Monday, February 26, 2007

Serial Cables - Serial Data Communication

Serial Connectivity (

As technology has advanced and we've needed to pass more and more data more and more quickly between devices, serial communication has become more important. Serial communication transmits data in a precise series so that minimum skewing or modulation occurs. While it isn't as fast as parallel communication in short distances, it is superior, especially in long distances and when speed isn't exactly an issue, to older standards.

In order to make sure that all manufacturers that used serial communication could connect together, the EIA/TIA created the RS-232 standard. This way, serial keyboards, joysticks, scanners, and other equipment could be connected to terminals like computers. That same standard is followed today, but affects mainly the devices being connected, not the connection itself. Two devices with RS-232 compliant ports should be able to connect with any serial cables.

The most common connector type on a serial cable is the DB-9 connector. This D-Subminiature style connector has 9 pins in a "D" shaped footprint. L-com carries a wide variety of these types of cables, including economy D-Sub cables, deluxe, and premium (double shielded) style. These are all molded and factory terminated and tested.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Coaxial Crimp Tools

Coax Crimping Tools (

Coax cables are relatively easy to put together, if you have the right equipment and know what you're doing. That is because most coax connectors are "crimp style". That isn't to say all of them are, but twist-ons don't always get as great a connection, solder styles are sometimes sensitive to bending and flexing, and compression styles are just rare.

If you are going to be making a lot of coax cable assemblies, you'll need a coax crimping tool. These are fairly wrench-like in shape and design, but in the jaws of the devices there is a "hex" shaped hole. Different coax connectors require different sized hexes to properly crimp them.

When you are buying coax connectors, make sure to check with the manufacturer what the crimping dimensions are. At L-com, we usually put them on the engineering drawing, which you can freely download from our site. Once you know the crimping dimensions, make sure that you have or that you get a crimping tool with the correct sized hex die. Many crimping tools have the dies already permanently attached so you don't have to worry about losing extra pieces. But other crimp tools are more like frames for interchangeable dies, allowing you to use the same tool in multiple situations.

If you need help selecting a tool for your job, contact us at L-com and we will walk you through it!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Category Rated Modular Couplers

Modular Couplers for Phone and Ethernet (

One of the great things about modular networks is that they're... well... modular! Networks in these cases are easily set up and customizable to whatever architecture you'd like to employ.

A key component of modular networks are the couplers. Most often these are designed to be panel mountable, so they can be mounted either in a wiring closet rack panel, or in a faceplate or wall plate at a workstation.

Because modular couplers have become so ubiquitous, a large variety of colors, shapes, and make-ups are now available. L-com carries a line of modular couplers called the ECF series that have a flange that can be screwed down to a panel. Apart from that, a popular style of panel-mount coupler is the keystone style. These are designed to snap-in to holes cut to the correct dimensions.

Make sure, when you source your coupler, that you get one that meets your applications. For instance, if you are going to be using shielded twisted pair cabling (STP), you should get shielded modular couplers as well. Also, a network will run at the speed of the lowest category rated component. So, if you have a Category 5e network set up, don't try to put a Category 3 coupler in it because that will slow the whole network. You can use a higher category rated coupler, such as a Cat 6 coupler, but don't go lower.

At L-com, you can get the panel dimensions from our couplers on the engineering drawings, download-able for free from the item level page of each coupler.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007 Web Site Update

Updates to (

I apologize that
I hadn't written a blog entry in so long, but we've been cooking up lots of events here at L-com. The web site is now updated with all sorts of enhancements. The first that you'll notice is the image on our home page is now a rotating gif and is clickable. Clicking on the item family that you see will bring you to a page where you can browse that kind of item.

In searches, you will notice that the page numbers are listed rather than just a "next" and "previous" button, as we had before. This will let you flip through our huge connectivity product listings more easily. We've also updated the search engine on our site to be a little more intuitive.

You may notice that on the left-hand side of our pages the navigation has changed slightly. We now list "Shop By Type" above "Shop By Category", and we've included a link to Overstock and Sale Items.

The biggest changes, though, are when you place an order online. We want the process of shopping online to be as convenient as calling or faxing orders to us.

First, when you add a cable, connector, adapter, or other connectivity product to your cart, you won't be sent to the cart page and have to back up if you want to add more items. Instead, you'll get a message that your cart has been updated and you'll stay where you are until you've finished shopping. You may see the cart icon at the top of the page blink red when there's something in it just to remind you that its there.

When you check out, if you are a new user, you won't need to enter your password up front. We'll let you go through the whole process first. You will have to put in a user name and password at the end, but we won't make you re-type all your information. We'll take it from your billing address. Speaking of the billing address, if you want to copy that to the shipping, you can easily do that now, no need to manually type it in.

Is that it? No, there's lots of other little enhancements all over the site. Check it out! Explore the whole line of products, check out the free technical information, and be sure to let us know if you have suggestions or ideas! We maintain our website for you, after all, to make shopping easier for you and more convenient.