(Note: Mac Users may want to skip to the bottom)
After a number of years my old Windows Vista 32 bit installation was a little worse for ware. Having a laptop capible of 64 bit I decided to upgrade to Window 7 64 bit. After a fresh install of Windows 7, I began the process of installing drivers for the hardware I had. It wasn’t until I came to my trusty Belkin USB to Serial (RS232) converter, aka PDA adapter that I encountered a problem.
After visiting Belkin‘s website and looking up the driver page for the convertor, I discovered that Belkin didn’t support both Vista 64bit and Windows 7 64 bit. Here’s the details from their knowledge base page (can’t link it due to thier website design):
“Is the F5U409 USB PDA Adapter compatible with vista 64 bit?
No, this product is not compatible with vista 64 bit. It is compatible with Vista 32 bit computers. We do however have a similar adapter which is compatible with Vista 64 bit, you can use part F5U257 (USB-to-Serial Adapter).”
What a rip off? Not only doesn’t Belkin support their old hardware they try and get me to buy their new hardware!
Being a computer system administrator and programmer by trade, I knew there would be no physical reason the device would not work under a 64 bit operating system. It was down to Belkin not wanting to spend the time or money to update the driver. In most cases, it would simply be a recompilation of the existing driver.
Hence I began searching to see if anyone had got the device working. There was lots of webpages/forum posts about how people failed. Lots of posts indicating it’s not supported, even an official microsoft page indicating it’s not supported under Microsoft Windows 7. Then there were a few posts indicating to try various different drivers, most seem to relate to either the Prolific or FTDI chip/chipset which apparently exists on other models of the Belkin adaptors (F5U109?) and with other USB/RS232 converters and hence works with some other drivers. But sadly nothing about the Belkin F5U409 adaptor.
Hence I figured enough is enough. I had previously found a website where someone had pulled the adaptor apart to determine if the chipset was an FTDI chipset. Sadly it wasn’t it was instead a Philips P87C52X2BA microcontroller seemed to be used. Hence I did a lot of searching for that particular chip in google, all with no luck. Eventually I thought hmm, lets just see if we can find another USB232 converter that used a Philips chip.
It was then that I found the MCT U232-P9 DB-9 Serial Adapter High Speed 230K USB SERIAL RS-232. This device used the “P87C52 – 80C51 8-bit microcontroller and PDIUSBD12 made by NXP Semiconductors founded by Philips.” It was perfect the chip matched. I hence spent quite a while working out who MCT were. It turns out that MCT stands for Magic Control Technologies. On the MCT website, on their driver page they had drivers for their USB/Serial convertor and they support Visa, Windows 7, 32bit & 64bit. So I downloaded the driver U232-P9 Driver.(Click Here for a Local Mirror incase MCT remove it)
I then crossed my fingers and installed it. After a quick reboot I plugged in my Belking F5U409 adaptor and it was detected! A quick check. It worked!
So to Belkin who wanted to force me to buy yet another product – support your products!
As a bit of an ironic twist, I later began cleaning up the original installed Belkin driver (I had tried the Vista 32bit version with no success). It was then that I discovered that Belkin don’t even write their own drivers but use Magic Control Technologies drivers! (You can find this by right clicking on the u2sxp.sys file that Belkin installs to C:\Program Files(x86)\Belkin\F5U409\Driver\u2sxp.sys and clicking the details tab). So not only are they not updating the drivers, they didn’t write them in the first place!
Finally, if your a Mac OSX 10 user you might also want to check the Magic Control Technologies driver page as drivers exist for you as well – shame on you Belkin.
Donations keep this site alive