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9/18/2016 RS-232 Connections That WORK!

- Connecting Devices or Converters - B&B Electronics

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FAQ: RS-232 CONNECTIONS THAT WORK


RS-232 CONNECTIONS THAT WORK! -
EthernetInfrastructure CONNECTING DEVICES OR CONVERTERS
EthernetSerialServers& ConnectingtwodevicesusingRS232soundssimple,butnearlyeverydaywehelpacustomergeta
Gateways converter,isolatororotherRS232deviceworkingbyhelpingcorrecttheRS232cablingconnections.This
FAQwillhelpyoutroubleshootandcorrectsuchproblems.
USBConnectivity
Usuallyinputsareconnectedtoinputsandoutputstooutputs.Peopledon'trealizethattherearetwotypes
Wireless&Cellular ofRS232ports,DTEandDCEtype,andthatthesignalnamesandpinnumbersarethesame,butsignal
flowisopposite!ThepinlabeledTxcanbeinput,andRxtheoutput.
Telematics&MRM RS232toRS485
Solutions Thetwoportstypesarecomplementary,theOutputsignalsonaDTEportareInputstoaDCEport,and Converters
OutputsignalsonaDCEportareInputstoaDTEport.Thesignalnamesmatcheachotherandconnect
Controllers&Computing pinforpin.Signalflowisinthedirectionofthearrows.(seefiguresbelow)

RemoteI/O

SerialConnectivity

BICSI

RS232Isolators

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B&BElectronicshasbecomeB+B
SmartWorxandwearenowpartof
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ouremailaddressesgoingforward.

SerialCables

HOW CAN I IDENTIFY DTE OR DCE TYPE CONNECTIONS?

WhatdeviceshaveDTEtypeRS232ports?ADTEdeviceis"DataTerminalEquipment",thisincludes
Computers,SerialPrinters,PLC's,VideoCameras,VideoRecorders,VideoEditors,andmostdevices
Splitters,DataTaps,
whicharenotusedtoextendcommunications.ThinkCOMPUTERforDTE.
SmartSwitches
WhatdeviceshaveDCEtypeRS232ports?ADCEdeviceis"DataCommunicationsEquipment",this
includesdevicesintendedtoplugdirectlyintoaDTEport,PDAcables,Modemsanddevicesthatextend
communicationslikeamodem,suchasRS422,RS485,orFiberOpticconvertersorRadioModems.
ThinkMODEMforDCE.

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9/18/2016 RS-232 Connections That WORK! - Connecting Devices or Converters - B&B Electronics
RuleofThumb:WhenconnectingaDTEdevicetoaDCEdevice,matchthesignalnames.When
connectingtwoDTEortwoDCEdevicestogether,useaCrossovercable.(TDcrossestoRD,RTSto
CTS,DTRtoDSRasshowninModemtoModemconnections.(see9PMMNM)Thecablefortwo
computers(DTE)alsosimulatesmodemconnectionstoCD/DSR,soitiscommonlycalleda"NullModem"
cable.

AreMyDevicesWiredAsDTEorDCE?HowtoCheck

1.UseRuleofThumbIfthedeviceplugsintothecomputerserialportandworksnormally,thedevice
iswiredasDCE(ortheconnectioncableisacrossovertypethatmakesitworkasaDCE).Ifthe
deviceconnectstothecomputerportusinga"nullmodem"crossovercable,itiswiredasDTE.

2.UseRS232LineTesterAquickandeasywaytodeterminetheDTE/DCEporttypeistousea
RS232linetestersuchasthe9PMTT.ThetestercanshowthesignalstateofanyactiveRS232
datalinesusingLED'slightingRedorGreen.Activedatalinesareoutputfromadevice,theymay
beeitherHighorLow.

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9/18/2016 RS-232 Connections That WORK! - Connecting Devices or Converters - B&B Electronics

Justplugthetesterintoeitherofthetwodevices,seewhichlinesarelit,unplugit,thenplugitinto
theotherdevice,seewhichlinesarelit.(seefigures).

Ifthesamelight(TDorRD)islit,useacrossovercableornullmodemconnectorthatswapsthe
connectionsforpins#2and#3andotherpinsasneeded.

Ifthedeviceis"portpowered"checktheactiveside,thenplugintheportpowereddeviceandseeif
other(TDorRD)LEDislit.Ifnot,tryswappingtheleadswithanullmodemcable,seeiftheother
LEDnowlights.Ifnot,youmaynothaveenoughvoltageonthehandshakinglinesoftheportto
stealpowerfrom.

3.UseaDCVoltmeterTechnicianswithaDCvoltmetercanuseittomeasuretheDClevelfrom
signalground(pin#5onDB9,pin#7onDB25)ontheconnectortopin#2orpin#3.Whentheunitis
poweredandnotsendingdata,theoutputlinewillhaveaDCvoltageofminuspolarity,3voltsto11
voltswillbetypical.Theotherpinwillhavelittleornovoltage.Forexample,wemeasure11volts
onpin#2ofaDB9connectorandthelineislabeledRDorRx,thenthedeviceiswiredasDCE.If
wemeasurethevoltageonpin#3,itisDTE.

Measurepin#2andpin#3toground(pin#5DB9)(pin#7DB25)ontheonthecablefromthe
firstdevice,theonthedeviceyouwanttoconnect.Ifthecableanddevicehavevoltageonthe
samepin,youneedtouseacrossoverornullmodemconnectorthatswapspins#2&#3andthe
otherpins.(ForDB9seemodel9PMMNM,forDB25see232DTE)

Electricallyactivehandshakinglineswillbenegativewhennotassertedorpositivewhenasserted.
(forreference,seelinetesterfigures).Activehandshakinglinescanbefoundbymeasuringeach
pinforvoltage.Outputlineswillhavevoltage.OnaDTE,DTRandRTSwillhavevoltageifused.
OnaDCE,DSRandCTSwillhavevoltage,andifamodemwithCD(CarrierDetect)andRI(Ring
Indicator)theselasttwowillbelowuntilRingisdetectedoraCarrierconnectionismade.If
handshakinglinesdon'thavevoltagewhenthedeviceispoweredonandready,thedevicedoesn't
outputthem,theymaybeloopedback,RTStoCTSandDTRtoDSR.Youcanturnoffthedevice
powerandmeasureforcontinuity(zeroohms)betweenpinstoconfirmiftheyareloopedback.

OtherRS232ConnectionProblems

1.HandshakinglinesRTSandCTSnotinterconnected,DTRandDSRnotinterconnected.Swapas
needed.
2.ProgramsmayusetheRTS/CTSconnectiontocheckthatadeviceisreadytoreceivedataand
respond.IfthereisNoCTSconnection,theprogramwillneversenddata,butwaitalongtimeor
timeoutwithanerror.TheRTSlinemayneedtobeloopedbacktotheCTSinput.Dataerrorscan
occurifthedeviceactuallyrequireshandshaking.
3.ProgramsmayalsousetheDTR/DSRlineconnectiontocheckthatacableisconnectedorthatthe
deviceisturnedon.IfthereisNoDSRsignal,theDTRlinemayneedtobeloopedbacktotheDSR
input.SomedevicesuseDTRhandshaking.
4.Eachsignalrequiredforunitoperationmustbecarriedthroughbytheisolator,modemorRS422or
fiberopticconverter.Theprimary"2Channels"forRS232areReceive&Transmit.Thereare2
dataflowcontrolchannels,RTSandCTS.Ifthesearemissing,dataislost,charactersmissing,or
filesscrambled.
5.ConnectionstoTelephoneModem/FAXmodemMakesureCD&RIlinesareconnected.

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9/18/2016 RS-232 Connections That WORK! - Connecting Devices or Converters - B&B Electronics

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