“We are trying to get our torque testers working with our PCs. I was wondering if there was an upgrade path to replace the RJ11 ports with RJ45 or USB? By upgrade, I mean physically remove the RJ11 port from the device and upgrade the port to either USB or RJ45. Our devices have RJ11 ports and not a RS232 port. I understand that a cable can be created that converts from RJ11 to RS232, but since our PC is already utilizing the serial port we need to convert it to USB. My preference would be to reduce the points of failure on the transmission of data. Having RJ11 to RS232 to USB is added failure points in an industrial environment. I would like a single cable that connects Point A to Point B without having to cobble together a cable solution.”
From the manufacturing standpoint, either we provide all popular communication options in one model, or we provide a generic com port and supply different protocol converters and cables externally. In order to keep the base model cost lower, we decided to make the (still) industry standard RS232 communication port as our standard and offer USB adapters and Ethernet device servers as external assemblies when needed.
Mesa’s default cable assembly is a ~6ft serial type RJ-12 to DB9 Cable Assembly (Part#000-1094). We also offer serial to Ethernet device server(s) and USB to serial adapters. The first is a good option to extend the limited, 50ft cable length of RS232 (serial), and the second is required for PCs without legacy DB9 serial ports.
A serial-to-ethernet device server is designed to allow industrial devices with a serial (RS232) connection to be directly accessible from the LAN. Legacy devices can thus be transformed into Ethernet devices, which can be monitored and controlled from any network location or even the Internet. Different configurations and features are available for specific applications, such as protocol conversion, virtual COM port drivers, and TCP operation modes to name a few.
The below pictures show Part#000-1094 and the USB to RS232 Converter (Part#066-1619) as a single cable assembly. The DB9 connectors are secured by two screws, the RJ-11 connectors are latched at both ends. The likelihood of failure is low, unless the RJ11 latches break (we have not had any issues with this setup). The small gray adapter (Part#066-1072) is a passive adapter as there is no “active” protocol conversion within.
The Part#000-1094 assembly includes (2) RJ11/12 connectors, a phone or CAT3-6 cable, and an RJ11/12 to DB9 converter. It is approximately 6ft long and IP40 rated.
If you have our ST-120 NEMA4 rated model(s), we can also build a custom cable assembly that is IP54-65 rated on the machine side, and IP40 rated on the PC side. There is lower protection level at the PC side because the PC is usually located in either an office environment or in an IP65 rated enclosure. The following pictures show an example of a batch of IP65 cable assemblies waiting for installation at a beverage facility. These cable assemblies have customer specified length and IP65 RJ45 connectors at the machine side. We used rated RJ45 receptacles on the rear panel of the ST-120 NEMA4 (IP54) machine design, but please keep in mind, the communication protocol is still RS232.
|Figure 7: PC Insides IP54 Enclosure with USB-RS232 Converter||Figure 8: ST-120 NEMA (IP54 Rated Installation)|
From our experience during previous installations, we suggest following the guidelines:
- Determine whether you want to run the communication cable in conduits or just tie-wrap to existing cables/conduits.
- If you want to run the cable in existing conduits, verify whether there is enough free space within the existing conduits/junction boxes.
- Determine the required cable length.
- If you do not run the cable in conduit, but the cable has to enter a NEMA 4 enclosure (PC side), verify if there is enough space available in existing strain relief/wiring glands. Ideally, you should be able to slip an RJ11 connector through the gland. If gland size does not allow slipping the RJ11/12 connector through the hole, it is probably best to terminate the PC side of the cable after it is pulled into the PC enclosure.
- It is also a good idea to verify that the data acquisition/SPC software supports the protocol you have in mind. Certain products and versions may not support Ethernet, but almost all of them support RS232 (9600,8,n,1).
For any questions or to request assistance, please contact a Mesa expert today.
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