One employs a USB converter when they need to convert signals between USB and other communication protocols. Both hardware and software converters are available for this purpose. USB to RS232 converters are commonly used to convert electronic signals between the USB and RS232 protocols. USB to RS232 adapters are used extensively in many diverse industrial and commercial applications. Industrial facilities also convert between USB and the RS485/RS422 protocols using USB to serial adapters. Hobbyists and students often use a class of USB adapter that can directly interface with a micro-controller and are used to convert between USB and the TTL-level UART protocol.
The primary purpose of using a USB to RS232 serial converter is to let computers that only are equipped with USB interfaces communicate with serial devices that use D-sub connectors or screw terminals. In most cases, secure data transmission is not required.
There are two general categories of USB to RS232 adapters. One type is called an isolated USB to serial converter. These converters use optocouplers or surge suppressors to prevent the introduction of static electricity or other types of power surges to enter the data lines. This protects both the adapter and the serial device it is connected to from inadvertent electrical damage. Non-Isolated USB to serial adapters are usually used for short distance communication and less critical applications since they offer no protection against rouge electrical surges.
USB to serial converters are still an important component in many electronic communication scenarios. Many legacy serial devices are still in use and equipment is manufactured every day that uses the RS232/RS422/RS485 protocols. The fact that most modern computers do not have any USB interfaces means that USB to RS232 serial port adapter will be around for the foreseeable future.
Now that we know what a USB to serial converter is, let’s look at the best ones on the market today.
USB to Serial Converter is a complete software solution to the problem of establishing efficient and reliable communication between USB devices and serial programs. Requiring no additional hardware or cabling, USB to Serial Converter intercepts the data transmissions of USB devices and converts it into signals that serial devices can recognize. Connections between serial-enabled applications and your computer’s USB interfaces are possible using this USB to serial RS232 adapter. It accomplishes this by creating virtual serial ports that can access a physical USB interface.
You no longer need to be concerned with the lack of serial ports on your laptop or desktop machine. This dedicated communication application supplies your computer with as many virtual serial ports as you might need and is designed to enable secure connections between USB devices and serial applications.
Eltima’s dedicated software is a USB to RS232 Windows 10 serial converter solution. The program is also supported on the Mac and Linux operating systems.
The use of chipsets from the PL-2303 family is the method that this USB to serial converter uses to attain device compatibility. Serial devices can connect to any computer with a USB port by using this USB to RS232 connector. It is compatible with many different flavors of the Windows operating system including Windows 8, 10, Vista, and XP and includes drivers signed by Microsoft. Drivers are needed to use this hardware solution and are also available for the Mac OS X versions 10.6 through 10.12. If you are using a version of Linux with a kernel more recent than 2.4.31 you can use open-source drivers for support. Automatic installation of drivers is possible on Windows systems that have an Internet connection and have their Windows Update settings properly configured to install drivers.
This unit can be indispensable in a number of situations where you need to communicate with a device that has an RS232 port. Talking to your serial routers, printers, scanners, and anything else that has an RS232 port is easily accomplished with this USB C to RS232 converter. It also is easily integrated with software such as HyperTerminal, TeraTerm, WinDBG, and Putty. In addition, all Linux open-source serial applications will work with this device.
Another hardware solution that allows you to continue to use your serial devices with USB equipped computers is this offering from Prolific. Connecting to serial devices from your USB ports is easy with this USB to COM converter. This component features an RS232 (DB9) serial port and makes use of the Prolific PL-2303RA chipset allowing it to extend a single USB port to enable connection with any type of serial device. All of your legacy peripheral devices can have their life extended by using this USB to serial converter on computers without a serial interface.
FTDI has been manufacturing USB to RS232 converter cables for quite some time and this is their newest model. It also serves as an evaluation cable for the FT231X chip. It is essentially a basic RS232 converter that is built using the least number of components possible. Construction consists of an FT231X chip, an RS232 converter, and several capacitors.
This FCC approved USB to serial hardware adapter is a favorite of customer and site engineers. It features a standard DB9 connector and draws its power from the computer’s USB port. Transmission rates that range from 300 to 250k Baud are possible by pairing this adapter with FTDI's VCP drivers. This particular unit is manufactured with a white, sculpted plastic enclosure and includes a 10CM USB cable.
An issue with many of the USB to serial converters is the quality of the processor that they use. Inexpensive processors eventually result in degraded reliability and performance. The Thunderlinx™ adapter attempts to resolve this issue by manufacturing its component with a new and improved version of FTDI Semiconductors’ FT231X processor. FDTI has optimized their popular FT232RL processor making it a better choice when used in a USB to serial adapter. Among the improvements in this model are improved communication reliability and the use of the easier to access and customize MTP memory rather than the EEPROM memory that was in the older version. Driver quality was another focus of the Thunderlinx™ development and it has resulted in better reliability and wider device and OS compatibility.