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Old 07-23-2014, 06:03 PM   #1
TheBigMing
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Antique, 9 pin, serial trackball - thru' Plugable USB to RS-232 DB9 Serial Adapter


I have an old trackball, purchased in the late '80s/early '90s when I upgraded to a a 486. It (the trackball) was quite expensive at the time (about 18.00 - or maybe even 30.00 - if I remember aright). It was unbranded and ran on a fairly basic DOS driver BUT it was the BEST, easiest & most reliable pointing device I ever used - and I used it for about 12 years or more (DOS, Desqview, OS/2 & Linux) until serial became old hat.

Now I use a laptop running Linux. I have read good reviews about the Plugable USB to RS-232 DB9 Serial Adapter (Prolific PL2303HX Chipset). I have bought one, plugged it into my Linux (i5) Laptop and attached the old Trackball. The system recognizes it - the Bus 002 Device 006: ID 067b:2303 Prolific Technology, Inc. PL2303 Serial Port - BUT it doesn't recognize any signal from the Trackball.

Now, I realise that, by today's standards my old trackball is 'spadelike' in its simplicity - it may be broken, but like a spade, there's not much to break.

I am out of my depth. I would dearly love my old Trackball back. Does anyone have any ideas?

dmk
 
Old 07-23-2014, 06:34 PM   #2
suicidaleggroll
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My guess is the adapter and the mouse are both working fine, the problem is your OS doesn't know that what you just attached there is a mouse. The device is probably popping up at /dev/ttyUSB0 (typical for USB/serial adapters), which means you just need to tell your OS to use that device as the mouse. I'm not sure how to do that, but I imagine it should be easy enough to figure out. When you get it working, you may consider putting in a udev rule for it to make sure that hot-plug name changes don't mess you up.

This may help:
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/SerialMouseHowto

What distro are you using?

Last edited by suicidaleggroll; 07-23-2014 at 06:36 PM.
 
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Old 07-24-2014, 09:32 AM   #3
TheBigMing
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@eggroll - Thanks for that, I have the Ubuntu post up now. I'll let you know how I get on.

dmk

ps: openSuSE 13.1

Last edited by TheBigMing; 07-24-2014 at 09:33 AM. Reason: add PS
 
Old 07-24-2014, 08:48 PM   #4
jefro
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I'm wondering if you might need to add in legacy usb support in bios. I doubt it but for the most part this should be a serial issue.

Second deal is you may need to set speeds and stop and length on the usb adapter. That serial trackball would need maybe 9600 to 19K. maybe 8 and one stop parity. You'd have to check that. http://manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/...4/mouse.4.html if you want to cycle trough.

Might not be getting the full 5v either.

Last edited by jefro; 07-24-2014 at 08:51 PM.
 
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:44 PM   #5
TheBigMing
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@eggroll + Jefro -Stll working on it. Trying to write a file for /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d (so far, without success).

Watch this space.

dmk
 
Old 07-28-2014, 06:36 PM   #6
TheBigMing
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Here's an update on my progress so far:

To begin with, it is probably worth saying that the Quick Introduction Guide to this product says that

Quote:
"Linux opensource drivers are included in Linux kernels 2.6.11 & later. They support the Prolific 2303 & recognize the Plugable adapter"
First, I had been asked by Plugable for the manufacturer of my trackball (mouse). It is wholly unbranded but, by the magic of never throwing anything away, I was able to find the original manual which tells me that the Model. No: is 3000 & that it can be run in either 2 button "Microsoft" or 3 button "PC Mouse" mode.

1) went into YaST, searched on 'mouse' & found I had:

Quote:
xf86-input-mouse Mouse input driver for the Xorg X server |
installed which is described thus:

Quote:
mouse is an Xorg input driver for mice. The driver supports most available mouse types and interfaces, though the level of support for types of mice depends on the OS.
2) Hunting for something on my system the only xf86-input-mouse files I could find were in /usr/share/doc/packages/ and the only useful one was xf86-input-mouse/README and this has a whole section (Ln 403 to the end) covering the Serial mouse. Both the Microsoft & the PC Mouse are supported:

Quote:
3. 3-button serial mice may work with the "Mousesystems"
protocol. If it doesn't, it may work instead with the
"Microsoft" protocol although the third (middle) button won't
function. 3-button serial mice may also work with the
"Mouseman" protocol under which the third button may function
as expected.

4. 3-button serial mice may have a small switch at the bottom of
the mouse to choose between ``MS'' and ``PC'', or ``2'' and
``3''. ``MS'' or ``2'' usually mean the "Microsoft"
protocol. ``PC'' or ``3'' will choose the "MouseSystems"
protocol.
3) A Global Moderator from SuSE (Deano_ferrari) suggested that I could create a .conf file in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/, and add the required configuration there. He pointed me to man xorg.conf.d.

Finally, I ran ls /dev > dev-out.txt with the extension not plugged in & ls /dev > dev-in.txt with it plugged in. I then ran:

Quote:
Bash - 4.2.45 : diff dev-out.txt dev-in.txt
> serial/
> ttyUSB0at
and here is the file 'TrackBall.conf' up with which I came:

Quote:
Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "TrackBall"
Driver "Microsoft"
Option "Floating" "true"
Option "Device" "/dev/ttyUSB0"
#Bus 002 Device 004: ID 067b:2303 Prolific Technology, Inc. PL2303 Serial Port
Option "Protocol" "auto"
Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
EndSection
However, this doesnt work.

I may be wrong but there are 3 .conf files which I suspect are causing the problem:

/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-evdev.conf
Quote:
7 Section "InputClass"
8 Identifier "evdev pointer catchall"
9 MatchIsPointer "on"
10 MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
11 Driver "evdev"
12 EndSection

21 Section "InputClass"
22 Identifier "evdev touchpad catchall"
23 MatchIsTouchpad "on"
24 MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
25 Driver "evdev"
26 EndSection
and (particularly):

/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/11-evdev.conf
Quote:
Section "InputClass"
# Novell Bugs #597214, #780626, #843333
Identifier "IBM TPPS/2 TrackPoint|ThinkPad USB Keyboard with
TrackPoint"
MatchProduct "TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint"
MatchIsPointer "on"
Driver "evdev"
Option "EmulateWheel" "on"
Option "EmulateWheelButton" "2"
EndSection
but also:

/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf

I'm sure the answer is (relatively) simple but I'm completely stuck. Am I nowhere but somewhere - or, in the words of Jeff Beck - "Everywhere but nowhere"? (although I would never have worn a hippy hat; I always prided myself on being the last of the Beat Generation)

Last edited by TheBigMing; 07-28-2014 at 06:42 PM.
 
Old 07-28-2014, 09:04 PM   #7
jefro
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What do you think about looking into the serial speed and settings?
 
Old 07-29-2014, 03:08 PM   #8
TheBigMing
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@jefro

Is the "serial speed" the same as the "cursor speed"?

I see from the manual that the the default cursor speed is set @ 200 DPI. The highest speed is 1200 (the lowest 50) and there are 2 speeds (50--400, 100--1200) which I don't fully understand.

Bash - 4.2.45 : stty -a < /dev/ttyUSB0
speed 9600 baud; rows 0; columns 0; line = 0;

Baud - good heavens! I had a 9600 baud modem back in the late 80's & people were pretty sneery about it even then. I haven't even heard the word for years.

But, I think, I am slowly moving in the right direction.

Thanks, as ever, for the help

dmk
 
Old 07-29-2014, 06:13 PM   #9
ferrari
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Hi dmk

I'm trying to assist you in the openSUSE thread you started. Please see my reply there about setting the correct baud rate. I gave you the 'stty' command to set the required baud rate. You may have to experiment a little with the baud rate settings, unless you have a user manual which provides this information. Then it should be possible to get the mouse working with

Code:
/usr/sbin/inputattach --microsoft /dev/ttyUSB0
Of course, you may need to change the protocol to suit your hardware. Other protocols listed using

Code:
/usr/sbin/inputattach --help
Good luck

Last edited by ferrari; 07-29-2014 at 06:14 PM.
 
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Old 07-29-2014, 08:25 PM   #10
jefro
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The speed of the serial link is not the same as cursor settings.

In older (I walked 10 miles in the snow) times you may have had to configure the com port for a specific speed, bit length, stop bit and parity. If it is being set way too fast your trackball won't even be able to do anything. They have to be exact for that make and model trackball. Newer RS-232C speeds that the adapter might be set at won't work for this old device.
 
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Old 07-31-2014, 07:57 AM   #11
TheBigMing
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Whoopee - we have movement! I have no idea how this happened, couldn't get anything out of it yesterday (despite several reboots), opened it this morning, loaded Firefox using the trackpad & opened Konsole (ditto).

Ran:

Quote:
Bash - 4.2.45 : stty -a < /dev/ttyUSB0
bash: /dev/ttyUSB0: No such file or directory
Plugged USB in:

Quote:
Bash - 4.2.45 : stty -a < /dev/ttyUSB0
speed 9600 baud; rows 0; columns 0; line = 0;
Then:

Quote:
Bash - 4.2.45 : sudo inputattach --microsoft /dev/ttyUSB0
root's password:
And off we go. OK, the trackball, at the moment, is only moving the cursor horizontally (not vertically) but it is moving & both the L & R buttons seem to be working - I can cut & paste (I can cut & paste) using them.

Chuffed as nuts. Obviously the trackball, unused for 12 Yrs. or more, is OK. Now, all I have to do is sort out the horizontal side of things and disable the trackpad - at the moment, however, the two are co-existing.

dmk

Last edited by TheBigMing; 07-31-2014 at 08:42 AM. Reason: correct an error
 
  


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