Panel Mount USB UART

A quick little board to replace Level Shifters and a 9pin connector.

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A lot of my projects wind up with a UART connection to some kind of laptop or desktop computer. In the old days, a 9 pin D connector and a level shifter chip would take care of this. Serial ports are pretty scarce on laptops now and it seems like a waste to go through the effort of installing RS232 level shifting just to go into a USB to UART adapter cable. This project takes the place of the D connector, the level shifter and the USB to UART adapter cable.

Amphenol makes some nice panel mount USB connectors (MUSBD11130) that are easy to mount to a case. They are also sealed. The connectors solder to the PCB for an adequate mechanical setup. FTDI makes single channel USB to UART chips that don't need an external crystal or voltage regulator, just a few passive components. One of the 0.100 screw terminal strips provides a simple connection for wiring to. The resulting board is small and easy to put in a project.


Schematic for Panel Mount UART

Adobe Portable Document Format - 132.78 kB - 03/12/2018 at 23:25


  • Rev 2 cost reduction

    Bharbour10/27/2020 at 02:54 0 comments

    I really like the functionality that this project provides. I have used it in several projects. The USB connector is a nice, sealed connector, but it is expensive at $8.76US. I did a second iteration on the PCB using a surface mount Hirose connector that costs under $1US. Panel mounting is acheived by drilling and tapping a couple of small pieces of aluminum.

    The other expensive part in the project is the 6 position screw terminal strip. The Phoenix Contact screw terminal strip costs $4.70. Replacing it with 0.1'' header strip is less than $1. Using the header strip allows using a simple connector that is easy to mate and unmate rather than unscrewing each wire and reversing that to reconnect it.

    The rest of the board is pretty much the same.

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Bharbour wrote 03/31/2019 at 02:30 point

I don't really have anything to connect to the other end of a BlueTooth link in my shop.

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Brian Cornell wrote 03/30/2019 at 18:59 point

Another option to get RS232 to a computer is BlueTooth.  Ditch the wires and get isolation too.  Microchip has a family of SOCs that work out of the box and include an RS232 interface.  They'll talk SPP so you can use a terminal emulator.  I think the current iteration is the RN4678.  I've used them for several projects and they work well.

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