The development kit from Silicon Labs comes with the Windows drivers. I think the newer ones come with Linux and Mac. I had to have them email mine. These show up as another serial port on your 2K or XP system. The sources and driver configuration utilities and information are on the CD as well. We use them on some of our products here and they work very well.
The FTDI parts need drivers downloaded from their website. I evaluated the chip by buying a USB RS-232 cable made by DLP DESIGN, The installation was straight-forward and I was running in less than 10 minutes.
Your email address says Australia, from the FTDI website, below would be a local sales contact.
Dontronics Australia & New Zealand Dontronics P.O. Box 595 Tullamarine 3043 Australia Contact: Don McKenzie E-Mail:
I think they all require you to install a driver, at least in the current version of XP. Techincally I only have experience with the Silicon Labs (bare chip in a project) and whatever's inside the Belkin adapter, but people seem to be saying the FTDI needs an install too?
You need their drivers You don't really want Windows to recognise it as this could make it harder for your application to figure out whether your device (as opposed to someone else's) is plugged in. With the FTDI ones, you can program a unique Vendor/Product ID into the eeprom, and tweak the text config files in their device driver package so that it appears like a dedicated driver for your product, avoiding clashes with other devices using the same chip. FTDI will give you a small block of product IDs to use if you ask them so you don't have to buy them from USB.org
I don't know if it's possible to make the FTDI look like a standard HID device- mouse, keyboard etc.
- I've not seen any mention of this anywhere, but they are usually very helpful if you email them so it's worth asking if this is what you want to do.
I've found FTDI's e-mail support responsive but also quite terse... if you ask them a couple of questions, they're quite likely to only answer the first one, and not in very much detail at that. Still -- given the responsiveness -- if you keep on them sooner or later you'll get the information you need.
The other thing I'd note about FTDI is that -- like many companies -- they try very hard not to directly mention any bugs in their software or hardware. Instead, their documentation will say things like, "This bit in this register should be set to 1" -- after just giving a long explanation of what the bit does when it's 0 as well as 1. What they really mean is, "This bit should be set to 1, because setting it to 0 doesn't actually work the way it was intended to. Sorry."
You won't get any of the standard FTDI chips to appear as HID devices. The flexibility of the parts is nowhere near wide enough to make that happen. As for drivers, I don't believe drivers for any FTDI chips come on any Windows installation CDs, although (and this is documented on FTDI's web site) one OEM started making USBserial converter cables with FTDI's ICs (and default VID and PID) and went through the whole driver certification process with Microsoft, so a particular version of the FTDI serial "emulation" driver is now available on Windows Update. This can cause a problem, however, in that it's a somewhat old version, so you jump through a few hoops to force Windows to "do the right thing" if you want to install the latest version of their drivers.
To the OP: Is there any particular reason you'd like the devices to show up as HIDs?
Dunno about the FTDI and Silicon Labs devices. I guess that it depends how long they've been around.
For example, I've got a USB serial cable containing a Prolific PL2303 and that's recognized right off by Win2000/XP and Linux releases of (say) the past two years. It was supplied with a disk containing drivers for early versions of Mac OSs and Windows.