Serial to USB

Discussion of FieldGenius related issues and questions.

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Serial to USB

Postby jmahun » Fri Oct 13, 2006 6:14 pm

Has anyone had success using a serial-to-usb cable/converter with a FG 2006/Tracker? I have usb ports on my laptop but no serial port. I've tried two different usb-serial cables (one generic, the other a Sabrent, both usb 2.0 spec) and neither allowed the Tracker to communicate with my laptop. Both cables work fine with other usb devices & my laptop.

I've had some problems in the past with serial-serial comm with a Tracker & a desktop. Swapping serial cables took care of the problem - at least as far as the Tracker is concerned. The cables worked fine with other serial devices.

Is the Tracker hardware interface sensitive to cables used? We sometimes get dropped comm between a Tracker and a total station, but it's not consistent nor frequent.

If anyone has been able to get reliable comm using a usb-serial cable/adapter, I'd appreciate finding out what brand/model works.
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Postby Brian Sloman » Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:10 am

The ones we use (and sell) are from a company called "Hawking Technology." They seem to work quite well most of the time. There are a couple common issues when using any USB-Serial adaptor though:

Go into your Control Panel > System > Hardware > Device Manager, and check the COM Ports section. Make sure there is an entry that says something like "Serial-USB adaptor (COM#)". This entry should appear and disappear as you plug/unplug the adaptor. If it says something like "Unknown USB Device" then you need to install the drivers that would have come with the adaptor. Then ensure that activesync is set to this same com port.

Also, make sure that your Tracker Download cable is plugged into the USB adaptor. Sometimes the adaptors have a long cable, do not connect it directly to the tracker or use a simple Gender Changer adaptor to connect it. Connect your Tracker to the standard serial download cable, to the serial-usb adaptor/cable, to your computer. Not all serial cables are wired the same internally, so be sure to use the cable that came with the Tracker.

You may also need to run the "Get Connected" option in ActiveSync and the PC Link on the Tracker at the same time, to get the computer and Tracker both looking for each other.
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Postby jmahun » Mon Oct 16, 2006 12:12 pm

Thanks, I'll try some of your suggestions.
The Serial-usb converter I have is a cable with a usb connector at one end and a serial connector (with circuitry) at the other. I didn't need to use the serial cable which came with the tracker. I've used these serial-usb cables successfully with other serial devices so I was inclined to believe they are OK.
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Postby lk2064 » Tue Oct 17, 2006 10:06 am

I am using a Dynex usb to serial (6 inch cable) which i picked up at Future Shop for $30 cdn. I had the same problem, i just bought a new laptop and and it doesn't have serial ports just usb. I had trouble getting things to work at first also. When i first started trying to sync Activesync with the tracker it would'nt pick it up, so after many tries, i thought while Activesync was scanning to find the Tracker i would continuosly press the link button on the Tracker and finally it picked it up. It all works great now. Only problem i seem to have is when i pull the cable out and insert it again, it doesn't work, so i have to shut down my laptop and plug the cable in, then turn on the laptop again and everything is fine, so i just leave the cable in all the time. Hope this helps.
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