FAQ

General:

  1. Who is Serialtools LLC?
  2. Where does my item ship from?
  3. Which Bank processes my credit card?
  4. How long does it take for my item to ship?
  5. What are the shipping rates?
  6. Sales Tax information?
  7. How long is the Warranty period?
  8. What is Serialtools LLC Shipping Address?
  9. How do I contact Serial Tools?

Data Meter:

  1. Can the data Meter determine which scoreboard is in use?
  2. Latest Bug Fix for Data Meter
  3. How can I obtain a software update?
  4. What if I find a bug?

One Inch Display:

  1. Latest Bug Fix for 1 inch Display
  2. How can I obtain a software update?
  3. Does the 1 inch Display use MultiPlexing for the digits?
  4. What about accuracy?

DKO Modem:

  1. How many DKO modems do I need?
  2. Where should a DKO modem be placed in the data path?
  3. What is DTE and DCE?
  4. Can it be configured to work with short haul modems?
  5. Why is isolation important?
  6. My Black Box short haul modems require two boxes, why does your DKO modem only need one?

Daktronics Data Tap:

  1. Can’t I just use one of the 1/4″ jacks on the back of the scoreboard console?
  2. What Baud Rate is Daktronics RTD anyway?
  3. What is the maximum cable length allowed with Daktronics RTD?

Working with RS232 scoreboard and speed gun data:

  1. If I make my own RS232 cable, how many conductors do I need?
  2. Why does RS232 Data fail or get flakey sometimes?
  3. What is the maximum length of cable for RS232?
  4. Can I use CAT5 or CAT6 to make up a cable?
  5. Can I use a RS232 “Y” cable?
  6. What Baud Rates are used with Scoreboards and Speed Guns?

Who is Serialtools LLC?

Serialtools was started by Ed Kizer, a truck engineer located in the DC area.

Where does my item ship from?

All devices are manufactured and ship from Maryland.

Which Bank processes my credit card?

Transactions are handled through a PayPal Merchant account. PayPal merchant will send a confirmation email with a transaction account number should questions arise.

How long does it take for my item to ship?

Typical turnaround time is 48 hours but could be less or more depending on availability and production scheduling.

What are the shipping rates?

The following rate chart is used for shipping costs:

Total Shipping Cost
under $200 $8.50 shipping and handling
200.01 to 400.00 $18.30 shipping and handling
400.01 to 650.00 $24.93 shipping and handling
650.01 to 850.00 $45.23 shipping and handling
850.01 and up $65.41 shipping and handling

Sales Tax information?

Maryland residents will be charged 6% sales tax at time of check out.

How long is the Warranty period?

All Serialtool products come with a Five year Warranty

What is Serialtools LLC Shipping Address?

20203 Goshen Rd., #102, Gaithersburg, MD 20879

Contact Information:

Email: sales@serialtools.tv
Email: support@serialtools.tv
Phone or Text: 240-305-5938 (Phone 9-5 EST)


Can the data Meter determine which scoreboard is in use?

Not in all cases. Some Scoreboards send serial protocols that are almost identical. Sometimes the only difference is where scores or period information is located within the data packet. It’s best to identify the scoreboard manufacturer first then use the meter, starting at the source and working your way back to find where your trouble lies.

Latest Bug Fix for Data Meter.

A bug has been found with the DAK_RTD display mode. Daktronics’ latest software release changed the way the shot/play clock data is sent. This causes the display to flash between clock and play/shot clock displays. Software version X.1 fixes the display.

How can I obtain a software update?

Contact Serialtools via email at support@serialtools.tv and request a RMA. Enclose a check for $15.00 to cover return shipping.

What if I find a bug?

Contact Serialtools and provide the information of what you found and we’ll look into it immediately and find a fix.


Latest Bug Fix for 1 inch Display

A bug has been found with the DAK_RTD display mode. Daktronics’ latest software release changed the way the shot/play clock data is sent. This causes the display to flash between clock and play/shot clock displays. Software version X.1 fixes the display.

How can I obtain a software update?

Contact Serialtools via email at support@serialtools.tv and request a RMA. Enclose a check for $15.00 to cover return shipping

Does the 1 inch Display use MultiPlexing for the digits?

No. Multiplexing the display can sometimes cause flickering when shot by a video camera. This display latches each digit into place to avoid flickering.

What about accuracy?

A test was done by doing a side by side video taping of this display with an OES scoreboard display. A frame by frame analysis showed perfect accuracy.


How many DKO Modems do I need?

Only one. Unlike short haul modems that convert RS232 into a 20mA current loop and then back to RS232 again with another box, the DKO Modem works directly from RS232 data streams.

Where should a DKO Modem be placed in the data path?

The DKO Modem should be placed close to the computer that runs the graphical overlay software ie “Bug” box.

What is DTE and DCE?

DTE stands for Data Terminal Equipment and DCE stands for Data Communication Equipment. The RS232 data port on Scoreboards and Speed Guns are typically wired as DCE and use a female 9 pin D-Sub connector. Data is transmitted on pin 2. The RS232 data port on a computer is typically wired as DTE and use a male 9 pin D-Sub connector. Data is received on pin 2.

Can it be configured to work with short haul modems?

Yes. With a simple button push the DKO modem can convert balanced or unbalanced 20mA current loop data transmission back into RS232.

Why is isolation important?

RS232 is a single ended (unbalanced) data transmission method and is subject to the same hum that can be heard with analog audio or seen with analog video.

My short haul modems require two boxes, why does your DKO modem only need one?

Short haul modems work by converting the RS232 into a 20mA current loop and then back again. By converting the data voltage into a current driver much longer transmission distances can be realized. The DKO Modem has an ultra high efficient optical isolator that senses the small current from an RS232 driver to achieve the same performance as two short haul modems.


Can’t I just use one of the 1/4″ jacks on the back of the scoreboard console?

NO! Those jacks, J1, J2 and J3 do not transmit RTD data. There are intended to be used for driving portable scoreboard displays.

What Baud Rate is Daktronics RTD anyway?

19200 Baud

What is the maximum cable length allowed with Daktronics RTD?

Typically 50 feet. A bit more with low capacitance cable. See below for more information.


If I make my own RS232 cable, how many conductors do I need?

For Scoreboard and Speed Gun data only two; Data and Ground

Why does RS232 Data fail or get flakey sometimes?

Because of capacitive cable loading and ground loops. Using too long a cable can distort the waveform of the data. This is caused by the capacitance of the cable conductors. Ground loops form because RS232 is a single ended or unbalanced transmission scheme and both the transmitting device and the receiver share the same ground.

What is the maximum cable length for RS232?

The standard has a clear answer; the maximum cable length is 50 feet, or the cable length equal to a capacitance of 2500pF. The latter rule is often forgotten. This means that using a cable with low capacitance allows you to span longer distances without going beyond the limitations of the standard. If for example Belden 1694A cable is used with a typical capacitance of 16.2 pF/ft, the maximum allowed cable length is 154 feet at 19200 Baud and 1543 feet at 9600 Baud.

The cable length mentioned in the standard allows maximum communication speed to occur. If speed (Baud Rate) is reduced by a factor of 2 or 4, the maximum length increases dramatically. Texas Instruments has done some practical experiments years ago at different baud rates to test the maximum allowed cable lengths. By halving the maximum communication speed, the allowed cable length increases by a factor of ten.

Baud Rate Maximum Cable Length (ft) According to Texas Instruments
19200 50
9600 500
4800 1000
2400 3000

Can I use CAT5 or CAT6 to make up a cable?

Yes. But be aware that CAT5 and CAT6 do not use a shield. Typical RS232 data voltage is 20 volts peak to peak. If you use ethernet cables for RS232 keep them far away from audio cables.

Can I use a RS232 “Y” cable?

Yes. Sometimes the only way to obtain RS232 data is to use a 9 pin “Y” cable. The standard dictates that one transmitter drives one receiver but modern day RS232 drivers have enough current drive and low enough impedance to drive two, sometimes three, other data receivers. Two things to keep in mind; cable capacitive loading, mentioned above, is cumulative. The total cable length is the sum of all cables. Another scenario to be aware of is that sometimes the same data port is used to input stats from another computer into the scoreboard. If the “handshaking” pins are held low or high because of the “Y” cord the stats computer may not communicate properly with the scoreboard. The safest approach is to build your own “Y” cable with one connector passing all pins through and the other connector bridging only the data transmit pin and data ground pin.

What Baud Rates are used with Scoreboards and Speed Guns?

  • Datktronics RTD = 19200
  • Daktronics DSTI (ESPN, FOX etc) = 9600
  • OES = 9600
  • WhiteWay = 9600
  • TransLux = 9600
  • Jugs Gun = 1200
  • Stalker Pro = 9600
  • Stalker Sport = 1200
  • Pitch Effects = 9600