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  • most affordable rs232 converter for use with Linux

    posted by ICanuwundra on 05/27/2009

    Involvement:Expert (understands the inner workings) - Ownership:1 day to 1 week


    - Prolific Technology PL2303

    - Works with Linux, no additional drivers needed (pl2303 module usually comes with Linux)

    - Extension cable included


    - less suited for "bit-banging" type of communication, over RS232 status and control lines. Communication with these kind of peripherals becomes *very* slow. This is an issue with USB-RS232 converters in general, and not specific to this device. Examples of such devices are some serial in-system programming adapters for microcontrollers. But communication with devices, using the "real" RS232 data lines does not suffer from this limitation.

    - The thread of one screw on the RS232 side was a tad damaged, and didn't go in easily first. After having tightened the screw a few times, the thread got reshaped and works nicely now.


    I haven't tested operation with higher speeds (>19200 bps) yet. Programs can set higher rates though.


    This device was purchased in the hope that it would work with Linux. As the description didn't say what controller chip it contains, I simply hoped that it would be supported, or I'd pass on to a windows user, in case it wouldn't.

    I was pleased to find that the chip is identified as Prolific Technology PL2303, which is a Linux-friendly controller, and sure enough, simply inserting the device into a USB port caused the machine to create the device file /dev/ttyUSB0 which is used by programs to talk to the serial port. As my machine (running Linux) has no other serial ports, this converter allows me to painlessly talk to the odd RS232 peripherals. For the price of this device one can't possibly go wrong.

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