The Flow Performance FP1 electronic flow rate processor is controlled by a Microsoft Windows powered personal computer through a serial port. Most all older computers came with at least one serial port as standard equipment, but newer computers, especially lap top computers, no longer have a serial port. Newer computers now come standard with a USB port (Universal Serial Bus). You can buy an adapter that will make a USB port into a serial port that will operate the FP1 flow rate processor. NOT ALL USB/SERIAL ADAPTERS WORK WITH ALL OPERATING SYSTEMS. Purchase a vendor branded cable with company name contact information for their support. If your adapter has no brand name, it will probably not work. You want a "Full RS232 compatible" adapter.
This is a 9 pin serial port connector that you will find on older computers. Serial ports also came in 25 pin versions on real old computers, and you can buy a 25 pin to 9 pin adapter that will make a 25 pin serial port into a 9 pin serial port. Serial ports on a computer always have male pins. Don't confuse a 15 pin female video connector found on most all computers for a serial port. Flow Performance recommends using a built-in serial port when possible. RS232 serial communication has many advantages over others when operating in an industrial environment, or even in close proximity to a shop vacuum.
This is a USB to serial port adapter. The small rectangular plug goes into your computer USB port, then you plug the other end into the cable that is supplied with your FP1 or FP flow bench kit. These adapters typically sell for about $22.00 USD from Digikey or FTDI
USB to serial port adapters require the installation of some software, called drivers. It may be very important that the order of installation be followed precisely for correct installation of your adapter. Some adapters require the installation of the software drivers before you plug the USB/serial port adapter into your computer. Others, require you to plug in the adapter, then follow their instructions for installing the software drivers. By experience, we have found that not following the proper procedure for installation can result in problems getting the device installed properly.
Do not do anything with your USB/serial port adapter until you have read the installation instructions that are supplied with your adapter!
Do not plug your FP1 into the adapter until you have completed a succesful installation of your USB/serial port adapter.
Checking Installation of Adapter
You can check the installation of your USB/serial port adapter in the Windows Device Manager. Windows XP Device Manager is shown here, other operating systems are similar, but may have some differences. There is more information on Device Manager in our documents. You should not attempt to make any changes unless you are qualified to do so.
If your adapter is installed correctly, it will show up in the Device Manager under "Ports (COM & LPT)" as shown above. It will also show which serial port number the adapter has been assigned (COM3 in the example, indicates the adapter serial port has been assigned serial port number 3).
FPcom software only connects on serial ports 1 through 9 automatically. If your adapter has been assigned a port number greater than 9, you can make a configuration file for FPcom to connect to the port number you want, or you can reassign the adapter to a different port number. Contact Flow Performance for information on making a configuration file for FPcom to look for other serial port numbers greater than 9.
You can reassign the serial port number that the adapter has been assigned in the COM port Advanced Settings. You should not attempt to do so unless you are qualified to make such changes.
Installation Trouble Shooting
USB to serial port adapter installations do not always go well. The biggest problem seems to be when the installation is not performed in the correct order.
FPcom software will not connect with FP1
Check that the adapter is installed correctly, and that it has been assigned a port number that is not greater than 9.
Try rebooting your computer.
FPcom connects with FP1 and displays data, but I cannot change any FP1 settings.
Try unplugging the adapter, reboot the computer, then plug the adapter into the computer again.
Try uninstalling your adapter using any uninstall software that may have been included with your adapter, and reinstalling the adapter.
Try locating newer drivers for your adapter. You may have to uninstall the current drivers for your adapter before the new drivers will be able to be installed.