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Computer and device serial port hacking and resources

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2016-03-22: This site is being moved to my main site at https://kevininscoe.com/wiki as part of a consolidation to one domain.


This content originally lived at and is being transferred over from http://old.ke3vin.org/geek/serial/

This page started as a collection of notes I have compiled over my twenty plus years of working with RS-232 and serial ports of all kinds from VAXes down to Intel based desktops.

The RS-232-C (now known as EIA-232-E) specification has been around since 1977 and is based on level +/-5vdc signals. EIA-232-E is an asynchronous clock specification meaning that signals are sent irrespective of the clock of the remote device and consequently can drop signals by over or under-running the remote device. EIA-232's big brothers EIA-422-B (balanced) and EIA-423-B (unbalanced) are synchronous and require clock signals on pin 25.

Notes on RS-232 (later EIA RS-232-C and still later EIA/TIA-232-F), RS-422 serial connections and it's descendant Universal Serial Bus (USB).

See also my notes for using serial ports under Linux

Recommendations:

For those that support serial ports or modems connected to serial ports I highly recommend the following:

  1. Obtain a good understanding of the signals and how they "handshake" for flow control.
  2. Purchase a "break out box", signal tester and possibly a BERT (bit-error rate tester). Note that with proliferance of digital and fiber circuits needing a BERT tester is almost obsolete any longer.
  3. A line analyzer might by quite useful if you have to diagnose character losses or learn to configure a foreign device.
  4. And finally the cookbook: "RS232 Made Easy" by Martin D. Seyer has been the defacto standard for many years.

Books:

"RS232 Made Easy" by Martin D. Seyer

Serial Port Complete: COM Ports, USB Virtual COM Ports, and Ports for Embedded Systems by Jan Axelson

USB Complete: Everything You Need to Develop Custom USB Peripherals by Jan Axelson

Linux Network Administrator's Guide, 2nd Edition (free online)

Resources:

http://www.sunhelp.org/unix-serial-port-resources/

http://www.bb-elec.com/tech_articles/FAQ_rs232_connections_work.asp

Software:

Source Code examples

Serial port sniffers:

http://www.suspectclass.com/~sgifford/interceptty/

http://freecode.com/projects/linuxserialsniffer

http://www.earth.li/projectpurple/progs/sersniff.html

http://sourceforge.net/projects/slsnif/

http://freecode.com/projects/serlook (KDE on Linux)

USB sniffers:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/usbsnoop/

http://www.pcausa.com/Utilities/UsbSnoop/default.htm

http://benoit.papillault.free.fr/usbsnoop/index.php.en

Discussion groups:

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/interfacing/


Kevin's Public Wiki maintained and created by Kevin P. Inscoe is licensed under a
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Page last modified on January 21, 2012, at 11:53 AM EST