With RS232 quickly being replaced by USB, the nightmare of incorrectly wired appliances and forgotten baud rates will be a thing of the past. Unfortunately RS232 will still be with us for a long time to come and as it becomes used less frequently the exact parity and baud rates for devices can easily be forgotten.
The following project, QuickComs, is a prototype for simple device to make dealing with legacy RS232 equipment a dream. This useful M16C/62P microcontroller-based system can be connected to an RS-232 device to determine the correct wiring, data rate, and encoding scheme. It can be used to monitor a serial link as well.
The QuickComs has the following abilities: detect and correct for null modem cables, display RS232 Line Voltages, display measured baud rate in bps or bit width in us / ms, select suitable baud rate from a table of commonly used values, detect parity bits and number of data bits (assumes 1 stop bit only), and monitor both connectors and send data to 3rd party via USB port.
The project was designed with the following applications in mind: serial debugging of embedded systems, saving time when an unknown piece of equipment is to be interfaced, and take cable wiring out of the equation when troubleshooting serial systems.