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Microlink Measurement and Control Systems

Technical Notes: Communication Links


Connecting the hardware to the computer

Data acquisition hardware comes in many physical formats. A common type is the plug-in card which fits into a free expansion slot in the computer. Its main advantages are its low cost and its speed. Its main drawbacks are the limited potential for system expansion and the fact that the computer has to be located close to the signal source. Microlink systems solve these problems by offering an extensive range of external data acquisition hardware. You can connect this hardware to the computer in several different ways, optimising the system to your requirements.

RS232 | RS485 | GPIB | Ethernet | USB | Summary


RS232 Serial Link

You can connect the Microlink 3000 Series to the computer with an RS232 cable, and the Microlink 826 utility meter monitors. For logging data from instuments from other manufacturers we recommend the Windmill data acquisition software with the COMIML serial driver.

Advantages of RS232

Disadvantages

More details: see our RS232 Notes.


RS485 Serial Link

You can connect the Microlink 3000 Series to the computer with an RS485 cable, and the Microlink 826 utility meter monitors. For logging data from instuments from other manufacturers we recommend the Windmill data acquisition software with the COMIML serial driver.

Advantages

More details: see Windmill's RS485 Wiring Notes.

Disadvantages


GPIB (General Purpose Interface Bus, also known as IEEE-488)

You can connect the 3000 Series to the computer with GPIB.

Advantages

Disadvantages

More details: see our GPIB Notes.


Ethernet Link

You can connect the Microlink 3000 Series to the computer with an Ethernet cable, and the Microlink 840 data loggers.

Advantages

Disadvantages


Universal Serial Bus

You can connect the Microlink 700 Series and 3000 Series to the computer with a USB cable.

Advantages

Disadvantages


Mix and Match Communications

Any one, or a mixture, of all the communications discussed can be used in a Microlink system. A summary is given below. The speeds quoted are with recommended Windows software, and the distances the maximum that allow reliable results.

INTERNALRS232RS485GPIBETHERNETUSB
Max Distance0 m50 m1000 m2 m185 m
per cable segment
5 m
per cable segment
Max Speed samples/sec250 0007007001 MHz36 00080
Number of Devicesdepends on
no. of slots
1 per cable31 per cable14 per cable29 per cable segment8
Computer AdaptorNoNoYesYesYesNo
Microlink Hardware500 Series3000 Series
826 units
3000 Series
826 units
3000 Series3000 Series
840 Series
700 Series

You can find more information about communications with the computer in the
Microlink Measurement and Control Systems Catalogue which is available free from Biodata.


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