RS232 vs USB Data Links
The DAQ modules offered here can be plugged into either an RS-232 port or a USB port of a laptop or PC. Since virtually all computers in this day and age incorporate a USB port, this is the most common way to interface a peripheral with a computer. Unfortunately, the USB interface was designed for simple file transfer and not for the harsh environment found in most industrial applications, and thus introduces a whole series of draw backs. One example is the length of the communications line. A USB cable can not be extended more than 15 feet without some form of booster or repeater. And in most industrial applications, the machinery being controlled, or the sensors being monitored are located some distance away from the computer, or even in a separate room altogether. Also, USB needs a special cable, you can not use normal CAT5 wire or any other standard wiring that may already exist on the shop floor.
Our DAQ modules were specifically designed to use RS-232 at the core level which presents some very important advantages to the user in an industrial environment. You can still plug these modules into a USB port using our USB cable, but at the other end of the cable is RS-232. So the communications line can be extended hundreds of feet using a standard RS-232 cable, or even a simple CAT5 telephone wire without any problems. This would not be possible with a DAQ module which incorporates a "USB only" port.
In addition, there are many 3rd party manufacturers which produce data converters for RS-232 such as wireless Radio Modems, Fiber Optic Modems, Ethernet Servers, etc., which can easily be connected to our DAQ modules because they are RS-232 compatible. Below is a list of a few examples, many more can be found by searching the web.
Wireless Radio Link
Replace the Stackable Data Module's communications cable with a wireless link using this license-free Serial Radio Modem available from B+B SmartWorx. Two units are required, one attached to the host computer's communications port, the other attached to the network of DAQ modules at a remote location. A crossover (Null modem) adapter is required for the DCE port of the DAQ modules. Ideal for use in applications where the installation of physical communications wiring is not practical.
Fiber Optic Link
Replace the Stackable Data Module's communications cable with a noise-immune fiber optic link using this Serial to Fiber Optic Modem available from B+B SmartWorx. Two units are required, one attached to the host computer's communications port, the other attached to the network of DAQ modules at a remote location. A crossover (Null modem) adapter is required for the DCE port of the DAQ modules. Ideal for use in harsh environments where severe interference is present and distances need to be extended of up to 2.5 miles.
Ethernet Network Link
Easily connect the network of Stackable Data Modules to an Ethernet network using this Ethernet Serial Server available from B+B SmartWorx. Uses a virtual COM port which can be selected by our ModCom software to communicate with the DAQ modules over the network as if they were connected using a standard communications cable.