LAVA at a glance

13th Thursday, 2011  |  homepage content  |  no comments

LAVA at a glance


At LAVA, we design and manufacture computing interfaces and devices for the Point of Sale, Kiosk, Gaming, Industrial Automation, Security and Access Control industries, and have been doing so since 1984. As experts in serial interfaces for PCI, PCIe, ISA, USB, and Ethernet buses, we build Ethernet-to-serial device servers, serial/parallel I/O boards, embedded IoT/M2M connectivity devices, and tablet PoE/USB/LAN devices.

With over a million LAVA products built into workstations, servers, retail POS systems, and industrial computers, LAVA products are trusted by resellers, distributors, OEMs and system builders in over 47 countries worldwide.

If you wonder what we mean about the “Ethernet bus”, take a look at our Ether-Serial Links, the most intuitive and flexible serial device servers on the market. We’re also experienced with parallel port interfacing, and the ground-breaking LAVA Parallel-PCI still sets the standard for speed and reliability. Our newest engineering has produced the LAVA IP System (LIPS), an Internet-of-Things, M2M connectivity solution, delivering a powerful shortcut for IP-enabling small, electronic devices.

Samsung Tab 4 Mini Kiosk

Mini Kiosk with Samsung Galaxy Tab 4

This mini kiosk holds a Samsung Tab 4, and offers PoE interfacing, high quality scanning, and continuous-on power in a rugged enclosure.
Tab 4 Mini Kiosk


SimulCharge USB for simultaneous USB Host mode and charging

Samsung Galaxy Tabs can connect to USB devices as hosts, but need these adapters to charge at the same time.
TL-002 1-port adapter


LIPS: IP Networking of Embedded Systems

The LAVA IP system — hardware and software — is a cost-effective and powerful way to IP-enable even the simplest microprocessors.
Look at LAVA’s M2M solution for IP networking

surface mount machines

We manufacture here in North America

Not many serial I/O companies can make that claim. But it matters: our engineers are located right where we build, so we have the tightest integration & fastest revision cycles possible. Plus, that’s how we know our products inside out.

See How We Surface Mount Components

See How We Wave Solder Components

USB to serial adapters

USB to Serial Adapters

LAVA’s USB-Serial Links add two or four RS-232 serial ports on any USB port. A great way to add serial ports to a laptop.

USB-Serial Links

PCI Bus I/O Cards

5V/3.3V PCI. Adds 1, 2, 4, or 8 COM ports and 1 or 2 EPP ports to any PCI equipped PC. All ports share same IRQ. Extensive driver support for Win, Linux, TheOS, QNX, etc. Designed & manufactured in Canada. LAVA LIFETIME WARRANTY.

PCI Bus I/O Cards

Ether-Serial Device Servers

LAVA’s Ether-Serial Links are built to use Ethernet as a bus in a way similar to a PCI bus — resulting in not just a transport medium for data but in hardware that is easier to use. Read the details here.

Ether-Serial Links

Raspberry Pi serial interfacing…

Raspberry Pi serial interfacing

The Raspberry Pi, the hot new single board computer, has among its other features two serial ports. Here are the details. >>>


… more Raspberry Pi serial interfacing…

More on Raspberry Pi serial ports

The Raspberry Pi’s second serial port is an almost complete 16C550 port. Drive the signals to the right voltages and magic will be yours. Here are the details. >>>

… and finally, would you answer a question?

Ribbon cable for Raspberry Pi RS-232 port

LAVA’ s thinking about making an RS-232 serial port interface that will plug onto the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins.
Would you like that on a ribbon cable? Give us your input. >>>

Connections in RS-232 can be tricky. Navigate these minefields.

RJ-45 RS-232 chaos

RS-232 does not have its act together when it comes to RJ-45 connectors.
To perhaps over-dramatize things a bit, it’s the Wild Wild West out there, in serial port computer connection terms at least. >>>

RS-232 crossover cables

RS-232 crossover cables can be confusing, especially since the term can actually refer to nine possible configurations.
This post will guide you through the tangle. >>>

Power over Ethernet (PoE)

Ethernet connector

In many contexts, PoE enabled devices can be easily installed. The Power over Ethernet specification is a simple design, that uses existing Ethernet cabling to deliver power and data to a device using one cable. Eliminated is the need for running separate power, often eliminating the need for a power brick as well.
Read the details here. >>>

PoE Serial Device Servers

We’ve got LAVA Ether-Serial Link serial device servers in Power over Ethernet (PoE) versions. Current flavors are 1-232-DB9, 2-232-DB9, 1-232-RJ45, and 2-232-RJ45. >>>

New Device Server Drivers

New drivers for LAVA Ether-Serial Links are now available for download for users of ESL 1, 2, and 4 port serial device servers. These are Microsoft-signed drivers for Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit, and Windows Server 2008 R2 (64-bit).

Making it fit

Serial interfaces are sometimes fitted into systems by using a bit of ingenuity. Here are some examples.

3-slot PCI riser card
Riser cards are the means of fitting full-height, or even low profile, PCI and PCI Express (PCIe) adapter cards into the very compressed space of today’s rackmount servers.
When space is at a premium, conventional serial and parallel ports are still easily added. >>>

The LAVA DSerial-PCIe/LP is now available with a full-height bracket. This gives a full-height cabled PCIe option in our dual port serial RS-232 line. >>>

Brackets to suit
Fitting a full-height PCI bracket on a low-profile PCI card sometimes makes sense. Here’s why…..

Cable connector spacer
Sometimes it’s the little things — not rocket science — that get a project off the ground. What LAVA did to make a solid connection….

New Etailers/Online Stores Page

We’ve just put up a page with links to a selection of our online partners and resellers. They include:

Abe’s of Maine, ACNT.COm, Agile Electronics, Alibaba,,, ANTOnline (Atlanta Network Technologies), Bayland Business Technology Superstore, BTE Computers,, Cable Depot, Cables To Go, Canada Post, Capitol Supply, CDW, CDW Canada, CenDirect, Compute4Less,, CompuVest, Cost Central, Dell, Direct Dial, Electronics Showplace, Frontier PC, Genesis Systems Corporation, IEC, Impact Micro, Infonec Computers, Lin Haw, Memory Depot, Newegg, Next Day PC,, Office Depot,, PC Canada, PC Universe, Provantage, RACO Industries, ReStockIt, Sea Boom, Serial Gear, Shark Systems,,, SoftChoice, SystemID Warehouse, Tech Loops, The Nerds, The Twister Group, Unbeatable Sale, Universal Mania, and Vecmar

You might find one of these vendors provides a convenient way to get LAVA product when and where you need it.

Kiosks and RS-232 Serial

Serial ports are a behind-the-scenes part of many kiosks, either for connecting kiosk peripherals to the kiosk main board, or for IP-enabling the kiosk to upload and download data.

IP-enabled kiosks
Opal IP-enables their kiosks and vending machines with LAVA Ether-Serial Links.

Photo kiosk integration
Kodak has used LAVA serial cards in photo kiosks, to handle some of the many peripherals they contain. Flexible configuration and reliability are essential. >>>

Serial Data Conversion 7-to-8 Bit

7-bit to 8-bit conversion

Here’s how to do it: and in fact, how to convert any RS-232 format (baud rate, data bits, stop bits, parity) to another…

Real-world RS-232

As the RS-232 serial port became less common in the consumer marketplace for things such as modems and printers, people gained the impression that it had actually disappeared. But in fact, RS-232 serial is still found in many items we use daily, including GPSes, cars, home weather stations, and televisions.

GPS to RS-232 integration

Some GPS data is available on RS-232 serial. Garmin GPSes have used RS-232 in their handheld GPSes, for instance.
Downloading waypoints, or adding high acquisition rate or high sensitivity GPS hardware are other applications where RS-232 finds a place. >>>

OBDII to RS-232 automotive diagnostics

Your car (or even the one above) can talk to your computer using an
OBDII to RS-232 serial interface. >>>

Weather on the Internet
Davis Instruments makes a range of high-quality weather stations. Owners can get the most from them and other manufacturers’ weather stations by connecting them to the Internet, and uploading their weather data to the world, using a LAVA Ether-Serial Link. We have an app note to make things easy. >>>

RS-232 TV Remote Control
Who knew? Lots of today’s TVs have RS-232 ports that can be used to control many aspects of their operation, including things you can’t do with your handheld remote. Add an Ether-Serial Link to the mix and you can control multiple TVs from anywhere!

Applications on the shop floor

Serial and parallel technologies are staples of automation and machining operations, where simplicity and reliability are keys.

DNC machining control
Controlink Systems “Machine Link” software controls metalworking machinery over RS-232. >>>

Manufacturing Control
Tiba Restaurant Equipment controls their plasma cutter using a LAVA SSerial-PCI RS-232 adapter card. >>>

PLC programming
RS-232 and RS-422 are frequently-used interfaces for programming Programmable Logic Controls (PLCs). The automation and control industries appreciate the simplicity and reliability of serial connections.
LAVA serial cards and serial device servers are the ideal interfaces for PLC connection. >>>

Parallel-PCI & Parallel-PCIe
PlasmaCAM knows parallel ports are the best technology for connecting a PC to their plasma cutting tables. Here’s why. >>>