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RS-232, USB, Radio, Multiplexer

What do you really need?

20 October 2014: Markus Pfirsching

Nowadays, you may use many different types of measuring equipment and measurement systems to record measured values. There are an overwhelming number of providers and types making it really hard for newcomers to choose. This article will provide some transparency.

There are two groups of measurement systems.

1. Measuring instruments with a software running to fulfil the measuring task. After completing the task, the software stores the measurement and test data in files.
Example: dimensional metrology

2. Measuring equipment or hardware boxes connected to the computer by cable or via radio. Measured values are transferred directly and the software has to process and store them.
Example: gauge, outside micrometre, calliper, etc.

In order to transfer the data in the respective file format, you just need a Q-DAS file as an export file and you will be able to evaluate the data in the Q-DAS software. However, there are many options for a direct connection. These options are the main topic of this article.

A serial port is a must-have, isn’t it?

You often hear people talking about “serial port“ when it comes to the direct connection of measuring equipment. However, this is actually a very old type of interface in the history of computers and you apply it for different purposes. Serial just means that data are recorded consecutively and not simultaneously.

RS-232 is always a term used in this context. Even though there are numerous other serial port, RS-232 is traditionally referred to as the one and only “serial port” since it used to be the only standard interface for computers.

When you purchase new measuring equipment today, it will be very unlikely that it still has a 9-pin connector. Since most of today’s computers do no longer have such a connector, the most common connection is a USB port.[...].