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PowerTALK 103 - Dual RS-232 to RS-485 Bridge

PowerTALK 103 is a device that is able to translate Serial Protocols from RS-232 to RS-485 and vice versa and has been designed to do so in industrial communication network environments.

Why this product?

Imagine that you have an industrial environment in which various high-cost legacy systems are deployed that perform important functions in your production environment.

Your problem is this:

  • Many of the legacy systems in your environment provide the ability only to be monitored and managed by PC (when connected directly to them via serial ports)
  • However, the fact that the interface type on many of them is RS-232 serial (Standard PC type) implies that you always have to send someone with a notebook to physically plug into each individual system in order to determine their general health and operational status.
  • You have looked at your production environment and business process and discovered that the ability to monitor these legacy systems from a central point in the production environment will be a great improvement that would not only enable you to be more productive, but also more proactive.
  • The cost of the legacy systems was so high that it would not be feasible to replace them now with newer, manageable systems.
  • What you need is a way to make these older systems more manageable.

The PowerTALK 103 system was designed to do just that: Enable individual RS-232 based serial systems to be connected onto a typical industrial RS-485 serial network, which enables centralised control over systems in the production environment.

Individual serial networks on various industrial sites may then also be inter linked with TCP/IP networks using PowerTALK 101 interfaces.

COCOON's first major deployment of this technology was in the Electricity Supply Environment, although these systems can be used with confidence in any similar situation.

If the following applies to your production environment, then the PowerTALK 103 system may be handy:

  • You have proprietary or custom industrial systems
  • Using half-duplex serial communication of up to 19200 baud
  • With semi-intelligent (addressable multi-drop protocol)
  • That can effectively be networked using PT103 isolated dual RS-232 to RS-485 convertors.

The following has been tested and deployed in the Electrical Engineering Environment. With PowerTALK 103:

  1. You can connect Siemens protection relays to Siemens Digsi PC software via this network. All V1 and V2 relays are supported.
  2. You can connect GE Multilin protection relays to GE Software
  3. It can be configured such that at the location of every device connected to the RS-485 network, a local 25 pin RS-232 port is available for local relay communication.

An industrial tool:

PowerTALK 103 has been designed to exist in industrial conditions, boasting 2.5 kV isolation and it slots into standard industrial 19" Cabinets/Racks.

How does it work?

This architecture is best illustrated by an example:

Imagine that you have an industrial site with various pieces of Industrial Equipment that you want to interconnect to enable centralised monitoring and enhanced manageability. Your specifications are as follows:

  • Industrial equipment each has either an RS-232 or an RS-485 interface
  • The maximum distance of cable needed to interconnect the systems that are the furthest from one another does not exceed 5 000 ft (1 500 m).
  • The network will be located within a single building and does not need to interconnect systems in different buildings.
  • You have a control centre on site from where you want to manage your equipment.
  • At least one single port has to be available at all times where a support person can plug in a notebook for system support
< PowerTALK 103 units facilitate the following:

  • The unit on the right provides communication with the two industrial devices connected to each of its two RS-232 serial ports.
  • The unit on the left provides communication with a single industrial device connected to one of its RS-232 ports, the other RS-232 port is kept open as an access point into the serial network for a PC / Laptop when required. (This was one of the specific requirements above).
  • The unit at the top provides access into the serial network for two PC control systems that can monitor the individual industrial devices via the RS-232 interfaces on the PowerTALK unit. (Another of the specific requirements as stated above.)

How it works:

The wonder of PowerTALK 103 is that it makes the RS-485 backbone totally transparent to the individual RS-232 interfaces.

Each individual RS-232 interfaces thinks that it is connected to a single other RS-232 interface via a serial cable, while in fact, the following happens:

  • The local device talks to the local PowerTALK 103 (using the RS-232 protocol)
  • The local PowerTALK 103 talks to a remote PowerTALK 103 (using the RS-485 protocol)
  • The remote PowerTALK 103 talks to the remote device (using the RS-232 protocol)

How does PowerTALK 103 know which one of the various end-devices on the serial network you want to talk to?

The short answer to this question is that it currently does not know which end device you want to talk to (and generally does not need to know). This is why:

  • Newer industrial equipment has the ability to assign a device Id number for itself when connected to a serial network.
  • Software that was written to control a specific type of device can locate and facilitate a communication session with a target device Id on the serial network.
  • The identification of devices and the communication session between them are, therefore, currently taken care of by high level protocols that are implemented by particular equipment manufacturers.

Will PowerTALK 103, in future, have the ability to perform this kind of function for devices that do not have the ability to communicate to a host of serial devices on a serial network?

We do plan to port such switching functionality to PowerTALK 103 devices in future, that would facilitate communication sessions with specific devices without them having to support such functionality on board. In fact, PowerTALK 103 has been designed in such a way that it would just have to be a firmware update to facilitate this.

Extend your reach and enhance your vision!

Both your management system and the remote device think that they are standing right next to one another, while in fact, PowerTALK 103 has extended your local reach, shrunken your time to respond to problems, enhanced your visibility, and ultimately increased your productivity.

Features include:

  • A maximum of 64 similar PT103 units can be connected to the RS-485 bus (usually RS-485 allows 32 devices)
  • Two wire (half duplex) RS-485 operation supported
  • Two master/slave modes
  • Three on-board serial ports: One port is connected to the RS-485 network, one (RS-232) port can be connected to a device, and a second (RS-232) port can be connected to a local master or to another device.
  • Optimal RS-485 timing for 9600 or 1200 baud.
  • Maximum baud rate of 19200 can be used, depending on software
  • Din or G-rail mountable
  • Design is Rack mountable in standard 19" industrial cabinets, fitted with DIN or G-rail
  • Design without rail base fits directly onto the face of Siemens V1 and V2 protection relay series (7S*-5***)
  • Tested with GE Multilin protection relay series and with Siemens protection relay series
  • Unit can be port powered
  • Boasts 2.5 kV RMS optical isolation
  • Optional Item: Remote software gate switching

More information: