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  • #16

    Just an FYI on the EtherRain controllers. I bought one and tested it for a day or two and have since bought 3 more. It does exactly as advertised and I had no issues installing or configuring it. Takes about 30 minutes including deploying project to iPad and iPhone. Very simple and easy to control with basic scripts (and I don't do scripts very well). Very pleased with the product. Thanks to all for comments and suggestions.


    • #17
      RS-232 vs Ethernet...

      Here's some information on RS-232 and Ethernet as it relates to reliability/longevity. In addition, here is some information about the impact of surges/transients on semiconductor devices.

      1. RS-232
      The endpoints of an RS-232 connection are assumed to be tied to a common ground. If one device say the computer, is tied to a house ground, the other device must be tied to the same house ground. If it is not, if it is tied to a different ground, or it in ungrounded as might be the case if powered by a 24VAC transformer, your installation is subject to ground loops which can be signicant especially in the case of transients, and can easily cause semiconductor failure. RS-232: both devices should be connected to the same ground.

      Here's some info from wikipedia:

      2. Ethernet
      The Ethernet wire is isolated from it's endpoints. The connectors contain magnetic transformers and the signals are AC coupled. In a standards-based install, no ground loops can flow. This is not to say that lightning can't jump the transformer, only that Ethernet is more protected from surges and destructive ground loops that standard RS-232.

      EtherRain is electrically isolated from both the data connection and the power source by way of transformers so is not subject to ground loop problems, even if your common wire is independently grounded (which can happen by accident!)

      Semiconductor devices and Failure from transients:

      All semiconductors are subject to failure from not only transients but also EMI (electromagnetic interference). The amount of time that a semiconductor lasts depends on its manufacture and the number of surges that it is exposed to. Surge protectors, (MOVs and TVS diodes) wear out, but take the hit instead of your more valuable end-device. Surge protectors can only protect up to the limit for which they were designed and can be overwhelmed by a large surge or lightning.

      Heres a link:

      Of course surge protection may fail if you have ground loop issues.

      The issue is complex but hopefully this provides a little more understanding and it also might explain why some installations experience no issues while others may see equipment failures.