Anyone know about using CAT5 as a serial cable?

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Andy, Feb 16, 2004.

  1. Andy

    Andy Guest

    I've just started a new job repairing a type of thermal transfer barcode
    printer that is used a lot in manufcturing and transport, and as a result,
    they are often located in factories or warehouses and use a serial interface
    back to some sort of distribution board (like a Stalion card).

    The ones with the older kind of shielded 5 core cable, with the DB25 or 9
    connector hard wired I don't have problems with, but I have noticed a lot of
    places use these small RJ45 to DB25 converters on either end and use a
    standard network cable between them. These ones sometimes (seem to) have
    intermittant flow control problems.

    eg.
    1- Large print job gets sent.
    2- Printer starts, gets to a certain point and stops (can lock up).
    3- Host thinks the job has printed.

    What is the limitation on the length? CAT5, being unshielded, I would
    suppose be more subject to "noise", especialy if the TX and RX lines were
    not on a pair together.

    Any clues?
    Andy, Feb 16, 2004
    #1
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  2. Andy

    -= Hawk =- Guest

    On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 19:44:10 +1100, "Andy" <> scribbled:

    >I've just started a new job repairing a type of thermal transfer barcode
    >printer that is used a lot in manufcturing and transport, and as a result,
    >they are often located in factories or warehouses and use a serial interface
    >back to some sort of distribution board (like a Stalion card).
    >
    >The ones with the older kind of shielded 5 core cable, with the DB25 or 9
    >connector hard wired I don't have problems with, but I have noticed a lot of
    >places use these small RJ45 to DB25 converters on either end and use a
    >standard network cable between them. These ones sometimes (seem to) have
    >intermittant flow control problems.
    >
    >eg.
    >1- Large print job gets sent.
    >2- Printer starts, gets to a certain point and stops (can lock up).
    >3- Host thinks the job has printed.
    >
    >What is the limitation on the length? CAT5, being unshielded, I would


    100 Meters.

    >suppose be more subject to "noise", especialy if the TX and RX lines were
    >not on a pair together.


    Run shielded cable or run them through a shielded conduit.

    >Any clues?


    And see what kind of machinery the cables running near....

    --
    'What Profiteth It A Kingdom If The Oxen Be Deflated?'
    Riddles II, v3
    - T. Pratchett
    -= Hawk =-, Feb 16, 2004
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Andy

    Andy Guest

    "-= Hawk =-" <> wrote in message
    news:2s3130l0r34l5cvasvej8lkdb3dd1fg7ut@news-server...
    > On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 19:44:10 +1100, "Andy" <> scribbled:
    >
    > >I've just started a new job repairing a type of thermal transfer barcode
    > >printer that is used a lot in manufcturing and transport, and as a

    result,
    > >they are often located in factories or warehouses and use a serial

    interface
    > >back to some sort of distribution board (like a Stalion card).
    > >
    > >The ones with the older kind of shielded 5 core cable, with the DB25 or 9
    > >connector hard wired I don't have problems with, but I have noticed a lot

    of
    > >places use these small RJ45 to DB25 converters on either end and use a
    > >standard network cable between them. These ones sometimes (seem to) have
    > >intermittant flow control problems.
    > >
    > >eg.
    > >1- Large print job gets sent.
    > >2- Printer starts, gets to a certain point and stops (can lock up).
    > >3- Host thinks the job has printed.
    > >
    > >What is the limitation on the length? CAT5, being unshielded, I would

    >
    > 100 Meters.


    I'm pretty sure that 100 meters only applies when it is used as a network
    cable which relies on synchronized signals going in opposing directions down
    a pair of wires. The RS-232C standard is only 50 feet ,athough of course in
    practise it can be much more, 100m would be a VERY long serial cable, but
    would probably work with shieled cable and a slow baud.

    >
    > >suppose be more subject to "noise", especialy if the TX and RX lines were
    > >not on a pair together.

    >
    > Run shielded cable or run them through a shielded conduit.


    Yup. I think I'm going to have to prove the point.

    Trouble is I have 2 deal with sysadmins who INSIST that thier system is good
    and it must be MY printer gobbeling up their perfectly good data.
    >
    > >Any clues?

    >
    > And see what kind of machinery the cables running near....


    They use these things in places like chocolate factorys, steel mills,
    textiles, frieght depo's, jewelers, chemical plants, car factories, .......
    to name a few - they print stuff like those little barcodes on the back of a
    mobile phone. So - all kinds of machinery.


    >
    > --
    > 'What Profiteth It A Kingdom If The Oxen Be Deflated?'
    > Riddles II, v3
    > - T. Pratchett
    Andy, Feb 16, 2004
    #3
  4. Andy

    -= Hawk =- Guest

    On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 21:17:11 +1100, "Andy" <> scribbled:

    >"-= Hawk =-" <> wrote in message
    >news:2s3130l0r34l5cvasvej8lkdb3dd1fg7ut@news-server...
    >> On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 19:44:10 +1100, "Andy" <> scribbled:
    >>
    >> >I've just started a new job repairing a type of thermal transfer barcode
    >> >printer that is used a lot in manufcturing and transport, and as a

    >result,
    >> >they are often located in factories or warehouses and use a serial

    >interface
    >> >back to some sort of distribution board (like a Stalion card).
    >> >
    >> >The ones with the older kind of shielded 5 core cable, with the DB25 or 9
    >> >connector hard wired I don't have problems with, but I have noticed a lot

    >of
    >> >places use these small RJ45 to DB25 converters on either end and use a
    >> >standard network cable between them. These ones sometimes (seem to) have
    >> >intermittant flow control problems.
    >> >
    >> >eg.
    >> >1- Large print job gets sent.
    >> >2- Printer starts, gets to a certain point and stops (can lock up).
    >> >3- Host thinks the job has printed.
    >> >
    >> >What is the limitation on the length? CAT5, being unshielded, I would

    >>
    >> 100 Meters.

    >
    >I'm pretty sure that 100 meters only applies when it is used as a network
    >cable which relies on synchronized signals going in opposing directions down
    >a pair of wires. The RS-232C standard is only 50 feet ,athough of course in


    I've seen multi-hundred foot RS-232 cables plenty of times.
    We borrowed one from a place a friend used to work for to
    null modem his mom's PC to her sons BBS in the cellar
    it worked fine.

    >practise it can be much more, 100m would be a VERY long serial cable, but
    >would probably work with shieled cable and a slow baud.
    >
    >>
    >> >suppose be more subject to "noise", especialy if the TX and RX lines were
    >> >not on a pair together.

    >>
    >> Run shielded cable or run them through a shielded conduit.

    >
    >Yup. I think I'm going to have to prove the point.
    >
    >Trouble is I have 2 deal with sysadmins who INSIST that thier system is good
    >and it must be MY printer gobbeling up their perfectly good data.


    Have them buy a new printer and put it in place, if the
    problems persist, and they probably will, you can laugh
    behind your hand at them....

    >> >Any clues?

    >>
    >> And see what kind of machinery the cables running near....

    >
    >They use these things in places like chocolate factorys, steel mills,
    >textiles, frieght depo's, jewelers, chemical plants, car factories, .......
    >to name a few - they print stuff like those little barcodes on the back of a
    >mobile phone. So - all kinds of machinery.


    Oh I know, I spent a couple years running Weber Legitronic Highspeed
    thermal barcode printers creating Mil-Spec label formats and such. What
    I meant was 'machinery that would cause a large amount of electrical
    interference. If you're dealing with a decent printer company you might
    be able to get one of their tech reps out to advise you on the problem.
    I had the Weber guy out a couple times trying to get some issues
    resolved.



    --
    'What Profiteth It A Kingdom If The Oxen Be Deflated?'
    Riddles II, v3
    - T. Pratchett
    -= Hawk =-, Feb 16, 2004
    #4
  5. Andy

    Andy Guest

    "-= Hawk =-" <> wrote in message
    news:p48130pv039ls05nqh2l0tm6brg2j97m1v@news-server...
    > On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 21:17:11 +1100, "Andy" <> scribbled:
    >
    > >"-= Hawk =-" <> wrote in message
    > >news:2s3130l0r34l5cvasvej8lkdb3dd1fg7ut@news-server...
    > >> On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 19:44:10 +1100, "Andy" <> scribbled:
    > >>
    > >> >I've just started a new job repairing a type of thermal transfer

    barcode
    > >> >printer that is used a lot in manufcturing and transport, and as a

    > >result,
    > >> >they are often located in factories or warehouses and use a serial

    > >interface
    > >> >back to some sort of distribution board (like a Stalion card).
    > >> >
    > >> >The ones with the older kind of shielded 5 core cable, with the DB25

    or 9
    > >> >connector hard wired I don't have problems with, but I have noticed a

    lot
    > >of
    > >> >places use these small RJ45 to DB25 converters on either end and use a
    > >> >standard network cable between them. These ones sometimes (seem to)

    have
    > >> >intermittant flow control problems.
    > >> >
    > >> >eg.
    > >> >1- Large print job gets sent.
    > >> >2- Printer starts, gets to a certain point and stops (can lock up).
    > >> >3- Host thinks the job has printed.
    > >> >
    > >> >What is the limitation on the length? CAT5, being unshielded, I would
    > >>
    > >> 100 Meters.

    > >
    > >I'm pretty sure that 100 meters only applies when it is used as a network
    > >cable which relies on synchronized signals going in opposing directions

    down
    > >a pair of wires. The RS-232C standard is only 50 feet ,athough of course

    in
    >
    > I've seen multi-hundred foot RS-232 cables plenty of times.
    > We borrowed one from a place a friend used to work for to
    > null modem his mom's PC to her sons BBS in the cellar
    > it worked fine.
    >
    > >practise it can be much more, 100m would be a VERY long serial cable, but
    > >would probably work with shieled cable and a slow baud.
    > >
    > >>
    > >> >suppose be more subject to "noise", especialy if the TX and RX lines

    were
    > >> >not on a pair together.
    > >>
    > >> Run shielded cable or run them through a shielded conduit.

    > >
    > >Yup. I think I'm going to have to prove the point.
    > >
    > >Trouble is I have 2 deal with sysadmins who INSIST that thier system is

    good
    > >and it must be MY printer gobbeling up their perfectly good data.

    >
    > Have them buy a new printer and put it in place, if the
    > problems persist, and they probably will, you can laugh
    > behind your hand at them....
    >
    > >> >Any clues?
    > >>
    > >> And see what kind of machinery the cables running near....

    > >
    > >They use these things in places like chocolate factorys, steel mills,
    > >textiles, frieght depo's, jewelers, chemical plants, car factories,

    ........
    > >to name a few - they print stuff like those little barcodes on the back

    of a
    > >mobile phone. So - all kinds of machinery.

    >
    > Oh I know, I spent a couple years running Weber Legitronic Highspeed
    > thermal barcode printers creating Mil-Spec label formats and such. What
    > I meant was 'machinery that would cause a large amount of electrical
    > interference. If you're dealing with a decent printer company you might
    > be able to get one of their tech reps out to advise you on the problem.
    > I had the Weber guy out a couple times trying to get some issues
    > resolved.
    >
    >
    >
    > --
    > 'What Profiteth It A Kingdom If The Oxen Be Deflated?'
    > Riddles II, v3
    > - T. Pratchett


    Yep - exactly the same machines except branded Zebra (seen them as Brady
    also) - some of them are built into Weber print and apply engines.
    Zebra give pretty good email supprt, but with stuff like this they tend to
    just quote the user manuale back at you.
    The last time I was working on printers was 1986 ie. pre CAT5 revolution and
    I wasn't sure of it's limitations. It looks a lot easier to set up this way
    though. I hate soldering serial connectors, but I think I'm gunna have to
    buy some good shielded cable and make a few cables (and then charge like a
    wounded bull if the problem goes away).
    Andy, Feb 16, 2004
    #5
  6. Andy

    -= Hawk =- Guest

    On Tue, 17 Feb 2004 01:25:42 +1100, "Andy" <> scribbled:

    >
    >"-= Hawk =-" <> wrote in message
    >news:p48130pv039ls05nqh2l0tm6brg2j97m1v@news-server...
    >> On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 21:17:11 +1100, "Andy" <> scribbled:
    >>
    >> >"-= Hawk =-" <> wrote in message
    >> >news:2s3130l0r34l5cvasvej8lkdb3dd1fg7ut@news-server...
    >> >> On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 19:44:10 +1100, "Andy" <> scribbled:
    >> >>
    >> >> >I've just started a new job repairing a type of thermal transfer

    >barcode
    >> >> >printer that is used a lot in manufcturing and transport, and as a
    >> >result,
    >> >> >they are often located in factories or warehouses and use a serial
    >> >interface
    >> >> >back to some sort of distribution board (like a Stalion card).
    >> >> >
    >> >> >The ones with the older kind of shielded 5 core cable, with the DB25

    >or 9
    >> >> >connector hard wired I don't have problems with, but I have noticed a

    >lot
    >> >of
    >> >> >places use these small RJ45 to DB25 converters on either end and use a
    >> >> >standard network cable between them. These ones sometimes (seem to)

    >have
    >> >> >intermittant flow control problems.
    >> >> >
    >> >> >eg.
    >> >> >1- Large print job gets sent.
    >> >> >2- Printer starts, gets to a certain point and stops (can lock up).
    >> >> >3- Host thinks the job has printed.
    >> >> >
    >> >> >What is the limitation on the length? CAT5, being unshielded, I would
    >> >>
    >> >> 100 Meters.
    >> >
    >> >I'm pretty sure that 100 meters only applies when it is used as a network
    >> >cable which relies on synchronized signals going in opposing directions

    >down
    >> >a pair of wires. The RS-232C standard is only 50 feet ,athough of course

    >in
    >>
    >> I've seen multi-hundred foot RS-232 cables plenty of times.
    >> We borrowed one from a place a friend used to work for to
    >> null modem his mom's PC to her sons BBS in the cellar
    >> it worked fine.
    >>
    >> >practise it can be much more, 100m would be a VERY long serial cable, but
    >> >would probably work with shieled cable and a slow baud.
    >> >
    >> >>
    >> >> >suppose be more subject to "noise", especialy if the TX and RX lines

    >were
    >> >> >not on a pair together.
    >> >>
    >> >> Run shielded cable or run them through a shielded conduit.
    >> >
    >> >Yup. I think I'm going to have to prove the point.
    >> >
    >> >Trouble is I have 2 deal with sysadmins who INSIST that thier system is

    >good
    >> >and it must be MY printer gobbeling up their perfectly good data.

    >>
    >> Have them buy a new printer and put it in place, if the
    >> problems persist, and they probably will, you can laugh
    >> behind your hand at them....
    >>
    >> >> >Any clues?
    >> >>
    >> >> And see what kind of machinery the cables running near....
    >> >
    >> >They use these things in places like chocolate factorys, steel mills,
    >> >textiles, frieght depo's, jewelers, chemical plants, car factories,

    >.......
    >> >to name a few - they print stuff like those little barcodes on the back

    >of a
    >> >mobile phone. So - all kinds of machinery.

    >>
    >> Oh I know, I spent a couple years running Weber Legitronic Highspeed
    >> thermal barcode printers creating Mil-Spec label formats and such. What
    >> I meant was 'machinery that would cause a large amount of electrical
    >> interference. If you're dealing with a decent printer company you might
    >> be able to get one of their tech reps out to advise you on the problem.
    >> I had the Weber guy out a couple times trying to get some issues
    >> resolved.

    >
    >Yep - exactly the same machines except branded Zebra (seen them as Brady
    >also) - some of them are built into Weber print and apply engines.


    Weird, according to Weber the Zebra's just a model of theirs...

    >Zebra give pretty good email supprt, but with stuff like this they tend to
    >just quote the user manuale back at you.


    I guess times change....

    >The last time I was working on printers was 1986 ie. pre CAT5 revolution and


    I also had to ancient 9 pin C.itoh printers doing ribbon feed labels :)

    >I wasn't sure of it's limitations. It looks a lot easier to set up this way
    >though. I hate soldering serial connectors, but I think I'm gunna have to
    >buy some good shielded cable and make a few cables (and then charge like a
    >wounded bull if the problem goes away).


    Good luck....

    --
    'What Profiteth It A Kingdom If The Oxen Be Deflated?'
    Riddles II, v3
    - T. Pratchett
    -= Hawk =-, Feb 16, 2004
    #6
  7. Andy

    Andy Guest

    "-= Hawk =-" <> wrote in message
    news:2am130drjbev4j0lv2nuu5to5s3ffkhmpm@news-server...
    > On Tue, 17 Feb 2004 01:25:42 +1100, "Andy" <> scribbled:
    >
    > >
    > >"-= Hawk =-" <> wrote in message
    > >news:p48130pv039ls05nqh2l0tm6brg2j97m1v@news-server...
    > >> On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 21:17:11 +1100, "Andy" <> scribbled:
    > >>
    > >> >"-= Hawk =-" <> wrote in message
    > >> >news:2s3130l0r34l5cvasvej8lkdb3dd1fg7ut@news-server...
    > >> >> On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 19:44:10 +1100, "Andy" <>

    scribbled:
    > >> >>
    > >> >> >I've just started a new job repairing a type of thermal transfer

    > >barcode
    > >> >> >printer that is used a lot in manufcturing and transport, and as a
    > >> >result,
    > >> >> >they are often located in factories or warehouses and use a serial
    > >> >interface
    > >> >> >back to some sort of distribution board (like a Stalion card).
    > >> >> >
    > >> >> >The ones with the older kind of shielded 5 core cable, with the

    DB25
    > >or 9
    > >> >> >connector hard wired I don't have problems with, but I have noticed

    a
    > >lot
    > >> >of
    > >> >> >places use these small RJ45 to DB25 converters on either end and

    use a
    > >> >> >standard network cable between them. These ones sometimes (seem to)

    > >have
    > >> >> >intermittant flow control problems.
    > >> >> >
    > >> >> >eg.
    > >> >> >1- Large print job gets sent.
    > >> >> >2- Printer starts, gets to a certain point and stops (can lock up).
    > >> >> >3- Host thinks the job has printed.
    > >> >> >
    > >> >> >What is the limitation on the length? CAT5, being unshielded, I

    would
    > >> >>
    > >> >> 100 Meters.
    > >> >
    > >> >I'm pretty sure that 100 meters only applies when it is used as a

    network
    > >> >cable which relies on synchronized signals going in opposing

    directions
    > >down
    > >> >a pair of wires. The RS-232C standard is only 50 feet ,athough of

    course
    > >in
    > >>
    > >> I've seen multi-hundred foot RS-232 cables plenty of times.
    > >> We borrowed one from a place a friend used to work for to
    > >> null modem his mom's PC to her sons BBS in the cellar
    > >> it worked fine.
    > >>
    > >> >practise it can be much more, 100m would be a VERY long serial cable,

    but
    > >> >would probably work with shieled cable and a slow baud.
    > >> >
    > >> >>
    > >> >> >suppose be more subject to "noise", especialy if the TX and RX

    lines
    > >were
    > >> >> >not on a pair together.
    > >> >>
    > >> >> Run shielded cable or run them through a shielded conduit.
    > >> >
    > >> >Yup. I think I'm going to have to prove the point.
    > >> >
    > >> >Trouble is I have 2 deal with sysadmins who INSIST that thier system

    is
    > >good
    > >> >and it must be MY printer gobbeling up their perfectly good data.
    > >>
    > >> Have them buy a new printer and put it in place, if the
    > >> problems persist, and they probably will, you can laugh
    > >> behind your hand at them....
    > >>
    > >> >> >Any clues?
    > >> >>
    > >> >> And see what kind of machinery the cables running near....
    > >> >
    > >> >They use these things in places like chocolate factorys, steel mills,
    > >> >textiles, frieght depo's, jewelers, chemical plants, car factories,

    > >.......
    > >> >to name a few - they print stuff like those little barcodes on the

    back
    > >of a
    > >> >mobile phone. So - all kinds of machinery.
    > >>
    > >> Oh I know, I spent a couple years running Weber Legitronic Highspeed
    > >> thermal barcode printers creating Mil-Spec label formats and such. What
    > >> I meant was 'machinery that would cause a large amount of electrical
    > >> interference. If you're dealing with a decent printer company you might
    > >> be able to get one of their tech reps out to advise you on the problem.
    > >> I had the Weber guy out a couple times trying to get some issues
    > >> resolved.

    > >
    > >Yep - exactly the same machines except branded Zebra (seen them as Brady
    > >also) - some of them are built into Weber print and apply engines.

    >
    > Weird, according to Weber the Zebra's just a model of theirs...


    I don't know anything of the history of Weber/Zebra, but the Weber stuff I
    work on has the Zebra logo printed on the circuit boards, so I just assumed
    they were just re-badged.

    >
    > >Zebra give pretty good email supprt, but with stuff like this they tend

    to
    > >just quote the user manuale back at you.

    >
    > I guess times change....


    The contact point for Zebras' Dealer Support in Australia is their Asia
    Pacific head office in Singapore, they are not directly represented here.

    >
    > >The last time I was working on printers was 1986 ie. pre CAT5 revolution

    and
    >
    > I also had to ancient 9 pin C.itoh printers doing ribbon feed labels :)



    Wow - this is getting frieky! The printers I repaired in the 80's were
    C-Itoh - Everything from big shuttle printers to little one's made to suite
    a Commodore 64 and even color dot matrix.

    Incidently - What's a ribbon feed label?

    >
    > >I wasn't sure of it's limitations. It looks a lot easier to set up this

    way
    > >though. I hate soldering serial connectors, but I think I'm gunna have to
    > >buy some good shielded cable and make a few cables (and then charge like

    a
    > >wounded bull if the problem goes away).

    >
    > Good luck....
    >
    > --
    > 'What Profiteth It A Kingdom If The Oxen Be Deflated?'
    > Riddles II, v3
    > - T. Pratchett
    Andy, Feb 17, 2004
    #7
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