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Lion Serial Console Cable update.

As previously mention in this article, I had been happily using a serial console cable on my Macs (here after known as an SCC) (mine is an Aten UC-232A) without incident, until I upgraded my Mac Book Air to Lion.  Then it all broke again.

Here’s what I had to do to fix it…

First, I had to download the new 1.4.0 driver from here.  But that is only the start of it.  You need to follow the instructions contained in the Zip file and once the driver is installed, boot the Mac.

Next you need to edit the Plist file to reflect your actual hardware.  It is owned by root so you will need to sudo to be able to edit it. You need to plug your SCC and use System Profiler to get it’s Product ID and Vendor ID.  Remember these are in Hex, but when you edit the Info.plist the entries are in Decimal.  I found it easier to create a whole new <dict> entry rather than trashing the original installed by the driver.

Mine looks like this in System Profiler

Product ID: 0x2008
Vendor ID: 0x0557  (ATEN International Co. Ltd.)
Version: 3.00
Speed: Up to 12 Mb/sec
Manufacturer: Prolific Technology Inc.
Location ID: 0x04100000 / 4
Current Available (mA): 500
Current Required (mA): 100

So…

sudo vi /System/Library/Extensions/ProlificUsbSerial.kext/Contents/Info.plist

I added the following section after the original <key>067B_2303</key> Section

<key>0557_2008</key>
<dict>
   <key>CFBundleIdentifier</key>
   <string>com.prolific.driver.PL2303</string>
   <key>IOClass</key>
   <string>com_prolific_driver_PL2303</string>
   <key>IOProviderClass</key>
   <string>IOUSBInterface</string>
   <key>bConfigurationValue</key>
   <integer>1</integer>
   <key>bInterfaceNumber</key>
   <integer>0</integer>
   <key>idProduct</key>
   <integer>8200</integer>
   <key>idVendor</key>
   <integer>1367</integer>
</dict>

Once this is complete and saved you need to unplug the the SCC (very important) and load the edited kext file.

sudo kextload /System/Library/Extensions/ProlificUsbSerial.kext

Plug the SCC back in and do an ls on /dev and you should see your SCC in there now.  Mine looks like this…

crw-rw-rw-  1 root    wheel      18,   6  9 Feb 13:42 tty.usbserial

So if all has gone well you can now connect to your serial device again. For me that is any number of Cisco Routers or switches and the command is…

screen /dev/tty.usbserial 9600

Have Fun!

OS-X Serial connection to Cisco Console

Update: You may also want to read this after this article…

Ever needed to use a USB to Serial adapter to telnet in to your Cisco Console on a Mac OSX and gone…   Ummm…  I might use a PC instead.  Well fortunately it is way easier than you may think.  It just isn’t quite as intuitive as it should be.

We will assume that you have a USB to Serial adapter that shows up in your /dev after you install it.  You may need to download a driver, and for some chipsets I have not been able to get them running on Intel OS-X (Phillips/MCT chipset in particular.  The Belkin F5U409 is one of these).  I found the UC-232A type which use the Prolific PL2303 chipset, plugged straight in and worked with very little effort and a straight driver download.

Suffice to say if you ls /dev and see a entry like tty.PL2303.xxxxx  all is well.  It is worth copying this to the clip board as you will need it in a moment.

Next comes the wonderful screen command.  Man screen will give you a little more info, albeit, fairly sterile and confusing, but information none the less.  Goolge it to give you a better insight.

Hook your console cable to the USB – Serial adapter and the router and then from a terminal window simply type

screen /dev/<Insert device name here> 9600

(obviously this bit is whatever your device is called) and hey presto,  you are consoled in to your router.

Now it does have some gotchas.  I am used to using <Ctrl>+A to move to the start of the line for when I forget to use “do” or general typos, but <Ctrl>+A is screen‘s primary command.  You issue it prior to all other screen commands.  So for example if you go <Ctrl>+A and start typing do in a screen session, you will only get as far as the d and your screen session will disconnect, as <Ctrl>+A+D is the screen command to disconnect the session.  You will then need to type screen -r to reconnect to the session.

So, it is not a Telnet or even ssh Session.  But it is very useful…

Update:  Grrrr…  I updated my SL MacBook Air to Lion and the Serial Console Cable would no longer work.  See my new article on what I had to do to fix it.

A Lion coughed my Bootcamp partition back up.

Recently I wrote how the Lion upgrade to my beloved iMac 27″ trashed my Boot Camp partition and the ability for VMware to use it.
Well fortunately the fix was fairly straight forward. It seems my pet Lion hadn’t done any such thing. Even though the Boot Camp Assistant reported that there was no Boot Camp partition, and the VMWare Fusion VM said there was no partition, and I could no longer boot into windows @ boot time (don’t ask), good ol’ fsck disagreed with them all.
All I did to remedy the problems was…

  1. In VMWare Fusion 3.1.x I deleted the virtual machine referencing my Boot Camp Partition
  2. In Fusion, open the Virtual Machine Library (??L)
  3. After you have deleted the original VM, click on the Home button to display the setup options
  4. Create a new VM off your Boot Camp Partition (which is still there but hiding after the Lion ate it)
  5. It will now tell you that it is setting up the partition so that VMWare can access it properly.  This seems to be the crucial step!
  6. Hey presto, it is all back and running properly.  You can even boot into the Boot Camp partition again at boot time.

I am not sure what Lion breaks (eats) or why this fixes it exactly as I don’t have time to research it enough, but suffice to say it is working and I am happy again.

A Lion ate my Windows Partition

Apple in all their wisdom sent me a free upgrade to Lion if I purchased a qualifying product after a certain date.

I had so i did.

Buuuzzz!!! Wrong answer.

After the Lion upgrade (which I hate) from Snow Leopard (which I loved), my bootcamp partition is trashed. My VMWare doesn’t work and I am faced with a big recovery job. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
Hold off upgrading unless you don’t actually do anything with your Mac.

Update:  Please see this for the solution.