For decades we’ve relied on our laptop’s trusty serial port or PCMCIA slot to communicate with legacy A-B devices.
But when our old laptop dies, or a new one arrives, it very likely has neither a serial port or PCMCIA slot.
This is when most of us begin thinking about moving to USB Cables.
Even though new laptops don’t have a nine pin serial port, most of us still have many devices in the field with them, so this cable is one of the first you’ll want to consider buying.
It’s also one of the few USB serial cables on the market which also supports RSLinx Classic’s “auto configure” option for finding the baud rate of the serial device connected.
However, with a list price of $144, that may be a feature you’re willing to give up.
If you do buy a third party USB to serial cable I recommend keeping the receipt and testing it right away as you don’t want to find out it’s not compatible when you need it the most.
Low Cost Third Party 9300-USBS:
If you’re looking for a third party USBS which works great and also does support RSLinx’s auto config look no further that this unit which I’ve personally tested and found works like a charm:
However, with a list price of $417.00, and only native support for 19.2K (9600 support can be added with a firmware patch from Rockwell found here) it’s not the biggest bang for your cables bucks.
You also need to be careful not to plug in just any Ethernet patch cord to the RJ-45 – it’s a known issue that using an Ethernet cross over cable to connect from the 1747-UIC to a SLC-500 will permanently damage this cable.
Low Cost Third Party 1747-UIC:
Many of my clients have forgone the official Allen-Bradley DH-485 USB cable, and instead have used a third party 1747-UIC cable which has the RJ45 and 9 Pin D Shell cables attached, and costs a fraction of the price.
If you’re interested in this third party cable you can find it on Amazon using the link provided below:
USB to DH Plus (DH+): 1784-U2DHP
The U2DHP is a replacement for both the PCMK and PM05 / 06 cables (1784-PCMK, PCMC, PCM5, PCM6) as well as for the many iterations of the KT card (1784-KT, KTX, PKTX, PKTXD) when used in programming stations or PC’s.
It makes connecting to Data Highway Plus via USB possible, although it only has the 8 pin circular mini din connector found on the SLC-5/04 and New Platform PLC-5’s.
At the time this article was written, this cable listed for $2780, making it strictly for the “have to have” crowd.
NOTE: If you need to connect to a Classic PLC-5, or any Data Highway Plus product with a 9 Pin D Shell, you’ll need a separate adaptor to convert the 8 Pin Mini Din.
Grace Engineering makes one such device, PN# C-ABDH-Adapter, which you can find detailed on their website using the link below:
Update 08-10-15: The above link is dead so if you have found another source for this adaptor please let us know!
The 1784-U2DN is a replacement for the 1784-PCD and 1770-KFD, and allows for connecting to DeviceNet via USB.
Support for this hardware begins with RSLinx 2.51 and RSNetworx for DeviceNet version 8.
At the time this article was written, the 1784-U2DN listed for $1,610.
At the time this article was written, the U2CN listed for $1,930.00
The 1203-USB cable is as universal as a programming cable as they come, as it supports Scanport, DSI, and DPI A-B Drives.
This includes, but is not limited to, the 1305, 1336 Classic, 1336 Plus, Plus II, Force, Impact, PowerFlex 4, 4m, 40, 40p 400, 70, 700, and 520 series.
It comes with the device itself, a USB cable, a 20-HIM-H10 cable, and 22-HIM-H10 cable.
At the time this article was written, it listed for $358.00
Update: Additional Low Cost Third Party Cables
Last time I purchased a 1761-CBL-PM02 the price was a whopping $76!
In my search for a lower cost cable, I came across this one which I’ve personally tested and appears to work just as well as the official PM02 cable:
If you have any experience with these cables that you’d like to share please do so by using the “Leave a reply” form at the bottom of the page.
Insights In Automation
If you've found this article helpful, please consider buying me a cup of coffee to say thanks! Click HERE to learn more.
Current prices on third party cables: