| I'm thinking about buying a laptop PC that includes a Firewire port. I'm
| wondering how useful a laptop with a Firewire port would be in the present
| and future world of controls engineering. (This PC also has 2 USB 2.0
| for external serial communications.) I guess that these days there may be
| some networking hardware (besides hubs), PLC hardware, perhaps even
| instrumentation with firewire ports, but I haven't found any yet (nor have
| looked.) I would love to get some feedback from people on this. Or maybe
| firewire ports are limited to computers and firewire hubs? Thanks in
My advice is to make sure that you get the interface protocols that
you need for the present, add to that, the things that look like what the
future is going to be.
USB 2.0 is a good idea as there is a growing number of devices making use of
Much the same applies to Firewire, From a casual observers point of view,
Firewire's first real use was an interface from digital video recordders,
however I have read of a few more hardware devices using this protocol.
If everything is open, You might want to think about "Bluetooth". This is
working towards eliminating leads to your mouse, Keyboard, Printer, Phone,
My Experience with it has been reasonably satisfying and I believe the best
is yet to come as it becomes more widespread ( Cheeper)
you mentioned Control Engineering. Are you interfacing to PLC's and Other
types of controllers?
You need to be carefull here, Remember that PLC's and other older drives
and industrial control equipment are designed for 10, 15 or even 20 years of
service and because of this, things over 10 years old are still in service
now. These will have the old RS232 interface.
The problem is that most of the modern laptop computers are starting to
phase out RS232 ports. the Equipment manufacturers have probably ceased
development on these things, so they will not be producing Firewire or USB
interfaces. So unless you can get USB to RS232 converters THAT WILL WORK,
you might be restrained to stick with an older configuration.
This is a real industry problem here because the laptops we get are old
after only a few years and most likely obsolete by 4, where as the
industrial equipment will be still around after 15 or more. The thing is
that the direction the newer machines are taking is governed by the geeky
new things and not the things that are important to us. Hanging on to the
old computers is an option, however they do fail.
One option is to convince our customers to buy newer model PLC's every 3 or
4 years ( Dream on )
There, I have had my "Spit" . I feel much better now :o)