Re: USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal (750 Views)
Reply
Frequent Advisor
Dima Bessonov
Posts: 42
Registered: ‎04-22-2004
Message 1 of 22 (753 Views)
Accepted Solution

USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal

I need to use a notebook with PowerTerm as a portable console for AlphaServer DS25. PowerTerm is capable of working via COM ports but as we all know, notebook with a serial port has become a defunkt species. I guess I can use a USB-to-serial converter together with a virtual COM port driver on the notebook but heard varying opinions about such a solution and its reliability.

Does anyone have a first-hand experience with such a console? I think it was Hoff who once mentioned a Keyspan adapter but Keyspans are virtually impossible to come by in Moscow. Did anyone try a Digi Edgeport http://www.digi.com/products/usb/edgeport.jsp for this purpose? I'm asking this because Edgeports are relatively easy to find here.
Please use plain text.
Honored Contributor
Steven Schweda
Posts: 9,063
Registered: ‎02-23-2005
Message 2 of 22 (753 Views)

Re: USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal

I know nothing, but I'd guess that the big
question would be whether your (Windows?)
notebook system can use the USB-serial gizmo,
not whether the Alpha can use it. Generally
speaking, a serial port is a serial port.

> [...] varying opinions [...]

For example?

> [...] and its reliability.

I'd expect another DS25 to be more reliable
than some (Windows?) notebook system, but it
would cost more. How reliable do you need it
to be?
Please use plain text.
Frequent Advisor
Dima Bessonov
Posts: 42
Registered: ‎04-22-2004
Message 3 of 22 (753 Views)

Re: USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal

Steven Schweda wrote:

"the big question would be whether your (Windows?) notebook system can use the USB-serial gizmo, not whether the Alpha can use it."

That's exactly what I'm asking - is there anyone out there who successfully used and can recommend a readily available USB-serial converter in conjunction with PowerTerm emulator (on WinXP; does that really matter?) for Alpha console? Especially interesting to me are the opinions about Digi Edgeport converters because they can be got fairly easily.

"I'd expect another DS25 to be more reliable
than some (Windows?) notebook system, but it
would cost more. How reliable do you need it
to be?"

In case I wasn't clear enough, I need to use my notebook as a console when I'm out on the remote site, for example, when a regular console has failed.
Please use plain text.
Honored Contributor
Volker Halle
Posts: 5,189
Registered: ‎04-26-2004
Message 4 of 22 (753 Views)

Re: USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal

Dima,

I've been using a USB-to-serial adapter cable on my notebook for 6 years now. It worked on Windows XP and it even works on Windows 7. Very reliable:

Prolific USB-to-Serial

Volker.
Please use plain text.
Honored Contributor
Steven Schweda
Posts: 9,063
Registered: ‎02-23-2005
Message 5 of 22 (753 Views)

Re: USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal

> That's exactly what I'm asking [...]

Ok. If you say so.

> [...] (on WinXP; does that really matter?)
> [...]

Doesn't it? Which OS matters more, the one
on the USB side of the adapter or the one on
the serial port side?

> Especially interesting to me [...]

A forum for Windows users might lead you to
more people who use a product like this on
their Windows systems.
Please use plain text.
Frequent Advisor
Dima Bessonov
Posts: 42
Registered: ‎04-22-2004
Message 6 of 22 (753 Views)

Re: USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal

"A forum for Windows users might lead you to
more people who use a product like this on
their Windows systems."

Steven. Are you serious? How many Windows users out there need a PORTABLE TERMINAL WITH SERIAL CONNECTOR for a VMS SYSTEM? I'll be asking this question in a Windows forum till the end of time to no avail... If you know a specific forum dedicated to terminal emulators for VMS/Unix environments, I'm all ears. I just thought there are still folks amongs us who have VMS systems on remote sites and who need to carry all necessary tools in their travel bag.
Please use plain text.
Honored Contributor
Hoff
Posts: 4,906
Registered: ‎01-29-2006
Message 7 of 22 (753 Views)

Re: USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal

Why is this configuration common? Simple. A serial connection is (once you get the pin-out sorted) a serial connection.

A number of folks running Microsoft Windows need exactly what you are asking for here; I recently helped a site set this stuff up to manage one of their storage controllers.

I was using the same wiring to manage one of their consoles.

The target OS does not particularly matter.

The Tripplite Keyspan stuff I use from Mac OS X has no idea what's on the far end of the connection. I use it with OpenVMS boxes, with host serial connections for Unix servers, with embedded controllers, with embedded boards, and other such.

As for discussions of options and tools, Google finds over 17 million entries for:

/windows xp usb serial adapter/

You'll get a small fraction of that number of hits if you (unnecessarily) add OpenVMS onto that search.

Now whether any particular USB widget works with Windows XP depends on the details of the USB device and the drivers and the particular Windows XP box. For that, research and/or ask some Microsoft Windows folks for OS-specific recommendations for how they connect to boxes via serial. I don't run Windows much any more, so I have no idea if the Edgeport stuff works. Or spend a little extra and get a Tripplite Keyspan imported; I've occasionally used that with an old Windows box with a busted serial port. Ask around among the local Windows folks; see what they use for serial access. And at the price of this USB stuff (and if you can't find a vendor with an amenable return policy), just buy it and try it.

As an alternative, you can hook the serial console ports to the network; to a terminal server or minicom or DECserver or software console box. This configuration works vastly better than a USB serial adapter if it's your own lab(s) you're managing. I've been using this configuration to manage remote servers.

But no; the target OS for a serial connection doesn't matter here. Whether you can get working Windows XP drivers for your particular widget, whether the widget works reliably, or whether the widget can be coaxed into sending a break signal or such, or whether the Windows UI for the widget is easy for you to use? Now that matters.
Please use plain text.
Frequent Advisor
Dima Bessonov
Posts: 42
Registered: ‎04-22-2004
Message 8 of 22 (753 Views)

Re: USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal

Hoff, I understand from the very beginning and I 100% agree that OS is basically irrelevant. My point is, it's a bit of a niche market product. In a typical computer shop, it's mostly either unavailable at all or available as a cheapish no-name thing which may or may not work depending on the positions of the stars above or whatever. I just thought people might've come up with some real-life suggestions, like "get this model from such'n'such (well-known) brand, it works well and is easy to find". Utterly practical question for a market where sellers will form lines to sell you megabuck equipment but rush away from the buyer who needs a $50 accessory which is seldom asked for.
Please use plain text.
Honored Contributor
Uwe Zessin
Posts: 10,320
Registered: ‎02-16-2004
Message 9 of 22 (753 Views)

Re: USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal

I've been using an ATEN UC232A for some years now. It just shows up as a COM:-port and works fine with KeaTerm and PuTTY. Now, when I was using the original Windows XP driver and pulled the adapter from the USB port while an application was using it - blue screen of death :-O

Last year I've moved to Windows 7 and was able to find a Windows Vista device driver. Works fine and the system does not BSOD!

Well, I've never looked for a new XP driver - just didn't unplug the adapter ;-)

I was surprised that my latest notebook has a serial port again, but I think I will keep the adapter ;-)
.
Please use plain text.
Frequent Advisor
Dima Bessonov
Posts: 42
Registered: ‎04-22-2004
Message 10 of 22 (753 Views)

Re: USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal

Uwe, just curious, what model of notebook are you using? Are they (those with the serial port) not gone yet???
Please use plain text.
Honored Contributor
Uwe Zessin
Posts: 10,320
Registered: ‎02-16-2004
Message 11 of 22 (752 Views)

Re: USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal

Hello Dima,
it is a HP 6730b that I bought last year in june.
.
Please use plain text.
Honored Contributor
Andy Bustamante
Posts: 975
Registered: ‎10-24-2003
Message 12 of 22 (752 Views)

Re: USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal

I've used Keyspan and Belkin adapters without problem on Alphaserver consoles, networking equipment and storage controllers. These aren't expensive, try one.
If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over? Reach me at first_name + "." + last_name at sysmanager net
Please use plain text.
Honored Contributor
Steven Schweda
Posts: 9,063
Registered: ‎02-23-2005
Message 13 of 22 (752 Views)

Re: USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal

> Are you serious?

Are you?

> [...] Which OS matters more, the one
> on the USB side of the adapter or the one on
> the serial port side?

We don't seem to get the same answer to that
question. I can only imagine why.

> [...] terminal emulators [...]

Yet another consideration, not obviously
related to the choice of USB serial adapter.
But you specified one, so I assumed that that
question had already been answered.
Please use plain text.
Esteemed Contributor
Colin Butcher
Posts: 356
Registered: ‎11-28-2003
Message 14 of 22 (752 Views)

Re: USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal

Aten U232A (4 of them!).

HP Elitebook 8530w (4 USB ports). Win Xp.

Powerterm (from Pathworks V7.4 CD), Reflections (V13), Putty (latest). All seen to work OK with VAX, Alpha and IA64, plus HSG80, DEChub 900, Cisco switches, firewalls, load balancers and a pile of other stuff needing serial IO.

Cheers, Colin (http://www.xdelta.co.uk).
Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem (Occam's razor).
Please use plain text.
Respected Contributor
Robert Atkinson
Posts: 797
Registered: ‎07-17-2003
Message 15 of 22 (752 Views)

Re: USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal

Dima, I had to buy a USB to Serial adapter for just that purpose, connecting to my Blade server ports.

I bought a startech.com USB>RS232 adapter, part ICUSB232 and it works fine on both HP and Dell laptops.

Rob.
Please use plain text.
Frequent Advisor
Shael Richmond
Posts: 82
Registered: ‎12-22-2003
Message 16 of 22 (752 Views)

Re: USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal

I've used the startech USB adapters as well, both the 2 port and 4 port models. I haven't had any trouble with them. I also have a digicard just to add serial ports. My main console PC has 4 ports from a Digi card, 1 from the built-in serial, and 2 ports from the USB adapter. All work fine.
Please use plain text.
Honored Contributor
Uwe Zessin
Posts: 10,320
Registered: ‎02-16-2004
Message 17 of 22 (752 Views)

Re: USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal

Oh, by the way - should you run out of USB ports, you might be interested in this little box:

http://www.cambrionix.com/home/CBRX49PH003A/49-Port_USB_Hub_Flier_Rev3-06.pdf

:-)
.
Please use plain text.
Trusted Contributor
Steve Reece_3
Posts: 251
Registered: ‎01-06-2005
Message 18 of 22 (752 Views)

Re: USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal

I've tried the U232A on Windows ME (didn't work), Windows 2000 (didn't work) and on a Mac running Leopard (didn't work there either).
XP may have more luck.
Please use plain text.
Honored Contributor
Rob Leadbeater
Posts: 3,582
Registered: ‎08-14-2002
Message 19 of 22 (752 Views)

Re: USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal

Hi,

I'll just chip in with another vendor which I've used in the past without issue - Sweex.

http://www.sweex.com/en/assortiment/connectivity/converters-data-linking/CD005

Not sure what availability would be like in Moscow though...

Cheers,

Rob
Please use plain text.
Honored Contributor
Wodisch
Posts: 3,779
Registered: ‎06-30-2000
Message 20 of 22 (752 Views)

Re: USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal

Hi all,

maybe I am a little late, but I am using USB-to-serial adaptors for years on my laptops, and the one I am usually carrying with me is a complete no-name-brand, but for EUR5.0 I will not complain - even though there was a driver-CD included, I have never needed it, not even for linux, nor Windows7.
It seems that cheap adaptors, e.g. like the ones from Digitus, are pretty much the same, internally, and using the FTDI drivers...

Just my $0.02,
Wodisch

BTW, I am going to try that one with my Nokia N900, so if interested, I can post the result here (in a few weeks, when it has arrived):
http://www.pearl.de/a-PX3034-1414.shtml
Please use plain text.
Advisor
azeemunix4
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎04-21-2010
Message 21 of 22 (750 Views)

Re: USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal

hi all,
i have same problem i use prolific usb to serial usb connect to notebook and serial male connect to cable console for cisco.. but it still problem
>>> not appear
i use power term
Please use plain text.
Honored Contributor
Steven Schweda
Posts: 9,063
Registered: ‎02-23-2005
Message 22 of 22 (750 Views)

Re: USB-serial converter to emulate console terminal

> i have same problem i use prolific usb to
> serial usb connect to notebook and serial
> male connect to cable console for cisco..
> [...]

1. Open your own new thread for your "same"
problem.

2. What, exactly, is a "prolific usb"?

3. What, exactly, is "notebook"?

4. What, exactly, is a "cisco"?

5. Why are you asking here?
Please use plain text.
The opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the authors, not of HP. By using this site, you accept the Terms of Use and Rules of Participation