Up until the middle of 2012 we used the sneakernet to transfer files from our computer to the embroidery machine. For those of you unfamiliar with the term sneakernet. It’s the process of transferring files from one location to another via floppy disk and your tennis shoes. While this works great if you have a good supply of tennis shoes, floppy disks and your machines are located in close proximity to your PC. Lets hope you don’t have hardware problems with the drive itself or old floppy disks giving you read errors. This can be very frustrating.
As the floppy disk technology ages and they become increasingly more costly and difficult to find. Our concern became how to replace this disappearing technology with some thing more current. We thought about using a Floppy Drive to USB Upgrade. But the cost of the device $30.00 on eBay was concerning and, $270.00 on other sites was prohibitive for our small shop. Then connecting the USB thumb drive so many times through out the day (sneakernet) we thought the connector on the machine would wear or worse become damaged.
Is there an alternative to replacing the floppy disk on our embroidery machines with a USB upgrade? yes. sTx serial file transfer utility.
We looked at cable direct connection from our digitizing application. While not a more current technology it could be something more reliable and faster. Their cable was expensive and we would have to have a copy of the application and dongle installed on the computer in the shop. We found that for our SWF machines we could use Standard Null Modem rs232 cable. This was a much cheaper alternative if we could get this to work.
We loaded a copy of our digitizing software on the PC in the shop and plugged in the dongle. We only have one Dongle so it would have to be shared between the operator and the digitizer. That won’t work. But just for testing. well OK. We found that transferring the file works. Seems a bit slow, maybe workable. But the procedure to open the file and send it not so much. The application takes a while to open. So to save time we would have to leave it open all the time not a big deal except for Dongle sharing.Then to open the DST file with the application requires us to change settings before opening each file and if you forgot then it would leave all the jump stitches untrimmed when you stitched it out. This is becoming too much to just send a file. We need something simpler that would just select the file and send it. The operator does not need the digitizing software on the machine in the shop. For me I don’t want the operator to have it. Now we just needed a way to transfer the files from the computer in our shop to the embroidery machines.
After searching all over the internet for weeks we came up empty handed, nothing out there that would fit our needs. So after several months of research and testing we finally came up with some thing that would fit the bill. Our own in house utility.
This utility was designed to be a stand alone file transfer utility. Transferring from a computer to commercial embroidery machine Via RS232 Serial cable. No dongles, No other applications required. Just the .dst (Tajima) stitch file. Transferring is fast and simple, there is no need to format anything. Just browse to the .dst file you want and send it to the machine.
Automatic com port detection and configuration
The first thing it does is check for a com port. If one does not exist the application stops and displays a message informing the operator it did not detect a com port. If it does detect a com port it then tests to see if its available. If it is, it configures for SWF file transfer. It does not matter if it is USB serial adapter. The software detects when the USB is connected. This is all done behind the scenes as the software loads. If all goes well the application opens and the operator can now browse and select the file to send.
ReDraw DST file
We added a redraw routine so the operator could view the file if needed before sending. It reads the file , extracts the header information and the redraws the file on screen stitch by stitch. This shows the sequence it will stitch out in and also the color changes and Jump stitches if desired. Giving the operator a better sense of what to expect when it stitches out. DST stitch files contain no color information. Therefor the color selection on screen display is randomized. Once the dst file is redrawn on screen it can be saved. This allows the utility to display the redrawn image of the file the next time it is selected. Saving time for the operator. Larger files take time to redraw. For those files it is recommended to Re-Draw and save the image while the file is being stitched out. Also the Re-Draw can paused and restarted by clicking on the display.
On our in house version we also added the capability to batch send files. So the operator can configure multiple jobs for that machine and then send them over one after the other. They don’t have to go back to the computer until after all the jobs have been run. We don’t use the floppy disk drive anymore. This was simply the fastest and cheapest way to replace the floppy drive in all three of our SWF embroidery machines and for us it’s a viable alternative to the Floppy to USB upgrades.
We’ve tested it on XP, Vista, and Windows 7 with a USB to serial adapter. It only requires 1.5MB of memory.
Trial Version Download
This version is specifically configured for SWF machines. Download the trial version and tell us what you think. To install it just copy the file to where ever you want it and run it.
If you would like to purchase a licensed copy just click this link to start the order process. It’s just $59.99 thats cheaper than a new pair of sneakers and a box of floppies. Once you order is complete a “Download” button will be displayed on the Order Confirmation page. Your just have to click this button to begin downloading the item. Alternatively, you can come back to the Order Status page later and download the item. You can always get to your Order Status page using the URL from the Order Confirmation email. Once you have the download and install the app. You will need the KEY to run it. The key will be sent to the e-mail address you used to place the order within 24hrs of order processing.
Controller example: LCD Serial Transfer video
The videos above shows how simple it is to use.
Customizations are available. Were always glad to help.
Send all inquiries to email@example.com