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Old Aug 4, 2013, 03:06 PM   #1
crjackson2134
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RS-232 Serial Card for ML

Okay, so please don't bash me for needing some old Tech.

I have written to several PCIe card makers and found a handful of cards that are claimed to work in the MP with ML.

I have a need to use an older serial modem (actually 2 of them). They are USR Couriers (I think they are now called Business Modems, high dollar stuff either way).

I've read several complaints about the USB-Serial converters having timing issues and problems with software trying to talk directly to the UARTS.

Is there a super-near perfect-USB-Serial converter? That someone here KNOWS works great (Read reliable) for my needs?

Taking a shot in the dark, I put this one in my Amazon shopping cart, but haven't pulled the trigger yet.

Also, StarTech tells me this PCIe card will work with ML but I can't find it advertised anywhere. I'm thinking of getting both, but I hate to waste a PCIe slot if I can help it.

Comments and suggestions solicited...
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Old Aug 4, 2013, 04:08 PM   #2
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I've read several complaints about the USB-Serial converters having timing issues and problems with software trying to talk directly to the UARTS.

Is there a super-near perfect-USB-Serial converter? That someone here KNOWS works great (Read reliable) for my needs?
I have two USB-RS232 adapters which both use the PL2303 chipset. I can’t complain about them. Prolific offers drivers for their chips which work for both adapters (so I guess, they are quite similar internally). Even from a VM through OSX to the final target these adapters worked OK.

http://www.prolific.com.tw/US/ShowPr...id=229&pcid=41

As you can read on their website, some fake chips have been circulating. Perhaps this is the source of the mentioned problems. For my usage—mainly serial console to some unix boxes and mobile phones—these adapters work fine.

So, I don’t know what works for your needs reliable, but at least I can confirm that for serial console scenarios simple PL2303 USB adapters work fine.
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Old Aug 4, 2013, 04:42 PM   #3
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I have two USB-RS232 adapters which both use the PL2303 chipset. I can’t complain about them. Prolific offers drivers for their chips which work for both adapters (so I guess, they are quite similar internally). Even from a VM through OSX to the final target these adapters worked OK.

http://www.prolific.com.tw/US/ShowPr...id=229&pcid=41

As you can read on their website, some fake chips have been circulating. Perhaps this is the source of the mentioned problems. For my usage—mainly serial console to some unix boxes and mobile phones—these adapters work fine.

So, I don’t know what works for your needs reliable, but at least I can confirm that for serial console scenarios simple PL2303 USB adapters work fine.
I researched a spicific supplier and ordered the FTDI Chipset High Speed USB 2.0 to Serial RS-232 DB-9 Converter. It supposedly DOES have the FT chipset which is SUPPOSED to work. I guess I'll find out soon.

If it works well I'll grab a couple more. I may still buy a card as well, just to see which works best.

Further suggestions welcomed...
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Old Aug 4, 2013, 08:01 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by tomvos View Post
url]http://www.prolific.com.tw/US/ShowProduct.aspx?p_id=229&pcid=41[/url]

I can confirm that for serial console scenarios simple PL2303 USB adapters work fine.
If the one I ordered doesn't work, I'll get one of these and try it too. Originally I wanted a serial card with 16550 UARTs for my MP (and I'll probably still do that too), but it occurred to me that the USB option would be very useful for a laptop application. I do have laptops that have both modems and serial ports that work well, but I'm slowly migrating all of my hardware to Apple products. Since Apple doesn't include any serial ports (I know, old tech. who uses it? Me!), this would be a good solution. So, I've ordered one that I'm 99% sure will work (if I don't receive a Chinese knock-off).

I'll still get a PCIe card too, and if it turns out that I need the slot, I'll use one of these for a backup solution.
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Old Aug 4, 2013, 09:54 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by tomvos View Post
I have two USB-RS232 adapters which both use the PL2303 chipset. I can’t complain about them. Prolific offers drivers for their chips which work for both adapters (so I guess, they are quite similar internally). Even from a VM through OSX to the final target these adapters worked OK.

http://www.prolific.com.tw/US/ShowPr...id=229&pcid=41

As you can read on their website, some fake chips have been circulating. Perhaps this is the source of the mentioned problems. For my usage—mainly serial console to some unix boxes and mobile phones—these adapters work fine.

So, I don’t know what works for your needs reliable, but at least I can confirm that for serial console scenarios simple PL2303 USB adapters work fine.
This.

I've been using PL2303 based adapters for years now. I've bashed the hell out of them software wise- both under OS X (via the Prolific kernel extensions) and inside VMware Fusion as a pass-through device (which is bloody handy).

Out of hundreds of devices, I've only encountered one who wouldn't work with the adapter- and even then the device itself was at question (being over 15 years old and already prone to sudden failure).

So I can recommend the PL2303 based on experience, but I know other people also prefer the FTDI chipsets because they're also proven and software support for the FTDI stuff is excellent under Linux (not sure about OS X).

-SC
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Old Aug 4, 2013, 10:57 PM   #6
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This.

I've been using PL2303 based adapters for years now. I've bashed the hell out of them software wise- both under OS X (via the Prolific kernel extensions) and inside VMware Fusion as a pass-through device (which is bloody handy).

Out of hundreds of devices, I've only encountered one who wouldn't work with the adapter- and even then the device itself was at question (being over 15 years old and already prone to sudden failure).

So I can recommend the PL2303 based on experience, but I know other people also prefer the FTDI chipsets because they're also proven and software support for the FTDI stuff is excellent under Linux (not sure about OS X).

-SC
Sounds great. I'll make this one my next purchase weather I need it or not

EDIT: Superfluous information added for fun:

On an unrelated side note about older Tech. needs. I just ordered a USB floppy drive because I need to retrieve information stored on about 300 pcs of 720/1.44 media. I couldn't determine which drive would best suit my needs so I over spent (almost $40) and got a Verbatim x2 drive which (according to Hype and 68 actual users) is twice as fast and will read standard and high density floppies. I could have got a no name brand for pennies but the quality and compatibility were uncertain. It's supposed to work in OSX but it will see mostly Windows-VM and Linux-VM use.
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Last edited by crjackson2134; Aug 4, 2013 at 11:08 PM. Reason: superfluous information added for fun:
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Old Aug 5, 2013, 03:06 PM   #7
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The Keyspan/Tripplite model USA-19HS has worked for me perfectly in a finicky scenario where most USB-Serial adapters were known to fail due to timing issues. Specifically, it was for serial control of a 2-way radio.

There are OS X, Windows, and Linux drivers.
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Old Aug 5, 2013, 07:26 PM   #8
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Great, thanks for that.
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Old Aug 5, 2013, 07:36 PM   #9
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I have both the Prolific and the Triplite. Neither work for controlling my Telescope.

However, I boot Windows 7 and both work perfectly. It's an obvious driver problem in OSX 10.8.4. One that I haven't been able to work out in the last month of trouble-shooting.

Prolific support (as in some one that can actually help) is nonexistent. Triplite support is well... I got a "person" that insists the issue is my Telescope and not their OS X driver. Yet soon as I boot Windows 7 it works perfectly. Same cable same Macbook same everything except the OS.

I got a bluetooth Serial adapter. Which is pretty darn cool from Brainboxes. Guess what! It works great in Windows and does the same damn thing in OSX as the USB serial devices. I believe Apple broke something in OS X 10.8.4 that has to do with serial devices. However, not enough people use serial devices to gain much attention. At present I'm hoping that what ever got broke is magically fixed in 10.8.5 or Mavericks.
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Old Aug 5, 2013, 07:44 PM   #10
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It's an obvious driver problem in OSX 10.8.4.
The Keyspan worked for me in 10.4, 10.5, and WinXP. I have not had occasion to try it in the radio application after that.
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Old Aug 5, 2013, 07:47 PM   #11
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The Keyspan worked for me in 10.4, 10.5, and WinXP. I have not had occasion to try it in the radio application after that.
If anybody has a USB-Serial or Bluetooth serial actually working in 10.8.4... I'd love to hear about it!
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Old Aug 5, 2013, 08:00 PM   #12
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Sounds great. I'll make this one my next purchase weather I need it or not

EDIT: Superfluous information added for fun:

On an unrelated side note about older Tech. needs. I just ordered a USB floppy drive because I need to retrieve information stored on about 300 pcs of 720/1.44 media. I couldn't determine which drive would best suit my needs so I over spent (almost $40) and got a Verbatim x2 drive which (according to Hype and 68 actual users) is twice as fast and will read standard and high density floppies. I could have got a no name brand for pennies but the quality and compatibility were uncertain. It's supposed to work in OSX but it will see mostly Windows-VM and Linux-VM use.
Don't ask me why, but I've always had huge success with the Imation SuperDisk LS-120 drives for this purpose. They were IDE devices (internally) that were offered in external parallel port and USB versions (which was basically just the IDE device with the appropriate port converter).

These units were designed to read the proprietary LS-120 and LS-240 disks (both 120mb and 240mb respectively), but could also read standard 1.44mb floppy disks and just about anything else in the 3.5" form factor. They were bloody FAST at it too, and for whatever reason I've been able to recover and read data off potentially damaged floppies through an LS-120 that would not read in any other floppy disk period.

So if you're looking for a super solid device to read old 3.5" disks, I can't recommend the LS-120 or LS-240 units enough. They're both discontinued but you can still get them second hand pretty easily enough, and they're well worth the investment if you can get your hands on one.

-SC
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Old Aug 5, 2013, 10:35 PM   #13
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Okay, so here is the $64,000 question I haven't even considered through all this...

Let's assume that I get my serial port working perfectly with no problems, in fact, lets assume it works perfectly and take it out of the equation. It's a given, it's perfect!

Will an external serial HW Fax/Modem (USR) work on ML without special driver?. I've always figured that if it worked in DOS/Linux/ OS/2, that drivers wouldn't be needed and it would work fine in OSX ML.

On a side note, I've found that USR makes a USB Fax/Modem that works in OSX ML. I'm going to order one of those for travel situations, but now I have to know. What do your guys think?
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Old Aug 5, 2013, 11:22 PM   #14
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Don't ask me why, but I've always had huge success with the Imation SuperDisk LS-120 drives for this purpose. They were IDE devices (internally) that were offered in external parallel port and USB versions (which was basically just the IDE device with the appropriate port converter).

These units were designed to read the proprietary LS-120 and LS-240 disks (both 120mb and 240mb respectively), but could also read standard 1.44mb floppy disks and just about anything else in the 3.5" form factor. They were bloody FAST at it too, and for whatever reason I've been able to recover and read data off potentially damaged floppies through an LS-120 that would not read in any other floppy disk period.

So if you're looking for a super solid device to read old 3.5" disks, I can't recommend the LS-120 or LS-240 units enough. They're both discontinued but you can still get them second hand pretty easily enough, and they're well worth the investment if you can get your hands on one.

-SC
Thanks for that. I ordered a Verbatim x2 Titanium which isn't particularly cheap either. It reads and writes at double the normal speed of an internal floppy drive. If it doesn't suit my needs after arrival, I'll return it and get the LS-120 or 240 model. I just need to recover some files off of about 300 or so floppies. One of my criteria was that it must read both the 720 & 1.44 floppies. Most of the USB drives only real the 1.44's.

Once I recover all the files (IRS/Business stuff), I'll likely put it in the closet and never use it again, but who knows?

EDIT: Floppy Drive arrived today. Working Great...
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Old Aug 6, 2013, 01:10 PM   #15
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Will an external serial HW Fax/Modem (USR) work on ML without special driver?. I've always figured that if it worked in DOS/Linux/ OS/2, that drivers wouldn't be needed and it would work fine in OSX ML.
My memory is getting fuzzy but IIRC, devices connected by serial port are driverless. A driver is needed for the serial port hardware itself, but not the end device.

The application using the modem must have the appropriate serial settings and then it simply communicates over the serial port. The modem is controlled by text-based AT commands sent over serial.

I do remember an era of ultra-cheap PCI modems that required drivers and only worked in Windows. The "modem" was really just a telephone hardware interface and the modem functions were really being performed in software. But this would not be true of any serial-connected modem.
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Old Aug 6, 2013, 02:36 PM   #16
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The modem is controlled by text-based AT commands sent over serial.
Oh my god, the good old days of AT modem connect strings. If the modem should not work, you might try something from a page like this:

http://www.modemhelp.org/inits/usrobotics.html
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Old Aug 6, 2013, 08:06 PM   #17
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My memory is getting fuzzy but IIRC, devices connected by serial port are driverless. A driver is needed for the serial port hardware itself, but not the end device.

The application using the modem must have the appropriate serial settings and then it simply communicates over the serial port. The modem is controlled by text-based AT commands sent over serial.

I do remember an era of ultra-cheap PCI modems that required drivers and only worked in Windows. The "modem" was really just a telephone hardware interface and the modem functions were really being performed in software. But this would not be true of any serial-connected modem.
That was my thinking too... However being a Mac/OSX newbie that I am, I thought I'd toss the line out there and see if I could catch some previously unconsidered information. So it's looking good for now.

I never messed with those crappy software modems, total junk. I have a bevy of hardware modems around my house, and now I have a need to put 2 of them to good use. I even have some internal USR Courier (HW modems) but they are PCI. It seems USR never produced any PCIe Couriers (They must not have since I don't own any ). I used them in linux servers, but I'm quickly moving to all OSX. Not going into full detail, but they (Fax/Direct Modem Connections) are required for some government and legal applications (not software applications) I deal with. I know that every little Johnny just passing by wants to PM me with stupid crap for using old tech., but sometimes there simply isn't another option.

----------

Quote:
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Oh my god, the good old days of AT modem connect strings. If the modem should not work, you might try something from a page like this:

http://www.modemhelp.org/inits/usrobotics.html
Thanks for that, believe it or not, I'm intimately familiar with the Hayes/AT modem command set.
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Old Aug 7, 2013, 02:29 PM   #18
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Just for information:

This thread made me remember that I still have one of the Apple USB Modems from a Macbook. Out of curiosity I connected the modem to my Mac Pro. Well, technology seems to age fast these days.

Apple never bothered to create a 64-bit driver for their own modem. My Mac told me that I can’t use this device on my Mac Pro.

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3152?viewlocale=en_US

So if you are thinking about using an Apple USB Modem—that’s not a solution, either.
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Old Aug 7, 2013, 04:50 PM   #19
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My FTDI USB/Serial device arrived today. I downloaded the newest drivers, re booted, went to network section.... Wait for it...... Wait..... NOTHING!

I called FTDI and they told me that Apple forced them to remove the Network Support section by threat of legal action. I was directed to an app called CoolTerm for MAC. I fired it up and there is the device working as it's supposed to. The problem is now, that since it's not seen as a networking device, I still can't use it with the FAX or Modem.

USELESS so far...

Next I'll be trying the RS232 serial card that SYBA and one other place says will work. Can't remember the second vendors name off hand, but they are going to actually test it in a Mac Pre-Purchase so I should have something good to report if I go that route.

Lastly, I'll try the USR/USB Modem that everyone says is Mac Compliant. I kind of hate to go that way on the desktops when I have 2x Army Tank Tough USR Couriers that work perfect.
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Old Aug 7, 2013, 05:37 PM   #20
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In Network prefs, did you try to add an interface? Like a few others, I have a PL2303-based USB adapter (IOGear GUC232A), and it looks like the "USB-Serial Controller" network interface isn't brought up by default. I just use it to console in to network gear, though, never hooked a modem up.

I'm guessing since CoolTerm worked, you had a /dev/cu.(something) device?
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Old Aug 7, 2013, 05:37 PM   #21
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Apple forced them to remove the Network Support section by threat of legal action.
WTF???
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Old Aug 7, 2013, 05:43 PM   #22
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In Network prefs, did you try to add an interface? Like a few others, I have a PL2303-based USB adapter (IOGear GUC232A), and it looks like the "USB-Serial Controller" network interface isn't brought up by default. I just use it to console in to network gear, though, never hooked a modem up.

I'm guessing since CoolTerm worked, you had a /dev/cu.(something) device?
It is recognized by the system profiler and CoolTerm talks to it perfectly. Tech Support stated it used to pop up under the Networks applet as new port found and all was good. Then apple forced them to rewrite the driver under duress, and remove the older drivers that worked perfectly from the website. Otherwise it works, it's just useless for me so far. I'm going to search for an older driver and see if I can find one that works. Also, I'm corresponding with a PCIe maker/vendor who are testing a few cards on an updated (OSX 10.8.4) MP. They are going to let me know in a day or two if they have a working solution. Their PCIe card (one of them anyway) is supported by OSX OTB, and is a PNP solution. No mucking around with drivers . It costs a little more but not much. Looking at the photos of their products, the quality seems 10x better than I/O cards of yesteryear. They look better than the StarTech and SYBA products by a long shot, so I don't really care about the very small price increase.

I would love to end up with 3 working solutions in my tool box (USB-Serial, PCIe card, USB-Modem dongle). No luck with the 1st one. The second one looks almost definite, the USB-Modem by USR is currently available. I intend to have all three when it's said and done.
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Old Aug 8, 2013, 01:38 PM   #23
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Just for information:

This thread made me remember that I still have one of the Apple USB Modems from a Macbook. Out of curiosity I connected the modem to my Mac Pro. Well, technology seems to age fast these days.

Apple never bothered to create a 64-bit driver for their own modem. My Mac told me that I can’t use this device on my Mac Pro.

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3152?viewlocale=en_US

So if you are thinking about using an Apple USB Modem—that’s not a solution, either.
You're correct, but this USR Modem does.
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Old Aug 8, 2013, 06:20 PM   #24
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So I purchased this serial card today. It was tested on a MP with OSX ML and is fully PNP for OSX, Windows (All), and Linux.

No driver install needed. It just works according to the Tech. I spoke with on the phone this morning. Man they have phenomenal customer service.
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Old Aug 15, 2013, 02:15 AM   #25
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I just wanted to update this thread. I found a serial card that works absolutely perfect. No drivers needed, Network applet recognizes it instantly and pretty much any serial modem is supported OTB. I'm going to hang on to the other hardware I purchased as it wasn't that expensive and it too seems to work (but not for my purposes at this time). I'm still going to pick up the USR serial modem for laptop use, but the MP is all set now.

Here is a link to the AXXON RS-232 Serial Card. I purchased it from www.softio.com located in Canada. Shipping was quick, cheap, and easy.

I can't say enough great things about these guys. They tested several models on a Mac Pro to confirm that everything works (including sleep modes).

That's about it, hope this information will help some else and save them a little money.
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HP RocketU 1144C USB 3.0/SOLO-X2/OS X 10.10
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