[rescue] USB<->Serial Adapters for Windows Laptops to Sun boxes

Joshua Boyd jdboyd at jdboyd.net
Mon Aug 21 14:50:15 CDT 2006

On Mon, Aug 21, 2006 at 03:28:44PM -0400, Dave K wrote:
> Wasn't it on this list, and only a short time ago, several of you were
> discussing which USB<->serial dongles you were using to connect to
> various Sun boxes from Windows laptops?
> ...Apparently not, since I can't find such a conversation anywhere
> I've looked...
> In any case, I have been asked to recommend such a device, and have no
> experience with those to be able to make such a recommendation.
> Since we already have the cable solutions for laptops with 9-pin
> connectors, a USB dongle that provides such a connection would be most
> appropriate.
> So, are there particular brands to either look for (or avoid), or are
> these things commodity items and about all the same?

The generic Prolific based adapters found all over the place
(CablesToGo, Hawking, etc), should work just fine.  I can confirm that
they work under Windows with many non-Sun machines.  I can confirm that
they work with linux (minicom or ckermit) or Mac OS X (zTerm) with Suns.

I can also confirm that that those prolific adapters under linux don't
deal correctly with setting parameters via stty, which has only bitten
me when trying to write scripts to deal with redboot on the otherside of
a serial link (specifically, I wanted a script to send commands to
redboot, then trigger sz, send more commands, trigger sz a few more
times, etc, to automate configuring some embedded devices without doing
it dozens of time by hand).  This, BTW, is not a problem with the
Prolific chips, but is instead a problem with the linux driver for them
(specifically, the author thinks that stty for configuring serial ports
has outlived its usefulness, so the driver resets the chip settings
after every device close).

If you are desperate to confirm that these cheapo ($15) dongles work
with Windows and Suns at the same time (despite knowing that they work
on windows and Suns, but not tested together).  FWIW the dongles I've
seen that aren't based on prolific chips tend to be a lot more expensive
(like the Keyspan dongles).

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