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HOWTO: Build a Parallel Port Interface Card

May 17, 2008

So I have a hankering to get my computers to interact more with their environment (not in a Terminator kind of way, honest). I ordered a nice USB input/output interface today which should arrive next week. Being hugely impatient, I browsed the local DSE store and found a (soon to be extinct) parallel port interface card (more info here).

This bad boy has 10 analogue inputs, 2 analogue outputs and 8 digital outputs; quite a bit of jazz for $20. The only downside is the sample software is written in QBASIC (and included only in printout form!). After a little Googling I found a company who had written some nice basic C++ functions to read the inputs and write the outputs.

See the blank PCB and the finished product below (And no, the kit did not come with that nice little tidy box. I like to prepare by separating all major components out, resistors, capacitors, transistors/regulators, IC’s, connectors and other miscellaneous mechanical components then install them in that order. 🙂 )

Categories: How To
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