PCMCIA modem serial port

[nickjohnson] sent in today’s hack. Mike removed the extraneous hardware, just leaving the UART on this IBM PCMCIA modem and replaced it with a SMD MAX241 ttl-rs232 converter. He added a new end to the original cable and ended up with a nice, finished PCMCIA serial port. That fine SMD soldering is hard to do. Impressive work.


  1. andrew says:

    Just a thought, how do you go from a modem to a fully-recognizable serial port from a software standpoint? Wouldn’t Windows (or whatever OS) still think that it’s a modem?

  2. Alexander says:

    Man, this hack is ANCIENT… I remember reading this when I was back in highschool.

    Good hack though, just a bit dated. (You can get USB->Serial ports now, for cheaper than $20.)

  3. JD says:

    Neat little hack, but his excuse that pcmcia serial adaptors are hard to find or expensive just makes me laugh. He suggests a cheap 20 dollar 14.4 modem for this project, but you can buy pcmcia serial adaptors all day long for 10-20 dollars on ebay or other discount sites.

    Some things you do for fun/experimentation and some you do out of necessity. Be honest with yourself and admit you just wanna tinker.. its okay! :)

  4. Steve DiRaddo says:

    @1: When a PCMCIA modem is plugged in, Windows maps it to a COM port to allow windows programs to communicate with it. Windows simply assumes theres a modem connected to that com port, but you can still use it for whatever you want.

    I had actually wondered it this was possible.. and now I know it is! my particular model (14.4 as well) has an x-jack, so i could remove that and fit the chip there instead. this is really neat, too bad theres not more info tho :(

  5. Robert Brown says:

    In response andrew, it would seem that the modem is simply detected through the serial interface on the pcmcia card. And just because you can buy a solution does not mean it was either fun or informative to build your own. Seems if nothing else the author will gain a better understanding of how the device works. That is something you simply cannot put a price on.

  6. Kyndal says:

    i did this mod once, kinda hard to folow the directions and pictures.
    i had to get the datasheet
    For the chip and “start over”
    but it works.

    i made a FULL Rs232 Mod

    Regarding the cheap 20$ modem.
    this is a couple of years old like 1999 or 2000
    where serial cards where harder to come by!
    (specialty hardware like)

    if anybody wants the details, they can send me an email

    Remove the capital letters!


  7. Kyndal says:

    seems Hackaday removes my capitalion. :o)
    i just love my “qwerty” keyboard ;o)


  8. zigzagjoe says:

    yea, i remeber this hack from a while ago as well. still cool none the less

  9. zigzagjoe says:

    scratch that, that is the site i remeber. old hack. be sure to check out the rest of the site…wicked cool stuff

  10. andrew says:

    ah ok, yeah i was thinking that must be the case but i wasn’t sure… neat ;)

  11. danadamkof says:

    this guy’s website has great stuff!

    shame its design isn’t the best but I’m used to that kinda thing :)

  12. Richard says:

    While you can get usb to rs232 adaptors really cheap, there are heaps of things that still dont work reliably/at all, or go really slow on them since you dont have real access to the handshaking lines, so this hack still has value.

  13. Pedro Hin says:

    I just found an old (1998) Compaq modem (free) — It is USB connected & USB BUS powered. One of my laptops doesn’t have a serial port, and I didn’t want to spend any money on a USB / Serial dongle. I especially did not like the ones CompUSA has — they require you to plug the USB/Ser adapter into an AC adapter *Boggles*.

    I might try this hack, so that I can use my crappy portless laptop on router configs :) .

  14. As a xbox lover I like your blog and will make some more comments after more reading.

  15. Lon Stoliker says:

    Want the complete solution to never paying for games ever again? Never Pay For Games System is here! Check out the site and purchase the guide on unlocking any video game console in only moments! The guide includes Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, and Sony PSP tutorials on how to hack and mod them to play burned games!

  16. Max says:

    Why not just buy a serial PCMCIA card from http://www.usconverters.com, its easy and cheap

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