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Author Topic: USB to Serial converter  (Read 553 times)
WD8PTB
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Posts: 671




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« on: August 10, 2004, 08:54:51 PM »

I have a Toshiba 1715 Laptop computer. It has 2 usb ports but no serial port.  I need a serial port for my GPS and my logging program. I bought a IOGEAR converter but The computer does not recognize it and it is not on the list for new hardware. I am using Windows 98SE. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks; Don WD8PTB
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K7PEH
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« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2004, 09:23:15 PM »

I think your main problem is you are using Windows 98.  I am even surprised it supports USB but maybe so.

However, seriously consider upgrading to XP.  I think you will have a lot less hardware recognition problems with XP.  Windows 98 is exceedingly ancient in the world of high-tech.
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KL0S
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« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2004, 09:24:30 PM »

Don -- lots of us have had good luck with the Keyspan series of USB to serial adapters.

Take a look at:

http://www.keyspan.com/products/homepage-Serial.spml

Dino KLØS/4
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AA4PB
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« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2004, 09:40:29 PM »

Make sure you have loaded the Win 98 driver.
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W3JJH
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« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2004, 09:57:23 PM »

Another vote for Keyspan.
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K3AN
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« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2004, 10:10:30 PM »

Any version of Win 98 will need the appropriate driver for the USB device. You can typically download it from the device manufacturer's web site. Once I downloaded the driver, I had no problem with my desktop and laptop recognizing a Lexar "Jump Drive" storage device.
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K0RFD
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« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2004, 11:04:12 PM »

I just (this week) returned a Belkin USB->Serial converter to Circuit City.  Even though I was running Windows 2000 Pro and there was a driver for this device, the computer would not run for more than 3 minutes when I used the serial port to which the converter was mapped.  It would spontaneously reboot itself.  Not the kind of situation you want when you're trying to do contest logging.  Apparently, this is a common problem with the device I bought, but I didn't find out till after I bought the hardware.  I was lucky to get all of my money back.  I might have had to pay a 15% restocking fee had I not dealt with a customer service person who actually understood.

I was also fortunate in that my computer is a desktop and I could buy a PCI serial port card that works just fine.  With a laptop, I wouldn't have had the option.  USB->Serial converters require both hardware and software.  There's a limit to how much time the hardware manufacturers are willing to spend writing and testing drivers.  It's overhead to them, plain and simple.  If they get one that works sometimes, they're pretty likely to just call it good.

USB->Serial conversion appears to be some sort of a Black Art at this point in time.  My advice is to search the net for the experiences of other people before you buy any hardware of this type.  Even if the hardware doesn't bite you, the drivers might.

And to anyone contemplating a future laptop purchase, I have this additional advice.  If you need serial ports to control your rig or your logging software, buy a laptop that has real serial ports.  There's no totally foolproof substitute.  Don't rely on aftermarket conversion devices.  You'll pay extra, but you can still get laptops with serial ports.  The extra dollars you spend are cheap compared to the time you'll spend beating your head against the wall trying unsuccessfully to get bad drivers to work.
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KF4FGZ
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« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2004, 12:12:39 AM »

I would suggest that you visit the IOGear website and find the correct driver for the product you purchased.  It is very likely that you recieved a CD containing the driver in the package.  If you didn't you can go to the IOGear website (http://www.iogear.com) and click on support to find the driver that you need for Windows 98.  I tried to find a driver that might be suitable since it looks like they only sell one model and this is what I came up with:

http://iogear.com/main.php?loc=dm&driver&Item=GUC232A

Check it out and see if it helps.

Good luck

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OBSERVER11
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Posts: 657




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« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2004, 12:18:03 AM »

do you see the serial ports in your device manager?

try reloading the drivers

make sure you have the latest drivers for win98se from the microsoft support knowledge base.
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KB1KIX
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2004, 03:53:03 AM »

I to am using the IOGear GUC232A.  Works fine from win 98 and up.  USB works fine for win98.  It wasn't even new then, just Micro$oft took forever to add the support for the protocol.

Upgrade to XP - sorry I have to disagree with the previous post.  As a sysadmin, I wouldn't dare recommend that strategy.  It is far from secure and safe by any stretch of the imagination.

If 98 works for you, keep it and install the drivers as was previously stated - it should all work fine.  Tested and works fine from here.

One note:  Like said earlier, check the com port it is using.  By default, it chose 3 on a few of my systems.  Could be different on the one you are using. Then make sure the application is trying to sync up to the same port that the adapter is on.

Jonathan
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AA4PB
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« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2004, 06:39:20 PM »

If you've got an older computer that came with Win98 you may run into problems if you try to upgrade to XP. Many of the older CDROM drives, modems, vidio cards, etc. do not work reliably with XP and the mfgs often do not offer XP drivers for them. You may find it cheaper to buy a new computer than to purchase new components needed to get it working with XP. XP is great if it came installed on your computer.

Many of the USB/Serial converters do not come with XP certified drivers. Installing some of these drivers (Belkin is one of them) *may* cause the computer to become unstable.
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