outdoors hunting camping SHTF GMRS radio communications antenna battery electronics scanners digital computer software hardware laptop iPad iPhone eBay music radio

USB Cables and Drivers
for Microsoft XP, Vista
Win7, Win8, Win10
May 2013
Rev 6-2015

Read the Important Notes below before proceeding.


                FAQs and Error Messages
                Determine what Cable I have
                Installing the proper Driver
                MacOS - Drivers and Info Below
Important Notes

-   Chipsets:
Due to Prolific USB/Serial chip 'clones' found in generic USB programming cables, an older driver is required in lieu of the one supplied by Windows.

Note: Cables with
FTDI chipsets are compatible with all Windows drivers.

-   New Prolific Drivers may give a FALSE Positive: (6-2015)

Windows will now load the newest Prolific driver when inserting your cable. A Yellow Triangle may not always appear in Device Manager as described below, however, when you insert the cable into your radio, the transmitter will turn on.   More detail can be found Here.

If this occurs, you Must backdate your driver to
     (Go directly to
Install Drivers)

-   Windows 10 Upgrade:

If you recently upgraded to Win10, Windows will automatically update your Prolific driver. You will need to reload Prolific back to your PC.

If Windows tries to update this driver in the future, you must turn off automatic updates.

-   Prolific Drivers:
Prolific recommended for Vista, Win7 / 8 / 10   exe   zip    (32/64 bit)
If you are using Win XP, the Prolific driver will run with no issues.
This driver for Win XP can be found here: 
The recommended Drivers and Info can be found


What chip does my cable have ?
Do I Have the Proper Windows driver ?
1) Insert your USB Programming Cable.

Launch Device Manager.

     [  Start  |  Right-click Computer  |  Select Properties  |  Device Manager  ]


3) Select: Ports (COM & LPT)

If Prolific appears, or a yellow warning triangle appears under 'Ports' or 'Other Devices', it is recommended that the driver be backdated to

Failure   Failure

if you insert your programming cable into your radio, and the transmitter turns on, you will need to load the backdated driver as described below.

        Your software will ask for this Com Port number later.
        If you change USB ports, the Com Port number will also change.

Installing the Backdated Prolific PL-2303 Driver
System Requires 32/64 bit  Windows Vista / 7 / 8 / 10

1) Create a work folder (New Folder) on your PC.

2) Download the Prolific driver file and save it to the work folder.  exe  zip    (32/64 bit)

3) Remove the USB programming cable from your PC.

4) Double-click the file that was saved into the work folder and follow the prompts until it is completely installed.

5) Plug the USB programming cable into the USB port of your PC.
You should see a balloon popup that says "Installing device driver software"

Installing Device Driver

A few seconds later you will get a balloon popup that says
          "Device driver software was not successfully installed"

Installing Device Driver

6) Launch Device Manager.

          [  Start  |  Right-click Computer  |  Properties  |  Device Manager  ]


You will see one of the following errors in Device Manager.

In 'Other Devices' the 'USB-Serial Controller' is proceeded by a YELLOW warning.
In 'Ports (COM & LPT)' the 'Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port (COMx)' will appear.


7) Right-click on the entry with the error to open a window and select
          "Update driver software..."


8) At the first Update Driver Software prompt, select
          "Browse my computer for driver software".


9) At the second Update Driver Software prompt, select
          "Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer"


10) At the third Update Driver Software prompt, scroll down and select
          "Ports (COM & LPT)".

11) At the fourth Update Driver Software prompt, select
          "Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port Version: [7/31/2007]".


You should get a prompt saying that the driver was installed successfully.
You should now see a properly installed Prolific driver in Device Manger.


You can check that the correct version is installed by double-clicking on the Prolific entry in device manager and selecting the Driver tab.

The driver version shown should be v3.2.0.0


12) Remove the USB programming cable from your PC and then plug the USB programming cable back in.

13) (Optional) Reboot your computer.

Q:  My programming cable is not being recognized.
           (Handheld radios using 2 pin plugs)

a)   "Radio did Not Respond" or
"Radio did Not Ack Programming Mode"   message appears.
         This is a
very common problem.
         Slightly offset audio jacks could be the problem.

         Make sure the connector is
snapped in all the way.
         Some cables
require a really hard push to snap in that last 1/16 inch.
         One indication is that the transmitter may be keyed.
         A slight trimming of the cable's plug side and edge may be required.

Graphic by Mike KF5DEY
   This message also appears if the radio is not turned ON while downloading.
b)   "Error has Occurred, Could not open Com Port x"  
          Each USB slot is connected to a separate com port to avoid conflict.
          Changing your USB slot will change the COM port number.

c)   "Run-time error 8020: Error reading from comm device."
          Error occurs if Prolific driver version is higher than v3.2.0.0
          You must Downgrade to v3.2.0.0


Q:  Why doesn't my new driver work any longer?
A:   When your USB cable is plugged into your computer, the assigned driver is loaded for that USB slot / COM port only. Once Prolific Driver is set up as the driver, you're set to go.

However, the driver does not follow the cable.  If the cable is moved to a different COM port, Windows will now load the newest driver it finds, NOT

When this occurs, you will need to load Prolific driver to the new USB slot, or plug the cable back into its original USB slot.

You can check the driver loaded using the procedure above.  Cable

Q:  Is there a quick way to find my cable's com port number?
A:   Yes.    Run:  Find Com Port    (Windows)


Q:  After changing the com port number of my USB cable in Device Manager, my software reported:     
"An error has occurred - could not open port com[n]: (2, 'CreateFile', 'The system cannot find the file specified.')"     

A:  After making this change, you must unplug and replug your USB programming cable for the com port number change to be effective.

Note 1:
     If you are using either CHIRP or the factory software and are having com port / driver issues, please note this is NOT caused by the software. It's strictly between the PC driver and the cable.

Note 2:

     Each USB slot is connected to a separate com port to avoid conflict.
Plugging your cable into a different USB slot will change the com port number and will try to load the Newest Driver.  Make sure the driver loaded for the new com port is


How do I prevent Windows from automatic
ally installing new drivers?

This solution can be found at this Microsoft link.
MAC Driver for Prolific Cables
PL2303 USB to Serial Driver for Mac OS X
Prolific Driver PL2303_v0.3.1
Mac OSX / Lion Drivers Tools
Build your own Programming Cable
Here's a project to convert your current cable to one
using a Silicon Labs CP2012 UART chip.
No driver errors at all.

Build Your Own Cable
My thanks to Jim, KC9HI for his hours of testing and his input to this page.

73  John 'Miklor'   K3NXU


Miklor Home