What is MAX232? – RS-232 Driver / Receiver – Maxim

What is MAX232?

This is a popular and versatile IC that simplifies serial communication by providing voltage level conversions between RS-232 and TTL signals. Its wide voltage range, low power consumption, and ease of use make it suitable for use in a wide range of electronic systems, although its limited data rate and distance may require additional components or alternative communication protocols for some applications.

Part Number: MAX232

Function: +5V-Powered/ Multichannel RS-232 Driver / Receiver

Package: DIP, SOP 16 Pin Type

Manufacturer: Maxim ( Maxim Integrated Products )

Image and Pinout:

MAX232 datasheet pdf image


The MAX232 is +5V-Powered, integrated circuits (ICs) that are used to convert signals between RS-232 and TTL levels.

The MAX220 Thru MAX249 family of line drivers/receivers is intended for all EIA/TIA-232E and V.28/V.24 communications interfaces, particularly applications where ±12V is not available.

These parts are especially useful in battery-powered systems, since their low-power shutdown mode reduces power dissipation to less than 5µW. The MAX225, MAX233, MAX235, and MAX245/MAX246/MAX247 use no external components and are recommended for applications where printed circuit board space is critical.

Advantages Vs Disadvantages


1. Simplifies serial communication: Simplifies serial communication by providing the necessary voltage level conversions between RS-232 and TTL signals, eliminating the need for additional components.

2. Wide voltage range: Wide range of supply voltage levels, making it compatible with a variety of electronic systems.

3. Low power consumption: Very low power, making it suitable for use in portable or battery-powered devices.

4. Easy to use: Easy to use and requires minimal external components.


1. Limited data rate: Maximum data rate of 120 kbps, which may limit its use in applications that require higher data rates.

2. Limited distance: Limited transmission distance due to the nature of RS-232 signals, which may require additional components or alternative communication protocols for longer distance communication.



• Integrated Charge Pump Circuitry
• Eliminates the Need for a Bipolar ±12V Supply
• Enables Single Supply Operation from +5V Supply
• Integrated Capacitors
• 5μW Shutdown Mode


• Interface Translation
• Multidrop RS-232 Networks
• Portable Diagnostics Equipment

Reference Site: [ Wikipedia MAX232 Info ]

MAX232 vs MAX202?

MAX232 is suitable for low-speed communication applications that require a single +5V supply voltage, while MAX202 is suitable for moderate-speed communication applications that require a wider supply voltage range and lower power consumption.

1. Maximum data rate: MAX232 can support a maximum data rate of 120 kbps, while MAX202 can support data rates up to 250 kbps.

2. Number of drivers/receivers: MAX232 has two drivers and two receivers, while MAX202 has two drivers and two receivers.

3. Power consumption: MAX202 has a lower power consumption than MAX232.

MAX232 Datasheet PDF

MAX232 pdf


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MAX3232 Datasheet PDF – RS-232 Line Driver/Receiver – TI

Part Number: MAX3232, MAX3232IDW

Function: 3-V to 5.5-V Multichannel RS-232 Line Driver/Receiver

Package: SOIC, SSOP, TSSOP 16 Pin type

Manufacturer: Texas Instruments




The MAX3232 is a low-power transceiver that is used for converting voltage levels between RS-232 and TTL/CMOS interfaces. It is commonly used for communication between a microcontroller or a computer and serial devices such as printers, modems, or sensors. The device provides a simple, low-cost solution for serial communication and it has a high data rate of up to 250 kbps. It is also capable of operating over a wide range of supply voltages, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.

The MAX3232 device consists of two line drivers, two line receivers, and a dual charge-pump circuit with ±15-kV ESD protection terminal to terminal (serial-port connection terminals, including GND). The device meets the requirements of TIA/EIA-232-F and provides the electrical interface between an asynchronous communication controller and the serial-port connector. The charge pump and four small external capacitors allow operation from a single 3-V to 5.5-V supply. The devices operate at data signaling rates up to 250 kbit/s and a maximum of 30-V/μs driver output slew rate.






1. RS-232 Bus-Terminal ESD Protection Exceeds ±15 kV Using Human-Body Model (HBM)

2. Meets or Exceeds the Requirements of TIA/EIA-232-F and ITU V.28 Standards

3. Operates With 3-V to 5.5-V VCC Supply

4. Operates up to 250 kbit/s

5. Two Drivers and Two Receivers

6. Low Supply Current : 300 μA Typical

7. External Capacitors : 4 × 0.1 μF

8. Accepts 5-V Logic Input With 3.3-V Supply



1. Industrial PCs

2. Wired networking

3. Data center and enterprise networking

4. Battery-powered systems


Official Homepage: https://www.ti.com/product/MAX3232

MAX3232 Datasheet PDF

MAX3232 pdf


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