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Problem

As a hobbyist I had recently brought a weather station, one the intentions being that of providing its data online as both a personal website and as raw data for some public weather sites. The problem was that I would need to run at least two applications to achieve my objective as the data required for each case would have to be tailored for the particular use it was being put to. The weather station communicates to my PC via a serial port and as there was no way of physically splitting the output of the weather station, it would have to be done via software.

Action

I searched the internet for a solution and found that there were several software answers on offer, one name kept popping up in reviews and forums and that was FabulaTech. Being the cynical and cautious person I am I decided to download several trial versions of the applications I had discovered, try each one and then make a decision on my criteria of - did they do what I wanted, how easy they were to setup / install, how reliable they were and lastly on price.

Testing

The tryout took some time as the weather station is hooked up to a server located remotely from my main PC, it is never easy accessing and using remote PCs at the best of times. The server PC is running XP so I thought I should not have too many problems with installing the software, wrong. Some software would either not install first off or took so long that I lost interest in it. Those that took a long time I discarded, they did not meet my easy to install / setup criteria.

Of the remaining applications I soon discovered that they were not by any means equal. I am not sure if was down to the weather stations firmware, my PCs serial ports or the applications I was wanting to run but all but one failed to allow the weather station to communicate to both applications at once, it did not matter how I set up the virtual serial ports or in which order I ran the applications there was always a problem with at least one of the applications refusing to acknowledge the virtual port.

Solution

The one exception was FabulaTech's Serial Port Splitter offering. I found the program so flexible that I could either set up the ports for sharing or for splitting and with off the shelf setting to boot. In the end I stuck with splitting COM1 to COM3 and COM4, both virtual ports set to Read and Write, I the set the applications to read the data stream from either COM3 and COM4.

Serial Port Splitting

I have now been running the splitter and applications for some time and have as yet to have any problems, not that I expect to, with sharing the data from the weather station to the applications. I now feel confident enough to throw more applications at it if required. To sum up, the FabulaTech Serial Port Splitter is an easy to setup stable and reliable product, it does what it says on the label.

Colin Boyd

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