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Recommendations for Ethernet to serial adapters

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Cross post at NI - http://forums.ni.com/ni/board/message?board.id=BreakPoint&thread.id=11462&jump=true

I'm looking for recommendations for Ethernet to serial adapters (also known as device servers) which have 2 or 4 RS-232 ports. We don't need super performance or anything like that, just something that will work decently and not break down. If you have worked with a product you liked (or disliked) that's what I want to hear.

The only one with this number of ports we used was from Advantech and our impression wasn't good. I've used ones from Tibbo as well and I have nothing but good words about those (in case you ever need such a device), but unfortunately, the relevant models only have one serial port.

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Cross post at NI - http://forums.ni.com...11462&jump=true

I'm looking for recommendations for Ethernet to serial adapters (also known as device servers) which have 2 or 4 RS-232 ports. We don't need super performance or anything like that, just something that will work decently and not break down. If you have worked with a product you liked (or disliked) that's what I want to hear.

The only one with this number of ports we used was from Advantech and our impression wasn't good. I've used ones from Tibbo as well and I have nothing but good words about those (in case you ever need such a device), but unfortunately, the relevant models only have one serial port.

I have used the NI versions in the past and they just worked.

I have alos had customers looka the price say "I'll get my own." and latter say "Yes I should have purchased the NI version." after finding out the driver would not release the device once used (i.e to switch from hyperterminal to LV they had to reboot).

So the question becomes "How much do you charge an hour for the headache." In my case if the third party widget cost me an extra two hours or so, the NI version is cheaper.

Ben

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The main issue with the NI model is the price, particularly as we need to get several of them and the price difference adds up. I will add it to the list, though.

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I've used the ones from B&B electronics before with LabVIEW and had very good results. The models they sell will do 4 ports, with RS 232, 485, or 422 options in the same device. At 1/2 the price of NI's 4 port box. The driver they ship make the ports show up as local ports on the computer. Downside, you'll have to provide a 9-30 VDC power source, the NI box takes AC directly in. For your application, that may not be an issue.

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I have used the NI versions in the past and they just worked.

I second Ben's post - I've used the ethernet-serial and ethernet-GPIB modules from NI before and they're great - easy to use and rock solid.

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I second Ben's post - I've used the ethernet-serial and ethernet-GPIB modules from NI before and they're great - easy to use and rock solid.

Another example of where NI stuff shined.

Customer blew out a port on a unit and when installing a spare, I needed to get the new unit to support the same port as the old. A ten minute phone call to support told me I could find "NIPortConfig.exe" in "...NI-Serial\" and I was done. I would be suprised if I could get someone knowlegeable on the phone from another supplier in ten minutes.

Ben

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I have had very good luck with DIGI port servers. We have many of these at facilities all over the world and they have worked flawlessly for us. The nice thing is, you can configure them so your LabVIEW code just connects over TCP/IP to their IP and the specific port that corresponds to the physical serial port on the unit. No need for any drivers on your machine. Of course, they also have a driver for virtual serial port support so existing apps can use them seamlessly.

I know they come in 2,4 8 and 16 port versions. I have used the 4 and 16 port versions my self. They even have a wireless version if you don't have network cabling to where your serial device is located.

You can remotely manage these via a web browser.

here are some links:

http://www.digi.com/products/serialservers/portserverts816.jsp#overview

http://www.digi.com/products/serialservers/portserverts.jsp#overview

good luck!

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I have had very good luck with DIGI port servers.

I'll second this. We installed these in a bunch of boxes several years ago and have had no problems. I've been wracking my (fuzzy) brains trying to remember what brand they are. I can't tell from just looking at them since we've stripped the boxes off and just use them as bare boards.

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Take a look at Lantronix. Haven't used them in years but they worked great when I needed it.

Lantronix

We use these all over the place (in non-LabVIEW applications) and I've never heard any complaints. I've only recently needed LabVIEW to talk to a device through one of them. Setup was simple.

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Thanks for the replies, I'll add all those to the list and try to remember to update once we do the project and see that whatever we put in works well.

Re. Lantronix, I saw that their stuff looks nice and already added it to the list. The last time I used one of their products it was a single port device server and my only memory of it is that we had some sort of issue and configuring it was annoying (I believe it had some sort of wizard which was displayed when you telnetted into it. I assume modern versions have a nicer GUI).

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So this project was somewhat delayed, but eventually it was executed and I can say that we used the EDS4100 from Lantronix, which seems to work well so far. We had some issues, but those had to do with some of the devices we connected to it, which required some special cables.

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I'm a bit confused (not about resurrecting a 6 year old thread).  Do they sell only the software?  How much for the hardware?

EDIT: I see how the software version works now, that is interesting, but seems like a lot of overhead to have a server if the only purpose is to talk to a serial device.

We've recently had a need for some basic serial to ethernet devices and bought the UDS-1100 which is a single port to ethernet device by Lantronix.  It's only $130 at CDW or $190 for a two port version that I haven't used yet.  Software and drivers are free with the hardware which is available for download from their site.  Updating firmware for the devices is a bit of a pain, and does have a wizard like UI.  I also had a bit of difficulty with the web interface which sometimes didn't look like it saved my settings but would.  But once you get it going they work pretty well.  We've only been using them for a couple of weeks but we plan on getting more if we don't see any issues.

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16 hours ago, hooovahh said:

We've recently had a need for some basic serial to ethernet devices and bought the UDS-1100 which is a single port to ethernet device by Lantronix.

I've not used a ethernet/serial adapter before. Does the driver create a virtual COM port on the PC?

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28 minutes ago, Tim_S said:

I've not used a ethernet/serial adapter before. Does the driver create a virtual COM port on the PC?

Yup.  In the configuration software you make a COM port, then tell it the IP address, and port to expect the ethernet to serial device.  Then I think there is a service running in the background that handles the back and forth, but to Windows it just looks like a COM port that any application can use.  When the COM port is closed (by any application) by default the connection to the IP device is also closed, so any other computer on the network can open the same device.  

In our situation we could run a bunch of extra RS-485 cables across our lab, and have each PC have a PCI serial concentrator card, so it has the 2-8 COM ports needed on each PC, but this seems more flexible.  We'll see if it holds up.

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A tangential issue when using Ethernet conversion dongles...  We use the USB to Ethernet variety.  A problem I ran into recently was when we had to communicate with other NICs that used jumbo frames, and the dongles we had didn't support that.  Just something to keep in mind.  (I found a USB to Ethernet dongle from Anker that does jumbo frames)

Cat

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