Laptop Computers for your Flow Performance Flow Bench
Note: Microsoft is discontinuing support for Windows XP. Windows XP is a fine and safe operating system for operating your Flow Performance flow bench. You may want to consider Windows 7 if you plan to use your computer for other duties, like Internet or email.
Dell Latitude D600 series laptop computers are a great choice for your Flow Performance flow bench. They are plentiful on eBay, considered a good stable work-horse of a computer, and have a built-in serial port.
For basic flow bench duties, and a simple Excel worksheet, consider the Dell Latitude:
For complex Excel worksheet duties, consider the Dell Latitude:
You can expect to pay as little as $100.00 USD for a complete Dell Latitude D600 laptop on eBay. The Dell Latitude D610 should be about the same or slightly higher.
When shopping for a Dell D600/610 series laptop, make sure it includes:
Windows operating system installed (XP or Win7, try to avoid Vista or Win 98)
Genuine Dell power adapter.
These laptops will work without a battery, so a battery is not needed for stationary work.
Windows XP is a good operating system for your FP flow bench. We have installed Windows 7 on the Dell D600 and D610, and it seems to operate properly with the appropriate amount of RAM. But Windows 8 does not work well on the D600, D610.
Windows 98 and Vista will work, but XP and Win 7 will give you a much better user experience.
eBay shopping tip: Select "Buy it Now", "Free Shipping" and "Newly Listed" for a good deal and a pleasant shopping experiance.
The Dell D620 and D630 have the wide screen and are more powerful than the D600 and D610. Consider these laptops if you plan to use complex Excel worksheets with your flow bench. Works well under Windows 8.
When purchasing, look for Windows XP, Win 7 or 8. Try to avoid Windows Vista.
Make sure your power adapter is a genuine Dell adapter. We have purchased non-genuine Dell adapters and found them to cause interferance with radios, cell phones, and wireless mice and keyboards.
The Dell Docking Station works well as a docking station, but the serial port on the docking station does not operate to correct RS232 standards. The docking station serial port will not work with the FP1 correctly.
The Dell Latitude D600 can be found on eBay for about $100.00 USD
Dell Latitude D620, D630
Dell Latitude C series laptops need the latest version BIOS installed to work correctly with the FP1
The serial port on the Dell D series laptops works fine, as-is.
But Dell did not adhere to the standard RS232 serial port protocol with it's C series computers, making them unsuitable
for true RS232 serial comunication with many devices, inluding the Flow Performance FP1. Dell's latest C series BIOS
version corrected that, making the serial port RS232 compatible, and compatible with serial devices including the FP1.
This is the same issue with the Dell laptop docking station serial port, however, the docking station is not upgradable.
The latest BIOS vesions for Dell Latitude C series laptops are available from the Dell web site.
If buying a Dell Latitude C series computer, try to verify, or specify, that the latest BIOS version is already installed.
In rare cases, updating a BIOS can go wrong, and possibly lead to a completely dead computer.