New to Mac - USB to Serial Help

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by furchtlos, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. furchtlos macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2013
    Hopefully this is posted in the correct spot. :)

    I've been using the MAC for a week or so now and there are lots of things I love about it. I'm not getting frustrated yet as I know everything I don't know how to do is just because I haven't found it yet. (I've been using windows since 3.11)

    I still have both my MAC and Lenovo at the moment, but the time is coming where I have to give up the Lenovo and my main job requirement is engineering Cisco equipment. So....

    Here it is:

    I have a IOGear GUC232A USB to Serial adapter that I use to serial into my hardware. I downloaded the OS X driver, installed it, rebooted. When I plug in the USB/Serial adapter nothing happens. Typically in Windows I'll get some sort of information that it was plugged in and if I miss the popup window I can go to Hardware, USB and see what com port it is using.

    My question is, how do I know it sees the USB/Serial adapter and where do I find the COM port that it is using?

    Thanks for the help, I Google'd this already for a couple hours and I am not finding my answer or I don't know how to ask.

    Thanks for any help!

  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    First click the Apple logo in the upper left, then "about this Mac", "system report" then "USB" and you will see everything on all the USB buses. If you device is detected it will be on that list. If not somthing is broken.

    Remember Mac OS is UNIX. If a serial device is created you should see it in /dev directory, where all the other devices live. Works the same way as Linux, BSD, Solaris and all other unix-like OSes.

    Doesn't NX-OS work the same way? I'm not sure.

    You new serial port should be somethig like

    /dev/cu.usbserial and

    But limey with a number "0" or "00" attached some place is this is the first one
  3. mfram macrumors 65816

    Jan 23, 2010
    San Diego, CA USA
    There are a couple places to check. One is the System Information app. Click on the Apple logo -> About this Mac. After that pops up a window, click on "More info". That will pop-up another window. On that window, click on "System Report...". On that window you will see a "Hardware" pull down. Under there is "USB".

    The window will show all USB items. That just tells you the Mac sees the device. It won't tell you if it can use it.

    In order to see that the device is there and to connect to your network equipment, you will need to use which presents the Unix command shell for your Mac. Are you familiar with Unix? If you are managing Cisco equipment, I'm going to hope so.

    Under the Unix command shell, you can look for your serial devices:

    ls /dev/tty.*
    If the Mac is able to use the USB/Serial device, you should see a tty device with a name associated with the USB/Serial adapter. If you don't see one that looks like the USB/Serial name, then the Mac probably can't understand the chipset in the adapter.

    Assuming you see a tty device, then you'll have to connect to it. The 'screen' command in the shell is probably your best bet. 'screen' present a virtual terminal inside the shell and can connect to serial ttys.

    At the Unix prompt:

    screen /dev/tty.usb_whatever
    Inside screen, control-a is the default command key. And "control-a ?" will show the commands. For example, "control-a control-\" will exit screen.

    If you aren't familiar with the Unix shell, then life will be a little harder for you. A quick Google search showed at least one free Mac app that can apparently talk over serial ports. But it looked a little lame to me. I'm familiar with at least one commercial program that's a lot more powerful that should be able to talk to a router over a serial port. Let us know how these opening steps works out.
  4. furchtlos thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2013
    Thank you both for the quick response. I did find the USB section earlier, however when I plugged in and out nothing appeared or disappeared. I used the terminal command that you guys pointed out and received this:

    /dev/tty.Bluetooth-Modem	/dev/tty.Bluetooth-PDA-Sync
    I'm going to assume this IOGear GUC232A is not compatible with OSX even though they have a driver for it. :/

    Sadly, I am not a Unix guy... I know enough to get me around in the CLI in VMWare for Cisco commands, but in general do not know it well. I might grab a Unix book though, what flavor would be my best bet? Thanks again for the info, once I figure it out I will post here what I did to get it working.

  5. furchtlos thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2013

    Michaels-MacBook-Pro:Extensions furchtlos$ ls /dev/tty.*
    /dev/tty.Bluetooth-Modem	/dev/tty.PL2303-00003014
    So for OSX 10.8 there is a kext file that needs to be installed from Prolific. I downloaded the .zip file, extracted and performed these steps:

    $ download and extract
    $ cd /path/to/osx-pl2303.kext
    $ sudo cp -R osx-pl2303.kext /System/Library/Extensions/
    $ next you need to fix permissions and execute bits:
    $ cd /System/Library/Extensions
    $ sudo chmod -R 755 osx-pl2303.kext
    $ sudo chown -R root:wheel osx-pl2303.kext
    $ cd /System/Library/Extensions
    $ sudo kextload ./osx-pl2303.kext
    $ sudo kextcache -system-cache
    This seemed to fix the issue. I'm using ZOC, so now to figure out how to use that serial port.

    I got my information from here:
  6. mfram macrumors 65816

    Jan 23, 2010
    San Diego, CA USA
    As I said in my post, the 'screen' utility in the Unix shell can connect to the serial port. You may need to use the 'stty' command to set the serial port characteristics (speed, etc.) if they aren't right by default.

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