I’ve still got my first PLCBUS PC Interface (1141 G, USB). It’s one of the first things I bought after I concluded that 1-way RF won’t make it in our house – too unreliable. That was 4 years ago. And because the first PLCBUS Interface took a while to be delivered I bought a second one, an RS232 version this time. I connected this one to a RS232 to Ethernet server and have been using it ever since. The USB Interface, once it arrived, ended up in a box labeled “to do”… And now is the time to do just that 😉
The ‘problem‘ is that I don’t like USB that much. If I can I’ll try not to be forced to use it, especially when it comes to Home Automation related hardware. It’s nice to transfer photos, a portable HDD and stuff like that but I’m always having trouble with those USB drivers – half of them don’t exist for my Windows 7 x64 PC or aren’t digitally signed and hence force me to tweak my system, or are too buggy to use 24/7; especially when connecting less common hardware like Logic Analyzers and other exotic stuff.
So, I’ve got this PLCBUS Interface with a USB Interface – what can I do to make this interface usable (for me)? I decided to open the box and have a look inside. First thing I encountered was a PCB in heat shrink with 2 IC’s on it:
In the pictures of the PCB above there’s a MAX211 on one side and a PL-2303 IC on the other. The left side of the PCB is where the USB cable is connected.
The wires which are cut went to the PLCBUS Interface PCB, of which the image below shows an interesting part:
Aha, another MAX, a MAX232 this time. Wait.. so the signal is converted from TTL to RS-232, back to TTL again, converted to USB and to a virtual COM port on the PC – while all I really need is 5V TTL for my recently arrived TTL to Ethernet converters!
I found these small converters after a tip on the domoticaforum and bought 2 of these and 2 Wifi converters. The wired converters seem to be working fine according to other forum members and the Wifi converters – well, I think I’ll need them in the near future for making my own ~35 Euro costing Wifi enabled LED controller!