Jul 252006
 

--Photo: Belkin USB-Serial Adapter--

I got a new computer in the office about a year ago and bought a laptop a couple months ago. Problem with both of these computers is that they do not have serial ports! Guess there is no reason to have serial ports anymore – except that my Etrex Legend GPS connects to the computer that way.

I have been transferring my waypoints to my Palm using GSAK then transferring them from the Palm to my GPS with a special cable I use. This procedure works well when I am traveling and need to carry multiple sets of waypoints but for regular use it is a pain.

I decided it was time to figure out a better solution. I looked online and found that there are special cables built especially for the Garmin and there were warnings about some adapter cables not working with Garmin GPSs.

I saw that Belkin made an adapter that some reviewers said they had problems with, but others said it worked fine with their GPS – so I decided to take a chance. I went down to Staples and picked one up (had a coupon and they are have 12% off almost everything).

When I got home I read the instructions in the manual but there is no mention of Windows XP (it was printed in 2001). I went online and they have an errata that tells you to just install the CD and ignore the XP warnings.

I put the CD in the drive, it spun up and started installing the software. A couple minutes later it was all done with no warnings. I looked online for updated drivers and noticed that there was one specifically for Windows XP dated 2005 – so it appears that the drivers have been updated even if the documentation hasn’t.

The test came when I plugged the cable in and attached it to my GPS. I configured the GPS settings in GSAK for Com 4 and hit send. It worked! I now have 961 cache locations stored on the GPS (that is how many are within 100 miles of home that I have yet to locate).

The second test would be if Microsoft Streets and Trips would be able to use the GPS to track the current position. I set up Streets and Trips for Com4 and within seconds the little locator was sitting over my house on the map. Perfect.

It could not have been easier. It appears that there are no problems whatsoever with the current Belkin USB/Serial Adapter and Windows XP.