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Author Topic: USB to Serial  (Read 5291 times)
K5MBV
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Posts: 265




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« on: May 17, 2010, 02:43:05 PM »

Without going into all the problems that plague us when trying to use
conversion cables etc. does anyone have a list of transceivers, transmitters,
and receivers that have a USB port for connection to laptops for running rig control
software? Are there any new radios that are capable of running from a laptop
without some kind of conversion from serial to USB?

I have most of the conversion cables that are available along with the drivers
on disk that are required to run them and yet don't have any luck with the
Yaesu FT-736R and my old FT-757. I even bought the expensive Yaesu RS232
to TTL converter for the FT-736R and it still won't control with HRD software
or any other I've tried. The 757 is so old that I don't expect to find a solution,
but there must be some state of the art Ham gear that could run directly from the
laptop like any other hardware that uses USB.
Ken  K5MBV
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KE4DRN
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Posts: 3729




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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2010, 03:01:54 PM »

hi Ken,

not sure about the radios, have you looked at the Keyspan converter?

many have used it with great results.

http://www.tripplite.com/en/products/model.cfm?txtModelID=3914

73 james
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AA6YQ
Member

Posts: 1749


WWW

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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2010, 11:44:01 PM »

Without going into all the problems that plague us when trying to use
conversion cables etc. does anyone have a list of transceivers, transmitters,
and receivers that have a USB port for connection to laptops for running rig control
software? Are there any new radios that are capable of running from a laptop
without some kind of conversion from serial to USB?

The IC-7200 and IC-7600 support both rig control and audio transmission/reception via a single USB connection; the latter means you can work PSK and RTTY AFSK without any other connections or interfaces.

I have most of the conversion cables that are available along with the drivers
on disk that are required to run them and yet don't have any luck with the
Yaesu FT-736R and my old FT-757. I even bought the expensive Yaesu RS232
to TTL converter for the FT-736R and it still won't control with HRD software
or any other I've tried. The 757 is so old that I don't expect to find a solution,
but there must be some state of the art Ham gear that could run directly from the
laptop like any other hardware that uses USB.

>>>Did you try your FT-736R and FT-757 with DXLab's Commander?


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N0AZZ
Member

Posts: 241




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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2010, 07:31:39 AM »

Go to hosenose.com his cables will work or he will refund your money had same problems as you went to his 4 of rhem and no problems anymore.
Other items he sells is his program Logic8 best logger on the market...



Fred  N0AZZ
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LU2DFM
Member

Posts: 91




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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2010, 06:19:10 PM »

Hi.
Without going into all the problems that plague us when trying to use
conversion cables etc. does anyone have a list of transceivers, transmitters,
and receivers that have a USB port for connection to laptops for running rig control
software? Are there any new radios that are capable of running from a laptop
without some kind of conversion from serial to USB?

I have most of the conversion cables that are available along with the drivers
on disk that are required to run them and yet don't have any luck with the
Yaesu FT-736R and my old FT-757. I even bought the expensive Yaesu RS232
to TTL converter for the FT-736R and it still won't control with HRD software
or any other I've tried. The 757 is so old that I don't expect to find a solution,
but there must be some state of the art Ham gear that could run directly from the
laptop like any other hardware that uses USB.
Ken  K5MBV

You're confounding "conversion" cables with "level converters". Serial (RS-232, EIA-232) interfaces are multi voltage dual polarity (± voltage swing); the signal voltage that any given serial port can exhibit could be anywhere between ±25V down to ±3V, depending on the host power supply, most common values being 25V, 12V, 8V, 5V and 3-3.3V. Laptops these days seem to be equipped with 3.3V serial ports when they have one.
Desktop computers, servers, modems, terminals and industrial equipment uses the 12, 8 or the ubiquitous 5V, and Serial-to-USB dongles (converters) can be found on the more common 5V variety, but there are some that also are 3.3V for "compatibility" with modern low voltage serial ports.

TTL to RS-232 level converters are devices that translates the ±V (dual polarity) of the RS-232 interface and converts those signals to the 0 to +5V TTL digital levels (single polarity), and vice versa, allowing a standard TTL or CMOS logic circuit to talk to the rest of the universe through a serial port. This device (a common one is the Maxim MAX-232) sometimes is incorporated in the equipment, sometimes is sold separately in the form of a cable or programming adapter.

I've found that the USB dongles based on the Prolific PL2303 chip (http://www.ec21.com/product-details/RS232-USB-To-D-Sub--4148614.html, http://www.usconverters.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=244) are versatile and I rarely found one piece of equipment that would not talk to them. Open voltage on the RS-232 pins seems to be 5V (the USB voltage is 5V) in every adapter I saw based on this chip, and it's generally enough to drive most interfaces. However, some old equipment has 232 interfaces that need more voltage swing, and cannot work at 5V, let alone the 3V ones. They are rare and old, but they exist.

In a side note, USB may last a five or ten years more, I don't know. But what's almost sure is that RS-232 will be there to see it die. RS-232 has been out there for 50 years and it will continue to be found in some equipment because is a good established way to provide a basic communication interface between very dissimilar technologies ranging from small 8-bit micro controllers to large mainframes, and tons of equipment (industrial, scientific, etc.) uses it.

I don't have any of the radios you mention, but I think they have to work with a 5V level Serial-to-USB dongle and a proper TTL-RS232 level converter. Here in eHam is an article about the adapter for the FT-840 which mentions the FIC-232 expensive interface you have:
http://www.eham.net/articles/2800

Good luck with those interfaces.

73
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W5DQ
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Posts: 1209


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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2010, 02:59:20 PM »

Go to hosenose.com his cables will work or he will refund your money had same problems as you went to his 4 of rhem and no problems anymore.
Other items he SELLS is his program Logic8 best logger on the market...

Fred  N0AZZ

You should not being having that much trouble in getting the cables to work. Check your serial port settings for baudrate, data bits, stop bits and parity. The older rigs used some different settings than the now current 9600,8,n,1 you may be used too. Older Kenwoods were all 4800 baud, 2 stop, 8 bits and no parity or they don't communicate. Not sure about the Yeasu's.

Yes, Hosenose.com sell some nice cables. I have one for my TS-940S and it works just fine. But for the software, forget buying Logic8 for $150 and get DXLabSuite for FREE. Does everything that Logic8 does and more and AA6YQ's support for it is excellent and very quick. I looked at Logic8 and almost went that way till I tried DXLabSuite. Been using it for a couple of years and never looked back. Easy to use and get docs to help you thru.

Gene W5DQ
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Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
AA4PB
Member

Posts: 12899




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« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2010, 01:29:21 PM »

"what's almost sure is that RS-232 will be there to see it die"

The problem is that RS-232 serial is almost dead now in the computer marketplace, especially on laptops. In my opinion, mfgs who continue to put out devices that require an RS-232 connection are rather short-sighted. With the availability of FTDI devices changing an existing design from RS-232 to USB is rather trivial. The USB device still talks to the processor in TTL serial. You just drop in the FTDI device in lieu of the RS-232 level converter.

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LU2DFM
Member

Posts: 91




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« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2010, 03:46:24 PM »

Hi,
"what's almost sure is that RS-232 will be there to see it die"

The problem is that RS-232 serial is almost dead now in the computer marketplace, especially on laptops. In my opinion, mfgs who continue to put out devices that require an RS-232 connection are rather short-sighted. With the availability of FTDI devices changing an existing design from RS-232 to USB is rather trivial. The USB device still talks to the processor in TTL serial. You just drop in the FTDI device in lieu of the RS-232 level converter.

Are you talking about ftdi-serial or ftdi-fifo? I assume -fifo, because -serial is the same as a usb-rs232 converter.

I'm not against USB but I really don't think that it's perfect either. Some of it's disadvantages, particularly the fact that it was conceived as a host to peripheral interface, IMHO will make it surpassed by a more flexible interface/protocol, one which eliminates the "host" concept and allows peer-to-peer communication between any pair of devices (try to connect a USB GSM modem to your PDA or your Blackberry phone ;-) Heck, I need a computer to download a photo from my USB camera to my USB phone! Some years ago they claimed to had a new standard, "USB on the road" or something like that, supposedly made to resolve this kind of problem, but don't hold your breath waiting for it.

In the long run, my opinion is that RS/EIA-232 serial ports will be available directly or by means of "adapters" in the not so near future, mostly because there are literally lots of very expensive laboratory, industrial, automation and communication equipment that uses serial ports. We will have serial ports 20 years from now because we're buying equipment that has 20+ years of support with RS-232 ports on it as of _now_.

USB is ubiquitous these days in inexpensive/disposable devices but industry inertia kept it out of expensive and durable equipment for the last ten years.

That was my point, USB will be out there for five or forty years, we don't know, but it's certain that RS-232 will be here at the very least for ten or twenty years Smiley

73 de Fer
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KM3K
Member

Posts: 323




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« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2010, 08:58:17 PM »

not sure about the radios, have you looked at the Keyspan converter?
many have used it with great results.
http://www.tripplite.com/en/products/model.cfm?txtModelID=3914

Hello,
I have a brand new Keyspan USA-19HS.
I bought it to control an AIM4170 analyzer via my Dell-Inspiron-1525-laptop running Vista.
It does not do that Sad.
Interestingly enough, it does work with my Dell-Dimension-B110 running XP to control the AIM4170 but that does me no good because the desktop is not very mobile Roll Eyes.
However, I bought Radio-Shack's Gigaware USB-to-RS232 converter and it works with the laptop, so at least I have the desired mobility Smiley.
BTW, I am not able to get my $33 back from Dell or Tripplite, so that makes me grumpy Angry
73 Jerry KM3K
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AA6YQ
Member

Posts: 1749


WWW

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« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2010, 10:30:16 PM »

not sure about the radios, have you looked at the Keyspan converter?
many have used it with great results.
http://www.tripplite.com/en/products/model.cfm?txtModelID=3914

Hello,
I have a brand new Keyspan USA-19HS.
I bought it to control an AIM4170 analyzer via my Dell-Inspiron-1525-laptop running Vista.
It does not do that Sad.
Interestingly enough, it does work with my Dell-Dimension-B110 running XP to control the AIM4170 but that does me no good because the desktop is not very mobile Roll Eyes.

Driver support in Vista is very poor; you should consider upgrading to Windows 7. For DXLab applications, the KeySpan 19HS works well with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7. See

http://www.dxlabsuite.com/dxlabwiki/Win7VistaHardware
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AA4PB
Member

Posts: 12899




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« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2010, 04:52:13 AM »

It might be cheaper/easier to get an FTDI converter or any converter that uses an FTDI chipset. They have drivers for Vista and 64 bit on their web page. I've used them without any issues on XP, Vista, 32bit, and 64bit.
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KM3K
Member

Posts: 323




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« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2010, 07:49:53 AM »

Driver support in Vista is very poor
What I find to be very surprising Huh, shocking Shocked, annoying Roll Eyes, irritating Sad, upsetting Cry, etc (can you sense that I'm still ticked off?) is the Vista-driver for the Keyspan USA-19HS is Microsoft Certified.
I cannot get back all the time I wasted and caused W5BIG to waste in trying to get the Keyspan to work completely.
I knew that the AIM4170 could not be the problem because it is of the highest quality product you can get and subsequent events proved that to be true when it functioned completely with the Radio-Shack converter.
Anyway, the Keyspan is going to be up-for-sale.
BTW, somewhere someone posted to get a converter with a FDTI-chip; my question is, "How do you find out what chip is used since there seems to be no info like that provided in any on-line documents that I Googled?"
73 Jerry KM3K
 
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12899




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« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2010, 08:01:01 AM »

Some tell you what chip set they use and many don't. I did a google on FTDI a while back and found some that use that chip set.

What I've been running in to on a commercial application is mainly driver stability and speed issues. Using any chip set doesn't necessarily mean that the converter mfg had to implment all the control signals correctly but the actual serial communications via the Virtual Com Port works okay. In my application I don't use any of the control signals, but many amateur applications use control signals for PTT, CW Keying, and RTTY shift keying. Slow or improperly implemented control signals can be a real issue there.

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KM3K
Member

Posts: 323




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« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2010, 10:20:52 AM »

What I've been running in to on a commercial application is mainly driver stability and speed issues.
I find it interesting that you wrote about "speed issues".
After W5BIG from Array Solutions had me do a couple steps that showed the Keyspan could handle only a simple task, it is exactly what he put as the problem with the Keyspan device.
So that made me wonder what good does it do to have a certified Microsoft driver.
BTW, I got the driver directly from the Keyspan website to make sure that I had the latest-up-to datest driver; also, I did it several times spaced over different days just in case there was a bad download. 
Anyway, enough venting from me; it is time to move on.
73 Jerry KM3K
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AA6YQ
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Posts: 1749


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« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2010, 07:05:12 PM »

What I find to be very surprising Huh, shocking Shocked, annoying Roll Eyes, irritating Sad, upsetting Cry, etc (can you sense that I'm still ticked off?) is the Vista-driver for the Keyspan USA-19HS is Microsoft Certified.

True, but then Vista 1.0 was also Microsoft Certified.
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