serial ports


Active Member
I was hoping to use one computer for both diginet camera recording and for home automation through homeseer, but the Diginet software seems to have locked up my only com port, com1. I am going to need two ports though: one for my CM11A, and one to communicate with my napco alarm system panel. I was thinking of getting a USB to serial adapter...but I have a couple of questions:

will the new com port be in the com1 to com4 range?

Also, should I ditch the CM11A for something better?

There are people who use USB to serial adapters, some with limited success.

A lot of people use the Edgeport 8 USB to eight serial port adapter. You can find posts here and on the HomeSeer forum as to its success.

Look at THIS post over at HomeSeer land, especially my last one for details on the driver for this unit.

Also, wait till other people respond with their success rates with other hardware!

On your other question, I actually like my CM11a and have it running on my HomeSeer server. I also have a Caddx Security System, NetCallerID, PH Anderson Analog to Digital Converter, and an Ocelot connected to my server via serial ports.

I did have a problem with some units not wanting to work on the upper comm ports, but I think it was my particular setup and not the result of the Edgeport 8. Another problem I had was the "hs.opencommportex" wouldn't seem to work with the upper comm port numbers as well.

When I installed the edgeport8 the serial ports were assigned as follows

Com1 & Com 2 were on the motherboard (original ports).

Then the edgeport skipped to Com 5 and started numbering the remaining ports from there (Com6, Com7, etc...). I had to use an upper serial port number for my PH Anderson Analog to Digital board, but "used" Com 3's resources to get this command to work (you would have to look at HomeSeer's command details for further explanation).
Wow, thats a lot of serial ports!

I can't imagine using all of them, but I don't want to be short sighted either so I will probably get one.

Do any of the USB to serial adapters assign lower com ports? Some of the software I use don't have options for com ports above com port4.
hgupta1 said:
Do any of the USB to serial adapters assign lower com ports? Some of the software I use don't have options for com ports above com port4.
Yes, this is a problem with some software, thus people's limited success with these adapters.

The Edgeport may have options to assign a "starting" com port, just not sure.

I'll wait till someone a little more experienced with playing with their systems responds though!
The edgeports are nice, but pricey. The Keyspans are a better deal. I have three of these, each of which provide 4 serial ports. They have pretty nice configuration s/w, as I'm able to manually assign the com # for each port.

- Mike.
I thought the Edgeport was a bit of over kill when I needed an additional port, but I am now using four of the eight ports I didn't need! ;)
And I will add, it has been rock solid.... set it and forget it.
Bought it off of Ebay....
Not sure if it's the driver or Windows XP, but I use several Radio Shack USB-to-232 adaptors and the port numbers can be changed via Properties|Port Settings tab in the Device Manager.
The Edgeports are in the $200-300 range new, but if you look at eBay you can them them for great prices. There is a "buy it now" for $44 with $9 shipping. It's funny because it has the same velcro on the bottom that mine has! Anyway, I never thought I'd need them either, but I have four used up and have devices for 2 more of them I haven't gotten around to yet!!
I just switched over to one of our new hardware boxes, which has all the ports I need onboard. But before that I used an Edgeport 4 port USB box, which ran without problems for a couple years. I never had any problem with it. Don't get one that's over a few years old though, since the older ones did have problems in constantly active applications like automation.
I installed the DigiBoard 8-ports PCI two years ago for severals PCs of a customer and they have worked flawlessly. They were the cheapest card from Digi (makers of the Edgeport) at that time. The Neo was a PCI with better performance. They both are options if you have a free PCI slot (premiun space at these days).
I've never had any issues with the Elk USB to Serial cable. I use two of them on my machine - one for Elk programming and one for a UPB interface.
We have seen problems with USB to RS232 converters. They are not all made alike or work properly. Radio Shack used to have a converted that worked great, but late reports is that they have changed manufacturers and the current Radio Shack version does not work well.

Download speeds to the M1 vary from manufacturer to manufacturer also. We have seen from less than 1 minute to over 10 minutes to download a software upgrade.

The ELK USB to RS232 is guaranteed to work with the M1 family.
HomeSeer Forum Post on this subject. Interesting read as well.

Also, has anyone used a "virtual" com port with a device such as Lantronix print server to dish serial to TCP/IP communications (use a network connection vs serial port) with the M1 Gold?

I'm not saying this is the smartest thing to do as Elk makes an Ethernet interface, just curious.
I have two machines that each have extra serial ports.

My "main" machine, the one I use most, has 6 ports. Two are on the motherboard and the other 4 are on a PCI card. No usb<->serial adapters are used (in general) on this one. The board came from Byterunner.

My HA machine (running Homeseer) has 10 ports. Two on the motherboard, 4 on another Byterunner card, and 4 using usb<->serial adapters. It has two USB-2COM adapters from Byterunner.

I have used other adapters in the past with mixed results. Often, they will work fine with one serial device but not with another. Many of the really cheap ones are designed for PDAs and don't seem to work well with other hardware (I have no idea how they manage to do this).

I do have an 8-port edgeport adapter that I got from ebay. When I get a chance (I've had this for a long time), I will replace the 2 2-port adapters with this single 8-port adapter.

One thing I've determined is that the adapters that use FTDI chips seem to consistently work. I've decided that I won't buy random adapters unless I can tell that they use the FTDI chips. FTDI's support seems good (I've used their chips in other products, too) and you can get the drivers directly from them if you need to (they aren't some random company repackaging other manufacturer's chips). The Byterunner adapters linked above use FTDI chips. The edgeport is an exception - based on what I've heard from others I don't think I'd hesitate to use one.
I have several clients who have used the ELK-USB232 cable with no issues for a verying batch of items, the most common being the CM11a.