My task was to get an old Feed Grinder's COM/Serial/DB9 PORT on a hog farm to once again communicate with a computer in the farm's office more than 400 feet away. Previously, a old baud modem was used via phone line run in buried conduit, but that stopped working. Initially, I tried a tiny dell optiplex (with a COM PORT in the back) and wireless internet blasted the distance (and rerouted). It was NOT reliable and the heat was too much on the tiny Dell in a FG Cabinet.
So, I pulled the PC out once I found a StarTech RS-232 "SERIAL TO IP" Device Server. I thought this would solve all my problems. I tied Cat5e to that buried phone line and pulled it through. Crimped the ends and thought all was well, but it didn't work. In my haste, I didn't learn that the upper limit of ethernet data was 100m. The computer / router simply couldn't communicate with the FG. It was too far away.
As I was researching options to fix this, POE Injectors, ethernet extenders (would have to be installed somewhere in the middle if I dug it all up), or even Coax Cable/Phone Line solutions, I found this RS232 Extender. Exactly what I needed the WHOLE DARN TIME. Since it is not sending internet protocol, just the COM Data via a powered extender, it can go thousands of feet.
However, it did not work right off the bat. I don't know why either. It was odd. The FG Program simply wasn't seeing the device. (Though the Ethernet Cable tested fine). I tried this and that. I made sure the Device was mapped correctly (to COM1 via Device Manager and that the Program was searching COM1).
Ultimately, I did two things. Either one, or a combination of both, made it work. I slowed down the transmit and receive buffer one "click" each. I also opened up a port on Windows Firewall. I didn't realize it would ever use an actual port, but it was worth a shot! The port in question was 4660. Maybe that did nothing, and I'm stupid. Maybe it was exactly what I needed. Regardless, after 3 months and $500, this project is completed. IT WORKS! And, with TeamViewer or another Remote Desktop Application, this Feed Grinder can now be operated from anywhere in the world. And for that, I thank you!
PROS: Cost Effective, Small Size for tight spaces
CONS: Manual leaves a much to be desired, but the web is a GREAT resource for these oddball things days. Needs to come with some GENDER CHANGES just in case! I needed them (and ordered them but they didn't arrive) and had to MAKE them with what I had. I also wish it had a little green light on it just to let you know it was ON. There's no way to know it's working!
Failed to communicate with my device. I tried multiple configurations with no luck. Not the first such device I have used. Higher priced unit still in place on a phone system we installed to program remotely. I will do more testing at a later date, in the meanwhile we rewired with a standard DB9 50 foot cable, and communicated perfectly first try.
PROS: Small - would be perfect for many of my needs - if it in fact worked.
You should test before installing - I've found that sometimes power isn't necessary on the local end, but only on short (100ft) runs. More importantly, if you aren't sending true RS-232 - for example, using an Extron device - you need to build a custom DB9 shell for the local extender and short out pins 6 and 7 to complete handshaking. Documentation is very weak you're literally using 2 black boxes here. Otherwise this is a good product, and significantly cheaper than other extenders.
Worked as the description said it would. Was able to extend a serial connection for a master radio over cat6 to a computer in another building. Works great and has a small foot print. Wish it came with 2 of the little serial cable pigtails instead of just one.