intended destination. What would happen if your next door neighbor had the same address as you? This would certainly cause the mailman some confusion. What would happen if your next door neighbor had the same address as you, but the neighbor was standing next to his/her mailbox and asking the confused mailman if there was any mail for that address? The mailman would probably no longer be confused and deliver your mail to your neighbor instead.

This same scenario is created if you connect the docking station to a serial port (your mailbox) that is trying to use the same COM port (your street address) as the modem does. In general, the modem (your neighbor) is always waiting for information from the CPU (your mailman). When the modem attracts the attention of the CPU, the docking station never receives the information intended for it. Instead, it is intercepted and ignored by the modem.

This all boils down to a simple fact. You are unable to link to your docking station through a serial port that is unwittingly sharing its COM port address with a modem. So how can you get around this problem? First, determine how many serial ports are on the back of your computer. A serial port has 9 or 25 pins sticking from it. You may even find that these ports are labeled. (COM A, COM B, etc.) The docking station will plug directly into a 9-pin serial port. In order to connect to a 25-pin serial port, an adapter would be required. Note that you may find a 25-pin port with holes instead of pins. This is a parallel port. You cannot connect the docking station to this type of port. Most desktop computers will have 2 serial ports. Most laptops will only have one. If the computer does have 2 serial ports and the port you are currently connected to is being shadowed by the modem, try connecting to the 2nd port. Take note of whether the port is labeled. Choose this as the COM port in the Intellisync or Avigo Manager software.

What if there are two serial ports, but the other port has a serial mouse attached to it? A temporary solution is to shut down the system, remove the serial mouse, attach the docking station to the mouse's port, and restart the computer. You will need to use the keyboard to navigate through Windows. Consult your Windows Guidebook for more information on this process. (Quick Hint: Pressing CTRL-ALT-ESC will bring up the Start menu in Windows 95. Use the arrows to highlight the needed application. Press ENTER to run the app. To select the File option, press ALT-F. Continue to use arrow keys to select needed options.)

What if I only have the one serial port or I need a more permanent solution to this problem? In this case, you will need to either add a new serial port to the system, acquire a PS/2 style mouse to replace the existing serial mouse, or change the modem to access a different COM port. Changing the modem's COM port should be described in the manual that accompanied your modem. If this is not available, you may also be able to contact your computer's manufacturer for more information on this process.



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