RS232 is one of the older communication protocols used in tech, and it stands for “Recommended Standard 232”. It is a form of serial communication that is used to transmit data over medium distances.
It was introduced in the 1960s, and it is still used today for communication between devices, including projectors. Continue reading to learn all about how RS232 is used in projectors.
What Is RS232 Control?
RS232 control is a communication protocol that allows you to connect audio visual equipment when you are setting up a home theater. You will normally find a nine-pin sub-connector on the back of your projector, and this will connect it to the source.
This control does not transmit audio and video signals, but it does allow control of devices in a home theater setup. For example, you can control your projector from a third-party interface, whether that is by computer software, an iPad, or a separate controller device.
One of the advantages of using this type of communication protocol is that it offers two-way communication between the device sending the command and the device that you are controlling. In this case, you get feedback from the projector when you send a command from your laptop or whatever device you are using.
The two-way feedback allows you to know that the command has been effective. The projector will respond letting you know that it has received its command and performed what it was told to do.
This makes RS232 control one of the more popular ways to send communications to your projector, and it gives you complete control over a projector that is installed in a place that is difficult to access.
Why Is RS232 Still Used?
RS232 is one of the oldest communication protocols, as it was introduced in the 1960s. With all of the new technology out there, people often want to know why it is still used. The reality is that it is very effective for allowing devices such as a projector to be controlled by another device.
When you install your projector as part of your home theater, you will often place it up high on a wall or hang it from the ceiling. It would be difficult to climb up there to turn it on and off or make adjustments as necessary.
The RS232 connection allows you to control the projector remotely via your computer, an iPad or smartphone, or a remote control device. A projector is similar to a computer monitor or television, in that it projects something onto the screen.
You can turn a projector on and off, and you can change inputs. You can also adjust settings, such as the color, contrast, and sizing.
However, the signal it receives tells it to turn on, and the source device plays the movie, the video game, or whatever else it is that you are projecting. You use the RS232 control to tell the projector what to do.
One of the main reasons that RS232 is still used is that it is such a simple form of communication. Essentially, an RS232 connection sends signals using a positive voltage for binary 0 and a negative voltage for binary 1.
Any device that uses RS232 can communicate with another RS232 device, and you can use this connection to have one device control another.
USB vs. RS232
Although RS232 and USB connections are both used as serial communication standards to connect devices to computers, they are designed in completely different ways. The RS232 is serial communication that is on a 1:1 basis.
It defines the interface layer, but it does not define the application layer. Basically, it allows for simple communication that enables you to control one device with another.
The USB is a bus system, and it allows more than one device to be connected to a host computer with one USB port. You can use a hub to split the port and extend the length of the cable.
It includes the protocols as well as the physical standards, and this communication is controlled by a device driver. It is a more complex form of communication than an RS232 connection.
When you have an RS232 connection, such as between your laptop and your projector, the command is sent from the laptop, and the reaction happens in a very predictable timeframe. The communication is a simple command, such as “turn on” or “adjust contrast.”
With a USB connection, there might be more than one device sharing this connection. The protocol requirements are more complex, and you need to have the driver installed to ensure effective communication between the two devices.
USB allows data to travel at a faster rate, which is why it is so common for more complicated communications. It can work a lot faster than the older RS232.
However, the RS232 is still used because it is simple and effective, and you only need to perform simple commands such as turning your projector on and adjusting some of the settings. Your computer will control the rest of the process.
Although new technology often replaces older technology, some older technology works well, such as in this case. When you connect your projector to your home theater, you only need to be able to control it.
The projector doesn’t store the files that you want to project onto the screen; it works more similarly to a monitor or a television. You are using it as a way to project content that is on your computer onto a large screen.
The RS232 serial connection is a simple way to allow one device to control another. You can use it to control your projector with your computer, iPad, or some other device.
Your USB connection requires device drivers, and it is used to connect a lot of different types of devices. It transmits data at a faster rate, and it is very popular.
However, the RS232 is still used for projectors because it has reliable timing, and it allows the projector to be controlled sufficiently.
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.