Some embroidery machines in commercial use today still use floppy disks and or serial com port connection to upload designs into the embroidery machine memory.
If you are in this situation, you may be hesitant to get a new computer or update your software because PCs no longer support floppy disks and do not have conventional 9 pin com ports. Don’t worry – there are solutions!
After speaking to several customers about this issue, Gillian Suggett from Wilcom Europe set out to explore this topic and help customers solve this technical issue. Below are her findings:
Floppy disks – are a completely outmoded format it is important to pursue an alternative mode to transfer designs to embroidery machines.
There are various emulation devices available that replace the floppy disk unit on the embroidery machine with a disk emulation unit that allows users to use a USB memory stick to transfer designs.
For Example: Barudan have a device available that replaces the existing Floppy disk unit with a USB floppy disk emulator.
If you’re tech savvy you can install youself – as a guide the cost is £185 +VAT for N series machines, for all other machines £120 +VAT
Using a serial coms connection from PC to embroidery machine is a very low cost reliable solution for design transfer. The cable is cheap to install and can run over 20 m without problem. However, conventional com serial ports are no longer standard on new PCs and adding a custom device or having a bespoke PC built to accommodate a serial coms port can make the solution more complicated and expensive.
The industry recommended solution to overcome this problem is a USB to serial convertor. However, the reliability of these devices has made the solution difficult to recommend with confidence. Embroidery machine suppliers report mixed results in terms of reliability of USB to serial convertors and this affects customer productivity.
There are plenty of USB to Serial convertors available online ranging in price from £1.98 to £24.00
Finding the best adapter can be a challenge since there are so many different models, types and manufacturers. Its difficult to know why technically one device is better than another, and or to identify what the requirements are for connection to an embroidery machine.
This is the specification checklist supplied by one brand supplier:
I decided to check out the forums, I found lots of unhappy customer’s who had purchased these convertors to support old serial devices on their new PC, reliability and operating system compatibility being the biggest issues. However, after some research I managed to find two brands/models that consistently preformed well in customer feedback.
The 2 devices I indentified and purchased for testing are:
My tests were performed using:
The PC – DELL Vostro Intel (r) core i5-2410M 2.3 GHz with 4GB Ram, 64 Bit OS Win 7 Pro SP1
The Embroidery Machine – Barudan BEDT-ZN-10 T single head 9 needle
The cable specification
9 Way – 9 Way
(Male or Female ends)
2 ————————————- 3
3 ————————————- 2
4 ————————————- 6
Wilcom software – EmbroideryStudio e2
Machine connection software settings :
Protocol – Standard serial
Baud Rate 9600 (machine specific)
Data Bits 8
Stop Bits 2
Handshaking Embroidery Machine7
I installed and tested each device separately.
I ran tests using both Wilcom Stitch Manager and Machine Manager, and was able to find a method to consistently and reliably down load to the embroidery machine using both of these devices.
Both devices preformed equally well.
However, the installation of the devices did vary – these are my comments:
Did not come with a Win 7 driver. Required to download, unzip and install from their website.
The device has a light that indicates when data is being transferred – this was very useful.
Very easy to install, Win 7 compatible. Does not have a data transfer light.