Mindstorms not working

My daughter is starting to have lots of fun with the crates of lego I had stored in the cupboard, so I thought I would dig the original (9717-1)
Mindstorms set out and make a robot for her. After spending three days looking for the cable (71793--Electric Serial Cable 9-Pin D-Sub F/F 2.17m) to run from the com port to the IR Transmitter, I finally gave up and just brought a new female to female 9-pin cable from a computer shop, and hooked it all up. After installing the software on my comp running XP, it would just freeze at the initial " Loading..." screen when starting it up, hiding any other programs that were opened up behind a black screen. The only way out was to open the Trouble Shooter that installs with the software, close it, and then the RIS program would close. However, while the Trouble Shooter was open, I could test the IR Transmitter, and I would get was a message saying " The IR Transmitter is not working". It was connected to the com port according to the troubleshooter. The green light inside the Transmitter would shine when it was being tested. The solution to the problem, according the Troubleshooter program, was to replace the battery in the Transmitter, which I already had, but did again with another new battery. Same result. They also suggested to reduce the ambient light in the room. I brought in a heavy blanket, and covered the Tranmitter and the RCX brick, but still had the same result. I started looking for forum posts with people that may have had the same problem, and saw some posts suggesting that it doesnt work with XP, and to try running programs using the Win 95 emulator-type setting in XP. I tried that with no change. I then dug out an old comp from the cupboard ( did I mention I hoard stuff?) , installed Win 95 on it, hooked up the IR Transmitter, installed the Mindstorms software, and tried again. Whilst this time the Mindstorms software would start up cleanly, and run, the IR Transmitter returned the same errors. The green light would still come on during testing, but returned same " The IR Transmitter is not working" message. Is it possible the non-standard cable I'm using is the problem? That the cable provided with the set had unique wiring or something? I'm obviously grasping at straws here as to why it won't return a working signal, or comunicate with the RCX brick, which seem to br working fine ( graphics showing in LCD window, motors responding to the switches while all connected, etc).
Anyone else have similar problems and work thru a solution? Any help or suggestions would be much appreciated.
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Hi,
I too have the serial connected IR Tx and can confirm that it works fine with Win XP SP1 (haven't tested it with SP2). Are you using the latest software? You can buy this from lego for 10 plus postage. In your case, you may have two further problems: 1. As with any serial device, XP isn't that clever about allocating you a working com port. It may clash with something else on your system, so you may have to experiment and keep changing it. 2. The cable may be wrong.
The latest software also supports the USB version of this device, which you may be able to pick up cheap on eBay.
Regards Tony

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Mindstorms
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What I've found is that most female to female serial cables are null modem. The LEGO cable may not be a null modem, even if it is female on both ends. You may want to eBay or Brinklink another LEGO cable or even get one from LEGO online.
DLC
: My daughter is starting to have lots of fun with the crates of lego I had : stored in the cupboard, so I thought I would dig the original (9717-1) : Mindstorms set out and make a robot for her. After spending three days : looking for the cable (71793--Electric Serial Cable 9-Pin D-Sub F/F 2.17m) : to run from the com port to the IR Transmitter, I finally gave up and just : brought a new female to female 9-pin cable from a computer shop, and hooked : it all up. : After installing the software on my comp running XP, it would just freeze : at the initial " Loading..." screen when starting it up, hiding any other : programs that were opened up behind a black screen. The only way out was to : open the Trouble Shooter that installs with the software, close it, and then : the RIS program would close. However, while the Trouble Shooter was open, I : could test the IR Transmitter, and I would get was a message saying " The IR : Transmitter is not working". It was connected to the com port according to : the troubleshooter. The green light inside the Transmitter would shine when : it was being tested. The solution to the problem, according the : Troubleshooter program, was to replace the battery in the Transmitter, which : I already had, but did again with another new battery. Same result. They : also suggested to reduce the ambient light in the room. I brought in a heavy : blanket, and covered the Tranmitter and the RCX brick, but still had the : same result. : I started looking for forum posts with people that may have had the same : problem, and saw some posts suggesting that it doesnt work with XP, and to : try running programs using the Win 95 emulator-type setting in XP. I tried : that with no change. : I then dug out an old comp from the cupboard ( did I mention I hoard : stuff?) , installed Win 95 on it, hooked up the IR Transmitter, installed : the Mindstorms software, and tried again. Whilst this time the Mindstorms : software would start up cleanly, and run, the IR Transmitter returned the : same errors. The green light would still come on during testing, but : returned same " The IR Transmitter is not working" message. : Is it possible the non-standard cable I'm using is the problem? That the : cable provided with the set had unique wiring or something? I'm obviously : grasping at straws here as to why it won't return a working signal, or : comunicate with the RCX brick, which seem to br working fine ( graphics : showing in LCD window, motors responding to the switches while all : connected, etc).
: Anyone else have similar problems and work thru a solution? Any help or : suggestions would be much appreciated.
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* Dennis Clark snipped-for-privacy@frii.com www.techtoystoday.com *
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