Adding a parallel port to modern PC computers for use with Linrad.
(Sept 17 2010)

The parallel port in Linrad.

The parallel port is convenient to use for controlling various home-built equipment. Relays to switch in/out transverters or to change antennas etc. The WSE units use the parallel port for setting frequencies and front end attenuation with a simple interface on the parallel port that could be extended up to 255 different units.

Linrad was originally developed for 32 bit Linux where direct read and write on the parallel port is trivial (just as it was under MSDOS.)

The direct access to hardware ports is forbidden under Microsoft Windows. Linrad has solved that by use of inpout32.dll, a file which is included in the Linrad dll package.

The inpout32.dll file does not work on 64 bit Windows systems and the inpout64.dll does not work either - presumably because linrad uses 32 bit code under Windows.

Modern computers do not have parallel ports on the motherboard so the WSE user will have to purchase some extra hardware to add a parallel port. Linrad can be used with parallel port cards on the mother board and with parallel ports on USB.

PCI or PCI Express cards under Windows.

It is necessary to install drivers for these cards. The manufacturer usually supplies a CD. The parallel port will typically not appear on the normal address which is 0x378 for lpt1 (=888 decimal) but on some other address. You must tell Linrad which address to use. Under Windows XP, click these things:
Control Panel
Computer Management
Device Manager

Click the appropriate "+" to find your hardware. (My Sunix PCI 4008A is under "Multifunction adapters.") When you have found the hardware in Control Panel, right click on it to get a menu and click "properties". Then click "Resources" to see the address range of the port. The PCI 4008A shows two address ranges: 3000-3007 and 3008-300f. As it turns out, the parallel port is the one at 3008 which converts to 12296 in decimal notation and this is the value that has to be entered into Linrad.

PCI or PCI Express cards under Linux.

To find the port address use this command:
dmesg | grep parport


Starting with Linrad-03.15 the USB to lpt converter USB2LPT by haftmann#software is supported. Note that only USB2LPT Model 1.6 is supported Model 1.7 is NOT supported in Linrad.

Linrad uses libusb with this device and it works under both Linux and Windows (2000,XP, Vista and 7.) It works under 32 bit as well as 64 bit versions of the operating systems and under Linux with 32 as well as with 64 bit code in Linrad.

USB2LPT under Windows.

To install USB2LPT under Windows you must first find a USB connector where the unit is recognized. Start by connecting the USB2LPT hardware. There are two alternatives. If you run Windows XP you may see one or the other of these messages:
  • 1. "Found New Hardware"
  • 2. "USB Device Not Recognized"
The second alternative is an error in Windows. Try other USB jacks. On my D5400XS the ones on the motherboard do not work, but those on the front panel are OK. Under Windows 7 the first alternative is shown for a very short time but the second one that indicates an error will stay on the screen and the text is "Device driver software was not sucessfully installed." If you can not eliminate the error message by trying other USB jacks, switch off the computer and disconnect mains for half a minute. Then reboot and try again. There is a lot about this USB error on the Internet.

Once you have the USB2LPT connected without an error, execute the inf-wizard which you will find in this archive file: (626154 bytes) Unpack it to a directory of your choice and execute the command:

The source code for the package can be downloaded here: (338175 bytes)

The inf-wizard is self explanatory and will create the installation files. You may press the "Install Now" button to make the installation from the wizard. That does not always work (i.e. if you did not close the "Found New Hardware" Window or if you are installing under Windows 2000.)

USB2LPT under Linux.

When you run the configure script under Linux you will get a list of uninstalled packages at the end. In case you want to use USB2LPT you must have the libusb package installed. You may need to make a symbolic link from to (e.g. the 32 bit libusb under 64 bit Suse.)

If libusb is present when Linrad is compiled, the USB2LPT hardware will work with Linrad without any further configuration.