Friday, March 7, 2014

What is RS232 LED Sign Communication?

How you communicate with your sign is an important factor in setting up your sign system. One of the most common methods for indoor scrolling LED signs that typically display only  text messages is RS232.  
RS232 is a cable method for connecting a display directly to a computers serial com port using a 9 pin plug. The serial port on a PC is a full-duplex device, meaning that it can send and receive data at the same time. The RS232 serial interface is a point-to-point communication: one port, one device or one computer, one sign. Hence with this method, only one sign can be connected to the computer at any given time. This communication method requires software be installed on the designated computer which will control the messages sent to the sign. It has a maximum distance restriction of 50 feet (15m), but  is a simple connection system that is relatively easy to install and use. 
When should I use it?
  • When the distance between the computer running the display software and the display are less than 50 feet (15m).
  • When your computer has an available RS232 serial port or you can utilize a USB adapter that converts the USB of your laptop to RS232.
  • When temporarily communicating to the sign using a computer or laptop.
  • When only sending text files and not picture files, because this method is typically slow for large amounts of data
  • When you are interested in a low cost, simple communication method and installation costs are not a factor.
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to install
  • Inexpensive 
  • Newer model laptops may not have a serial port which would require the use of a USB to serial port adapter.
  • Only one sign can be connected at a time
  • Recommended for distances less that 50 feet
  • Not recommended for sending movie, picture or large data files.

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