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When communicating with various micro processors one needs to convert the RS232 levels down to lower levels, typically 3.3 or 5.0 Volts.

Here is a cheap and simple way to do that. Serial RS-232 (V.24) communication works with voltages -15V to +15V for high and low. On the other hand, TTL logic operates between 0V and +5V . Modern low power consumption logic operates in the range of 0V and +3.3V or even lower. RS-232 TTL Logic -15V … -3V +2V … +5V High +3V … +15V 0V … +0.8V Low

Thus the RS-232 signal levels are far too high TTL electronics, and the negative RS-232 voltage for high can’t be handled at all by computer logic. To receive serial data from an RS-232 interface the voltage has to be reduced. Also the low and high voltage level has to be inverted.

This level converter uses a Max232 and five capacitors. The max232 is quite cheap (less than 5 dollars) or if youre lucky you can get a free sample from Maxim. The MAX232 from Maxim was the first IC which in one package contains the necessary drivers and receivers to adapt the RS-232 signal voltage levels to TTL logic. It became popular, because it just needs one voltage (+5V or +3.3V) and generates the necessary RS-232 voltage levels. The requred parts:

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March 15th 2007 at 1:16 am what to the symbols represent like the one that looks like + l l any refrence site i can go to to see what these symbols in the schematic mean or can tou take a picture of the actual finished product? Thanks 4. February 26th 2007 at 9:48 pm [.. Comment by Chris: 2 of 13 3/30/2011 9:48 PM .] Refernce web: http://sodoityourself. wires. Comment by Dave: Thursday.] 2. February 26th.. February 27th 2007 at 6:54 am [. 89 comments to “MAX232 Serial level converter” 1.com: Monday.com/max232-serial-level-converter/ [. Comment by Microcontroller Programming » Blog Archive » MAX232 Serial level converter: Tuesday. Comment by » Accessing serial console on the Fon : SoDoItYourself. The + marks the plus side of the capacitors if they are polarized. 5..] SoDoItYourself Back to SoDoItYourself. or trackback from your own site.0 feed.com/max232-serial-level-converter/ 1 x female serial port connector 1 x max 232 4 x 1uF capacitor 1 x 10uF capacitor Soldering iron...com MAX232 Serial level converter » [.com http://sodoityourself. You can leave a response.. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.] 3. breadboard etc.» MAX232 Serial level converter : SoDoItYourself. Comment by Greg: Thursday.. Schematic This entry was posted on Monday.. March 15th 2007 at 9:59 pm @Greg The || symbols are capacitors. 2007 at 9:25 pm and is filed under Electronics.

ee/risto/rc/electronics/images/pctorc/07. MPLAB is fine.HAMAD. Comment by Pasan: Thursday. Comment by waa: Wednesday. Comment by Hemantkumar: Tuesday.com/ for more PIC tips.» MAX232 Serial level converter : SoDoItYourself. Thanks for the support 10.) are not needed? Also. Comment by John: Wednesday. So now I found what i want. April 4th 2007 at 6:11 am The +5v supply can be generated by an outside source. This was very helpful in my current project. March 20th 2007 at 9:57 pm The schematic shown is exactly what needs to be done and other components (resistors. April 26th 2007 at 4:27 pm This was just what i needed to know. Can input +15 to -15 volt signal is affected on max232 driver. If you use an ICD then you connect to it while still in the circuit through a socket you fix into your circuit. thanks! 6. Is it possible to inform me about more details regarding the procedure of programming a new blank pic 16f84 ? Is Mplab software suitable to work with it ? what kind of configuration that i have to select for this programmer? and the last question what about the voltage 14V which should be provided to pin 4 in many other programmers? Thank you very much 9.ttu. To program a PIC you’ll either need an In-circuit-debugger (ICD) or a Microchip programmer (like the one in this image http://www. If you use programmer then you’ll need to take the PIC out after each program and insert it back into you circuit (time consuming if you are new to this stuff).sparkfun. I don’t know what country you are writing from but in the UK these things can be bought from RS or Farnell. http://www.jpg). 8. Ad 3 of 13 3/30/2011 9:48 PM . how can I get a regulated +5v supply for the Vcc? Because I am soldering the circuitry to the DB9 Female solder-cup so I can connect it to my computer and want to make sure it doesn’t harm anything. Thank you very much. and can we receive the data from PC without using capacitor with IC max232 for one side communication I am not found the internal logical diagram of driver/receiver can you provide me Thanks 12.mp. but is usually supplied by the serial device you are connecting to.I. April 5th 2007 at 6:28 pm Im making serial 16X2 LCD for my PC. Comment by AdLab: Thursday. April 19th 2007 at 9:40 pm It is quit simple circuit and I am already built it . May 15th 2007 at 11:25 am In absence of power supply. Comment by Swapnil: Thursday. May 24th 2007 at 1:18 pm To A. May 9th 2007 at 10:10 am Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah 11.com http://sodoityourself.com/max232-serial-level-converter/ Tuesday. 7. Comment by A. OK. etc.I.HAMAD: Thursday.

.: Tuesday. PIC microcontroller projects.] 16.com » XBEE wireless modules: Monday. Comment by profmason. Comment by Electronics-Lab. Comment by ibrahim: Wednesday..com: [. August 23rd 2007 at 4:29 pm Can somebody explain what the 10uF capacitor is for..] MAX232 Serial level converter is a wide used chip for converting RS232 logic levels to TTL logic levels that can [.» MAX232 Serial level converter : SoDoItYourself.com/max232-serial-level-converter/ 13. September 4th 2007 at 6:55 pm you can make it much more simpler.com http://sodoityourself. To use the XBEE with the picaxe it first must be programmed to use a slower speed.. Comment by sushil: Saturday. it just looks great… 23. November 21st 2007 at 6:12 am how MAX232 is interfaced with C8051F020 microcontroller?? 20. Comment by Loffe: Thursday. January 30th 2008 at 4:14 pm datas required for project. by removing the 10uF capacitor from that circuit 17.. February 5th 2008 at 11:53 pm What program did you use to make the schematic. August 24th 2007 at 9:39 pm [. 15. tutorials.] 19. December 15th 2007 at 5:34 am What is the need of capacitors in the circuit. Comment by adityasharma: Wednesday.) The RX and TX are wired appropriately... books and much more..com Blog » Blog Archive » Alternatives circuits of MAX232: Friday. A programming board must be build. 10uF is a big value 18.what is their work over there … how can we decide on the value of capacitors?? 21.. Comment by 8051. Comment by Trey Meyer: Wednesday. Fortunately there is a utility build into the picaxe programming envirnoment that will setup the XBEE for you. This consists of a a MAX3232 (Or since I didn’t have one a MAX232 with voltage divider between the outputs. Comment by Ajay Bhargav: Tuesday. Here is a diagram from doityourself. 22...] The XBEE uses 9600 8N1 by default. September 4th 2007 at 6:57 pm @Loffe: that 10uF is a bypass capacitor… usually it should be small like 100nF. Comment by baseer: Sunday. February 13th 2008 at 7:38 pm 4 of 13 3/30/2011 9:48 PM . Is it nessesary? Looking at the charts Maxim supply I can’t see it. Comment by Ken: Tuesday.. AVR. October 22nd 2007 at 5:59 am [.. July 22nd 2007 at 9:53 pm good excellent 14.

February 19th 2008 at 11:17 am Hi Trey. Works great. March 1st 2008 at 4:13 am MAX232A versions from Maxim. 25. can talk with the switch just fine.» MAX232 Serial level converter : SoDoItYourself. but the cheaper capacitors usually make up for it. but not very sexy. Comment by ah fatt: Tuesday. the ADM232 claims +/-9 output swing at RS232. but I have a piece of equipment (video matrix switch) that it won’t work with. and then I have serial port a connected to my video switch. I saw on a website somewhere that the impedence of some devices can cause an issue. Probably only need the additional RTS/CTS lines. Any luck with this or other suggestions? 26. Comment by Noz: Saturday. such as MAX232ACPE. however. Noz. 29. and similar parts available from others require only 0.com http://sodoityourself. Comment by Trey Meyer: Sunday. So use them to see. It appears to be some sort of current problem. Look at the MAX232CPE datasheet and you will find that this device can support RTS/CTS too. If its is just a little low on the voltage for the load then you could try that. Usually most claim say 7. February 16th 2008 at 8:49 pm Hi Trey.1uF capacitors for the charge pump and inverter. Other ICs/vendors do slightly different versions e. Could there be something about this equipment that requires more current than the max232 can deliver? Any suggestions? 24. the documentation for the device says only 2. Also.3 and 5 are used with no flow control. I thought about building one of the circuits I saw with transistors (that borrow 12v from the dormant receive line). BTW . My pc. They may cost a little more. I am talking to the device using only 2. I wound up using the circuit into serial port b. Comment by MGIT: Wednesday. so I discounted handshaking. February 28th 2008 at 9:15 am What is the function of all the capacitors present here 28.we now do a popular kit version but with the handshaking lines RTS/CTS available. Comment by Noz: Tuesday.3 and 5 from the PC. Comment by Tony: Thursday. I think it is more likely that the handshaking lines are not being used. March 19th 2008 at 7:21 am Why are capacitors being used in the circuit 30. February 17th 2008 at 2:47 am I appreciate your comments. but nothing I have tried will allow the circuit to drive the video switch. I then issued a “copy com2 com1″ command from dos so the output of com2 is routed to com1. Tronisoft USB / RS232 / IO Modules 27.8v to 8V into 3K load with 5V supply. I switch pins 2. April 1st 2008 at 5:34 pm 5 of 13 3/30/2011 9:48 PM .com/max232-serial-level-converter/ This circuit works great to talk to my PC. Comment by Glen: Saturday.g.3 etc.

September 1st 2008 at 10:35 pm Hello I left a message in Feb concerning ttl to rs232 conversion. 31. July 4th 2008 at 10:19 am The 10uF is for the charge pump of the MAX232 minimum value based on the datasheet is 1uF for MAX232a its 100nF.1) allows the microcontroller to control the switch indirectly. and then the PC com2 to the switch.gnd.com/max232-serial-level-converter/ i have bit prob with this circuit. Comment by Thomas Thomassen: Saturday. but it was lacking the 10µF capacitor. I assume this must be to voltage levels required by the switch? 1) how can I measure the voltages present from max232? I have a scope.. While I have worked around it for several months. Comment by 232: Friday. What’s the purpose of the 10µF cap? What version should I choose? 32.some one please help me with this situation. There are only three wires used both from the controller to the PC and to the switch .3v-5. Comment by Purgedsoul: Friday. There is no handshaking software or hardware enabled on any of the devices.. Will it be OK to use 10uF capacitors for all the circuit or will it cause problems? @232: i think you may have to use the 3232 chip which operates at LVTTL levels of 3.tx. But if there is a way that anyone knows to get 3. my two cents. but unfortunately the problem still exists.» MAX232 Serial level converter : SoDoItYourself.8. I can.when im use this circuit and test it with the hyper terminal program. July 18th 2008 at 3:07 am how can I have the output of Tx to produce just 3. Here is the setup: A microcontroller circuit needs to control a video switch via rs232..0v. I cannot get the microcontroller to interface directly with the switch either with hand made level converters (using max232 or those I purchased premade).com http://sodoityourself. so can I just connect in parallel with TX and gnd and monitor the voltage levels? 2) Do you have a suggestion on another cct that will provide a greater voltage swing? 3) other? Any help would be appreciated! Trey 6 of 13 3/30/2011 9:48 PM . however. August 13th 2008 at 2:33 pm i only have 10uF capacitors available. make it work if I interface the microcontroller to a PC com1. A simple ‘copy com1 com2′ with timeout disabled (19200. when the reader is activate there is nothing appeared in hyper terminal.. Comment by Trey Meyer: Monday.it doesn’t show anything. You were generous with suggestions.im connect this circuit with the RFID reader. and I only transmit from the controller to the switch (not bidirectionally). 33. 10uF for longer distance (long cables). I now need a hardware solution.3v?? 34.. Comment by zed: Wednesday.3v from this max 232 chip I would like to know too!!! 35.3V when it is at logic 1 ?? Is it the Vcc of the max232 just supply 3. The message I need to transmit is only a single character.n. June 14th 2008 at 10:30 am I came cross a similar schema.rx.

urgent.i m working with serial card but my card seems to give me dummy values.php Hope it helps! Noz.is there any thing wrong with my max232. I am Trying to debrick my router.is this correct? 41.1uf ceramic caps but don’t have the 10uf cap but have a bunch of other sizes. Ltd. January 7th 2009 at 5:31 pm 7 of 13 3/30/2011 9:48 PM . Comment by heli: Saturday. I did hookup my scope in parallel and I am seeing a 7v swing from 0 (or +/.1 micofarad cap off pin 6 has the + to the ground line.i used 22mic f capacitor. November 11th 2008 at 7:55 pm hi.com http://sodoityourself. This is available here (shamless plug): http://www.» MAX232 Serial level converter : SoDoItYourself.7V) showing on the scope relative to gnd. Comment by fery: Wednesday.3v?? _____________________________________________ You should really use something like a MX3232 IC based circuit. Also have the max3232cpe can’t figure out how to work this. I have a small white plastic breadboard. November 19th 2008 at 1:49 am I am about to build the circuit and note the . 39. 40. I’ve been trying for months to get this to work off and on with no luck. 1 DB9 and 6 1uf cylindrical caps and 6 . Comment by L Bolton: Wednesday. atesfaye@yahoo.com/max232-serial-level-converter/ 36. September 1st 2008 at 11:13 pm As a follow up to the above. Tronisoft USB / RS232 / IO Modules 38. November 27th 2008 at 4:44 am Can someone please e-mail me with a detailed pic of this all set up on a breadboardboard so I can replicate. Comment by Manny: Thursday.3V when it is at logic 1 ?? Is it the Vcc of the max232 just supply 3.tronisoft.i also need to know what is the requirment of capacitor…. Comment by Noz: Saturday. Comment by don: Wednesday. 37. October 25th 2008 at 3:57 pm plz any one tell me from where i can get the detail internal diagram of max232 ic…. January 7th 2009 at 7:56 am good 43. July 18th 2008 at 3:07 am how can I have the output of Tx to produce just 3.com/4205. October 25th 2008 at 1:22 pm Reply to “Comment by 232:” Friday. This is with a purchased level converter from Solarbotics. Comment by Trey Meyer: Monday. Comment by mohsin: Tuesday.also i want to know abt voltage value of capacitor.com I thank you in advance! 42.

May 1st 2009 at 6:14 am hi. Comment by vinod: Saturday. April 24th 2009 at 8:58 am good 50. can you helpo me. March 9th 2009 at 9:51 am can i knw y capacitors are used in max 232? 47. Comment by kontrola: Monday. March 28th 2009 at 2:45 pm HIIIIIIIIII. thanks. March 28th 2009 at 2:46 pm HIIIIIIIIII. But for my aplication I need 3V. Can we use max 232 as a power supply for Opam. Comment by Mohd Fareed: Friday. can you help me. HOw ? 49. 52. Comment by vikash: Friday. Comment by vinod: Saturday. 51.com http://sodoityourself. so I guess I have to use MAX3232 .com/max232-serial-level-converter/ pls i would lke to make a comment about my max232 i was working on a project recently and i decided to connect a dual power supply to the max232 i. Thanks again 46. I am usessing (max 232 to usb convertor) hardware.» MAX232 Serial level converter : SoDoItYourself. February 6th 2009 at 8:17 pm Great work. Comment by priyanka: Monday. Can we use max 232 as a power supply for Opam . I got what I was hunting for [:)] 45. February 23rd 2009 at 1:32 am That was what I was looking for..but i needed of driver of this hardware. Comment by mohd fareed: Friday. May 1st 2009 at 6:14 am hi. May 1st 2009 at 6:15 am hi. thanks. Comment by Mohd Fareed: Friday.but i needed of driver of this hardware. I am usessing (max 232 to usb convertor) hardware. Comment by Nirav Sinha: Friday. Hope it will be on stock in my electronic shop.e pin 2 and 6 as required in the data sheet but the chip got fried don’t know? can any one help? the voltage on pin 6 was -9v and on Pin 2 was +9 volt 44. 8 of 13 3/30/2011 9:48 PM . 48. if yes .

January 11th 2010 at 5:24 am i need to convert microcontroller o/p to gsm modem via serial cabel rs232 62.. May 19th 2009 at 11:20 am 1microfarad caps.. Thanks in advance 58. 60. Comment by Debricking Fonera Using a Serial cable Alone « Khalbali: Sunday. Comment by Sami Levian: Saturday. Comment by Rizwan: Thursday.com/max232-serial-level-converter/ I am usessing (max 232 to usb convertor) hardware. The TTL -> 232 conversion is working perfectly but the 232 -> TTL is not working. Willchanging this afftec the prerformance? 56.com http://sodoityourself.. I’ve done the obvious double checking of solder joints and double checked my wiring. Comment by hiren: Monday..] http://sodoityourself. December 1st 2009 at 7:27 am I just built this circuit as shown above and am having some problems. 53.but i needed of driver for this hardware. thanks. Comment by johnny: Tuesday. 61. Can i interface this adoptor with 8051 uC or the AVR is compulsion……… 57.I have seen soem websites where all the five are 10 micro farad. 9 of 13 3/30/2011 9:48 PM . Comment by Jim: Tuesday..how much voltage? is 50v okay? 54. Comment by rangers: Friday. January 16th 2010 at 2:59 pm Hi .com/max232-serial-level-converter/ [. can you help me.» MAX232 Serial level converter : SoDoItYourself. June 30th 2009 at 10:27 am i am confused regarding the values of capacitor values . Replaced and it works great. Comment by johnny: Tuesday. Thanks in advance. Does anyone have any thoughts on what could be wrong or where to look. Comment by siva: Tuesday.. November 22nd 2009 at 7:09 am [..] 59.all the five are 1 micro farad in the datasheet. Comment by Jim: Wednesday. was able to isolate it to a bad chip. September 3rd 2009 at 7:20 am Hi.HEre four are 1 micro farad. October 16th 2009 at 5:46 pm what are the functions of the capacitors of MAX 232. December 2nd 2009 at 3:26 am Ignore the above post. May 19th 2009 at 11:23 am can this be interfaced with a pic16f877a? 55.

67. The pinout of a female null modem connector is different. March 14th 2010 at 11:25 am Hi. Das ist auch eines meiner Probleme gewesen. Comment by Amila: Sunday.all caps built in! 66.5 voltage supply. March 30th 2010 at 6:37 pm I’ve done exactly the schematic in the picture with electrolytic capacitors( with 1u instead of the 10u one). Comment by JB: Thursday..com/max232-serial-level-converter/ I have MAX232N . Ich habe mir nach dieser Anleitung einen TTL converter gebastelt aber nicht wirklich eine Anständige ausgabe auf meiner Konsole [. February 25th 2010 at 7:04 pm Got all the parts to build one. March 30th 2010 at 9:33 pm I’ve discovered my mistake. June 20th 2010 at 2:41 pm merci beaucoup . Comment by Todd: Thursday. I want to know voltages of MAX232 when it properly works 68. then discovered the MAX233 . I have an experiment! 71.] der ASUS WL 500g Premium hat 3. Comment by Ozymandias: Tuesday. 9600 baud. The circuit diagram defines electrolytic capacitors .] 64.7 to 5.. Comment by Andy Martin: Monday. July 23rd 2010 at 1:13 pm 10 of 13 3/30/2011 9:48 PM . 8N1. The problem is that i don’t get anything in hyperterminal (COM1. 13-2 and 14-3 are the correct matches. April 10th 2010 at 9:34 am Max232 can works with 2. Comment by mark: Friday. Comment by Wuerzelchens blog » Blog Archive » Asus WL 500 gP debricking mit serieller Schnittstelle -: Sunday. Comment by rizal: Saturday.3V.com http://sodoityourself. really i need it much more u can imagine thank you very much 72. March 4th 2010 at 11:03 am A word of warning. Live and learn. January 24th 2010 at 11:22 am [. The picture of the capacitors is misleading. 70..» MAX232 Serial level converter : SoDoItYourself. Comment by doaa mahmoud: Sunday. just what I needed ! 65. February 8th 2010 at 6:20 pm Thanks. and pins 11 and 12( TX.not ceramic capacitors as pictured. flow none) or tera term.. Comment by Ozymandias: Tuesday. 69.RX) connected for loopback.Can i use this Schematic for built RS-233 to TTL ? is different between MAX232 and MAX232N for built this circuit ? Thanks 63. Any ideas to what the problem might be? Thanks.

My doubt is does the connectors on the MAX 11 of 13 3/30/2011 9:48 PM .. Comment by GOPINADH: Thursday. Comment by nica: Wednesday. 75. I wrote the code but i am not able to receive any response from the board. Comment by Grunt: Sunday. you need to use a +5V external power supply.. Can it convert both of the signal at the same without error? Or any idea that can suggest if I wanted to convert 2 different signal that received wireless from different place respectively..14(T1IN.MAX232 cann’t be feed by 3. September 15th 2010 at 5:09 am In your circuit.Net: Thursday. December 23rd 2010 at 3:55 pm hai can any body send the rating of capacitors in max 232.10 used to convert SIGNAL 2. pin 11. but th signal is coming from a single line(Tx of a gps).R1OUT.] Here is a good tutorial on creating your own RS232 converter. i need to write code to write and read from that board in C# . Comment by inti student: Tuesday. If I want to connect MAX232 to convert 2 different signal. Comment by WiFi Robot » iAndroBot.] 78.9. i have connected that board to PC using RS 232 connector. 73. is it possible? For example. July 26th 2010 at 6:35 am how max 232 can be connected to microcontroller 8051 74. settings are COM1. but I want it to fit in a D-sub shell.3v-16v.R1IN. 81.none.» MAX232 Serial level converter : SoDoItYourself.8.Net. please how can i edit this schematic to suit that. August 1st 2010 at 3:53 pm Seems there are two errors: . you had used pin 11. 82..com/max232-serial-level-converter/ Does anyone know of a max232 pre-assembled kit that uses SMT 232s and available in US? I only need two and don’t want to bother with the PCB/component ordering/packaging issues. December 9th 2010 at 4:31 am [. Comment by jason: Wednesday.Thanks 80.12. Comment by TheWii552: Saturday. [.swap Rx/Tx on µC board.1.13. December 11th 2010 at 2:24 am What are the capacitors for? power filtering? 79.3V. Comment by Karthik: Wednesday. Comment by priyanka: Monday. 76.com http://sodoityourself.12.14 used to convert SIGNAL 1 and PIN 7.can use from 1uF to 10uF/6.13. December 29th 2010 at 4:41 pm for gopinadh -the capacitors is not very importants.8. January 5th 2011 at 11:05 am Can somebody help me out on this issue!!! i am working on MAX 232 board. .T1OUT). December 14th 2010 at 4:49 pm i want to use the MAX232 to convert signals at rs232 level to TTL level. September 20th 2010 at 6:39 am Thanks 77. Comment by baxter: Monday.

when the rx and tx are shorted. Comment by Mehdi: Saturday. January 23rd 2011 at 6:39 pm hi.sometimes.bcoz the dc level must be clamped in order to send back the rs232 level back to serial port. This is much required. 87..» MAX232 Serial level converter : SoDoItYourself.. somebody kindly help me.com http://sodoityourself. February 26th 2011 at 11:31 pm Special thanks Leave a Reply Name (required) 12 of 13 3/30/2011 9:48 PM .using same above burner ckt.the circuit works 2.they clamp the voltage level. Comment by venkatesh: Saturday. no pic detection only messages such as PIC sending unknown data K”Oh…or handle invalid…what does it mean? Please help me 84.i sometimes get echo even when they are not connected help 85. January 13th 2011 at 8:22 am Project on PIC16F877A. February 26th 2011 at 5:06 am @Ozymandias: if u cant see any thing in hyperterminal window then the mistake can be 1) you might have the max232 pins 2. February 26th 2011 at 4:35 am @priyanka: here capacitors as dc level shifters.3 to max232 inputs in the opposite manner 2)check the supply. Comment by vishwanath: Sunday. February 18th 2011 at 8:26 am plz gie prize of max 232. 86.: Friday. February 26th 2011 at 4:53 am @loffe: here the 10uf capacitor is used to remove unwanted ripple its absolutely not needed!!!!!!!!! -regards VENKATESH 88. Comment by Venkatesh: Saturday. 83. i have rigged the circuit on a general purpose pcb but the result is little wierd 1.whether it is +5v to the ic not many special reasons for it not to work -regards VENKATESH 89. Comment by venkatesh: Saturday. Comment by Alex: Thursday. Comment by tala amit b.com/max232-serial-level-converter/ 232 board work in the same way as RS 232 or different manner.sometimes it doesnot work 3.

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