ir drive
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ir drive Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Q : In additional to GND, IRTX, and VCC, my motherboard's IrDA header has other additional signal pins. Would it work with the IR cable that came with the package or should I buy the optional 4Mb FIR Cable?

A : Many customers have indicated that their motherboard's IrDA header have more than 4 pins. Most of them are able to get them to work just fine by connecting the Infrared Drive's 4 signal wires (VCC, GROUND, IRTX, and IRRX) to the corresponding pins on the header. If the motherboard header does not have a signal pin called FIR, or Fast IR, than it is not a board that supports FIR and thus won't work with the optional 4Mb FIR Cable.

Q : What kinds of products can it be used with ?

A : The Infrared Drive allows your PC to communicate with any device that supports PC interface through IrDA port. The device does not have to be a PC peripheral. It could be a cellular phone, pager, barcode scanner, etc. Click here to see a partial list of products equipped with an IrDA port.

Q : Can my TV remote control be used with the Infrared Drive ?

A : Not really, unless a software application is installed.  One example is IrDA Remote Control that offers control of your Media Player/Media Center based PC.

Q : Which form factor should I buy ? The 3.5" or 5.25" ?

A : Functionality-wise, they perform equally. It all depends on what type of spare drive bays you have left on your system. If you don't have a spare 3.5" drive bay, you would have to use your spare 5.25" drive bay (and vice versa). There is no orientation requirement either -- you can mount the Infrared Drive horizontally or vertically.

Q : Is the Infrared Drive compatible with any PC system ?

A : The Infrared Drive can be installed on any PC system which has an IrDA connector on the motherboard. Generally, most Pentium (or compatible) and virtually all Pentium II CPU based (and beyond) PCs have an IrDA connector on the motherboard. Naturally, it would only work if the motherboard is 100% compatible with the operating system. Not all Pentium motherboards are Windows compatible when it comes down to the finer details such as the IrDA port, USB operation, etc. Fortunately, the later PII, PIII, and Athlon motherboard models all come standard with an IrDA connector and are compatible with various Windows version.

Q : How do I know for sure whether my motherboard has this IrDA connector ?

A : Refer to the manual that came with your PC and look for information under connector. Sometimes this IrDA connector is called "Infrared" or "IR". If you can not find your motherboard manual, you might want to take your computer to a computer dealer for inspection.

Q : OK. My motherboard does have an IrDA connector. But how do I know for sure whether my motherboard is Windows 95 or 98 compatible as far as the IrDA infrared operation is concern ?

A : You may have to call your motherboard manufacturer or dealer to find out. Most motherboards do not have a problem under Windows 95. However, some motherboards (mostly Pentium socket 7) are not able to support IrDA infrared operation under Windows 98 without a BIOS update. Some motherboards require the ACPI function in the CMOS BIOS to be set at "disable" in order for the Infrared Drive to work. To find out whether the latest released BIOS update fixes the Windows 98 IrDA problem, please contact your motherboard manufacturer.

Q : Can I use the Infrared Drive under Windows NT 4.0 ?

A : The Windows NT 4.0 does not support IrDA data transfer. Microsoft's Windows 2000 does support the Infrared Drive. There are, however, 3rd party software drivers that you can purchase to enable NT 4.0 to work with the Infrared Drive.

Q : How hard is it to install if I want to do it myself ?

A : The Infrared Drive is not hard to install if you carefully follow the directions. Please refer to the Installation page.

Q : What happens if the IR transmission is interrupted by obstruction or misdirection ?

A : Should your infrared connection be interrupted for any reason, your data is protected. Windows alerts you with both audio and visual signals when the connection is broken. When the infrared connection is reestablished, it will simply take up where you left off, without any loss or corruption of data. It's that easy.

Q : What is the range of the Infrared Drive and how do I know if it is working or not ?

A : The range of operation depends on what device you are working with. Generally speaking, working with another PC equipped with the Infrared Drive warrants the longest range which could be 6 to 10 feet. Working with a notebook computer would give you a range of 4-10 feet. Palm devices and digital cameras are very energy consious and would not put out too much power in supporting a good range; they have a range of only 1-2 feet.

Q : If my computer is in the energy saving standby mode where the screen is shut-down, do I need to wake it up first before I can start receiving files through the Infrared Drive ?

A : No. The "Infrared Monitor" software under the Windows operating system continue to scan for IrDA signal even after the system shuts down the screen and hard drive. When another device equipped with an IrDA infrared port is in range, the operating system will wake up the system and get ready for data transfer.

Q : A lot of electronic products out there support PC link via serial cables. Would I still need to use the Infrared Drive on my PC ?

A : IrDA data transfer between your desktop PC and any IrDA-ready product is instant. Simply point to each other and start transferring ! There is no need to go through the time-consuming chore of locating your PC link cable, shut down your PC, connect cable to the back of your computer, turn on your PC, and wait till it finishes the boot-up cycle.... etc. And most importantly, there is no sacrifice in performance -- The Infrared Drive's transfer speed, with the standard IR cable or Individually-pinned IR Cable, is already at 115.2kbps which is the maximum serial cable transfer speed. If your motherboard provides support for 4 Mbps FIR (Fast Infrared), the Infrared Drive can deliver up to 4Mbps data transfer speed with the use of the optional FIR cable.

Q : I have a notebook computer right now. If I installed an Infrared Drive on my PC, would it allow me to transfer files from my PC to my notebook much faster than using a floppy disk ?

A : Absolutely.
First, you don't need to find floppy disks that are free of virus infection. And you don't have to even care about the size of the files you want to transfer and whether you have enough capacity on the floppy disks to cover the transfer. You simply point the notebook's infrared port to the Infrared Drive and you start to send the files over using Windows Explorer. There is no need to stick in disk(s), copy files over to disk(s), take out the disk(s), insert the disk(s) to the other computer, then finally copying from the disk(s) over.

Q : How is the Infrared Drive comparing to a ZIP drive for large size files transfer ?

A : A ZIP disk has larger capacity than a floppy disk. However, there is still a capacity limitation. Files transfer through Infrared Drive has NO capacity limitation. You may walk away as soon as file transfer operation begins. Transferring data from one computer to another through ZIP drive requires the data to be transferred twice (once from the source computer to the disk; and then the second time from the disk to the destining computer). An ZIP drive without any expensive ZIP disk may already cost more than an Infrared Drive, which not only transfer data to another computer, but to many other portable electronics! Best of all, there is never any wire or disk to mess with when working with the Infrared Drive.

Q : I thought that USB also supports the "hot swap" feature which does not require power shut-down in connecting a device. How is IrDA comparing to USB in popularity ?

A : In order for the hot swap feature to work, your PC must be working under Windows 98 and all devices, including the motherboard, plugged into the USB must also support the hot swap function. Even if these conditions are met, you are still dealing with wires and the physical tasks of aiming to plug-in and plug out.

Q : I have a Notebook that uses "FAST IrDA" (4mbps) and my motherboard only supports standard "IrDA" (115.2kbps). Can I still connect using the Infrared Drive ?

A : One of the great things about using IrDA devices is they are fully compatible whether or not the two communicating devices' top speed is the same or not. Once connected, both infrared devices will talk to each other and go to the fastest speed possible (in this case 115.2kbps).

Q : The Infrared Drive is not working in my system and I noticed that the unit got very hot. Am I doing something wrong ?

A : You might want to check to see if the IR cable pins were inserted correctly into your motherboard's IrDA connector. VCC on the cable must connect to VCC on the IrDA connector, TX on the cable must connect to the TX on the IrDA connector..., etc. If you are absolutely sure that the physical pin connections are correct and your Infrared Drive is still hot, then your motherboard's TX and RX active level may be designed in reverse to everyone else's -- TX may be active low and RX may be active high. Intel and most motherboard's active levels are TX active high and RX active low.

Q : During the course of the installation, I have set different COM port settings and many Windows driver installation attempts. I am afraid that Windows is corrupted with conflicting setup information. How do I wipe out everything and start from scratch ?

A : Go into Windows Safe Mode but tabing the F5 or F8 key. Go to "Control Panel," then "System". Click on the "Device Manger" tab.
Delete everything that has to do with infrared and serial ports:
      1. Infrared device.
      2. Under Ports (COM & LPT) -
            Virtual Infrared COM port
            Virtual Infrared LPT port
            Communication Port (COMx)
      3. Network Adapters - Infrared ....

Q : Windows 95 does not seem to find the Infrared Drive. I've already set the COM ports to be "AUTO" in the CMOS.

A : Many system's BIOS and the operating system do not work well together using the "AUTO" COM port setup. If the system can not detect the presence of IrDA port, you should go back to your CMOS setup and assign COM port to each serial port manuelly. (ie. 3f8,2f8,etc.) It is, however, a good practice to put other peripherals such as modems and network cards in the PnP mode.

Q : I thought Windows 98 is completely "Plug-N-Play" including detecting, setting up, and installing all applicable drivers and application softwares for the Infrared Drive. But why did the Infrared Drive still didn't seem to work under Windows 98 ?

A : Windows 98 has been known to assign the wrong IRQ or COM port setting when there are too many serial devices on the system. Your COM ports, modem, and Infrared Drive are all serial devices. Go into "Control Panel", click on "System", then click on "Device Manager". You will see a listing of your hardware components. Go into "Ports (COM & LPT)" and "Network Adapters" and check out the COM port & IRQ setting under "Resources". Make sure that the information listed there reflects the correct setting of all available serial devices. If there is any setting that is incorrect, you will need to manuelly reassign it. Your Infrared Drive's COM port and IRQ set up in the CMOS BIOS need to match with the COM port and IRQ settings under infrared network adapter's "resources". This procedure is not recommended for users that do not have too much experience in getting hardware to work under Windows. Please see an Authorized BayBeamer Infrared Drive Reseller for professional assistance.

Q : Windows 98 automatically detected my Infrared Drive and it installed everything else automatically. It was truly plug-n-play in action. I am now transferring files via infrared back and forth between my desktop PC and my mini-notebook. One thing bothers me, however, is that I do not see the infrared item listed under Device Manager. Why does it not show ?

A : Windows 98 considers the Infrared Drive as a Network Adapter. It is always listed under Network Adapters. It may or may not be shown under the Infrared item.

Q : How do I use the Infrared Drive to print to a printer that has an IR port ?

A : You can print directly to an IR-Capable Printer from Windows, using the "Virtual LPT port" (usually LPT3) created during the infrared driver install:
1. First, you must install the Infrared capable printer via Control Panel -> Printers -> Add Printer. Make sure to install the new printer on the Infrared LPT port (usually LPT3).
2. Orient the printer's infrared to the direction of the Infrared Drive.
3. Execute any application which has the Print option (e.g. PaintBrush). And Print to the new printer.

Q : How do I make my Palm Pilot work with the PC via Infrared Drive ?

A : Infrared technology allows you to synchronize the Palm(tm) organizer with an infrared-enabled computer. Using the IR port on your Palm organizer enabled with Palm OS(tm) 3.3, you are now able to connect with a wide range of IR enabled Microsoft based computers and other devices like cell phones that conform with the IrCOMM communication standard. This means that you can perform a HotSync(R) operation via the IR port on your Palm organizer without the use of your cradle. NOTE: If you have not upgraded to the Palm OS 3.3, you will not be able to synchronize via infrared.

Once your computer is ready for general IR communications, you must configure the HotSync manager. Follow these steps to enable IR HotSync on your Windows computer:

1. Click the HotSync Manager icon in the Windows system tray.
2. Make sure Local is checked in the menu.
3. Choose Setup.
4. Click the Local tab.
5. In the Serial Port drop-down box, select the COM port that was given as the simulated port in the Options tab of the Infrared Monitor.
6. Click OK.

Once HotSync Manager is setup, follow these steps to perform an IR HotSync procedure:

1. In the Applications Launcher on your Palm Organizer, tap the HotSync icon.
2. Tap Local.
3. Tap the drop-down menu under the HotSync icon and select 'IR to a PC/Handheld.
4. Position the IR port of your handheld within a couple of inches of the infrared port of your computer.
5. Tap the HotSync icon to start the IR HotSync operation.

Be sure to keep the IR ports aligned during the HotSync process. Moving your Palm Organizer or computer out of range will result in disruption and termination of the HotSync process.

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