Category Archives: Equustek Product Information

What is a protocol converter in networking?


In networking, a protocol converter is a program or a device that converts from one protocol to another allowing inter-dependability between systems or devices that use dissenting protocols. Essentially, communication protocols are the rules that define how the data passing through a system are to be processed and transmitted. If two or more systems or devices don’t use the same protocol, then they cannot understand (communicate with) each other; thus the need for a protocol converter.

In simple words, a protocol converter converts from protocol to another in order to permit the systems to achieve interoperability.

The protocols are software installed on routers that transfer commands from one system to another. The process incorporates conversion of data, commands, their encoding, demonstration and enclosing to accomplish the transformation.  

There is a whole host of protocols used in numerous fields of networking that includes events and time synchronization, conversion of data messages, major protocol translation messages involve commands, AMR, automation, utilities, transmission and distribution, power generation, oil and gas, and remote monitoring applications.

A protocol converter works by utilizing an internal master protocol for communicating with the external devices. The data collected is then used for updating the converter’s internal database. There are numerous physical mediums used for communication on protocol-X and Y including the Ethernet, RS-232, and RS-485 among others.

Types of protocol converters

There are primarily two types of protocol converters used in networking. They are:

  1. Software Protocol Converters
  2. Hardware Protocol Converters

Choosing a protocol converter

When choosing a protocol converter, it is critical to go for a converter that best suits your communication and application setup. The following are the three factors to consider when choosing a protocol converter.

  • Total number of connections: Some protocol converters have only single connections, while others have as many as 32 connections including multiple serial ports.
  • Connectivity protocol: The protocol converter must support the protocol used by your network whether Ethernet, RS-232, RS-422 or RS-485.
  • Baud Rate: The protocol converter you choose must have high baud rates for high performance.

Applications of a protocol converter

The applications of a protocol converter differ from industry to industry. Depending on the protocols, it can be a software converter or a hardware converter. Some of the key applications of a protocol converter include building automation, vehicle automation applications, automatic meter reading, process automation, industrial automation, and substation automation.

In situations, where a signal from the system or device is inept at coexisting with the protocols used by the network management system or building management system, a protocol converter is best suited.

A protocol converter can receive up to a maximum of 1024 inputs over 32 modules, allowing for flexible integration with multiple alarm and management systems using a single device. On the other hand, the protocol converters are used with fiber media converters, PDH multiplexes, PCI Express network cards, DWDM equipment, CWDM, and switches.

Final Words

All in all, protocol converters play an essential role in telecommunication and networking applications.  

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DL3500 General Operation & Applications

DL3500 General Operation & Applications

The DL3500 continues the functionality of the DL2000/DL3000 product line. It offers both the new addition of DH485 as well as a plug and play USB interface. As well as having the DH+ and 232/422/485 capabilities of the DL3000. Two DL3500 Models will also allow Bridging between DH+ and DH485networks. New is the ability to power the DL3500 from the USB communication link, removing the sometimes cumbersome procedure of location an AC or DC power supply when using laptops or PC’s inthe field.

The DL3500 has two communication ports. Channel A is designed to connect to you industrial network,either AB DH+ or DH485 networks. Channel B is used to connect to your serial or USB device, the protocol depends on which flavour (model) of the DL3500 you have ordered.

Channel B has the capabilities of RS232C, RS422, RS485 and USB 2.0. Configuration of the operating parameters is done quickly and easily by the DL32 V3.X windows based software shipped with the unit or available on the Equustek Website. Currently there are three standard DL3500 products available to allow access to A-B’s DH-485 and DH+ network.

Many other custom ASCII and serial protocols have been implemented to Both DH+ and DH-485 on the DL3500 platform. Contact Equustek Solutions to see if the DL3500 is the correct device for your communication needs.

The DL3500 has all three models below available in DH+ and DH485 flavours:

The DL3500-Modbus is a two port device that bridges your Modicon Modbus devices to ones on an Allen Bradley DH485 or DH+ network. The Modbus model can either be used as Modbus Master or Modbus Slave as well as having both Modbus ASCII and RTU protocols.

The DL3500-DF1 is a two port device that allows your DF1 devices (either Full or Half Duplex protocols) to ones on an Allen Bradley DH485 or Allen Bradley DH+ network. The DF1 model is a direct replacement for the 1770-KF3 for DH-485 and 1770-KF2 for DH+ and allows your PCs or Laptops access to any node on the corresponding A-B network.

The DL3500-ASCII interfaces Serial ASCII devices (Scanners/Printers) to SLC’s or other devices on an Allen Bradley DH485 or DH+ network. The DL3500-DF1/DH+ or DH485 interfaces your DF1 devices (either Full or Half Duplex protocols) to ones on either an AB DH485 or DH+ network. The DL3500 comes with both networks available with only using the software configuration program to switch between the DH485 and DH+ networks


DL4000 General Operation & Applications

The DL4000 hardware platform was designed to be used as a smart Serial to Serial converter. It comes in a DC powered Din-Rail Mountable compact cabinet for ease of portability and installation. Standard protocols such as Modicon Modbus and Allen Bradley’s DF1 exist already. Other protocols and operations are easily programmed per customer’s requests.

The DL4000 has three serial channels, CHA, CHB, and CHC for intermixing protocols and communication standards. RS232C, RS422 and RS485 are available on CHA and CHB, while CHC only does RS232. Configuration of the operating parameters is done quickly and easily by the DL32 V3.X for all DL4000 models except DL4000-DMX use EQ32, both EQ32 and DL32 are windows based software shipped with the unit or available on the Equustek Website. Currently there are five standard DL4000 products available and many other customized ASCII protocol interfaces have been done.

Contact Equustek Solutions to see if the DL4000 is the correct device for your communication needs.

The DL4000-DMX is a two port device that bridges your Modicon Modbus devices to ones using the DF1 protocol. The DMX can either be used as Modbus Master or Slave as well as having both Modbus ASCII and RTU protocols.

The DL4000-DFX is a three port DF1 device. This will allow Two DF1 devices to talk to one CH0 of a PLC or SLC. The ability to intermix Half-Duplex and Full Duplex, or RS232 and RS422 greatly improves the effectiveness of the PLC’s CH0 programming port

The DL4000-MMX allows Modbus RTU devices to communicate with multiple Modbus ASCII devices. The DL4000-DAS interfaces Serial ASCII devices (Scanners/Printers) to A-B’s DF1 protocol.

The DL4000-MAS interfaces Serial ASCII Scanners to Modicon’s Modbus Protocol. The DL4000-MAS acts as a Modbus Master device and writes the ASCII data to a specific register in a specified slave device.

Using Wonderware’s ABTCP driver with the EQ7000

Wonderware’s ABTCP IO Server is capable of reading and writing data to devices on the DH+ using the EQ7000. Before any data can be read or written, a new local host must be created in the host file and a topic must be defined in the ABTCP IO Server.

Configuring the Hosts File The hosts file contains the names of local hosts and the IP addresses that are assigned to them. You must add a new entry to the hosts file with the IP address of the EQ7000. Below are the steps to adding a new entry to the hosts file.

1. Locate and open the hosts file. The host file can be found in the following directory. C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc

2. Open the hosts file using a text editor like Notepad. You will see the following.











3. Add a line at the end of the file specifying a new host name and IP address and then save the file. In the example below, the host name EQ7000 is added and has an IP address of









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Communicating via Allen Bradley Ethernet ip protocol


The EQ7000 can accept messages sent by the Allen Bradley ethernet ip protocol. Therefore devices capable of communicating using Allen Bradley ethernet protocol can access devices on the DH+ network. Browsing specific nodes on the DH+ network is possible using RSLinx.


To do this, an Ethernet driver must be configured in RSLinx gateway with the IP address of the EQ7000 mapped to each node that exists on the network. Sending Messages to DH+ devices To communicate to nodes on the DH+ network using AB Ethernet switch, remote messaging must be used. Using local messaging will only allow communication to a single device located at node 0 on the DH+. When using remote messaging, the source and destination link ID’s are not needed and can be left as 0. The destination address (or remote address) will be the value of the DH+ node address. Please note that DH+ uses octal notation and the application that is being used to setup the message may use decimal notation.Below is an example of how to setup a remote message in a SLC 5/05 to read data from node 7 on the DH+ network through the EQ7000 at