As I'm working on some projects, I've been using an RS-232 interface with my computer and it's been working alright so far. But, are there any recommendations you have out there for computer/project communications? Is it getting easier to interface with USB? Because the connection would be a lot easier if I could drop the RS-232 logic level converter and the USB-RS232 converter and go directly to a USB mini or micro.
If it is getting easy to USB, are there any recommendations on what platforms to use? Or any interfacing tidbits that would help?
If not USB, any other recommendations?
Thanks for your help!
There are a lot of resources on that topic on the web. It is quite common to find 'VS' posts on these 2 particular connection types. From what i gather, USB has been designed to replace serial and parallel ports. Although RS 232 is still used and still works well for your need, i would advice to defer to USB. Thre are a lot of advantages that USB has to offer and you wouldn't need to use converters.
I found this article and it looks like it has a lot of answers as well as links to sources.
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I hope that helps!
But isn't USB harder to implement? I've had a little success getting RS-232 to work with PuTTY (using an RS-232 to USB converter) but I don't even know where to start with USB. Could I still use PuTTY? What do I need with my microcontroller?
There are inexpensive USB to TTL converters on the market that will handle the translation from USB to TTL voltage levels. The Arduino uses an atmega 16u2 to do this. The 16u2 is an avr with USB built in. If one wants to make a USB to TTL converter, the schematic is part of the Aruino UNO R3 schematic, The firmware for the 16u2 is included with the arduino software. I built a standalone USB to TTL converter using the Arduino design and firmware, though I think it would be less expensive to buy one than make it.
First getting into this i used the firmata library with an arduino and software from processing to imporve a tester that was outdated and, frankely, a POS. Control is all done on the computer which sends simpe read/writes to the arduino, but there were some bugs along the way. 1.5 yrs later the only issues I have relate to worn cables or othe rbroken mechanical peices. Knowning what I know now, I probably would have the micro do more of the control side and send results to the computer so that the interface would need less I/O, but to late now and old folks that are set in their ways do not like change. Unless of course its one the I implemented to keep track of serial numbers and user stats, and place info on the eeprom so if it is sent back there is some info there to figure what happened and prevent future errors.