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PC/104 module has eight serial ports with ESD protection

Posted: 29 Aug 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:WinSystems? PCM-COM8-G? PC/104 asynchronous communications module?

WinSystems' PCM-COM8-G communications module

Board maker WinSystems has introduced its PCM-COM8-G, a RoHS-compliant 8-channel PC/104 asynchronous communications module suited for embedded applications requiring a large number of serial I/O ports. Each channel supports RS-232, RS-485 and RS-422 electrical levels, and exhibits 15kV ESD protection.

For interfacing with a wide variety of serial communications devices such as modems, data collection equipment and distributed I/O terminals, WinSystems's latest board is designed to work in PC/104-expandable embedded computer systems. These systems can run Windows CE, Windows XP Embedded, Linux, QNX, VxWorks or DOS. A PCM-COM8-G can also operate over the industrial temperature range of -40?C to 85?C.

On-board, a 16C854 chip serves as the PCM-COM8-G's serial communication controller. It's an improved version of the venerable 16C554 UART, but with higher operating speed and lower access time. On-chip software-programmable baud-rate generators provide data rates selectable through 115.2Kbps.

Each serial channel also has a 128byte transmit and receive FIFO. This increases the service interval, giving an external processor additional time for other applications, and reducing overall UART interrupt servicing time.

Four selectable levels of FIFO trigger interrupt and automatic hardware/software flow control are supported for maximum data throughput, especially when operating in a multichannel environment.

Automatic hardware or RTS/CTS flow control is used to prevent data overrun to the local receiver FIFO and remote receiver FIFO. Interrupts are also available to give the status of RTS and CTS flow control.

The PCM-COM8-G board is also shipped in a standard configuration that supports RS-232, RS-422 and RS-485 on all channels selected via onboard jumpers. RS-422 and 485 electrical levels are supported on all eight channels.

The RS-422/RS-485 configuration provides separate balanced transmit and receive signal pairs. Resistor termination networks are provided on the PCM-COM8-G board for impedance matching and biasing.

Only +5V is required for operation, since the Maxim MAX211 RS-232 transceivers that are used generate the positive and negative voltages on the chip.

WinSystems says delivery of the PCM-COM8-G is from stock. It's priced at less than $250.

- Alex Mendelsohn

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