The USB serial adapters I use to capture HP54602 scope and HP8591 spectrum analyzer screenshots, as well as monitor the HP Z8501 GPS time standard, lack unique identifiers and appear as unpredictable device nodes.
After putting up with this for far too long, I dropped $15 on a Sena Technologies PS410 serial server:
It needed a new lithium coin cell, of course:
The PCB and chip date codes suggest a 2009 build, so “98” might mean August 2009. Whether that’s the manufacturing date or the best used by date, ya never know.
The eBay deal didn’t include the power supply, so I hacked a coaxial jack on the back:
A 14 VDC IBM laptop brick from the pile suits the “9 to 36 V” range printed on the case.
Poking the “factory reset” switch did what you’d expect and the “console” serial port on the front worked fine. I plugged in the scope, the spectrum analyzer, and the GPS receiver, whereupon the bench took on the unmistakable aroma of electronic death:
Some probing suggests FB9 used to be a ferrite bead between serial port 2’s ground pin and the frame ground.
To compress an afternoon of tinkering into one sentence, there seems to be an occasional 35 VAC difference between the spectrum analyzer and the scope, but only when one or the other is plugged into the PS410. Everything is (now!) plugged into the same branch circuit and, in fact, the same outlet via many power strips, but the difference remains. A different power supply makes no difference, either.
I managed to burn out the ferrite bead on Port 1 with only the scope and the power supply plugged in, by connecting the scope’s ground lead to the shell of Port 2. That makes no sense: there is no voltage difference between the scope’s serial ground and its probe ground.
Something Is Not Right, but I’m baffled.
I have established that the server works fine, even with the charred beads, which is a Good Thing.