SBIG ST-7E Parallel to USB feasibility?

Discussion in 'Legacy Models (ST, STL, etc.)' started by David Trowbridge, Aug 3, 2018.

  1. David Trowbridge

    David Trowbridge Cyanogen Customer

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    I have an old ST-7E camera that I would like to resurrect to use with my DSS-7 Spectrograph. It has a parallel port (LPT) connector but my computer needs USB. I purchased a parallel to USB cable, but so far I have not been able to get CCDOPS to recognize the camera. Is this feasible, or am I on a fool's errand?
     
  2. Bill

    Bill SBIG Service and Repairs Staff Member

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    David,

    Below is the answer to this question from the SBIG FAQ page back in 2007. I'm not sure it it's still applicable in 2018 but here it is.

    -Bill

    People who ask this question are often laptop users that have two parallel port based cameras or who just bought a new laptop without a legacy Parallel port. What you do instead is buy a PCMCIA (aka PC Card) based parallel port card. We recommend the SPP-100 card from Quatech as we know it works.
     
  3. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    Over a decade ago. No idea if that's still available or if it still works!

    I do have one option for you... we do have one new-in-box ST-7XME camera. We're willing to sell it "as-is" without warranty (except it will definitely work when you receive it!).
     
  4. David Trowbridge

    David Trowbridge Cyanogen Customer

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    Thanks for the link, Bill. Since my computer is a Dell desktop computer, I've ordered a Parallel PCIe Card. I should know by early next week whether it works.

    David
     
  5. David Trowbridge

    David Trowbridge Cyanogen Customer

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    Thank you, Doug. I'll consider your offer if I cannot get my ST-7E to work with a new parallel card in my Windows 7 PC.
     
  6. David Trowbridge

    David Trowbridge Cyanogen Customer

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    I purchased a parallel PCIe card and have installed it successfully. However, I cannot seem to get either CCDOPS or TheSky X to recognize my SBIG ST-7E camera.
    When I run CCDOPS (Version 5.61 Build 0-NT), I get a BEX error in attempting to connect using LPT1 (see attached document).
    When I try to connect using TheSky X, I get SBIG driver: Device not found. Error = 3007. Incidentally, I am able to connect to my other camera, an SBIG ST-8XME from TheSky via USB.
    I have used the SBIGDriverChecker64 to update my drivers (see screenshot).

    Any suggestions?

    I am also considering using my DSS-7 Spectrograph with my ST-8XME, but I don't have the correct adapter between the RJ-11 cable from the DSS-7 and the 9-pin D-connector of the ST-8. It's labeled "ST-7-RC". Is there a corresponding connector for the ST-8?

    David
     

    Attached Files:

  7. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    I believe only the specific card that Bill mentioned is known to work. That was PCMCIA, not PCIe; they're very different technologies.

    In order for a PCIe card to work as a legacy parallel port, as opposed to a printer port, it needs to have a special driver that maps it over to the legacy port addresses via protected mode. I'm not sure if that technology is still supported in Windows 7-10; even in the midst of the ISA to PCI changeover very few cards had that support. Legacy parallel ports definitely are not supported and haven't been for years.

    Not sure about the connectors; I thought they were the same - Bill would probably remember better. Maybe post pictures of the connectors in question?
     
  8. JoshuaHufford

    JoshuaHufford Cyanogen Customer

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    You might want to search the Yahoo group SBIG, I seem to remember some posts a few years back about using these older Parallel port cameras and how some got them to work. I "think" windows XP might be the key, but my memory is pretty foggy on this and I really didn't read it in detail as I don't own a Parallel port camera.

    A google search for the information might find the posts quicker, Yahoo's search feature doesn't always work very well.
     
  9. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    If I recall correctly, I believe with XP they phased out all ISA bus support (i.e. deliberately disabled them), except for legacy parallel ports. So I suspect that XP was the last version of Windows that could be readily used with (non-printer) parallel port devices. Subsequently (Vista I think) they also disabled legacy parallel port access.

    Some PCI bus machines still had the legacy ports circa XP release, but they disappeared fairly quickly after that. PCI bus parallel port cards don't work because they don't map to the ISA bus addresses needed by the legacy drivers. That's why the suggestion of PCMCIA (PC Card) ports at the time - it was the last holdout.

    Really the only practical solution for running a parallel port camera at this time is to find an old but working computer.
     
  10. David Trowbridge

    David Trowbridge Cyanogen Customer

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    I think my best hope is to use my ST-8XME camera via USB. But the main blocking issue there is that CCDOPS crashes whenever I try to connect to a USB camera. I'm running 64-bit Windows 7 Pro, Service Pack 1 and CCDOPS (Version 5.61 Build 0-NT). Has anyone been able to connect to an SBIG camera using CCDOPS via USB in this environment? [I CAN connect to my ST-8XME from TheSky X]
     
  11. Bill

    Bill SBIG Service and Repairs Staff Member

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    The "ST-7 RC" connector works with any of the old ST and STL cameras.
     
  12. David Trowbridge

    David Trowbridge Cyanogen Customer

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    Yes, indeed. you are right. My mistake.
     
  13. David Trowbridge

    David Trowbridge Cyanogen Customer

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    Well, I finally stumbled on a way to use my old DSS-7 Spectrograph. I've connected it to my ST-8XME camera via USB and I use the DSS tab in the old CCDOPS program. What I discovered is that I must use an OLD version of the program (Version 5.55 Build 25-NT) rather than the newer one (Version 5.61 Build 0-NT). The old version is able to connect to my camera on either 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 7, while the new version crashes whenever I try to connect to any camera.

    I did try using Version 5.55 on a 32-bit Windows 7 machine with a built-in parallel port to connect to my ST-7E camera, but was unsuccessful.

    Using my current setup, I capture this spectrum of Vega last night. Thank you for all your guidance.

    David Vega-calibrated.png
     

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