Before I tell you B&B Electronics stories of courage, honor and valor, I've gotta get something off my chest. Which is:
This whole "recession" thingie everyone's hearing about was merely fabricated by the media (you know, the people we trust to deliver the "news" to us) so they'll have more to, uh, g-r-i-p-e about while they pummel us with propaganda about the election.
Did you know that ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX have successfully predicated 40 out of the last 2 recessions?
Yeah, look out baby, cuz the sky is falling. You're on the brink of financial disaster and you should withdraw all your money and hide it under your mattress and retreat into your fallout shelter with your portable TV. You can stand there in terror with your neighbors holding hands as Katie Couric reports the demise of planet earth.
I'm not participating in the current recession and you don't have to either. Look, do your job, buy your beer, go on vacation, live life as normal and ignore the prophets of misery. Eh?
So where was I? Oh yeah, I was supposed to tell you some heroic Geek Hero tales. So here's one:
Here at B&B we put in a new surface mount production line last summer. That line runs two shifts a day and is responsible for half of the products we ship every day. Just like YOU, we can't afford equipment failures.
But failures happen, and when they do it's all about recovery. When our new line went down last week, it was UGLY and we needed help. Thanks to great support from our supplier and the dedication of Daniel, our support contact who happened to be vacationing in Brazil, we went through a complex troubleshooting and repair procedure- 10 hours on the phone - until 1:30 am, Daniel stuck with us all the way.
Which is to say: Friend, we live in the same world. Incredibly busy. Tight deadlines. Multiple conflicting priorities. Demanding customers. Five hours of sleep last night, working against a crazy deadline. Production lines that decide to "stop" just when we've got a backlog of orders that need to go out the door.
Yup, Murphy is alive and well at B&B too.
But we also know there needs to be "go-to" guys like Daniel who knows how to solve the problem and he's even gonna do it if he's gotta sit in his hotel room in Rio De Janeiro until 1:30 am. We do our best to do the same thing for you, when it's time to save YOUR bacon. +353.91.792444.
SOLVING A TECH PUZZLE
We recently did some consulting with a major equipment maker that was developing a new product line with a simple digital control system. These folks had a need for a data connection into their equipment to be used for end-of-line programming, field commissioning and diagnostics.
Needed excellent noise immunity. Ability to communicate a minimum of 30 meters. Throughput of at least 20 kbps. COTs parts with assured availability for a minimum of 10 years.
Oh yeah, and the kicker: Budget of <$3 including connectors for 10,000 units/year.
What would you choose???
(Stop and think about that for a minute before you read on....)
--USB is out - it can only go 5 meters and has limitations on the types of devices it can connect with.
--Ethernet - good distance, good noise immunity, but no chance of hitting $3
--Wireless technologies - everyone thought it had great aesthetic appeal but no chance of hitting $3
--RS-232 - meets cost and throughput, but 30 meters requirement is a stretch and poor noise immunity
--RS-485 - there's our answer. Outstanding noise immunity and range. Long term availability from many suppliers (did you know the 485 chip market continues to grow at 7% a year?). And, it beats the $3 budget.
That problem solved, the engineers went off to do their designs. A few months later, they call back. "We've got our prototypes working and are going to production in 6 months. But our field service guys are going to need a diagnostic tool."
Enter USB. 2007 was an absolute banner year for our USB to serial converter products. Production had to keep raising forecasts on standard products and it seemed like every week we got a call from another OEM asking for a customized version to use as a field service tool with their equipment.
Same story on every call, only the names and quantities changed: "My field service team no longer has an RS-232 port on their laptops and now can't connect to (fill in the blank)".
USB is a great way to connect a laptop to field equipment. Most often, you'll need RS-485, so we've got a pile of isolated and non-isolated USB to RS-485 and RS-232 converters to choose from.
Handy new "mini" converters:
USB to Isolated RS-422/485, RS-232
USB to Serial – every flavor to choose from:
OK.... One more thing about this recession: They said that RS-232 would go away. "232, Rest In Peace." That was what, 10 years ago? They thought USB would REPLACE 232.
NOT. It's still trucking along. Remember what I said about 485 chips increasing 7% a year for the foreseeable future? 232 chip sales are up too.
Look pal, RS-232 ain't going away. 485 ain't going away. You're job's not going away and the world's not coming to an end. Despite what Katie Couric would have you believe.
So hey, if you wanna drop by our offices in Ireland and hold hands while the world does NOT come to an end, be my guest. There's always someone in the lunchroom who needs a friend. Meanwhile, I got work to do!