Using the ILEC SN10 with USB-to-Serial Converters

Last Update 28-July-2012


New PCs and Macs do not have classic serial ports; instead they have USB. You need a USB-to-Serial converter for these PCs to communicate with the ILEC SN10. Unfortunately, many of the USB-to-Serial converters on the market don't work properly.

Note: Make sure you configure your adapter in the range COM1 to COM8 for use with the ILEC SN10 software !
Only use the PC-cable from ILEC; never use a generic serial cable !


PC users, buy a USB-to-Serial converter that includes an FTDI chipset. Older models of FTDI have not been reliable, but new ones seem OK. Here's one from for about $30: Part number "RPC-USB-RS232-3M USB to Serial FTDI 10 FT" You may need to download drivers from FTDI drivers .

Mac users, buy Keyspan, and follow these instructions thanks to Robert Weien: How to use your Mac with your SN10


USB-to-Serial converters are often manufactured by OEM vendors, then typically packaged and marketed by others. The drivers for these devices are often poorly tested, not certified by Microsoft (which is itself no guarantee), and/or prone to error. Vendors frequently change suppliers, so different units with the same name may be different internally.

Errors include failing to work at some speeds, failing to work with some combinations of control signals enabled and disabled, crashing your laptop when you "resume" after suspending and powering down, BSOD (Windows crashes with the infmaous Blue Screen of Death), or just plain erratic behavior. Because problems often show up only at some speeds or settings, your converter that works with one serial device you own may not work with others (or with the ILEC SN10).

New versions of Microsoft windows often require new drivers. Many manufacturers do not update their drivers for older devices, and expect you to buy a new device when you get a new version of Windows. Windows XP drivers are *NOT* the same as Win2K drivers, so the Xircom USB-serial converter that worked fine under Win2K is not supported at all under XP. Windows 7 drivers are *NOT* the same as XP drivers, so the Belkin devices that worked great under XP may no longer work. Windows 64-bit is *NOT* the same as earlier windows...

In case you're still wondering, these massive hassles are why we created the ILEC SN10-USB adapter.
See the SN10 Resources page for more information on the ILEC SN10-USB adapter.

Customer Reports

We appreciate when customers report to us what works, and what doesn't work. Please report back !

USB Adapters with PCs (not Macs)
Customer Comments 
FTDI Chipset Many manufacturers produce converters using the FTDI chipset. Older FTDI chipsets and drivers have been unreliable, however newer devices (2012) seem reliable and have device drivers that work under Windows 64-bit. Here's one that works at Amazon:
Part number "RPC-USB-RS232-3M USB to Serial FTDI 10 FT". You may need to download drivers from FTDI drivers. -- DRN July-2012
Belkin Belkin F5U409 works reliably under Windows 7 32-bit. Device Manger reports driver from "Magic Control Technologies - MCT - dated 5/12/2004" and provided with Windows 7. Paul Remde reports no 64-bit drivers. DRN July-2012.

Belkin FSU409 with Sony Vaio notebook running XP Pro, no problems both before and after SP2. Doesn't crash after laptop "resume". Works reliably with SN10 software load and PC-link. -- Kirk 66

I have used the Belkin F5U409 with the SN-10 PClink with no problem. Sony VAIO SR-27K, Win2k, current SP, no driver issues or driver specific crashes as far as I remember. --Vit

my Belkin works but keeps crashing Windows XP on "resume": I get the "blue screen" which says I've recovered from a serious error and should remove any new hardware when I use the Belkin (about 40% of the time). -- Peter

Belkin F5U409. Device manager shows driver from MCT Corp datae 5/12/2004. The original Belkin-provided driver installed with Windows compliants (uncertified), and crashed my laptop (Dell I8100, Windows XP SP2) on "resume". Microsoft "crash assistant" directed me to the MCT website for a driver update. With the update applied works AOK. Unfortunately, MCT website is apparently Korean (?) and there are no English-language visible links to the current driver - only the earlier crash-o-matic version (so, you can only find the update via the MS crash helper). Maybe Belkin is now providing a more current driver ? -- DRN

I have been using a Belkin USB/Serial Portable Adapter F5U 409 for 3 years with a laptop with XP, SN-10, and Volkslogger with no problems (except when I forgot the cable). -- Mario
Dynex I Spent 3 days trying to use a Dynex adapter with their supposed Windows 7 driver for Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit. It never worked. -- Wells July-2012.
EasySync The EasySync USB-COM-PL works for both Windows 2000 Pro and Windows XP. Tested for both PClink and loading new ILEC SN10 software versions. I have also used it to download a Volkslogger (using the supplied DOS s/w and SeeYou) and an EW Model B. Internally it uses the FTDI USB UART Device. -- Malcolm from UK May-2006
Note: EasySync products are available through Amazon.
ATEN Didn't work with ILEC SN10 or EW barograph. I'm using a Dell Inspiron 2200 with Windows XP home edition. -- CH
Radio Shack Device Manager shows Prolific USB to Serial Bridge (com 1) as running ok. The warning on the driver installation indicated Microsoft had not blessed it. Current Inspiron 9200 running XP Home SP2 does not seem to work with this Adaptor. (I seem to have misplaced the specific Radio Shack model #) HL32.exe (PClink) seems to just keep looking and never links up with the SN10. I have tried other Com ports and once got a message that it could not find Com 1. Other times with other Com ports set up on the computer, it just hangs in the same mode as when on Com 1. This combination has worked fine in a direct link up with the volkslogger and also in updating the database in a King GPS in one of rental planes. -- JKE
Note: Profilic drivers are still often reported to cause Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD) Windows crashes. Stay away from devices using the Prolific chip set -- DRN July-2012.
IOMEGA My IOMEGA model GUC232A USB adapter failed to allow me to connect to the SN-10. Did work with Volkslogger -- KG
Xircom Worked great under Win2K, but no longer supported on XP (no drivers).
IOGear IOGear USB/serial cable (shows ATEN part in Device Manager). I can't get it to work. When I plug it in to my computer, it says it's installed ok and when I use it with my SN10, I see a little blinkin light working on the serial cable (which I assume means that my computer is telling it something). But, nothing happens. -- Peter

The IO Gear usb to serial, bought at best buy in Colorado, is only useful as paperweight (if the wind is low enough...) -- Dan
??? The first and only one I bought worked fine on my laptop (Compaq with AMD processor running Windows XP). I am embarrassed to say however, that I threw out the package. The cable and fittings have no brand, model #, or anything that I can identify it by. -- RLH
Aaaarrgggg... -- DRN
ST Lab Card Bus for RSRS232 Serial Card Adapter (not USB) I have just helped Tony install a PCMCIA serial adapter for his XP Home laptop and he says it works OK. Just over A$64 retail inc postage so was cheap enough as a tester. Aussies can purchase at: ---Ian
Keyspan Keyspan USA-19HS adapter on Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit. Downloaded the latest drivers but cannot get this one to work. Stay away. Paul Remde -- July-2012

Keyspan USA-19HS adapter on Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit This Keyspan worked flawlessly -- Wells July-2012

Keyspan: p/n USA-19QW: Blue screen crash when attempting to "Resume after Hibernate". Sony TR3A note book w/ XP-Home and windows auto update enabled. Windows 5.1 (Build 2600.xpsp_sp2_gdr.050301-1519:Service Pack 2)
-- George September-2005

USB Adapters with Macs (not PCs)
Customer Comments 
Keyspan I'm using a Keyspan Twin Serial Port Adapter (Part#USA-28X). I use port #1. Here's the set up I have been using for the past 4 years. The only change was updating to a newer PowerBook (aka Mac portable): 12" PowerBook G4 with 768 MM of system memory running OS X 10.3.9 with VirtualPC 6.1 running Windoz 2000 with no updates. I installed the Mac OS X drivers into OS X which are found by VirtualPC when needed - no problems. Works reliably with both SN10 PC-Link (log, database) and SN10 "software load". I hope this helps. -- Pete
Belkin Belkin Model F5U103 USB to Serial Adapter - no Mac OS/X support. -- Dion

Again, please report your experiences !

Please contact me with any questions or reports at !

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