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EIA232FToday signal transmission systems are much more robust, meaning a +/-12V signal is unnecessary. The EIA232F standard (introduced in 1997) is basically the same as the RS232 standard, but now it can accept a much more reasonable 0V to 5V signal. Almost all current computers (after 2002) utilize a serial port based on this EIA-232 standard. This is great, because now you no longer need the annoying MAX232 circuit!Instead what you can use is something called the RS232 shifter - a circuit that takes signals from the computer/microcontroller (TTL) and correctly inverts and amplifies the serial signals to the EIA232F standard.If you'd like to learn more about these standards, check out this RS232 and EIA232 tutorial (external site).The cheapest RS232 shifter I've found is the $7 RS232 Shifter Board Kit from SparkFun. They have schematics of their board posted if you'd rather make your own.
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