MicroStar USB Adapter

Add USB support to your MicroStar 2000 Encoder!



Daughterboard installed and pendant board ready to mount.

Closeup of both boards

Why convert your MicroStar 2000 Encoder to USB?

  • Serial ports, aka RS232, or com ports, are being slowly phased out by motherboard manufacturers in favor of USB.
  • Some serial ports on new motherboards have a tendency to lose sync during long transfers.

Designed specifically for MicroStar 2000 v4.0 and v4.1 based transmitters!

  • Buddy box and FMS flight simulator functionality are retained through the Encoder's seconday serial port.
  • The same circuitry is an integral part of Gordon Anderson's MicroStar 2000 v5.0 board.
  • Electrically compatible with v3.0 encoders. Neither physical nor functional compatibility have been tested at this time.
  • Based on the proven FT232RL manufactured by FTDI.
  • It may be possible to use one of these in other projects and there is no objection if you wish to try. A better choice for experimentation would be the BOB-00718 breakout board from SparkFun since all signals are brought out to the board edge.

Module mounts on your MS2K Encoder board

  • Electronics are contained inside your transmitter instead of an using expensive adapter cable that could be lost or worse!
  • A very small circuit board mounts to the case, preserving critical real estate for other case-mounted components.
  • FT232RL and LEDs are powered by the USB port, saving additional drain on your battery.


Royalty-free drivers are available from FTDI at: http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm

  • We do not provide drivers on a CD or other media. It reduces our costs and allows you to use the most recent version for your system.
  • Driver installation instructions are also available on the FTDI website. Please be sure you are comfortable with driver installation.
  • You will want the VCP (Virtual Com Port) drivers for your particular flavor of Windows.
  • Please verify that the drivers and MicroStar.exe are both compatible with the version of Windows you currently use.
  • Drivers are not required for use in Fedora 10. MicroStar.exe will run using Wine.

Important: Things the adapter will not do!

  • The adapter will not increase the speed of data transfers. Speed is set by the PC application and the Encoder firmware.
  • It will not allow two USB-enabled transmitters to communicate with each other.
  • It will not allow the transmitter to interface to flight simulators.

Download installation and setup instructions (660KB, PDF format).


Adapters are assembled using leaded solder and are not RoHS!

Assembled Standard module
$15.00US + $3.00 shipping (to continental US)
$15.00US + actual shipping charges (outside continental US)

  • Pre-tested module ready to install on the Encoder. Note: IC3 (the MAX232) must be removed from the encoder for installation of the daughterboard..
  • A shielded cable connects the two boards. Standard length is approximately 12 inches.
  • A piece of clear PVC heatshrink tubing is supplied to insulate the pendant board after it is mounted.
  • Daughterboard mounts on your Encoder and is 0.813" x 0.825". You will need approximately 0.325" clearance above the encoder (or socket) for clearance.
  • Pendant board mounts on your case and requires a cutout for the USB connector. Board dimensions are 0.813" x 0.825". Mounting holes are 0.650" center-to-center and 0.113" from board edge. Holes are sized for 2-56 hardware and may be tapped to 4-40.
  • Off-board LEDs could be wired to the pendant board and mounted on your case. This is strictly a DIY process. I do not supply the wires or offboard LEDs. Current must be limited to 20mA or less. LED cathodes must be wired to the LED pads connected to the IC. There are no through-hole pads for external LED wires, so they must be soldered to the existing SMD LED pads.

Assembled Deluxe module
$17.00US + $3.00 shipping (to continental US)
$17.00US + actual shipping charges (outside continental US)

  • Adds optional TX and RX LEDs to the adapter board. These LEDs indicate USB activity, not RF activity.
  • All other specs are the same as the standard module.
  • The standard module is recommended if you want case-mounted LEDs.

Adapter Installation

  • IC3 is removed from your encoder, socket(s) installed, and module is tested in your MS2K transmitter. In some instances, it will not be possible to use a socket and the daughterboard will be mounted directly to the Encoder.
  • Please contact Danny Miller first to schedule installation. Once that has been arranged, contact Jon Crick to verify adapter availabiliy. After Danny receives the module from Jon and the transmitter from you, he will perform the installation. All shipping costs are the responsibility of the owner.

Kits and bare boards

I have decided that kits and bare boards will not be available at this time. That's a very difficult decision since I'm a huge DIY person, myself.

Contact information

Adapters are shipped from Independence, MO. Please contact Jon Crick at j(dot)crick(at)earthlink(dot)net.
Installations are performed at Weatherford, TX. Please contact Danny Miller at millerdg21953(at)att(dot)net

Very important! Please contact the appropriate individual to inquire about availability or to schedule installation. You will receive a reply
including a PayPal address for payment. Checks can be accomodated, but we will wait until the check clears.
To be honest, PayPal.greatly simplifies life for us.

Gordon Anderson has been very kind in hosting this page on his MicroStar website, but he is not responsible for support or availability of the adapter. If you contact him, he will probably recommend one and then request you email me.

A Few words about Danny and Jon

We wish we could say this product was "Made in the USA", however many of the components are made outside the United States. You will have to be satisfied that these are assembled and installed in the USA. We're just two guys who believe strongly that the MicroStar Encoder system should not become obsolete as technology advances. We've both had extensive experience in the aerospace and aerospace test equipment industries and are commited to a properly assembled, functional, and quality product. We've checked each other's work and found it outstanding. Our goal is to provide a product at an acceptable price that will support continuation of this project.

Family, home, health, and full-time jobs will always come first with both of us. We will strive to be timely with our collaborative efforts, but delays may occur. We will always be honest with you in such cases.


Parts used in the adapter
The links are for reference and not necessarily the most economical source. Feel free to make suitable substitutes.

Component Qty Source Notes
FTDI FT232RL, 28 pin SSOP 1 SparkFun.com Best price I've found for singles and multiples
Samtec BBL-132-T-F low profile male header 1 Digikey.com Two 8-pin sections.
Female Header 1 SparkFun.com Two 8-pin sections installed at IC3 on Encoder
CD-ROM audio cable 1 Computer shop  
Capacitor, 0.1 uF, 0603 SMD 2 Mouser.com  
Capacitor, Tant, 10uF, 20V, EIA6032-28 1 Mouser.com  
Fuse, PTC resettable, 1206 SMD 1 Mouser.com  
USB connector, mini-B, with posts, SMD 1 Mouser.com  
MAX232 1 Mouser.com  
LED, Grn, 0603 SMD 1 Mouser.com Optional
LED, Red, 0603 SMD 1 Mouser.com Optional
Resistor, 330R, 0603 SMD 2 Mouser.com Optional