Tips for Serial (RS-232) Connections

Using Serial/RS-232 can be a very reliable way to communicate with home theater equipment that hasn’t been modernized to support direct IP control. Some users even prefer Serial connections regardless. Simple Control comes with Serial codes for a rapidly expanding set of tested devices listed here. Of course, you will find sets of Serial commands for many devices on the Internet, but we haven’t certified a library of such commands as we have with our infrared library in the Simple Service. All supported Serial device commands are included with the Simple Service.

It is possible for advanced users to add additional commands manually. See this FAQ item for more information on adding device code sets.

For Serial support, the Simple Blaster adapters with the Simple Cable – Serial should be used available from the Store.

One issue to watch for in buying the appropriate items for a Serial connection is the gender of the cable. Most home theater devices require female cable ends, but every so often an oddball device will come along that requires the opposite. Denon receivers are a good example of that. The Simple Cable – Serial includes a gender changer to handle that.

A very important issue with Serial connections is the wiring of the cable. There are generally two major ways to wire a Serial cable: straight through and null modem. These cables are not compatible with each other and you must check your target device to make sure it is setup correctly. This is configured on the Simple Blaster under the “Crossover” setting.

Serial cables should be limited to 10 feet based on the electrical design of RS-232. Using a Simple Blaster is a great way to send a serial connection to distant locations by placing the Simple Blaster at the location rather than trying to create a longer serial cable.