ADT Business Solutions, a division of Tyco, includes in its retail security products RFID security and inventory systems. They needed serial-to-Ethernet interfacing for one of their portable RFID reader systems. Their specifications were for a compact embedded Ethernet-to-TTL serial module that could be integrated into RFID base stations. These base stations would in turn seat the portable RFID readers, allowing charging and downloading information collected throughout the stores of a large retail chain. Once downloaded, the data was passed over Ethernet to the store’s network.
Again, LAVA was able to engineer and manufacture to meet a customer’s needs.
Innovative Control Systems had a requirement for serial port control of a number of systems in a chain of automated car washes. In this setting, moisture and heat were unavoidable, and the device had to be fitted into an existing climate-proof enclosure. LAVA developed a spin of hardware to meet this need, producing a five-port Ether-Serial Link with a form factor suitable to the customer’s needs. On the firmware level, this product is virtually the same as our four-port serial device servers.
Because LAVA engineers and manufactures its products in-house, we can meet specialized customer requirements cost effectively and quickly.
We’ve just added a new white paper to our collection of technical white papers. This one’s a survey of uses for serial device servers (LAVA’s Ether-Serial Links) that looks beyond the obvious purpose of IP-enabling serial ports to look at other uses for these versatile devices.
Additional functionality in Ether-Serial Links makes it possible for them to pipe DOS commands over Ethernet, eliminate costly signal amplifiers, and convert serial port settings between devices (such as converting 7-bit serial to 8-bit serial), among other things.
These applications are supplemented with real-work instances and case studies.
Serial port connection to PLCs
Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are a specialized variety of computer typically used for controlling machinery on assembly lines and other systems needing mechanical and electrical robustness. They provide industrial-grade levels of immunity to electrical noise, precisely deterministic timing, and the ability to operate in a wide range of temperatures.
They are intended to provide numerous inputs and outputs and are used to replace older systems of relays. switches, and timers. One major advantage of PLCs is the flexibility they introduce into systems that were previously hard-wired.
This flexibility comes from the programmable nature of of PLCs, as their name indicates. But unlike computers most people are familiar with, PLCs lack the usual human-based keyboard/monitor/mouse interfaces of conventional systems. Instead, they are programmed by receiving downloaded instructions that have been generated on a separate computer with the intention of being “injected” into the PLC. The usual interfaces for downloading PLC programming are Ethernet, RS-232, RS-422, and RS-485.
LAVA Ether-Serial Links can provide network-enabling to serial-based PLCs with no built-in networking capability, or supply a serial port interface to computers lacking serial ports. LAVA RS-232 and RS-422 boards for PCI and PCIe are also suited to PLC programming.