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New 2 and 4 port USB to RS-232 converters with com retention


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I would like to introduce two new products (with more to come) that have been developed by StarTech.com.

Both of these new releases are small form factor USB to Serial RS-232 devices, which of course there are plenty of, however these offer some new features that may be useful to this group.

In this launch is a 2 and 4 port version; apart from the standard control of serial devices from a USB machine, you get:

  • COM port retention - The device will store connected serial devices, so if you should need to disconnect, the port settings last used for any connected devices will be recalled when they're connected again
  • COM port renaming - You can rename any connected serial devices, so that they show up as "weigh station", "infrared scanner", or whatever you may have connected. This too is stored in memory, so when moving disconnecting/reconnecting, it's quite simple to tell what's hooked up without having to trace wires.
  • Error logging - Traffic logs are also stored for troubleshooting and error logging purposes, unlike most competitive products

Competitive products from major names I've seen on this site run at their lowest $239USD, and usually $280+ for the 4 port version. StarTech.com's ICUSB2324X is under $100USD with additional features.

The two port version can obviously be had for even less:

For anyone looking to purchase, please purchase through one of our distributors (linked off the site links above), as they always sell well below our MSRP prices.

A 10-port version of the same product is currently in development, and later on down the road, an RS422/485 version will be coming.

Please feel free to comment and/or send me private messages with features or other products you'd like to see us build.

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Wow that is definitely cool. Without giving away any secrets how does it work? I mean what if the COM number for that USB to Serial device, is being used on the PC already? Will it change the the COM number for the device which is using that number?

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I could see a use for this in our operations, but what does it mean when it says, " Limited functionality with Windows NT 4 and Vista." We use Vista quite a bit.

Note: CDW has it listed above MSRP!

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QUOTE (hooovahh @ Apr 3 2009, 03:50 PM)

Wow that is definitely cool. Without giving away any secrets how does it work?

I'm wondering if some data remains on the PC that remembers the USB device number. Does the COM port number change if I plug it into a different USB port?

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QUOTE (hooovahh @ Apr 3 2009, 03:50 PM)

The COM retention is controlled by the driver on the PC itself and the renaming portion is stored in memory on the device itself. If you were to set it up on a host PC with say com 1,2,3,4, then disconnect it, and plug something else in that took a com port, then add the device again, it would not get the same com ports. Essentially the retention is more for portability purposes, rather than changing the configuration of a given machine. Giving you the ability to disconnect the box, take it with you, and hook up again in the same configuration with everything saved with correct device names, etc. Multiple boxes will configure themselves in the original fashion regardless of the order they're plugged in, so for many serial devices, you'll always end up controlling the right ones.

QUOTE (TobyD @ Apr 3 2009, 04:00 PM)

I could see a use for this in our operations, but what does it mean when it says, " Limited functionality with Windows NT 4 and Vista." We use Vista quite a bit.

Note: CDW has it listed above MSRP!

The NT4 limited portion is 100% accurate; as for Vista, we do have a replacement driver that allows Vista to work with it. The only downside is that the renaming portion doesn't function, but the com retention, and the logging still work fine in Vista, which is why we say limited functionality.

Good catch on the CDW price, we've contacted them to adjust their price down accordingly. The real street price of this guy should be similar to where PCConnection shows it ($80USD give or take)

QUOTE (crelf @ Apr 3 2009, 04:32 PM)

I'm wondering if some data remains on the PC that remembers the USB device number. Does the COM port number change if I plug it into a different USB port?

The data actually remains on the device itself in memory, as for the com port number changes, no you can use any USB port on the machine, and as long as the COM range is still available (no other devices added that are occupying the range since you set it up), it will grab the original COM ports regardless of how which USB port you use.

If anyone is interested in testing one of these devices out in your configuration, feel free to get in touch with me. We're always looking for solid, honest reviews of products, and if these are products you think will work for your situation, we do have a fairly liberal return policy if it doesn't do what you need it to.

Thanks.

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  • 4 months later...

Jon,

I purchased one of these (ICUSB2324X) recently and it seems to have issues working with NI VISA. The problem is described below (originally posted on NI forum here http://forums.ni.com/ni/board/message?board.id=140&message.id=37658&jump=true#M37658). Any advice?

---------------------------------------------------

I am using StarTech.com 4-port USB to RS232 adapter (p/n ICUSB2324X) under Win XP, LabVIEW 7.1, NI VISA 4.5.

The following problem occurs when a PC is freshly rebooted: VISA Find Resource returns resource names for all serial ports in the system; however, VISA Open returns error code -1073807343 [VISA: (Hex 0xBFFF0011) Insufficient location information or the device or resource is not present in the system.], when called with a resource name corresponding to one of the aforementioned 4 expansion ports.

Then, as soon as I open MAX (v4.5) and expand "Serial and Parallel" in the configuration tree, VISA can work with those 4 ports without any problem. But only until the system is rebooted, after which it is back to square one.

I have never had this problem with other COM ports, whether on-board or expansion (PCI, USB, or IP). Obviously, MAX is somehow able to properly resolve and configure these ports. I would like to do whatever MAX is doing programmatically or, at least, figure out a way to save the configuration so that I don't have to run MAX after every system reboot.

Any insight is appreciated!

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