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USB Communications Module

NCD USB Interface Modules are shaped to fit the communications socket profile of NCD Fusion, ProXR, Taralist, and many other devices to add USB compatibility to the complete NCD industrial product line.  We typically use the FT232RL from FTDIChip.com for USB to Serial conversion, though we do use a few other FTDI chips on occasion.  The FT232RL or similar chips plug into the USB connection of your computer using a USB Mini connector.  The FT232RL mounts as a COM Port on your PC, Mac, or Linux computers when the appropriate drivers are installed from http://www.ftdichip.com/FTDrivers.htm.  Also known as a VCP or Virtual COM Port, the FTDI series chips are second to none in quality, compatibility, Drivers, and reliability.  We have used this line of chips since 2004 with excellent results.

A Virtual COM Port is a COM port that is registered with your PC.  This allows you to develop or use existing software to communicate to our entire line of NCD Industrial controllers.  VCP communications is the easiest of all communication formats to learn, so if you are looking for a place to get started, look no further than the ZUSB USB Interface communications module.  Serial communications are widely supported across all operating systems, programming languages, and computing platforms.  The ZUSB should be considered the essential tool for learning, troubleshooting, and using NCD Industrial devices.

This quick start guide will provide you with step-by-step instructions to help get you connected to your NCD devices.

  1. Install drivers for your operating system http://www.ftdichip.com/FTDrivers.htm.  Note that it is NOT NECESSARY to install these drivers in most versions of Windows as Microsoft has included them as registered drivers in the operating system.

  2. Make sure the ZUSB interface module is firmly seated in the communications socket of the NCD controller.

  3. Connect a USB Micro Cable between the computer and the ZUSB interface module.

  4. Make sure the USB LED illuminates on the ZUSB interface module.  If it does not, the drivers were not properly registered or there is a driver related problem.  The USB LED only illuminates after a COM port has been enumerated by the operating system.  Please contact FTDIChip.com forums if this problem persists, as we are not able to troubleshoot beyond our initial testing prior to shipment.

  5. Download the latest version of Base Station and install on your Windows computer.

  6. Run Base Station Software, the COM Port should be listed and you will be ready to start communicating.

Note: NCD Devices typically operate at 115.2K Baud, some older devices operate with a default baud rate of 9600 Baud or 38.4K Baud.  All ProXR, Fusion, Reactor, Taralist, or similar series controllers have a default baud rate of 115.2K Baud, which may be user adjusted.  The ZUSB has been tested up to 2MB with excellent results, though these speeds are not typical for most applications.

ZUSB Variants

The ZUSB is available in 3 versions, depending on your application:

ZUSB Forward-Facing USB Mini Connector

The ZUSB has a forward facing USB Mini connector for easy access to the front of the USB interface module.

ZUSB-TOP Top-Entry USB Mini Connector

The ZUSB-TOP has a top entry USB Mini connector for easy access to the top of the USB interface module.

ZUSB-TS Dual-Entry USB Mini Connector

The ZUSB-TS has two interface connectors, allowing you to choose the connector that best fits your installation.  Note that you should never attempt to use both connectors simultaneously.

Usage & Electrical Specfications

The ZUSB series modules are designed to operate at 3.3VDC powered by the USB interface.  The ZUSB maps the TX, RX, and Ground lines ONLY, and does not make use of the CTS, DTR, or any other serial communication lines.  The ZUSB is typically used in combination with NCD devices, though it may be compatible with select 3rd party devices.  The on-board FT232RL or compatible chip is used as the primary communications interface.  Power, TX, and RX LEDs illuminate to visually demonstrate communications.  To use this device, simply plug it into any NCD device equipped with a communications module socket, connect to your PC computer, and run our Base Station Software.  We have tested communication speeds up to 2MB Baud with excellent results.

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