Serial Commander Series


Over the years, we have developed a number of variants of the Serial Commander.  All of them take some number of dry contact closure inputs and transmit serial strings via RS232 protocol.  All Serial Commanders are three wire devices (no hardware flow control or hand shaking) and operate off wall warts supplying 9-12vdc and 350ma.  Physical port is a DB9 female wired as a DCE (transmit on pin-2, receive on pin-3 and ground on pin-5).  Most have diode input protection as well as protection from reverse polarity power application.  All contact closure inputs are screw terminated on a plug into a terminal block on the PCB.

SerialCommander8-Input Serial Commander

This version quickly evolved from the first Commander.  It only had eight inputs (all diode protected), but it could be enclosed in a small plastic case or mounted on standoffs.  It is most applicable when you only need eight or less inputs, you do not need a lot of memory for long strings and there is only limited requirements for receive data processing.  It can also be programed to poll the device and issue commands based on the status it receives.  Generally, we suggest BAUDs of 19200 or under, but it can do higher BAUDS realizing its receive processing capability is limited.  It is also the only current Commander that has the optional case.  Click on image for closer view.

5input Serial5-Input Serial Commander with Feedback

One of the main purposes for the Serial Commander was to give kiosk designers a way to provide visitors an interface with an mpeg or PC based system without the use of keyboards and mice.  So providing button input to RS232 was a perfect solution.  However, many museum content designers wanted to provide user button feedback in these kiosks.  So we developed this version of the Serial Commander.  It only has five inputs for visitor input, but it also has five outputs to illuminate the five buttons.  The PC conveys which of the buttons to illuminate via a serial string back to the Commander and can change them at any time.  Now the designer can have the buttons illuminate however they want for attract purposes.  If the visitor is selecting a video or audio to play, the designer can extinguish all button lights except for the one playing for visual feedback.  Or, they can do a light dance as a pay off if the visitor correctly responds to the exhibit.  In this version, we also provide diagnostic LEDs which indicate positive contact closure input and reflect the state of the outputs for development and installation purposes.


  • Serial Commander, 8 input, raw circuit card $175
  • Serial Commander, 8 input in plastic enclosure $215
  • Serial Commander, 5 input with feedback raw circuit card $240
  • Programming – Simple string output per input and the user determines the strings. – no cost
  • Programming – Complex parsing, on the fly string assembly or we develop and validate the strings – Call