Palm Pilot battery life is generally pretty good, typically 40 "on" hours per set of AAAs. AnaLink uses the serial port which dramatically reduces this to just a few hours, comprable to a typical (new) notebook computer's battery life. If you must run the backlight, keep your spare batteries handy. I have two sets of rechargables, and have never had a freshly charged set go dead in one outing, over 2 hours of recording.
Where I got my stuff:
You can also download some sample data: AnaLink_RunData.PDB, AnaLink_MapData.PDB and install it the same way. This sample data is from my 1.6 MiataLink, the 1.8 has a slightly different data stream. See configuring about differences 1.6/1.8, and make sure to view the sample data in 1.6 mode.
While you're here, grab alc.exe. It's a DOS program that translates AnaLink's .PDB files to ASCII format .TXT files. There's also AnaLink_Translator.exe, the Win95 version. Saving Data describes a bit about how you can use these programs.
AnaLink is DemoWare - you can download and run it freely, but without a passcode, certain features will not work (they will pop up a "Demo Version" message instead). If you like what you see in the demo and want to purchase the full version, see the purchasing section.
Toby Weir-Jones pointed me at National Technology computer adaptors and cables. Finally, (in May 2000), a company that stocks EVERYTHING.
Gary Morrison points out that the Pilot Modem cable can be connected directly to the SerialLink box using the appropriate DB9-DB25 adaptor - this is probably the easiest to find, no soldering required solution.
Tom Lamano was kind enough to tell me the Radio Shack part number for a null-modem gender changer (sorry everyone, I lost the number), but if you're lucky, your local store will carry the part, the three in my neighborhood didn't :(
Cables from http://www.markspace.com/datacord.html may make the Handspring Visor useable - if I understand their nomenclature correctly, the DCH-M9 9 pin modem cable should be a direct hookup to the Serial Link box.
Note: I obtained a similar cable from ATL which is a replacement for a Visor Serial HotSync cradle - this cable works as advertised when hooked up to a PC serial port (powered port), but does NOT work with the SerialLink box. Too bad since that cable has a much nicer positive locking connection on the Visor, my Palm HotSync cables are getting very easy to pull off. From a nuts and bolts standpoint, it should be exceedingly easy to make a Visor to MiataLink cable, since they both speak low level RS232, they could be connected without using the level shifting chips found in the SerialLink box and Visor serial cables. If anybody starts a hobby-business of making these special purpose cables, please let me know.
There's also an extensive Palm device cable vendor at: pcables.com Purple Data Cables. They recommended a "PDCH-M9EPOW-6, which allows an external power source to be easily used." As of August 2001, I haven't tried this yet...
Otherwise, you're going to need to find some rare parts, or do a little soldering.
The SerialLink box as delivered (to me) from Link Electronics / the Dealer Alternative, is wired to be connected to a PC with a straight modem cable. Funny thing is, I don't think I've ever seen an external modem with a 9 pin connector, and I surely haven't seen any notebooks lately with 25 pin serial ports, and hunting high and low, I can't find any straight modem cables that are 9-9, 9-25 or 25-25 yes, but no 9-9. Oh well, enough bitching, let's solve the problem.
What the PalmPilot would really like would be for the SerialLink to come with a 9 pin male instead of 9 pin female connector, and for pins 2 and 3 to be reversed. You can do this a few ways, with a 9-9 M-M null modem/gender changer (which I also could not find on the open market), or buy a 9-9 M-M gender changer that you can open up and make into a null modem adapter by reversing lines 2 and 3, I believe this is what Keith Tanner did. Many thanks to Keith for turning me on to the idea of buying a PalmPilot to log my MiataLink data. Or, you can do what I did, buy a compact 9-9 M-M gender changer, then open up the Serial Link box, cut the traces to pins 2 and 3, then solder on jumper wires to reverse the connection. I found that solid core telephone wire (about 22 gauge) was fairly easy to work with to make the jumper. The Cadillac solution would be to remove the DB9F in the SerialLink and replace it with a DB9M (and make the cut & jumper cross), but I don't have the skills for that trick, and my solution is almost as compact.
At the time of this writing, there are over 30 registered users of
AnaLink, and not one person has written to tell me that they simply
cannot get it to work. There have been some minor bumps along the
way for a few, including:
If you want to use AnaLink to store your own data, you'll need to
purchase "the code." The current purchase price for AnaLink is
$65. This buys a lifetime license to AnaLink and all future
upgrades which will be posted on the
Fine Print: This is a "per person" non-transferable
non-refundable license. All that this license guarantees is that
you will be given the code to access the locked features of AnaLink.
You should be able to judge whether or not AnaLink will work
for you based on the demo. The author assumes no responsibility
for any damages or loss that may be suffered by persons using his
software for any purpose, whether or not they were struck by
falling meteorites or set their zone 535 advance to 30 degrees.
Plans are to raise the price in the future when features are added, but
early adopters will never be asked for another cent. Due to the overhead
cost of online credit card transactions, I would appreciate personal
checks in US dollars mailed to:
1160 NE 91 Terrace
Miami Shores, FL 33138
In fact, I appreciate check or money orders so much, I'm willing to discount the price to $55 for payment direct to me. (Palm Gear earned this undercutting by holding my September 7th purchase monies until January 26th!)
If getting US dollars to me in the mail is a hardship for you, you used to be able to register the software online at PalmGear.com ; However, recent (May 2003) changes in PalmGear.com policy leads me to accept checks direct to me only for AnaLink registration. If this is a problem, e-mail me and we'll work something out.
The "Demo Version" screen that comes up when you check Store in View Capture includes a name and a four letter code in parenthesis like: Mike Inman (AAAA) - you need to tell me exactly how that name is spelled, and what the four letter code is so I can generate your code.
Even with this mild copy protection, I recognize that a profficient PalmPiloteer might "borrow" a code from a friend. I'm not daring anyone to do this, AnaLink is still on the honor system, and I believe the software cost is more than fair, for perspective, think of how many copies I'll have to sell to pay for my Flying Miata conversion - I don't have any such goal, but you can see that I'm not going to retire on selling this software.
About 20% of people who purchase AnaLink do so on Friday afternoon, hoping to
do some datalogging/tuning over the weekend - sometimes I can get your code
to you in time for the weekend, sometimes not. What has to happen is:
...is maintained on the main page.
Check there for additional info.
This manual is obviously a work in progress, if you have any questions or
suggestions, please send them to: email@example.com.