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Serial To Usb Connector


odiebytes
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Hi. I have an etrex unit that I cannot directly attach to my macintosh. It has a serial cable. I have usb and firewire ports, but no serial ports.

 

I have seen serial to USB connectors, but have heard that some work with PC's really well but not with Macs.

 

does anybody use a particularly good brand of serial to usb connector that works well with a Macintosh computer?

 

I would appreciate any Mac user help on this problem. thanks.

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I have had great success using Keyspan's serial to USB converter in conjunction with Garmin's PC/power adapter. The Garmin part turns the four pin connector into a serial connector. I then use Keyspan's converter to change the serial to USB. I have never had any trouble connecting that way. I then manage waypoints with MacGPS Pro. My only complaint has been that Garmin does not make maps that can be used on Macs. I envy the maps available for City Select.

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Thanks. I will give that a try.

I am glad to hear you have had success with something.

The connector I need would have to fit into a nine pin serial port on a PC, but since I am on a Mac, I needed to get some type of adapter.

Edited by odiebytes
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Thanks.  I will give that a try.

I am glad to hear you have had success with something. 

The connector I need would have to fit into a nine pin serial port on a PC, but since I am on a Mac, I needed to get some type of adapter.

 

I believe USB is USB. Actually something MAC came out with before Windows/PC adopted it... It is probably as simple as finding a USB/SERIAL adapter that also includes MAC drivers on CD along with Win/PC drivers....

 

A GOOGLE search strting "USB drivers mac" turned up these and a lot more...

 

http://www.usbman.com/Apple%20USB.htm

http://www.ftdichip.com/

http://www.keyspan.com/support/macosx/usa/

 

Dale

Edited by Dale_Lynn
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Oh my goodness this has been such a challenge. I have to say however, that perseverance pays off. I begain with a Garmin Etrex, mac os x, powerbook. Made that work with a keyspan usb/serial adapter and GPSPro (other adapters didn't work). Upgraded to a Garmin 76CS which is already USB - it wouldn't work. I ordered the Garmin AC/PC, USA adapter, 4 pin which fits into the GPS unit serial port option. This works with the mac side. During all this struggle for communication I purchased Virtual PC. Although they have access to the great maps and programs, this hardware setup didn't work through it. Funny, after all this I'm not sure the 76CS is the best idea. It's much harder to read in the field than the etrex. Hope someone can benefit from this info.

Windkissed

Edited by Windkissed
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Beware of the Belkin Adapter!!!

 

I'm back in the market for a cable apparently as well. Yesterday I apparently wasted $30 on the Belkin USB to Serial PDA Adapter. The box says it is compatible with Mac OS 8.6 and higher. Only after opening the box and popping in the CD to install the driver, did I find out that it does NOT support OS X!!!! Nice way to trick people into buying their adapters. This cable will be going back to the store I purchased it from. I've checked their site, and have been able to find NOTHING about an OS X driver, other than oh - yeah, we don't have one. And all I seem to be finding elsewhere on the internet are other duped Mac users with the same problem. I should have gone with the Keyspan adapter. I have used other Mac Keyspan adapters before with great success. My only hang up was it cost a bit more.

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The box says it is compatible with Mac OS 8.6 and higher. Only after opening the box and popping in the CD to install the driver, did I find out that it does NOT support OS X!!!!

You can make that same assessment about any product that claims to be compatible with OS 8 or OS 9. Apple didn't do a great job of explaining this to customers, but OS X is not an upgrade to OS 8 or OS 9. It is an entirely different operating system.

 

Therefore if something says it is compatible with OS 9+ you shouldn't assume it is compatible with OS X. In fact, if something says it is compatible with OS 8 you can almost bet that it won't be compatible with OS X since OS 8 was released over eight years ago now.

 

Apple didn't do a great job of explaining this to people. Here is my rule of thumb FWIW. If something says it is compatible with OS 10.2+ then I only assume that it would be compatible with 10.2 through 10.2.9. I wouldn't assume that it is compatible with 10.3 or 10.4 without them explicitly stating as such.

 

I hope I don't come across sounding like I think you should have known not to purchase that product... that isn't the case at all. It is the fault of Apple, software companies, and hardware companies for confusing version numbering and ambiguous compatibility descriptions.

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I'll throw my two cents in. ;)

 

I use the Iogear adapter. The trick (for me at least) as far as Virtual PC was to NOT install the Mac drivers. Rather I just installed the PC drivers in VPC.

 

I launch VPC first. Plug in my Iogear adapter and GPS and Windows immediately recognizes it.

 

I found if I install the Mac drivers OSX siezes control of the port and VPC can't recongize it as a USB device.

 

Not sure if this is the case with other brands but thought it worth mentioning.

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Actually, I feel like I 'should' have known better. OS X always seems to be listed separately. Heck, I even grabbed the one that looked like it had the 'newer' designed packaging. Boy do I feel stupid, nevertheless... it's going back.

 

On another note... why does everyone mention using VPC so much?? I didn't see any reason for it to just connect and upload waypoints to the GPS. Or am I again missing something? I know I'll be 'DUH-ing' myself when someone responds. My brain isn't working straight lately... lol

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why does everyone mention using VPC so much?? I didn't see any reason for it to just connect and upload waypoints to the GPS.

I agree with you. I already had a copy for some other uses and therefore sometimes find it easier to use it with my GPS... but I can do everything I need do (with my GPS) without VPC. There are some GPS units out there which there doesn't appear to be any good Mac solution for, and those people might need VPC to get around those limitations, but I haven't needed it so far.

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I just bought a 60C and Virtual PC with Windows. My Mac is OS X. My hardware is the same Keystone USB/Serial adapter and Garmin serial cable that I used with my old Garmin 12. With the Mac OS and that hardware, I have no problem downloading waypoints via MacGPS Pro. With Virtual PC, there is no problem downloading the maps.

 

There are two gotchas.

 

In MacGPSPro, Preferences, if the Keystone is plugged in when the application is launched, there should be two radio buttons in the upper left corner. One says "Modem", the other will have a funny designation for the Keystone. Make sure the latter is checked.

 

In Virtual PC, go to Preferences and then to a PC Settings button at the bottom left. In the settings list, select COM1, and make sure that it refers to the Keystone.

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I really appreciate all the info. I am to teach a basic GPS course in the near future in a Mac environment, so I have been very interested in all your replies. I appreciate the information you have provided.

 

I am taking all your advice seriously. I will post the results of the different adapters we try. If you have any other success or failures with GPS units and Macs, I would love to read them.

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