Connecting scanners via USB
From The RadioReference Wiki
With the lack of serial ports on newer PCs these days, having to connect to a USB port is a necessary, but sometimes frustrating, evil. The listings below detail which USB cable to buy, and other important conditions.
- 1 GRE Scanners
- 2 Radio Shack Scanners
- 3 Uniden Scanners
- 4 Whistler Products
- 5 Aftermarket Cables for GRE / RS / Whistler Scanners
- 6 Generic USB to RS-232 serial converters
- 7 Installation Notes
- 7.1 Accessing Device Manager
- 7.2 Checklist and Procedures
- 7.3 Uniden Scanner Port Settings
- 7.4 Windows 8 Issues and Solutions
- 7.5 Windows 10 Discussions
- 7.6 Software Setup for Linux
- 7.7 Related Links
- The PSR-500 and PSR-600 both came with their own USB cable
- These scanners are able to use the Whistler cables.
- If you are using the older GRE cable, the PC/IF 30-290 Data Cable Driver can be found at the GRE America website
Radio Shack Scanners
- RS USB cable SKUs
- 20-047 Legacy
- 20-546 Legacy
- Catalog #: 2000546 as of 2019
- The Whistler cable - SKU: PCIF02 is known to work with many of the RS scanners including the Pro-106, Pro-651, Pro-652 and Pro-197
- Pigtail Usage Cross Reference Table
|Model||Use RS Pigtail?||Model||Use RS Pigtail?|
- The original version of the PRO-92 requires the pigtail- the A and B models don't
- The PRO-94 came out with a B version years ago which is the only one that is PC addressable (up/download data only)
- The PRO-2052 is a Uniden product with a DB9 connector in the back. See the Uniden section below for more information
- Unlike their GRE and Whistler brothers, the Pro-106 and Pro-197 do not come with the USB cable; you must buy it separately
- USB Drivers for the BCD325P2 / BCD996P2 Standard USB Mini-B connection cable can be found below;
- Uniden USB-1 cable (for other Uniden Scanners)
- From E-Bay
- From Scanner Master
- The latest Uniden USB-1 drivers, install Driver prior to cable installation
- NOTE: Uniden handhelds often include a Serial programming cable - DB9 to DB9 with null modem adapter (DB9 thru cables wont work), or DB9 to a proprietary small 4 Pin Serial Connection (Hirose MQ172-4 Series Miniature jack-Uniden unique signaling) a USB to RS-232 converter may be required to interface with PCs that lack true serial ports.
- Whistler USB Cable for WS-1010 and WS-1025
- Whistler USB Cable for SD Driven scanners
Aftermarket Cables for GRE / RS / Whistler Scanners
- Valley Enterprises FTDI chipset USB cable (direct)
- Valley Enterprises FTDI chipset USB cable (via eBay)
- FTDI Virtual Com Port (VCP) Drivers
- Possible eBay cables
- A DIY (Do It Yourself) GRE/RS/Whistler Cable Thread
Generic USB to RS-232 serial converters
If the programming cable for your radio requires an Serial interface (DB9 female) and your computer only has USB ports, you will need to utilize a USB to Serial (DB9 male) Converter. They are available from various retailers. Cables which use the FTDI chip or authentic Prolific PL2303 chipsets work the most reliably.
- Uniden's USB-1 cable, as well as cables provided by GRE and RadioShack use only authentic chipsets, and are more likely to include continued forward support.
- Note: some very inexpensive converter cables (<$10) are available, but many use counterfeit chipsets; Prolific has made their 2013+ drivers incompatible with inauthentic chips.
- Note: older Uniden USB-1 cables may not be able to work with newest driver and an older driver may be need pre-2012 click here for older driver.
- Driver websites
- From the CHIRP Wiki
- USB/Serial Devices
- Argent Data Serial to USB adapter
- Digi-Key - 768-1013-ND (Manufacturer - US232R-10-BLK) - FTDI USB to RS232 cables
- Dynex 16 inch USB PDA Serial Cable (via Best Buy)
- Edgeport USB-Serial devices (via Digi)
- eBay red_ella Fast USB2 to serial cable connects to male DB9
- GearMo 36 inch FTDI USB to Serial Cable (via Amazon.com)
- Gigaware USB-A to Serial cable (via RadioShack)
- IOGear GUC232A
- KeySpan USA-19HS
- Monoprice model 3726
- Monoprice model 2276
- It is being discussed, along with driver issues, here
- Sabrent USB 2.0 Cable
- Startech model ICUSB232PR (via Amazon.com)
- Symbol Motorola Cable Assembly Serial to USB Converter Cable 50-16000-386
- TrendNet TU-S9 USB to Serial Converter (via Amazon.com)
- USB Programming Cable for Wouxon Radios
- Best USB Type C Adapter
Accessing Device Manager
Unfortunately sometimes ports aren't available when you think they are, or everything appears to have installed correctly, but still doesn't seem to work. The tool that will allow you to diagnose these issues is Device Manager. You can access this tool in several ways, depending on the OS:
- XP: Start>Control Panel>System>Hardware>Click on the Device Manager button.
- Vista: Control Panel>System and Maintenance>Device Manager
- Win7: Control Panel>System and Security>System>Device Manager
- Click on Start in the Taskbar then Run and enter devmgmt.msc in the resulting box
- Press the Windows key+R, in the resulting menu type 'devmgmt.msc'
- Click Start --> Right click on My Computer and select Properties, click the Device Manager link on the left.
- Press the Windows key + pause/break key
- Set up a .bat file with the following using Notepad or Wordpad. When you want to run this, right click on it, select Run as Administrator (Vista, Win7)
set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1 cd %SystemRoot%\System32 start devmgmt.msc
Checklist and Procedures
- CAUTION: There have been numerous reports of drivers for devices that are not compatible with (or do not supply a driver for) Windows 7 64 bit. Make sure your device has a driver that is compatible before proceeding
- Use Device Manager to determine if other COM ports are available, and not held by Bluetooth or other devices. Sometimes such devices will hold an address even if it's not actually in use (Figure 1).
- Download the most up to date drivers from the manufacturer or distributor and install. Figure 2 shows one possible result. At this point you need to validate if your application can actually address the COM port that has been assigned. If it can't...
- In the 'Ports (COM & LPT)' section of Device Manager you should see an entry that reads something like 'Serial on USB Port (COM 15)'. The actual text will vary with the driver's documentation
- Select the Serial Device Entry in the list
- Right click on it and select Properties
- Select the Port Settings tab and click on the Advanced button. Change the COM port address.
- Also in the Advanced menu, make sure the speed on the com port matches the speed the scanner is expecting, and also matches whatever the software is expecting
Uniden Scanner Port Settings
Scanner Setting to engage an open com port, some models require the GPS Port to be turned on inside the scanner, some use the term PC CONTROL, or SERIAL PORT, some automatically connect with proper USB driver for the scanner, most user connect and never have a problem some take the necessary step to save all drivers use and working and it's suggested to do just that. Sometimes a scanner will register as 'not connected' until this procedure is completed. It's beyond the scope of this article to detail this, as it tends to vary from scanner to scanner. For the Uniden DMA driven scanners, see the Freescan - Connecting Scanner to PC article which has a summary (from the Easier to Read manuals) of the MENU commands necessary to set up the speeds for the port(s). For all others, look in the scanner's manual for the keystrokes needed to put the scanner in "RMT" REMOTE (or similar) mode.
- Note: Common transfer modes tend to work are: 9600bps, 57,600bps and 115,200bps Note, some devices don't like to be completely erased at its' highest transfer rate, safer erasing is believed to best done at a mid to slow rate.
- For GPS users return the port speed to its correct setting.
Windows 8 Issues and Solutions
Cables Known to be Compatible with Win 8.x
- Micro Connectors E07-160 USB Cable
- Nordfield USB Serial Adapter - Ultimate
- Plugable USB to RS-232 DB9 Serial Adapter (via Amazon)
- Staples USB to Serial Adapter
- TrendNet RS-232 Serial Converter (via Amazon)
- XLT Painless Programming Cable for Baofeng, Kenwood and Wouxon
Websites With Win 8.x Information
- USB Cables and Drivers for XP, Vista, Win7 and Win8 (Miklor Website)
- Microsoft Community - Windows 8 does not support Prolific USB-serial driver
- ACT-IR224UN / ACT- IR424UN Windows 8 Driver Workaround (PDF)
- Windows 8 / 8.1 Driver repair
- If you are using the Uniden USB-1 and your drivers don't seem to work,
RadioReference Forum Threads on USB Issues
- Windows 8.x USB Programming Problems Thread
- USB to Serial Adapter - Windows 8 Thread
- Need Help with Programming Cable Thread
- Which cable for bct15x connection to PC? Thread
- 3d Party USB Prgraming Cable Not Showing up Thread
- Prolific USB Serial Cable Drivers Thread
- (BCD996XT) Programming Cable Thread
- WS-1080 Win 8.x Drivers Instructions Thread
- Did Anyone work Out the Driver for the Wouxon USB Cable? Thread
- BC346 and FreeScan Thread
Windows 10 Discussions
- Windows 10 and Uniden USB Driver Thread
- GRE PSR-800 and Windows 10 Thread
- USB-1 Programming Cable BCD396XT Thread
- FreeScan and Windows 10 Issue Thread
- Win10 and ARC Home Patrol VC Driver Thread
- Prolific Drivers Thread
Software Setup for Linux
Unlike Windows Linux doesn't require drivers even for RS-232 to [USB adapters] "It just works". Several Windows applications will also run on Linux with the use of Wine.