Maximum cable lengths
Cable length is one of the most discussed items in RS232 world. The standard has a clear answer, the maximum cable length is 50 feet, or the cable length equal to a capacitance of 2500 pF. 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 UTP CAT-5 cable is used with a typical capacitance of 17 pF/ft, the maximum allowed cable length is 147 feet.
The cable length mentioned in the standard allows maximum communication speed to occur. If speed is reduced by a factor 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. Keep in mind, that the RS232 standard was originally developed for 20 kbps. By halving the maximum communication speed, the allowed cable length increases a factor ten!
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