Powering a 23201a


How can a novice like me safely and easily get 5V to a 23201a? As you probably guessed, I’m unbricking a Seagate.

I have the breadboard and all that. Batteries in a housing?

Thank you very much.


Keeping your wires as short as possible will help limit potentially destructive LC voltage spikes, but the best thing you can do is put a large electrolytic capacitor (100 uF or more) across power and ground (i.e. positive lead connected to Vcc, negative lead connected to ground) near your serial adapter. You can safely use your computer power supply’s 5V rail to power the adapter if you include such a capacitor in the way I’ve described. Just make sure (with a multimeter, ideally) you’re really using the 5 V rail and not the 12 V one!

- Ben

Thank you very much for the prompt response.

I really appreciate it.

I got the capacitor. Where do I put it on the breadboard? In the VCC and GND rows in the holes between my wires coming from the power supply and the adapter?

Thanks again.


That is the right place to put it. Make sure to get the capacitor polarity correct!

- Ryan

Here is my setup, and no luck. I have tested the serial cable and my multimeter says 5v are going to the breadboard, so I’m assuming I fried the adapter. Anything else left to check before I order the replacement?

Thanks, guys.

EDIT: I just ordered the replacement, but I’d still like to try to get this to work if I can.

From your pictures, I don’t see anything wrong with your setup. Is the loopback test not working for you? Is this the first way you’ve tried connecting things, or did you connect it some other way before?

- Ryan

Yeah, the loopback test isn’t working. But if I unplug the serial cable and connect/span/whatever the 2nd and 3rd pin, the test works (I can see what I type in HyperTerminal).

I had this setup before, but without the capacitor, which makes me think the long wires thing fried it.

Connecting power through long cables like that without the capacitor present could certainly have been enough to damage the adapter. If you are interested in trying it again with another one, you can contact us directly and we should at least be able to get you a discount on a replacement.

Edit: I just saw you already placed an order. If you contact us quickly, we might be able to apply a discount retroactively, or we could potentially give you a coupon for a discount off a future order.

- Ben

Thanks, Ben.

I’m not made of money, but it’s only 11 bucks. And I broke it myself, there’s no reason you should eat any of that.

You guys are impossibly patient with idiots like me buying your products and nuking them because of some walkthrough somewhere that you didn’t write.

So I’m more than okay with paying all 11 of those dollars.

Thanks again.