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This review is from: Tripp Lite Keyspan High-Speed USB-A to Serial Adapter, PC & Mac (USA-19HS)
Pros: I've been using the Keyspan USA-19HS for years. The first one was purchased after reading recommendations from several control system experts, and I haven't been disappointed. Rockwell Automation sells their own version of a USB serial port adapter (PN 9300-USBS), but it's about $130. Don't bother.
I've used it with laptops and desktops running Windows 98 through Windows 7. I've used it on all types of equipment. Never a problem. It works with every type of serial cable adapter I've thrown at it.
Since I first started using the Keyspan adapter, I've bought over a dozen more for service techs, co-workers and even a couple of bosses. The Keyspan is extremely configurable, fast, reliable, durable and easy to use. The Keyspan adapter comes with a driver CD and a USB cable and takes just a few minutes to set up. I keep one in my laptop bag at all times.
Cons: Tripp-Lite has made a few changes since they took over the Keyspan line. They now use a cheap USB socket. From the outside, it looks almost the same. The only notable difference is a lack of molded numbers (1, 2, 3 and 4) on the end of the plastic tab in the middle of the port. Unfortunately, the cheaper USB socket doesn't retain the cable connector as well as the older ones did. The weaker spring conductors allow the cable to be pulled most of the way out of the socket very easily, resulting in a lost connection and possibly a BSOD (blue screen of death).
Whereas the old Keyspans would easily support the weight of the adapter + a 10 ft. coiled-up serial cable, the new Keyspans cannot. I tested 3 of the new Tripp-Lite adapters and all performed equally bad.
I replaced my USB port with an FCI port (PN 61729-1011BLF - about 54 cents). No more problems. The quick fix is to either glue the USB cable into the port or use tape or a heavy rubber band to retain the cable.
Other Thoughts: Don't buy this adapter if you plan to use it anywhere but on a desktop. The old versions are great for field work, but the new ones simply can't hold onto the USB cable well enough to keep a good connection. It's a real shame that Tripp-Lite would ruin the USA-19HS by skimping on parts, but that's what happened.
I've had good luck with the Digi Edgeport/1 USB-to-serial adapter. The one I have uses a high-quality USB port that grips the USB cable very well.
This review is from: APRICORN EZ-BUS-DTS-EKIT Aluminum 3.5" SATA USB 2.0 & eSATA External Enclosure
Pros: This is a very cool enclosure (no pun intended) due to the large, flat internal fan and multiple ventilation openings. It is easy to assemble and includes decent backup software. Works great on every XP and Server 2003 system I've connected them to, and the power supply is inline with the power cord instead of being a wall wart. The removable aluminum base saves space on the desktop, and all cables are included.
Cons: Apricorn could use a little boost in the quality department. The earliest Apricorn enclosures I bought (a few years ago) were built to exacting standards, while the newest Apricorn enclosures suffer from minor issues such as slightly misaligned screw holes and slid-out-of-position rubber feet (perhaps installed while the case is hot out of the extruder?). Two of the cases required a small round file to open up the slots in the cover enough to install the screws. Nothing major, but certainly avoidable with a little care.
Other Thoughts: I have 4 of these enclosures at home and 6 more at work. We use them for backups and ghosting replacement PCs.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: On the plus side, PC Power & Cooling has a reputation for making some of the best PSUs in the industry. Reviews seem favorable, except for maximum output fan noise.
Cons: Perhaps the biggest con is that the PSU is DOA. Dead, regardless of the "OK"s on the included test sheet. My trust of PC Power & Cooling quality was such that I skipped my normal PSU testing (verify connectors, check with PSU tester, plug into a testbed PC) -- I paid for that trust in the end. It's much better to find out a PSU is dead before installing it and looming everything nicely. I usually only see problems with low end consumer PSUs.
Other Thoughts: So now I must pay return shipping on a brand new 10 pound power supply, as well as another shipping charge to get a replacement. It somehow seems wrong that I must pay for the manufacturer's failures, but that's the way things are these days. Althoughthe PSU likely failed during shipping, since it's reasonable to assume that all PSUs will be shipped, a failure to withstand shipping is the fault of the manufacturer. In this price range, a PSU that fails out of the box should be replaced free by the manufacturer, including shipping both ways.READ FULL REVIEW