Using Perception Analyzer® with USB

Many new laptops are no longer provided with 9-pin serial ports, instead using the newer, smaller and more versatile Universal Serial Bus (USB) port. However, the Perception Analyzer’s wireless interface console is a serial device. To connect the PA console to a laptop, a USB to serial converter is required. This is a short $30 cable with a USB connector on one end and a serial (9-pin) converter/connector on the other. One end connects to one of your laptop’s USB ports and the other to a serial cable or directly to the PA console. It can be purchased at a computer supply store or online. We have tested and recommend the Cables-to-Go “Port Authority” USB to serial adapter. It is available on-line at techdepot.com, product number S1402639. This device may be used on both standard and hi-speed USB ports.

Generally, these converters only work with PA version 7.1 and newer: The converters usually don’t work on COM1, which is the only port available for PA version 7.0 and older. You can check in the Windows Device Manager to determine which COM port your adapter is using. You can then have the same COM port number designated for it in the PA 7.1 Setup dialog’s “Advanced” section.

MSInteractive plans to keep the PA console as a serial device because USB cabling is limited to just 5 meters. Sometimes it is necessary to place the PA console further than 5 meters from the system-operating computer in order to optimize wireless dial transmission. Serial cables work to at least 15 meters. In fact, we have used serial cables with USB adapters as long as 60 meters without problems.