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I have various devices to connect to my iMac using good-old RS-232.

Of course, I only have USB connectors on my machine.

I have a couple of Prolific PL2303-based cables, and they seem to work OK, but the kext provided seems a little flaky and I'm not sure about long-term support.

What is the most-stable, best-supported USB-Serial chip-set or cable?

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Oh boy!! This one has always been a pain.. I always pray that people don't need to use Serial port much these days.. Hoping to see some good discussion on this one.. – notthetup Mar 5 '11 at 17:15
My use-case(s) may be a little odd - controlling my Amateur Radio, downloading programs to a PIC chip, etc. No choice but RS-232! – sdg Mar 5 '11 at 18:05
Serial ports are hardly used anymore nowadays, they say. I have three permanently in use on my Mac.... – Ton Machielsen Apr 14 at 11:10
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I have two Prolific USB-to-serial adapters but they are made by different Vendors (one is Prolific, the other ATEN).

I've used their supplied drivers just fine. Note that there are open source drivers for these devices too available here: FYI my use case is actually patching them through to a VirtualBox Windows VM and using them in Windows, so I have two layers of drivers and have not had any problems yet.

However, I think the best supported USB-to-serial devices are those made by Belkin. This is subjective, but I've used them for years without problem, and they are a large company with a reputation. They will likely be around in the future.

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Just to be clear, I have not used this device myself.

Stewart Cheshire, creator of ZeroConf (the basis of Bonjour), gave a Google Tech Talk on the subject of ZeroConf, and presented a couple of embedded devices (Cameras, and an RS-232 unit).

I've always wanted to try this out, but have never had a good enough use to cough up the money to do so.

Stewart presented an RS-232 over Ethernet module from SitePlayer. They have a built in web interface used to set up the ethernet and serial parameters, and if I understand correctly, you simply telnet to the device's IP address in order to be presented with the serial interface. (See their pdf on the subject.)

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Interesting, not clear how this would work with a local app expecting to 'find' a serial port on the computer, however...? – sdg Mar 6 '11 at 15:17
In that case, if it's explicitly designed to physically communicate, then no, I don't believe this satisfies your goal. – Jason Salaz Mar 7 '11 at 5:33

I'm professionaly using a Roline USB to Serial 0.3 m long adapter. I'm using the PL2303 OSX driver.

When I plug my cable, this driver dynamically create /dev/tty.PL2303-0000nnnn. I use it from a Terminal or xterm window with: screen /dev/tty.PL2303-0000nnnn.

0 problem with hundreds of connections on network equipments and servers (Brocade, Cisco, Extreme, Oracle (ex. Sun)…).

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