Does the release version of that utility actually work for USB-RS232 converters in your experience, Greg? Because suitepost and I found that the free version most certainly did not on his or my systems.
I have not tried it. But I do think I know why it doesn't work. My thoughts are that the current available on the RS232 side of the adapter is so low that it can not handle keeping the charge pump up at operating voltage and therefor no data flows. When I was checking mine for the same issue before this utility came out, I noticed that most of the time my USB devices would not hold anything over 5 volts on the data pins. This is of course way below RS232 specs. and I can't fault it for not working as it is a hardware issue. I also mentioned this way up in that thread that there is no way to guarantee that all USB devices will work with this utility.
My thoughts were always to go back and solder a USB to TTL device onto the circuit board and see what happens. What I don't know is if the console really uses the handshake functions since most USB-TTL devices do not offer handshake. Obviously I never got back to testing and my mk1 sits in a box, I decided it was just better to get my control surface working and move on with other things.
My thoughts are that the current available on the RS232 side of the adapter is so low that it can not handle keeping the charge pump up at operating voltage and therefor no data flows.
That's a very good point. The original Lightworks for which that console was designed used dedicated RS-232 cards that did provide the full swing. Not all motherboard-based ports do either, but at least have better current sourcing which would result in less voltage droop under load.
What I don't know is if the console really uses the handshake functions since most USB-TTL devices do not offer handshake.
Again, I believe that the Mk I console does use hardware handshaking to at least verify connection. Whether it serves any other purpose during data interchange I can't say.
My thoughts were always to go back and solder a USB to TTL device onto the circuit board and see what happens.
Neither of the above issues would be addressed by just doing that. You may get somewhere if you bypassed the MAX232 chip, but then you may also just completely stuff the console. It's probably worth experimenting if you are happy to potentially sacrifice a console or two.
I already tried pulling the serial conversion chip, but this was before the utility was available to try and force initialization. I was able to get a terminal taking to it on USB and again after soldering the chip back in, but since I was never able to get the posrts down into comm1 or comm2 it never worked on XP of Win7. I got way too busy and gave up for now and returned the power supply back to the device I stole it from.
Often the trick of shorting RTS to CTS will get a system working, but it depends on whether they are actually using those signals to stop/start transmission or just to know if something is connected.