Serial-to-fiber-optic converters extend reach for Industrial Ethernet networks

March 25, 2013
Weidmuller's new serial to fiber-optic Ethernet converters enable easy integration of serial port devices into Industrial Ethernet networks.

Weidmuller has added new serial to fiber-optic Ethernet converters to its Industrial Ethernet portfolio. The converters enable a simple, reliable method for integrating serial port devices into Industrial Ethernet networks for transmission over longer distances, according to the company.

Weidmuller contends that the serial converters help to maintain existing automation components while upgrading overall network infrastructure. The company notes that, within large facilities, it is typically common to transmit serial data to multiple remote devices. The challenge today is overcoming the 15-meter cable length limit when using copper-based interfaces for RS-232; Weidmuller says its new converters extend serial transmission channels to up to 5 km and protection from electromagnetic interference.

Related: Industrial Ethernet offers extreme opportunities

The compact new devices offer conversions from RS-232, RS-422 or RS-485 protocols into fiber-optic signals. Fiber-optic multimode technology allows for signal transmission distance of up to 5 km without any external signal boosters. The devices come in both SC and ST fiber connection options. The converters are equipped with automatic baud rate recognition, allowing for simple installation and reduced set-up time. If the baud rate changes, signals are still routed without any loss data loss. Universal compatibility with RS-232, RS-422 and RS-485 allows almost any serial terminal device to be connected.

The serial to fiber-optic media converters also enable the chaining of converters, allowing networks to extend with multiple fiber connections. The new devices also provide real-time connections to multiple remote serial devices all connected on the network up to 100 km in length, without any loss of data nor significant lag time, says Weidmuller.

The new converters are suitable for use in harsh industrial environments, and offer extended surge voltage protection for the serial connections and power supply. Robust screw-type terminal blocks ensure the power supply and serial connectors are reliably connected. DC power supply inputs (12-48 VDC) and low power consumption ensures safety and reliability. The converters have an extended temperature range of -40° C to +75° C, as well as cULus approvals.

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