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RS-485, also known as TIA-485(-A), EIA-485, is a ten for data on each span and then retransmit the data onto
standard dening the electrical characteristics of drivers all other spans.
and receivers for use in serial communications systems.
Electrical signaling is balanced and multipoint systems
are supported. The standard is jointly published by the
Telecommunications Industry Association and Electronic
Industries Alliance (TIA/EIA). Digital communications
networks implementing the standard can be used eec-
tively over long distances and in electrically noisy envi- 680
ronments. Multiple receivers may be connected to such
a network in a linear, multi-drop conguration. These
characteristics make such networks useful in industrial
environments and similar applications.
The EIA once labeled all its standards with the prex
RS (Recommended Standard), but the EIA-TIA of-
cially replaced RS with EIA/TIA to help identify
the origin of its standards.[1] The EIA has ocially dis-
banded and the standard is now maintained by the TIA. 680
The RS-485 standard is superseded by TIA-485, but of-
ten engineers and applications guides continue to use the
RS-485 designation.

Typical bias network together with termination. Biasing and ter-

1 Overview mination values are not specied in the RS-485 standard.

RS-485 supports inexpensive local networks and Ideally, the two ends of the cable will have a termination
multidrop communications links, using the same resistor connected across the two wires. Without termi-
dierential balanced line over twisted pair as RS-422. It nation resistors, reections of fast driver edges can cause
is generally accepted that RS-485 can be used with data data corruption. Termination resistors also reduce elec-
rates up to 10 Mbit/s and distances up to 1,200 m (4,000 trical noise sensitivity due to the lower impedance. The
ft), but not at the same time.[2] A rule of thumb is that the value of each termination resistor should be equal to the
speed in bit/s multiplied by the length in meters should cable characteristic impedance (typically, 120 ohms for
not exceed 108 . Thus a 50 meter cable should not signal twisted pairs). Somewhere along the set of wires, pull up
faster than 2 Mbit/s.[3] Under some conditions it can be or pull down resistors are established to fail-safe bias each
used up to data transmission speeds of 64 Mbit/s.[4] data wire when the lines are not being driven by any de-
vice. This way, the lines will be biased to known voltages
In contrast to RS-422, which has a single driver circuit and nodes will not interpret the noise from undriven lines
which cannot be switched o, RS-485 drivers use three- as actual data; without biasing resistors, the data lines
state logic allowing individual transmitters to be deac- oat in such a way that electrical noise sensitivity is great-
tivated. This allows RS-485 to implement linear bus est when all device stations are silent or unpowered.[6]
topologies using only two wires. The equipment located
along a set of RS-485 wires are interchangeably called
nodes, stations or devices.[5] The recommended arrange-
ment of the wires is as a connected series of point-to- 2 Standard scope and denition
point (multidropped) nodes, i.e. a line or bus, not a
star, ring, or multiply connected network. Star and ring RS-485 only species electrical characteristics of the
topologies are not recommended because of signal reec- generator and the receiver. It does not specify or rec-
tions or excessively low or high termination impedance. ommend any communications protocol, only the physical
If a star conguration is unavoidable, special RS-485 layer. Other standards dene the protocols for commu-
star/hub repeaters are available which bidirectionally lis- nication over an RS-485 link. The foreword to the stan-


dard recommends The Telecommunications Systems Bul- ber of nodes on a network.

letin TSB-89 which contains application guidelines, in-
cluding data signaling rate vs. cable length, stub length,
and congurations. 5 Applications
Section 4 denes the electrical characteristics of the gen-
erator (transmitter or driver), receiver, transceiver, and RS-485 signals are used in a wide range of computer
system. These characteristics include: denition of a and automation systems. In a computer system, SCSI2
unit load, voltage ranges, open circuit voltages, thresh- and SCSI-3 may use this specication to implement the
olds, and transient tolerance. It also denes three genera- physical layer for data transmission between a controller
tor interface points (signal lines); A, B and C. The and a disk drive. RS-485 is used for low-speed data com-
data is transmitted on A and B. C is a ground ref- munications in commercial aircraft cabins vehicle bus. It
erence. This section also denes the logic states 1 (o) requires minimal wiring, and can share the wiring among
and 0 (on), by the polarity between A and B terminals. If several seats, reducing weight.
A is negative with respect to B, the state is binary 1. The
RS-485 is used as the physical layer underlying many
reversed polarity (A +, B ) is binary 0. The standard
standard and proprietary automation protocols used to
does not assign any logic function to the two states.
implement Industrial Control Systems, including the most
common versions of Modbus and Probus. DH 485 is
a proprietary communications protocol used by Allen-
3 Master-slave arrangement Bradley in their line of industrial control units. Utilizing
a series of dedicated interface devices, it allows PCs and
Often in a master-slave arrangement when one device industrial controllers to communicate in a local area net-
dubbed the master initiates all communication activ- work utilizing a token passing medium access control.[8]
ity, the master device itself provides the bias and not the These are used in programmable logic controllers and on
slave devices. In this conguration, the master device is factory oors. Since it is dierential, it resists electro-
typically centrally located along the set of RS-485 wires, magnetic interference from motors and welding equip-
with two slave devices located at the physical end of the ment.
wires providing termination. The master device itself In theatre and performance venues RS-485 networks
could provide termination if it were located at a physi- are used to control lighting and other systems using the
cal end of the wires, but that is generally regarded as a DMX512 protocol.
bad topology design[7] as the master operates optimally
RS-485 is also used in building automation as the sim-
when located at a halfway point between the slave devices,
ple bus wiring and long cable length is ideal for joining
thereby maximizing signal strength and therefore line dis-
remote devices. It may be used to control video surveil-
tance and speed. Applying the bias at multiple node lo-
lance systems or to interconnect security control panels
cations could possibly cause a violation of the RS-485
and devices such as access control card readers.
specication and cause communications to malfunction.
It is also used in model railway: the layout is con-
trolled by a command station using Digital Command
Control (DCC). The external interface to the DCC
4 Full duplex operation command station is often RS-485 used by hand-held
controllers[9] or for controlling the layout in a network/PC
RS-485, like RS-422, can be made full-duplex by using environment.[10] Connectors in this case are 8P8C / RJ45.
four wires. Since RS-485 is a multi-point specication,
Although many applications use RS-485 signal levels; the
however, this is not necessary in many cases. RS-485 and
speed, format, and protocol of the data transmission is
RS-422 can interoperate with certain restrictions.
not specied by RS-485. Interoperability of even simi-
Converters between RS-485 and other formats are avail- lar devices from dierent manufacturers is not assured
able to allow a personal computer to communicate with by compliance with the signal levels alone.
remote devices. By using Repeaters and Multi-
Repeaters very large RS-485 networks can be formed.
TSB-89A, The Application Guidelines for TIA/EIA- 6 Signals
485-A has one diagram called Star Conguration. Not
recommended. Using an RS-485 Multi-Repeater can
RS-485 does not specify any connector or pinout.
allow for Star Congurations with Home Runs (or
Circuits may be terminated on screw terminals, D-
multi-drop) connections similar to Ethernet Hub/Star im-
subminiature connectors, or other types of connectors.
plementations (with greater distances). Hub/Star systems
(with Multi-Repeaters) allow for very maintainable sys- The RS-485 dierential line consists of two pins:
tems, without violating any of the RS-485 specications.
Repeaters can also be used to extend the distance or num- A aka '+' aka Data + (D+) aka TxD+/RxD+ aka

FTDI, as seen in their datasheet for the USB-RS485-


These manufacturers are correct, and their practice is in

widespread use, but care must be taken when using A/B
With Modbus, BacNet and Probus, A/B labeling refers
A as the negative green wire and B as the positive red wire,
in the denition of the D-sub connector and M12 circu-
lar connector, as can be seen in Probus guides.[17][18]
As long as standard excludes logic function of the gener-
ator or receiver,[19] it would make sense A (green, nega-
tive) is higher than B (red, positive). However this con-
tradicts the facts that an idle mark state is a logical one
and the termination polarization puts B at a higher voltage
in Probus guidelines.[20] That so-called 'Pesky Polarity'
RS-485 3 wire connection
problem [21] raised confusion which made authors think
A is inverting within the TIA-485-A standard itself [22]
non-inverting pin and advise to swap what is A and B in drivers and line
labeling as can be read in a section of an application bul-
B aka '-' aka Data - (D-) aka TxD-/RxD- aka in- letin: Design Consideration #3: Sometimes Bus Node A
verting pin Isnt Really Bus Node A".[23] It is now a common design
decision to make this inversion which involves the fol-
An optional, third pin may be present (the TIA stan- lowing polarity chain: UART/MCU idle => TTL/CMOS
dard (ANSI/TIA/EIA-485-A, page 15, A.4.1) requires = +5V => Line B voltage > Line A voltage, implying A,
the presence of a common return path between all circuit the green wire, is indeed connected to the driver inverting
grounds along the balanced line for proper operation) : signal, as seen in a whitepaper.[24]
To avoid these confusions, some equipment manufactur-
SC aka G aka reference pin.
ers have created a third D+ and D naming convention.
D is the input (drive) signal, D is electrically inverting,
These names are all in use on various equipment, but the and D+ is electrically non-inverting.
actual standard released by EIA only uses the names A
and B. The B line is positive (compared to A) when data In addition to the A and B connections, the EIA stan-
is 1. However, despite the unambiguous standard, there dard also species a third interconnection point called
is much confusion about which is which. The RS-485 SC, which is the common signal reference ground. This
signaling specication shows that signal A is the non- connection may be used to limit the common-mode signal
inverting pin and signal B is the inverting pin.[11] This is that can be impressed on the receiver inputs. This third
in accordance with the A/B naming used by most dier- signal is the reference potential used by the transceiver to
ential transceiver manufacturers, including, among oth- measure the A and B voltages.
ers: The standard does not discuss cable shielding, but makes
some recommendations on preferred methods of inter-
Texas Instruments, as seen in their application hand- connecting the signal reference common and equipment
book on EIA-422/485 communications (A=non- case grounds.
inverting, B=inverting)
Intersil, as seen in their data sheet for the ISL4489
Maxim, as seen in their data sheet for the MAX483
transceiver[13] 7 Waveform example
Linear Technology, as seen in their datasheet for the
LTC2850, LTC2851, LTC2852[14]
The diagram below shows potentials of the '+' and '' pins
Analog Devices, as seen in their datasheet for the of an RS-485 line during transmission of one byte (0xD3,
ADM3483, ADM3485, ADM3488, ADM3490, least signicant bit rst) of data using an asynchronous
ADM3491[15] start-stop method.

[12] Data Sheet FN6074.3: 15kV ESD Protected, 1/8 Unit

Load, 5V, Low Power, High Speed and Slew Rate Lim-
ited, Full Duplex, RS-485/RS-422 Transceivers (PDF).
Mark Mark Space Mark Mark
Intersil Corporation. 28 April 2006.
U+ [13] Data Sheet 19-0122
U_ MAX481/MAX483/MAX485/MAX487
MAX491/MAX1487: Low-Power, Slew-Rate-Limited
Idle Start 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 Idle

RS-485/RS-422 Transceivers (PDF). Maxim Integrated.
September 2009.

[14] LTC2850/LTC2851/LTC2852 3.3V 20Mbps

RS485/RS422 Transceivers (PDF). Linear Tech-
nology Corporation. 2007.
8 See also
[15] ADM3483/ADM3485/ADM3488/ADM3490/ADM3491
(Rev. E)" (PDF). Analog Devices, Inc. 22 November
List of network buses
RS-232 [16] USB to RS485 Serial Converter Cable Datasheet
(PDF). Future Technology Devices International Ltd. 27
RS-423 May 2010.

UART [17] Probus Interconnection Guideline (PDF)". 1.4. P In-

ternational. January 2007. p. 7. (registration required

9 References [18] SIMATIC NET Probus Network Manual (PDF)"

(PDF). Siemens. April 2009. p. 157.
[1] Trim-the-fat-o-RS-485-designs. EE Times. 2000. [19] RS-485 Technical Manual, TIA-485 section. Wiki-
[2] https://www.maximintegrated.com/en/app-notes/index.
mvp/id/3884 [20] Probus Interconnection Guideline (PDF)". 1.4. P In-
ternational. January 2007. p. 8. (registration required
[3] Soltero, Manny; Zhang, Jing; Cockril, Chris; Zhang, (help)).
Kevin; Kinnaird, Clark; Kugelstadt, Thomas (May 2010)
[2002]. RS-422 and RS-485 Standards Overview and Sys- [21] RS-485 Technical Manual, That Pesky Polarity. Wiki-
tem Congurations, Application Report (pdf). Texas In- books.
struments (Technical report). SLLA070D.
[22] RS485 Polarity Issues. Chipkins Automation Systems.
[4] http://www.ti.com/lit/sg/slyt484a/slyt484a.pdf
[23] Application Bulletin AB-19, Probus Compliance: A
[5] Electronic Industries Association (1983). Electrical Char- Hardware Design Guide (PDF). NVE Corporation.
acteristics of Generators and Receivers for Use in Bal- 2010.
anced Multipoint Systems. EIA Standard RS-485. OCLC [24] White paper: Polarities for Dierential Pair Signals.
10728525. Advantech B+B SmartWorx.
[6] DS3695,DS3695A,DS3695AT,DS3695T,DS96172,
DS96174,DS96F172MQML,DS96F174MQML: Ap-
plication Note 847 FAILSAFE Biasing of Dierential 10 External links
Buses (Literature Number: SNLA031)" (PDF). Texas
Instruments. 2011. TUTORIAL 763: Guidelines for Proper Wiring
[7] Thomas, George (MarchApril 2008). Examining the of an RS-485 (TIA/EIA-485-A) Network. Maxim
BACnet MS/TP Physical Layer (PDF). the Extension. Integrated. 19 November 2001.
Contemporary Control Systems, Inc. 9 (2).
RS232 to RS485 cable pinout. Pinouts.ru. 7 Oc-
[8] DH-485 Industrial Local Area Network Overview. tober 2012.
Rockwell Automation. Retrieved 10 September 2010.
RS485 serial information. Lammert Bies. August
[9] lenzusa.com, XpressNET FAQ, accessed July 26, 2015 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2012. Practical
information about implementing RS485
[10] bidib.org, BiDiBus, a Highspeed-Bus for model-
railways, accessed July 26, 2015. Scordino, Claudio (22 November 2011). Linux
RS485 support. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
[11] Polarity conventions (PDF). Texas Instruments. 2003. Implementation of RS485 standard in the Linux OS

Marais, Hein (2008). APPLICATION NOTE

AN-960: RS-485/RS-422 Circuit Implementation
Guide (PDF). Analog Devices.

11 Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses

11.1 Text
RS-485 Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RS-485?oldid=769465281 Contributors: Maury Markowitz, Smack, Arteitle, Royce, Ra-
diojon, UtherSRG, Giftlite, DavidCary, Fleminra, Funvill, MementoVivere, Mjuarez, CanisRufus, Femto, Frodet, M7, Lectonar, Wd-
farmer, Marianocecowski, Velella, Wtshymanski, Gene Nygaard, Isnow, LinkTiger, FlaBot, Sydbarrett74, Homo stannous, Chobot, Bg-
white, Roboto de Ajvol, Wavelength, DMahalko, Armistej, Chris Capoccia, Shaddack, RussNelson, Voidxor, Zwobot, Jeh, Deville, Jzap,
Back ache, Kevin, Nelson50, ViperSnake151, SmackBot, JoeMarce, Commander Keane bot, Elronxenu, Charlierichmond, Sfxtd, Chris
the speller, Bluebot, EncMstr, Yozi66, MaxSem, Frap, AlexBadea, Adamarthurryan, Littleman TAMU, SlayerK, Dicklyon, Kvng, Petr
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ditis, SEREGA784, Rhdv, MagicBobert, Dbrunner, J.delanoy, Molly-in-md, STBotD, HighKing, Deor, VolkovBot, Oshwah, Intchanter,
Gri6507, Jhawkinson, Biscuittin, Ronaldesmith, Fahidka, OsamaBinLogin, Lightmouse, Fratrep, Frappucino, CiudadanoGlobal, Foxj,
Jacques.boudreau, Arjayay, Dekisugi, Jonverve, Gg-labz, Joel Saks, XLinkBot, Addbot, Mortense, Cst17, Download, Rchard2scout, Light-
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