ok. the rs232 to ttl converter is one i made ages ago and has worked well for ages. the laptops are old and both have rs232 9 pin.
I wouldnt get very far with it if i didnt have a rs232 port on the lapy
and yes i did have the board powered.
the converter i made is to spec with the arduino serial version (non max232) its just a level converter using transistors and stuff.. like i said its been working really well on old laptop.
the thing is that the red led lit up the moment i plugged it into the omnibook, thats not supposed to happen, but it worked at 1st..
the old laptop, a compaq armada didnt have this problem. it worked fine.
i recently got hold of another slightly older model omnibook, that did the same thing, lit up the red led (rx boardside)
this is without the board connected by the way, the led is being lit via the power coming from com1.
so something in the omnibook series of laptops is sending power out when it isnt supposed to. a hardware bug on their part it seems.
when i plug in the usb to ttl i have (reclaimed usb arduino) the lights are fine. but couldnt test it on the board as the damage had been done. it appears that them laptops may have damaged the serial portion of the chips or something..
now i only have 2 chips that respond to programming (tested on main pc using usb-ttl)
i hope that explains things better