As I walked the demo hall at ESC Boston 2015, I was struck by the fact that several embedded development boards, single-board computers, and industrial computers have one or more serial ports. That's right, serial ports as in RS-232/422/485. While test equipment and everyday computers have moved away from the classic port, it's still going strong in many applications.
SBCs have serial ports because it's still used in industrial monitoring and control, and why not? It's mature, well documented, uses easy-to-distinguish voltage levels, and is easy to implement. Furthermore, many data-acquisition and control products still use it. Many makers of PC-based instruments still offer USB-to-serial, PCI-to-serial, and PCIe-to-serial products, but when you need an embedded computer with serial ports, they're also widely available.
The following pages highlight embedded controllers that feature the good-old serial port. Some are board-level products while others are more system-level products that add serial ports to systems.
Here's an example of a board-level product. This industrial ARM-based SBC from Technologic has one serial port, but others shown at ESC have two, three, and four serial ports.
This single-board-computer from Technologic was one of several on display at ESC Boston that includes a serial port.
To Page 2: Industrial board has four serial ports