A Device in Laboperator refers to any kind of external resource of data that has some kind of interface that can be used to connect it to Laboperator, like for example a balance, a sensor or a control software of a complex analytical instrument. Any device that's not yet in the Labopertor device portfolio needs an initial development of a new device type and potentially a device driver.
Devices with hardware interfaces
Many laboratory devices (e.g. balances or ph-meters) are provided with hardware interfaces such as USB, RS232 or Ethernet. Any hardware interface that can be mapped to USB can be connected to the Laboperator Connector Box using a corresponding cable (e.g. 9-pin RS232 to USB-A). Besides, the vendor of the device must provide an interface description based on which a device type can be developed. A device connected via ethernet will most likely communicate with Laboperator using the TCP/IP protocol. It therefore will not be connected to the Connector Box but directly to the network.
Devices with vendor specific software
More complex devices such as HPLCs often come with a vendor specific software. The approach here is to integrate this software rather than the device itself. Therefore, the vendor must provide an API to the software allowing Laboperator to use the capabilities of the software from inside Laboperator.
Some devices (e.g. sensors) might not be provided with any kind of digital interface. For such, an intermediate device can be used to connect to Laboperator. Examples would be an analog-digital-converter or a programmable logic controller (PLCs).
Cable hardware and device configuration
The Connector Box is provided with 4 USB-A-ports. To each one device can be connected via cable. Every interface that can be adapted to USB-A is feasible to be connected.
There is several different USB types (A, B, B 3.0, C; A and B each with a mini variant; A,B and B3. 0 each with a micro variant) which require an adapter cable to USB-A. For example, if the device interface is USB-B mini an adapter cable from USB-B mini to USB-A is required.
Serial interfaces (e.g. RS232)
Many laboratory devices are provided with serial interfaces, most likely RS232. To attach to the Laboperator Connector Box, an adapter cable from RS232 to USB-A is needed. Depending on the hardware interface, this adapter can be male or female. Beside that, some devices require a Null-Modem-Adapter to switch between DTE and DCE. If the device is DTE the Null-Modem adapter is required. Information on this should be stated in the user manual if required.
Note: Sometimes the device vendors offer own cable hardware to connect devices with computers.
Most devices require settings to be able to connect via hardware interface to the connector box (or any other computer). Information should be stated in the user manual.