No RS232 port alternative

The laptop computer my team uses for programmer our robot does not have an RS232 port on it, given that it is a newer model. For the competition, I have been using a USB to RS232 converter, but the download time is painfully slow! While at our regional competition, I had another team tell us that there was another port that we could use instead of the USB port for programming if we got a different converter.

Does anybody know what kind of converter this mght be, or where I could get one? If it helps, we’re running Windows XP Media Center Edition, so it has some extra media ports for cards and the like. I think the team we heard this from referenced one of these ports, but I might be wrong.


Something like this could work.

what brand usb --> rs232 adapter are you using?

i have a parralax one and it only takes like 2 seconds more that our other programmer with a native serial port.

this is the one i have

good luck


I advise caution with the Quatech cards. The connector between the actual card and the cable is crap. I have three of the Quatech 4 port cards (QSP-100) at work and they are all but useless. I can’t keep the cables connected to the card. I also tried the Socket brand of PCMCIA to Serial and they are OK but buffer the data. I use them at work to collect field data from instruments and when your GPS time tag data is 5 minutes older than your instrument data it tends to cause problems later in processing. I have had no problems since switching to USB-RS232 converters from IOGear.

Our team had this exact problem and after a bit of troubleshooting it came down to the brand/model of the USB-RS232 (Serial) convertor you use and the way it translate/converts the data in either the hardware (chipset) or software.
Our team has great success with the following adapter(s):
Keyspan Serial to USB Adapter

Also changing some settings in the adapters has helped us improve the speeds
to near native Serial speeds. This includes

  1. Making sure in the Windows device manager your virtual serial port is SET to the default settings WITH 115,200 baud rate
  2. Make sure that FIFO buffers are enabled in the adapter in the driver settings. This is a bit complex but it boils down to the way the adapter negotiates with the RC.

I tried about 4 different USB to serial converter cables and found the IOgear to work the best and fastest. I think it takes 4/5 seconds to load the program.


I just bought the Parallax one for my macbook if the cable goes bad I’ll chop the connector off and solider it to the board. The VEX cable is slow it a capital “S”.

I had been using the cable from the VEX programming kit. It is SLOW.

I have good luck with the IOGear(I think) adapter from WalMart.