I recently came into possession of a device that should be considered as being a part of everyone’s console kit regardless of if they work on Cisco, Juniper, etc. The biggest problem I run into is when I have to establish a serial console session to a device that the location of the device isn’t always convenient for connecting a cable to, let alone the cable be long enough to reach your laptop which may not be in a location that is convenient or safe to work at for an extended period of time.
One of the first things I noticed is the flexibility of this device. It can be configured for either DCE or DTE on the serial side which can save you the hassle of remembering to keep a null modem adapter to be able to swap the pins around. You have the option of configuring the device for a variety of serial speeds so it should be able to work with just about any combination of equipment that you have. The SEL-2924 from the folks at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, who are known mostly for their work with companies in the Utility sector, is well worth looking inclusion into your arsenal of tools.
The SEL-2924 comes with one set of Sanyo Eneloop AAA rechargeable batteries and a charger. The Eneloop batteries are known for their long shelf life before needing to be recharged. There is a video accompanying this article that gives you a birds eye view of what the device looks like and how easy it is to work. If you need to be further away than 30 feet from the device you are working on, there is another model that has an extended range that may be better suited to those situations.
If you have a laptop that either doesn’t have a built-in bluetooth adapter or one that may not be working, you can purchase one from SEL that will plug into an available USB port. Even with most laptops coming with bluetooth that have been produced in the past few years, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have this adapter from SEL on hand for those one in a hundred situations where the built-in bluetooth adapter is having a problem.
Note: Play the video in HD resolution for best results. I mention in the video that you can get upwards of 100 feet in range. Depending on your laptop and environment that you are operating in, you may get less range than that. There is a model SEL-2925 that uses a higher power Bluetooth transmitter and external antenna that may get you upwards of 300ft in range. If you are plugging the SEL-2924 into a serial port that is feeding voltage out over the right pin, you can recharge the batteries in the SEL-2924 while you are using it. If that isn’t the case, you can used the included charger to recharge the batteries right in the device. Even with the included adapter and the long shelf life of the Eneloop batteries, I would like to suggest that a couple of options be considered. The first is to remove the batteries when not using the device for an extended period of time. My normal rule of thumb is to remove the batteries from a device that I won’t be using for a couple of days. This also protects you from finding out that the device has been accidentally switch on and the batteries being totally depleted at a time that you need to use them. I have also found that at some point, the batteries may “leak” and potentially ruin a device. This is something that I would like to avoid. The second is the use a charger made by the manufacturer of the batteries. From what I have seen and learned about the folks at Schweitzer, they are one of the few that I would be comfortable with using their charger over an OEM’s charger. This is just an old habit that I have learned over the years from having been a Amateur Radio Operator. You will find a charger available for between $5 to $10 at places like Costco or Amazon. Eneloop also has a battery case that you can purchase to safely store the batteries when not in use – something that I have ordered and should be receiving in a few days. This device is in my toolkit and I would suggest that you take a look at it for inclusion in yours as well.
You can learn more about the SEL-2924 by going to this link – https://www.selinc.com/SEL-2924/