Uninstalling the Silicon Labs CP210x USB to Serial driver

I use several types of USB to Serial converters on Mac OS X, mostly for playing with Jeenode / Arduino hardware or connecting my HAM radio devices.

One of these devices, a Kenwood TH-D72, has a built-in Silicon Labs CP210x chip. The Mac OS X driver supplied by Silicon Labs is not very stable; it has caused my Mac to crash several times already. Uninstalling this driver is not as easy as uninstalling other applications on Mac; normally, you just drag the app into the trash – done. However, these drivers are supplied in “pkg” (package) format. Uninstalling software packages is a bit more involved.

Open Terminal and type the following commands:

macbookpro-ed:/ ed$ pkgutil --pkgs |grep silabs

macbookpro-ed:/ ed$ pkgutil --lsbom com.silabs.siliconLabsVcpDriver.SiLabsUSBDriver.pkg

macbookpro-ed:/ ed$ pkgutil --lsbom com.silabs.siliconLabsVcpDriver.SiLabsUSBDriver64.pkg

The first command looks for all PKG receipts pertaining to the Silicon Labs drivers. The next commands list the contents (Bill of Materials) for each driver package. Uninstalling the drivers can now be accomplished in several ways:

Leave the PKG, but disable the drivers (safest, but least clean):

This method does not actually uninstall the drivers. Locate the driver kext (kernel extensions) and rename to disable them:

mdfind SiLabsUSBDriver.kext
cd /System/Library/Extensions/
sudo mv SiLabsUSBDriver.kext SiLabsUSBDriver.kext_DISABLED
sudo mv SiLabsUSBDriver64.kext SiLabsUSBDriver64.kext_DISABLED

Reboot to verify that the driver is actually disabled. For example, plug in the USB device and check Console.app for a corresponding error message indicating that no driver could be found:

2011-11-29 8:34:56.000 PM kernel: 0 0 AppleUSBCDC: start - initDevice failed

Remove all files listed in the PKG Bill of Materials (clean, but less safe):

mdfind SiLabsUSBDriver.kext
cd /System/Library/Extensions/
sudo rm -rf SiLabsUSBDriver.kext
sudo rm -rf SiLabsUSBDriver64.kext
sudo pkgutil --forget com.silabs.siliconLabsVcpDriver.SiLabsUSBDriver.pkg
sudo pkgutil --forget com.silabs.siliconLabsVcpDriver.SiLabsUSBDriver64.pkg

Reboot to verify that the drivers are now completely gone.

USB to Serial drivers

Serial ports, a.k.a. RS232 ports, are no longer available on new computers and laptops. Many devices still use RS232 for communication (network equipment, data acquisition boards etc.).

There are several USB adapters that provide a “Virtual COM Port” using a special “USBtoUART” or “USBtoSerial” chip. Conversion cables containing these chips can be found online – but the documentation rarely specifies which chip is used! The Prolific PL-2303 chip is very popular, but a number of other chips can be found. Some chips are supported by the OS, others need a special driver.

Manufacturer Chip Linux driver Mac driver Windows driver
FTDI chip FT232RL Included since 2.6.31 kernel Download VCP driver Automatically installed by Windows 7
Prolific PL-2303 Included since 2.4.10 / 2.4.31 kernel Download VCP driver Installation under Windows 7
Silicon Labs CP210x Download VCP driver Download VCP driver Download VCP driver
? ? ?

RS232 information


Related posts

Updated 2011-06-01: Added links to Open Source driver for Prolific PL2303 under Mac OS X

DNAT 2010, Bad Bentheim

Vandaag een bliksembezoek gebracht aan de DNAT in Bad Bentheim. Het weer wilde niet meewerken, erg jammer.

Toch nog even op de beurs rongelopen en een paar leuke dingetjes op de kop getikt, waaronder twee magneetvoet-antennes: een Diamond MR77B en een Nagoya UT-106UV, beiden voor 2m en 70cm.

De Diamond is geschikt voor serieus gebruik; de Nagoya een stuk minder. Op de terugreis bewees de Nagoya dat Duitse snelwegen geen probleem hoeven te zijn voor de kleine magneetvoet ;-)

Ik heb ook nog even gesproken met Jan, de man achter de JWX Windowclasp antenne. Die antenne lijkt me ideaal voor mobiel gebruik – geen afgeknelde coax meer tussen de deur!

Installing the PL-2303 USB-to-Serial driver under Windows 7

A quick note on installing the Prolific PL-2303 USB-to-Serial driver under Windows 7.

My Puxing PX-777 Plus radios can be programmed using a USB Programming Cable. The “6-in-1” programming software is only available for Windows. On my Mac, I run a virtual Windows 7 installation under VMware Fusion.

PL-2303 USB-to-Serial driver

I tried the supplied drivers from 409shop for Puxing; I also tried latest drivers from the Prolific website (PL2303_Prolific_DriverInstaller_v130.zip). These appear to install correctly, but upon inserting the USB cable Windows 7 returns an error “The Device Cannot Start (Code 10)” and claims the driver was not installed. Re-installation did not help.

After some Googling, I downloaded alternative USB Drivers from http://www.usglobalsat.com/download/546/win_drivers.zip (cached: win_drivers.zip). Unpack and install (PL2303_Prolific_GPS_AllInOne_1013.exe), insert the USB programming cable.

This worked for me; the cable now shows up as a serial port (COM3 here).

Puxing PX-777 Plus programming software

I downloaded the most recent 6in1 software from Puxing (either http://www.puxingradio.com/down.asp or http://www.pxdz.com/english/down.asp).  If needed, install 7-Zip to unpack the RAR-archive.

Choose “Typical” installation. If the installer asks, enter serial number “pxdz” (not sure if this is needed), enter any company name.

Due to a permissions problem (explained here), the software runs in Chinese instead of English.

I copied the C:/Program Files/PX folder a shared folder and run it from there to avoid the permissions problem. I had to manually edit the .INI file, changed “LANGUAGE=CHINESE” to “LANGUAGE=ENGLISH”.

Note: Make sure that you select the correct COM-port every time you start the 6in1 software.

Related posts

  • USB-to-Serial, drivers and information about common “USBtoSerial” / “USBtoUART” chips


Update 2010.08: The most recent PX6IN1.EXE binary I found had a Modification date of 2009-03-17, 15:50.
Update 2011.04:
The download-link at USGlobalSat apparently no longer works. You can download my copy of win_drivers.zip instead.
Update 2012.01:
Removed links to cached copy of the PL-2303 drivers by request of Prolific. Their Technical Manager informed me: “Please bear in mind that those cables (mostly no-brand cables) that shows Error Code 10 on latest Prolific drivers are actually using counterfeit (fake) Prolific PL-2303 chips“, and “The only way right now to identify a fake chip is the Error Code 10“. It seems that the best way to avoid problems is to buy brand cables using genuine PL-2303 chips, for example from ATEN INTERNATIONAL CO., Ltd. or Good Way Technology Co., Ltd. (I have no affiliation with either of these manufacturers / brands).

Show channel names on Puxing PX-777 Plus

By default, the Puxing PX-777 radio starts in “Frequency Mode”. Sometimes it’s nice to see a name instead of the frequency. You can enable channel names if the radio is running in “Channel Mode”.

I programmed these channel names on a PC using the 6-in-1 software with a USB programming cable.

  • To toggle between “Frequency Mode” and “Channel Mode”, press and hold the “enter” key while switching on the radio. The radio now displays channel numbers like “CH-001”. This setting will be remembered until you change it.
  • Go to Menu 15 (Name), press “enter”, use the encoder to select “On” and press “enter” again to confirm. Leave the menu using the escape key, “vfo/mr”. The radio should now display the channel name you programmed, for example a repeater name like “PI2EHV”.

Note: after programming the radio using the 6-in-1 software, my radio always defaults to Frequency Mode.