OT: Is RS-232 ever coming back?

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rlz wrote:

Why? Perfect for proto's.
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In the early 80's I turned down the first job that I was offered after getting my AAS in Computer Technology, and having been an ET in the USCG.
There was a small company that built some kind of device about the size of a standalone ATM with a wire wrapped back plane that was maybe 3' x 3'.
A worker did the wrapping on one unit and a "duplicating machine" matched his movements and wire wrapped a second unit. After that the machines went for quality control testing.
The job I was offered was to be next in line after quality control if the machines didn't pass. I would have to troubleshoot the wire wrapped backplane and find the problem.
I respectfully declined the position.
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wrote:

I designed one system that had a half dozen WW boards, each about 12"x18" (Intel Multibus format, if anyone remembers that). One of them had 6000 wires on it, all hand wired. The system used 32 of these, so we did a PCB after the first was completely debugged. ;-) The tech I had working for me was fresh out of Devry (the experienced techs didn't have any intention of actually working). The kid turned out to be a great technician. So much so that he went to the research division and was promoted to the same level as I was. ;-)
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On 7/30/2012 8:50 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

A lot of the older still in service telephone equipment is wire wrap and sometimes it can be a pain to repair. O_o
TDD
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I never found that WW was any problem to debug. In fact it was pretty easy. All nodes are probable and in a pinch a wire can be removed to break feedback.
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wrote:

The flavour of the day is USB on personal computers, with some Serial Attached Scsi (SAS) on workstation and server apps.
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On Tue, 07 Aug 2012 23:54:00 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

I can't throw the cables out, but I did make a special drawer for stuff I know I will never need anymore. SCSI IDE and floppy cables. I also threw in some other cables I don't even remember what they were used for. There was some S-video stuff and I put most of my phone cords. The phones I use now are cordless. I have two bases and four extensions. Both of the bases are plugged into UPSs so we can still use them if the power goes out.
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On Tue, 07 Aug 2012 23:54:00 -0400, clare wrote:

My elderly IC programmer/reader still uses RS-232 for data transfer to the host machine, and I've used RS-232 a few times for data recovery work in recent years where it's easier to hook vintage hardware up to a more modern PC via serial than it is to access old media directly on the PC. I've got a handful of "modern-ish" PCs stockpiled which have serial (and parallel) ports on them.
I've never been a big fan of USB - it's just too quirky and over- complicated for anything that doesn't *need* a high transfer speed.
Sadly it's getting hard to find a lot of this kind of stuff these days :(
cheers
Jules
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On Tue, 07 Aug 2012 23:54:00 -0400, clare wrote:

My elderly IC programmer/reader still uses RS-232 for data transfer to the host machine, and I've used RS-232 a few times for data recovery work in recent years where it's easier to hook vintage hardware up to a more modern PC via serial than it is to access old media directly on the PC. I've got a handful of "modern-ish" PCs stockpiled which have serial (and parallel) ports on them.
I've never been a big fan of USB - it's just too quirky and over- complicated for anything that doesn't *need* a high transfer speed.
Sadly it's getting hard to find a lot of this kind of stuff these days :(
cheers
Jules
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On 7/29/2012 11:49, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Just about every new wired PC peripheral device nowadays uses either USB or IP connections. About the only time you would need RS232 is for an older peripheral that still has some useful life. My latest experience was when I took responsibility for a door access system in an apartment building. The intercom at the front door contacts the tenant by telephone and the tenant can "buzz" the visitor in. The system was over 20 years old but still fully functional. The only software available for it would run on a modern PC in Windows 98 compatibility mode, but the system wouldn't work with a modern modem. So I dug into my "too good to throw away" box to find a 9 to 25 pin pigtail adapter and a 14.4k external modem that worked. Saved the day!
As for "throwing the stuff out," take it to an electronics recycling event instead. Don't dump it in a landfill.
--



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On 7/29/2012 1:49 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

I use RS-232 all the time. Every Cisco switch and router comes with a console cable that has an RJ45 plug on one end and a DB9 on the other so you can setup the Cisco gear. I did see a tiny USB port on a brand new Cisco router/switch I installed last week and I think there's a possibility Cisco may start moving to USB as a console interface. ^_^
TDD
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On 7/29/2012 20:17, The Daring Dufas wrote:

Industrial grade equipment typically uses a serial port for initial configuration. It becomes a real headache when replacing a unit in the field that has not been pre-configured. It's rare to find a laptop with a serial port anymore, and newer versions of Windows don't include a terminal emulator program. Then you need the appropriate console cable.
By contrast, consumer grade gear typically uses a default IP address or DHCP for configuration via TCP.
--



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the Heart interface is used. This can require a special programming card or cable in a laptop. Over the years where I worked there have been many types of interfacing a computer to the instrumentation. When some of it is around 15 to 20 years old, you have to hang on to the older computer stuff. One type that used the serial rs232 port would not work on a newer computer. The newer computers were so much faster than the old computers, they would time out while waiting on the serial input. A few years back the computer boys were begging us to look at home to see if anyone had an old PS2 3 inch drive. A $ 50,000 piece of equipment used that type of drive to load a program and the drive had went bad. Some of the stuff requires a computer with a pcmcia interface slot to put in a special interface card. Try to find that on a newer computer. Industries seem to keep equipment around for many years. About 10 years ago we installed a piece of equipment that was origionally built around 1920. This was then interfaced with some computer controlled equipment.
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On 7/30/2012 10:44 PM, Ralph Mowery wrote:

And people call me crazy for hanging on to older gear. ^_^
TDD
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Are they gold-plated oxygen-enhanced Monster cables?
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as soon as you toss it you will need it:)
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On 07/29/2012 11:49 AM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

I used a serial cable last week to connect my GPS unit to the computer; I uploaded GPS data into my TOPO software for a record of a route I take. Serial ports are frequently used for gaining shell access to various forms of hardware, like this one used to make a wifi radio:
http://mightyohm.com/blog/2008/10/building-a-wifi-radio-part-1-introduction /
In that instance they used a USB to RS232 converter, but the router itself uses the RS232 protocol.
I think they heyday of serial ports died off when people stopped using modems and serial mice, but I've still got mine.
Jon
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On 7/29/2012 11:49 AM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

It's not coming back because it never went away. RS-232 is still the lowest common denominator interface for slow data. Most any compiler will setup and run RS-232 trivially. Compare that to understanding all the hardware and software details of USB.
And the program doesn't care whether you have a UART or a USB or Bluetooth interface that emulates a UART. It just runs on the lowest performance hardware.
All my projects use RS-232 for low data rate I/O. Most talk to the hardware serial port on a PDA, but they really don't care whether it's bluetooth or IR or USB. I know nothing about USB, and I like it that way. Plugging on a USB/UART and loading the driver is as hard as it gets.
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Async is still all over the place. RS-232 is getting rare, though. Most is ground-up or RS-485, anymore. RS-232 is really bad for any distance and for short distances the voltage swing isn't needed.
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USB(and USB2.0,3.0) has replaced RS-232,and it's also much faster.
I really doubt any comebacks for RS-232.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
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