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Out with D-Sub DB9 RS232 – In comes Ethernet, Wifi, Bluetooth, USB

For industrial measurement equipment, the classic serial RS232 DB9 or SUB D9 interface is still very much alive. In most cases because this was the original design. And all the device has to do, now and forever, is to pass a few measurements and respond to a few basic commands.

However, in a world where RS232 DB9 connectors for PCs almost always come as external USB-to-RS232 adapters, and tablet computers with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are becoming increasingly popular for operating panels, this does not really make sense any more.

This is why equipment makers are gradually updating their connectivity, many times keeping their application layer serial protocol, but providing a modernized transport layer and physical connector to the end users. Popular solutions include:

  • USB connector with integrated RS232-to-USB UART, e.g. using FTDI or Prolific chipsets and boards.
  • Embedded Serial Device Server for TCP/IP via Ethernet or Wifi, e.g. Lantronix XPort or MOXA device server modules.
  • USB HID stack and custom HID device class implementation.
  • Bluetooth HID or SPP (Serial Port Profile) implementation.

Docklight Scripting is a great helper for such transformation and retrofitting projects. It supports TCP, HID and Virtual COM connections as if it was a classic RS232 serial line.
This means it certainly cannot beat dedicated protocol stack tools like Wireshark, because it does not dig into transport layer details.

Instead it helps you to send, receive and validate your application layer data. And this is in many cases exactly what you need  - clarity and simplicity and to confirm that what worked with a RS232 line now works via Bluetooth. Or Wi-Fi. Or USB.

Go and try it now – download Docklight Scripting V2.1 from here:

For our complete software and hardware portfolio, see our Docklight Product Overview.

Marco Flachmann and Oliver Heggelbacher
- The Docklight Developers -