Embedded Serial-to-Ethernet Solution for LED Information Displays
LED Displays are a marketing and public communications tool used in many different industries to convey information or display messages, and are an important driver of business growth for many companies. LED displays, also known as electronic message centers (EMCs) come in many varieties: they can be monochrome or full color, and can be built for either indoor or outdoor use. Electronic Message Boards and Digital Billboards are both examples of LED Displays.
Today, most LED display manufacturers still produce products that use serial communication (RS232 or RS485) technology as the communications and configuration input. To configure their display, the operator must use a local PC with a serial port to program the display information. With only serial communications, updating or maintaining the display is a significant hassle.
Now that we all live in a more networked, Internet-accessible world, many display manufacturers would like to support Ethernet technology in their products to give their customers a display that is more flexible and easier to manage. An Ethernet-connected display can be maintained remotely from a control center, without requiring an operator or local PC at the physical location of the display itself. Even though Ethernet connectivity would be an attractive feature for LED displays, few manufacturers have Ethernet-ready products available on the market.
One LED display manufacturer wanted to anticipate market trends and add Ethernet communications to their existing product line. They needed a solution that would help them upgrade their existing serial-based LED displays for Ethernet connectivity.
The LED display manufacturer needed a flexible embedded serial-to-Ethernet module that would add value to their serial-based LED displays by supplying Ethernet connectivity. In selecting a solution, the manufacturer used the following criteria to evaluate their options:
• How easy it would be to upgrade their serial-based LEDs.
• How much flexibility the manufacturer’s hardware engineers would have in designing and laying out the PCBs.
• How much space they would need to reserve for the embedded serial-to-Ethernet module.
• The functions and features the module would contribute towards their LED product’s value proposition and competitiveness.
• How cost-effective the solution is.
The MiiNePort E2 comes in a extremely compact form factor of just 29 x 17 x 12.6mm, which gave the LED manufacturer tremendous flexibility in designing LED display products of many different sizes. With Moxa’s flexible operation mode, the MiiNePort E2 allows LED Display Manufacturers to continue using their original serial utilities, and saves the extra cost of developing new utilities.
The LED display manufacturer was able to increase their productivity while reducing development and production costs by leveraging the MiiNePort E2’s advanced features:
• EZPower: Flexible support of 3.3 to 5 VDC power input obviated the cost and design workload of adding an external power regulator.
• AutoCFG: Automated configuration functionality eliminated the time-consuming task of manually configuring each LED display product one by one.
• EZPage: Simplified development of a customer-branded custom web-based configuration page.
• Minimize the time and effort on upgrading Ethernet capability to serial devices.
• Thumb-sized module maximizes mechanical flexibility.
• EZPower facilitates customer design effort.
• AutoCFG saves time and enhances configuration deployment with mass production.
• SCM and EZPage provide value-added products and stronger competitiveness.
For more information about MiiNePort E2 Starter Kit, please visit here.