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Author Topic: how do i test a parallel port for electrical and programatical functionality?  (Read 7313 times)

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Offline Jennifer

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This is a post I found on another site called “do it yourself christmas.com”.

I thought this may be useful to other “newbies” like me for figuring out if their parallel port is functioning physically and programmatically. Pretty neat considering the only hardware tool required is a VOM capable of reading +5V DC.

You will require the following software:

--Parallel port monitor-- (or use “parmon” that tweakie so graciously turned me on to from: http://www.geekhideout.com/parmon.shtml)

 this will require a logon to the forum if you choose to follow the instructions 100%


--Dll for Vixen Software--


--Vixen itself--:


--here is a nice Parallel port diagram--


finally here is the procedure:

Step one:
Download the parallel port monitor program (PPM). Unzip and extract the .exe file.
Open the port monitor program and familiarize yourself with it. The most important feature of this program at this point is the ability to manually turn on the first 7 pins (pinout 2 - 8) by clicking on the first port and manually changing the 0's and 1's. 1 means its on, 0 means its off.

Now, take your Cat5 cable, and strip the wires at both ends. at this point, it does not matter what pattern you use, only that you know what wire is in what port. You can use the following chart if you like

Orange Pin 24
Orange/White Pin 2
Blue Pin 3
Blue/White Pin 4
Green Pin 5
Green/White Pin 6
Brown Pin 7
Brown/White Pin 8

Now, using the PPM, change the value of the parallel port to 11111111.

With this done, it is time to get out the multimeter. Check each of the wires on pins 2-8 for voltage. Ground to the orange wire, hot to the numbered wires. you should get approx 4.5v on each wire. If this works, then your PP is working properly. If not, make certain of your pinouts. You may have them upside down, in which case you need to redo them all and test again.
(sorry I dont have the experience and knowledge to determine problems with non-functioning parallel ports, if you cannot get your port to read with the wires and the PPM, I cant help you.) you could use the LED method I have read about, but this way is a lot cheaper and easier.

Now we have figured out that our PP is working, its time for Vixen.

Download the Vixen program. Open the folder, and find the folder named Output. Open the Output folder and look for a file named BasicParallel.dll. If that file is not in your folder, then download it (link above) and place it in the Output folder.

Now open up vixen and set up a profile.

Create a name (test?) and say ok. Now on the bottom of the setup page is a button named Output plugins. Find the Basic Parallel plugin and add it. now click on the BP on the right side. Set the channels and click on the plugin setup and verify you have the proper port selected. Then click ok, then done, then add your channels and finish creating the profile.

now create a new Vixen standard sequence. no need to add a song, but you can if you like. I created a 30 second blank sequence.

Now, you can create a pattern that will turn on each pin in turn for about 5 seconds each. (I only have 6 channels) Once you have finished that, resize your window so that you can have the PPM visible outside of Vixen. Then run your sequence. You should see each light in the PPM turn on in time with the sequence in Vixen.

If your PP is working, and you set up vixen properly, then you should be set and ready to go at this point. All you need to do now is verify your pinout and run the wires to your setup.

I hope this will be of use to other’s like me having so much fun setting up your first CNC project.

Συν ται η επι ται or Ή ταν ή επί τας
Hello, How are you? I am trying to understand this post.

My first problem is

--Vixen itself--:


--here is a nice Parallel port diagram--


point to the same thing. The second problem is when you say to take a cat5 cable and strip it. I don't know what to do with it. Do I plug it in the ethernet port? How would that be useful I wonder. Can you tell me what to do with the cat5 cable once I strip it?