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Windows 8 USB Adapter

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My daughter has a school project where they are adding a couple of scrolling LED signs to a couple of the common areas. (It is a private school in north Fort Worth. There is one sign for the cafeteria and one for the area where the teenagers “hangout”.) As we anticipated this project, I was scrambling to find a USB adapter to properly talk to Windows 8 (or Windows 7). This was a concern because my previous adapters had been set up on a Windows XP laptop. The old adapter and the new Windows did not want to play nicely at all!

Originally, this was not going to be an issue on this project. They were going to program the sign over a network. The device to allow the sign on a network would solve some problems, but would create others. Since the sign needed to be up and operational as quickly as possible, (The project was their community project for First Lego League robotics. As they prepare for the regional competition, the team needed to show they had made progress toward completing their community project. For the initial competition, the project was somewhat more vaporous….), they decided to just program the sign with the USB adapter. Thus, I needed to find an adapter that would quickly solve this potential problem.

Fortunately, I did. I went into Best Buy yesterday.(I went into Office Depot first. They no longer carry these type of things. I assumed from the start Best Buy would have it. Although I could have purchased it on-line, I wanted to easily be able to take the device back if it failed to perform.) They only had one choice in USB-to-RS-232 adapters. My previous experience had me expecting to find a mini-CD sold with the device. After querying one of the “knowledgeable” staff, he let me know Windows 8 should be “all drivered up” (my words) I decided to buy two adapters – one for me and one for the school. (If we have the same device, troubleshooting would be easier.)

When I got the device home, I was prepared to be disappointed. The software for the sign was already installed, so I would know quickly whether the adapter would work or not. Yeah, it did! The only thing I needed to do was make sure the “Com port” assigned within the “Device Manager” matched the “Com port” assigned within the LED programming software. When that was done, I sent a test message to the sign. The “beep” was music to my ears. The sign and computer were “talking”. I would not have to spend hours downloading or configuring to make them work together. And, most importantly, the setup at the school would likely be just as easy. Double yeah! (It is not good to be a supplier to your daughters school and have something go wrong.)