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TOPIC: Laptops without serial ports
#373
Laptops without serial ports 16 Years, 5 Months ago  
I have a new laptop, an IBM R40. Like many new laptops these days, it has no serial port. I have an IBM USB Serial Port Adapter part number 22P9035 and FRU number 22P9036. This is basically a device that connects to the USB on the laptop and the other end provides one serial port and one parallel port.

I cannot get any of my Cisco devices to respond using the USB adapter and Absolute Telnet (2.13). (there is no text displayed in Absolute Telnet). Carriage returns move the cursor down, but no text appears. I tried turning Echo on and off, but that did not help.

The USB adapter itself is working, because Hyperterminal works fine. It may be helpful to know that the Serial port shows up on Com4 when connected to the USB port. I configured Absolute Telnet to use Com4 with 9600 8-N-1 none just like I did with Hyperterminal.

I purchased 10 copies of Absolute Telnet, and think it is the best telnet app available, but I sure would like to use it with the new laptops! Please help.

[ June 25, 2004, 10:21 AM: Message edited by: Brian T. Pence ]
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#374
Re: Laptops without serial ports 16 Years, 5 Months ago  
Hi ksteele,
I am using BAFO BF-810 USB to Serial adapters (two of them) without any problems. They show up as COM3: and COM4:. So, some USB-adapters seems to be supported at least... :-) Using a Dell D600 (with a COM1: but I need more ports for my work so I bought USB-adpaters) with Windows XP and the drivers provided from BAFO.

Cheers,
/msa
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#375
Re: Laptops without serial ports 16 Years, 5 Months ago  
The USB serial port adapters tend to be a bit quirky because the serial interface to the application is a simulated one. The first suggestion I always make is to check and see if your drivers are the latest ones. Here is the link to the IBM website:

http://tinyurl.com/3eequ

The current driver version is 1.4.0.0 released on March 5, 2002. Please let me know if this has any effect. If not, we'll go to the next step.
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#376
Re: Laptops without serial ports 16 Years, 5 Months ago  
I downloaded the driver you suggested. I compared it to the driver I was using, and they were both the same version, 1.5.0.0. The web site claims it is 1.4.0.0, but when you check the properties of the file, it reports 1.5.0.0.

I went ahead and overwrote the old driver with the fresh copy I downloaded and it fixed the problem. I guess my driver was corrupt.

Thanks for the help.
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#377
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
I am still having issues with my IBM USB to serial port adapter. It has stopped working again and reinstalling the drivers does not help.

HyperTerminal works fine.

Absolute Telnet reports it is connected in the bottom status bar, but not text is displayed on the screen.

Brian, I am willing to purchase a new USB to Serial Adapter, but would like to know if there is a model that you recommend.
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#378
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
I've used the Belkin one, but I can't remember the exact model.

First, though, I'd like to try to investigate the source of your problem before saying that new hardware will fix it... Has anything changed in your environment that may have affected you? Did you, for example, install a newer version of AbsoluteTelnet when the problem started?

Brian
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#379
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
What's new or changed here is the laptop and serial adapter. Previously, I used a Gateway laptop that had a serial port built-in.

The old Gateway laptop was replaced by this IBM R40 laptop with the IBM Serial Port Adapter part number 22P9035 and FRU number 22P9036.

I'm using Absolute Telnet Version 2.13
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#380
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
Ok, sorry. I was under the impression that we had worked through that issue successfully and then you began experiencing a recurrence of the problem. You're saying now that the problem was never really fixed? It *has* been awhile.

Can you try with the latest version (3.63)...

http://www.celestialsoftware.net/telnet/AbsoluteTelnet3.63.exe

Brian
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#381
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
Yes, this is the same problem I had previously. Originally, reinstalling the drivers seemed to have fixed it, but the same issue has returned. I have reinstalled drivers again to no avail. After the problem returned, I started using hyperterminal, but I just can't deal with the limited functionality of hyperterminal anymore.

I'll try the new version and report back.
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#382
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
I installed 3.63. I am still experiencing the same issue.

Since hyperterminal works with the IBM USB Serial Adapter, I made sure the configuration was the same. Both hyperterminal and Absolute are using COM6 9600,8,N,1.
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#383
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
Ok, ok..

This is the point where IBM starts to tick me off!!! ;-) I really hate it when something works in another app and not in mine. Hate it. HATE IT!!

This kind of problem is a bugger to debug remotely. I'm not even sure where to begin. At this point, I feel that I need to go and order one so I can see this problem for myself. Most places want almost $200 for this thing, but I was able to find one for $60 by looking a little harder. Hopefully, I can replicate this problem once the part arrives. Ahh.... the things I do for my users! ;-)

I must admin $200 is a bit high of an asking price. You can get a keyspan USB/serial adapter for around $35 if the serial port is what you're interested in. The IBM part *does* also have a parallel port if you need it as well.

The part will arrive in a couple of days. I'll let you know my progress along the way. I've been through this same process with another user who used the keyspan adapter and we finally discovered the issue. I'm sure it will be the same here.

Meanwhile, if you want to experiment with other adapters, please let me know your results.

Brian
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#384
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
I really don't want to see you spend any money on this...maybe I'm doing something wrong.

I don't need the parallel port. If there is a serial adapter that you have confidence in, I'll be glad to order one. I don't like this bulky IBM adapter anyway. Can you make a recommendation?

I could even send you my IBM to test with...if you can send it back.
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#385
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
Oops.

Already ordered it.

Really, I don't have confidence in ANY of them. I've *used* a Belkin one and Keyspan. If you do a little reading on google and deja, you'll see lots of software having problems with these guys because the just fundamentally don't (can't)always operate 100% the way a serial port would.

Driver differences can be a factor because the serial interface is simulated on the PC side. The only way to be sure one will work is to get it and try it.

Brian
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#386
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
DRAT!!! Perhaps I do need your serial port adapter after all. Perhaps I can trade you for a Keyspan one?

--------------snip---------------------------

Dear Impact Computers Customer:

The item that you requested is on Back Order and we have no exact ETA
(Estimated Time of Arrival). Although we have made every attempt to get
the merchandise, we have not been able to do so.

Therefore, we have to cancel your order.

We hope that you can understand the limitations of the market of supply
and demand and that you will visit us in the future for any of your
computer or electronic needs.

Regards,

Fabian R.
Customer Service
http://www.impactcomputers.com

---------------------snip----------------------
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#387
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
Brian,

This belongs to my school district, so I may need it back, however, I'll be glad to do a temporary swap so we can test each adapter.

Please send me an email so we can exchange shipping addresses.
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#388
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
I think I found the problem. I tested this with a regular computer with a serial port, so the issue has nothing to do with my IBM serial adapter.

Hyperterminal will work with Cisco or 3Com devices if flow control is configured to "none" or "hardware".

When consoling to a Cisco device, (2924XL switch in this case) using Absolute Telnet, flow control must be set to "hardware". If it is set to "none" no output is displayed on the screen.

According to documentation on the Cisco site flow control should be set to "none". www.cisco.com/en/US/products/hw/switches....shtml#consoleaccess

When consoling to a 3Com device, (3500 switch in this case) using Absolute Telnet, flow control can be set to "none" or "hardware".
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#389
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
----- Message Text -----
That's very odd. Now, I need a Cisco device to test!!! Do you see this
as common across all Cisco devices or specific to the 3924XL?
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#390
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
This was a 2924XL switch.

I have other Cisco devices, I'll check them next week and let you know.
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#391
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
Preferably something cheap I can pick up on ebay that exhibits this same behavior.

And this behavior is the same with the USB adapter?

Brian
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#392
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
I have done some testing.

These Cisco devices do not exibit the behavior:
Routers:
3640
2600
2501
Switches:
3550

These Cisco devices do exibit the behavior:
WS-C3512-XL-EN
WS-C2924M-XL-EN

Could this be caused by a configuration setting on the switch perhaps? I'm pretty sure I have seen this on switches that had a default configuration also though.
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#393
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
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#394
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
Yes, that is the same model I have.

Brian, I would feel really bad if you purchased a switch to test with and the problem turned out to be "user" error...

I don't have any spare 2900 series swirches, or I'd send you one.
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#395
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
Then I'll sell you the switch!!!

I didn't win the auction, btw.

Brian
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#396
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
BTW, looking at the pictures of this thing..... where's the serial port?

Brian
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#397
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
The "console" connection is on the back, it has a RJ-45 type connection. Cisco supplies a cable with a serial connector on one side for the computer and a RJ-45 on the other for the switch.
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#398
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
Dude,

I did some more testing with this over the weekend and I have some more information. I found a difference in how hyperterminal and AbsoluteTelnet operate using the 'none' flow control setting.

There are flags you must set when doing hardware flow control to indicate to the other side that it is ok to send data. When AbsoluteTelnet uses 'none' flow control, these flags are defaulted to their unused (disabled) state. Hyperterminal, on the other hand, defaults these to an enabled state. Now, in a perfect world, it wouldn't matter because by choosing the 'none' flow control option, we are stating that the other side doesn't care and isn't looking at these flags. Apparently in the case of the Cisco, this isn't true.

In this state, apparently the switch is obeying the hardware flow control flag and is NOT sending data to AbsoluteTelnet, but *is* sending data to HyperTerminal. Based on this, it is becoming more and more obvious to me that the Cisco has some ambiguous behavior (and documentation) in regard to flow control.

I have no problem changing the default behavior of AbsoluteTelnet to match Hyperterminal. It will make this situation work, but tends to mask Cisco's obvious dependency on hardware flow control.

As to how this relates to your other thread about output truncation, that is yet to be seen. I'll have to make this change for you and let you test it to see.
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#399
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
Sounds good, just let me know when its ready for testing. Maybe this will kill two birds with one stone!
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#400
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
Ok, I think I've got it.

The new version differs in this way:

With AbsoluteTelnet flow control set to 'none', bot the rts and dtr signals are held high, indicating to the other side that we are ready to receive. If the other side is configured for no flow control, it never looks at these signals. If the other side is set for 'hardware' flow control, then these signals allow it to send without stopping (effectively no flow control).

With AbsoluteTelnet flow control set to 'hardware', cts and rts signals control the flow of data, while the dtr signal is held high.

Try it in 'none' and 'hardware' mode and compare the results against Hyperterminal in the same modes and let me know if there's a difference in behavior.

http://www.celestialsoftware.net/telnet/AbsoluteTelnet3.68.exe

Thanks,

Brian
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#401
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
Version 3.68 fixed the issue.

I can use "none" or "hardware" flow control methods on the 2924M-XL switch. Both produce output equivalent to hyperterminal.

Thanks for the excellent support!

Great job Brian!
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#402
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 10 Months ago  
I'm glad we finally got to the bottom of this one!!!

Hyperterminal has its roots in serial communication, so I trust its behavior is probably more accurate. AbsoluteTelnet started as a telnet client and then added serial/modem/ssh1/ssh2 later.

I'm going to run this version by some other users who also do serial communication just to make sure we didn't break anything...

Thanks for you help and testing! I *am* glad I didn't have to buy any hardware!

Brian
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#403
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 9 Months ago  
Do you ever do xmodem file transfers to you Cisco? I have a customer trying to do this over the console port and the xmodem transfer fails. If you have experience with this, please let me know!

Thanks,

Brian
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#404
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 9 Months ago  
I've done this with HyperTerminal but not Absolute Telnet. I'll give it a try Wednesday.
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#405
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 9 Months ago  
I used AT 3.68 with a Cisco 2611 router using these procedures:

www.cisco.com/en/US/customer/products/hw...186a008015bfac.shtml

These procedures use HyperTerminal, but I just substituted AT.
Transfer >> Send >> XModem >> Open

Worked fine for me.
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#406
Re: Laptops without serial ports 15 Years, 9 Months ago  
Thanks a bunch for checking!

Brian
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