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The new Intelimax+ MA-2020 modem features the ability to be configured as either a RS-232 or RS-485 half or full (RS-422) duplex interface, via its advanced software. This feature provides the ability to use the Intelimax+ for point-to-point or multi-drop (daisy-chain) scenarios giving users additional flexibility to simultaneously connect to a wider range of hardware and perhaps more importantly, saving time and costs.

Our new Intelimax Lite MA-2060 serial modem comes standard with an RS-232 interface, however the option of a RS-485 interface is available via a hardware configuration.

Where is RS-232 and RS-485 used?
 

 
RS-232 is one of the most widely used standards for serial data communications as a result of it being simple and reliable in low data rate scenarios. Typical applications include connections to computer peripherals, industrial controller, and modems. RS-485 is preferable if the equipment is used in electronically noisy environments such as factories, utilities sites or substations, or if a multi-drop setup is required and supported by the equipment. Device addressing and multi-talk control needs to be considered and is usually supported by the software protocol being used between the communicating end devices.


 
RS-485 is used in a wide range of IT and M2M applications including aircraft, electricity metering, and industrial control. Many open and proprietary control system protocols such as Modbus and Profibus utilise RS-485 as a physical layer because of its resistance to electrical noise. RS-485 is also useful in HVAC, building automation and parking systems due to its use of simple wiring and ability to operate over very long cable lengths.
 
RS-232 vs RS-485. What’s the difference? 
 
Both RS-232 and RS-485 are standards for serial communications for the transmission of data. RS-232 was first introduced and standardised by EIA in 1962 with the most recent revision F coming in 1997. RS-485 came later, being introduced in 1983 with the most up to date revision in 2003. 

RS-232 is a communications interface for connecting modems and control equipment to computers or servers. RS-232 is single-ended with communication being made between a DTE (Data Terminating Equipment) such as a computer and a DCE (Data Circuit-Terminating Equipment), such as a modem.
 
  • Point to point serial communications
  • Generally RS-232 is limited to transmission distances of 15 meters and a data rate up to 115.2kbits/s
  • Uses voltage levels of between +3 and +25 V to indicate a logic 0, or between -3 and -25 V to indicate a logic 0. The transmitter and receiver a single-ended with a ground reference rather than differential.

RS-485 is a standard interface for not only a single device-to-device interface but also a communications bus that can be used to form simple networks of multiple devices. Its configuration and specifications also extend the range and data rate beyond the RS-232 interface capabilities.
RS-485 can operate in either half or full duplex configuration. When operating in full duplex (interoperable with RS-422) additional transmit and receive lines are used.


 
  
 
RS-485 allows high data rates communications over long distances in environments where is often electronically noisy such as utility sites and substations. According to the standard, 100kbit/s is the maximum speed over a distance up to 4000 feet (1200 meters) can be achieved.
  • Uses differential signalling on two lines, a logic 1 is a level greater than -200 mV and a logic 0 is a level greater than +200 mV.
  • Standard specifies 32 drivers and 32 receivers, if using RS485 full duplex (RS422) then the maximum is 1 driver and up to 10 receivers.
  • RS-485 allows for a transmission distance of up to 1200 meters.
 
Other Maxon Devices that support RS-232 and RS-485
 
The Smartmax MA-2010 Supports RS-232 and RS-485 full duplex. Smartmax is a unique and intelligent fusion of 3G capabilities with advanced functionality of a modem/router, complete with built-in DNP3; all encased in a durable & robust metal casing.


Multimax MA-2040 (3G or 4G) supports RS-232 and RS-485 half duplex. With multiple connectivity options, the Multimax MA-2040 is a rugged router suitable for a diverse range of industrial M2M applications. The Multimax features dual-SIM capabilities as well two Ethernet ports, which provides advanced redundancy functionality. 

 

 


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More and more of our clients are becoming increasingly concerned about the looming decision they will soon have to make to replace tens of thousands of dollars worth of control equipment which they may consider to be out of date; may be approaching the end of it’s useful life; or it may simply require upgrades to key components. 

Maxon have been working alongside clients to deliver solutions that have allowed them to continue utilising their legacy control equipment. We believe that these alternate solutions for our clients will lead to benefits such as; 
 
SIGNIFICANT CAPEX SAVINGS
EXTEND THE SERVICE LIFE OF YOUR CONTROL EQUIPMENT
UP TO DATE COMMUNICATIONS

 
Although the 2G network is scheduled to shutdown in 2016, some of our customers have reported to be already affected and are experiencing “grooming” activities implemented by the carriers. Don’t panic! Although the 2G network is shutting down, it doesn’t mean that you have to rip out your old equipment and replace everything. The solution could possibly be a case of upgrading existing communications equipment to a 3G or 4G replacement. In some cases this may also involve utilising a device that can emulate and translate the communications protocols.
 
WHAT IS LEGACY CONTROL EQUIPMENT?
 
Legacy control equipment can include meters, data loggers, sensors, that may need refurbishing when it comes to their communications protocols.

Maxon are specialists in interfacing with legacy equipment and have years of experience in assisting customers in this way. Our modems support a number of interfaces and protocols specifically designed for interfacing with legacy devices. This may require customised protocol development that our dedicated team of engineers can work together with you to determine the appropriate interface protocols and even reverse engineer a solution.

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Motor Sport Solution

 

In recent years, data acquisition systems have become powerful tools that are vital to the success of motorsport. These telemetry systems measure and record important vehicle parameters via sensors and are pivotal in communicating track status and warnings between the pit and the driver.

 

These parameters including; Wheel speeds, Lateral and longitudinal acceleration, Tyre temperatures, Brake pressures, Engine speed (RPM), Engine temperature, Oil pressure and GPS; can be analysed to gain insight into the behaviour of the engine, chassis and driver, which can ultimately result in greater predictability and optimised performance on race day.

 

Our client has been using two-way radio to transmit data between car and pit, however this presented a number of issues such as; limited data speeds, occasionally having to install radio communications at each location and requiring a separate licence for each county they were using the devices in.

 

Maxon offered our client the Intelimax serial modem to test in a well known motor racing series held in Australia.

 

The Intelimax device was easily installed and circumvented the need for setting up receivers and antennas as is the case with RF Data systems. In addition, as FCC approval is already acquired for the Intelimax devices, no additional licences are required.

 

Once the Intelimax was installed the data speed immediately increased from 38400bps to 115200bps which allowed for faster and more reliable communications.  Using the 3G network improved the privacy of the data being transferred and elliviated any issues of competitors listening in to vital team information.

 

Our client is very happy with this solution and is has plans to roll out Intelimax modems for all other motorsport classes they are involved in such as Formula 1 and V8 Supercars.


Sewerage Pump Control Solution

A government owned water business responsible for managing urban and rural water supply required a very significant sewerage pump control system to be installed. The system integrates a controller which allows sewerage to be pumped uphill. In order to access the pump controller remotely a communications device is installed at the site.

Maxons technical team worked alongside the client and were able to provide a cost effective modem - the Intelimax Lite; which conventionally has limited functionality.  However, Maxon provided additional support for AT Commands that were essential for full compatibility with the connection establishment process in the Multitrode controller which enabled seamless functionality.

Our client was very satisfied with the overall service  and cost savings that Maxon provided to ensure the application was achieved within the budget requirements.  

Aside from the many benefits that Maxon have provided for this client; our team has developed yet another customized solution for an off the shelf product that has now become available for many other customers. A highlight of the adaptability and flexibility of our product range.