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I raise duck and sell to the local restaurants. I have a digital scale that I use that does not interface well with computers. The only way to interface with it is via an RS-232 port. I would like a scale that I can connect to a computer, preferably via network (wireless card or Cat 5 (LAN)) but bluetooth would be great, or even USB. Does anyone know of an accurate scale that I can use for such a purpose?

If you are wondering I am also a software engineer. Please advise if this is an inappropriate forum for this type of question.

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    What's your weight range? What about Bluetooth? amazon.com/ReFleX-Wireless-Bluetooth-Smart-Scale/dp/B009WX55P6 There are lots of consumer grade Bluetooth scales if that's an option. – Catija Feb 26 '15 at 4:34
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    If you're comfortable with the software side there's quite a few RS-232 to Ethernet adapters that can be connected to with a Telnet style connection, and some others have virtual serial port drivers. At ~$100 it might be a lot cheaper option if you're otherwise happy with the scales. – PeterJ Feb 26 '15 at 6:04
  • Your title says "interfaces easily" but then in your question you restrict the interfaces, notably excluding USB. Was that an oversight or do you really need it to be specifically a network interface? – Cascabel Feb 26 '15 at 17:03
  • I need to measure from 0.005 to 15 pounds. And yes Bluetooth would be great. – John Aschenbrenner Feb 26 '15 at 18:48
  • @Jefromi, Perhaps I should have been more clear. The reference to network interface is just an example. USB would work but network connection is preferred. – John Aschenbrenner Feb 27 '15 at 19:32
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What would a network-attached scale even do? You'd have to configure it to report to something, or have something else poll for it (and then you'd still have to configure it, either via DHCP, BOOTP or similar to set its IP address). It'd be a security nightmare, as it'd be like a network attached medical device (or old printer) that never gets updates to deal with security vulnerabilities. Some sort of a serial connection like RS-232 or USB is just plain safer in this situation.

... and there are plenty of USB digital scales, as they're used by companies to weight packages & print out postage.

The only reason to not go with USB might be distance limitations (5m for USB 2), but you can get USB over Cat5 'extenders'. (which would then meet your 'cat5' cable requirement ... but you can also get DB9 (or DB25) to RJ45 adaptors, if you just want to run 232 over cat5)

(I'm a programmer/sysadmin at a US government agency so it's possible that my security concerns are a little higher than most other people's. Even if you keep it on an isolated network to only talk to the terminal, odds are that the terminal is going to need to be updated at some point, and you risk it getting infected. Even if they exist, it's just not worth the trouble. And yes, I do know about the attacks via USB devices)

  • I'm a information security consultant and I'm not even worried about the threat from a network attached scale @Joe! I think he'd be all right on this one, the likelihood is very low. – GdD Feb 26 '15 at 12:55
  • @GdD : I work in a place where it's taken me 2 weeks to get machines allowed to connect to the internet when the security folks didn't like that I had a system allowed external people to upload files (and someone uploaded a picture that said 'I've hacked your system'). We've had worse cases where men with guns come in a seized our computers for an investigation. So I'm a little bit more paranoid than most. If network-enabled scales exist, they're going to be used for postage and checkout, and that means financial accounts, and a target. – Joe Feb 26 '15 at 13:43
  • Bottom line is I need to interface with my weight scale in a digital fashion. Currently in order to get the information from the scale into any other system, i.e. invoicing, inventory, I have to manually enter that data into another (OMG) NETWORKED computer!! As far as security goes call me thick here but what is anyone going to do with this information anyway, sell it to my competitors? If I want I can find out what their weights and prices are by asking around a bit. This is not a huge market. I already know their information. I don't need to hack any system for this. – John Aschenbrenner Feb 26 '15 at 16:50
  • @JohnAschenbrenner : Ohaus, Dymo, Weightmax and Metler all make USB-connected scales. As they're typically for posage, I would assume they have to be pretty accurate, although the precision may be a function of the scale's maximum (eg, a 100lb max may not have 0.1 gram precision). The local farmer's market has a scale that directly connects to a label printer, but you might also need some inventory tracking. Also see instructables.com/id/… – Joe Feb 26 '15 at 18:05
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If you have an RS232 scale you have a couple of very decent options for getting the data out of it. You could get an RS232 to USB adapter and write a script of some kind to request and pull the data - probably the easiest option - however it would not have network access, just access from the wired computer. If you genuinely want it to be on the LAN then I'd use a LAN or WIFI enabled Arduino to interpret the RS232 data and convert it to whatever format you want. You could have it do a HTTP push to a server or have it run its own web server so the data could be pulled.

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    I wouldn't be surprised if most USB scales show up as a RS232 serial port, anyways. Either that or keyboards, otherwise they'd need device specific drivers. – Ross Ridge Feb 28 '15 at 1:28
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I haven't looked but there probably isn't a networked meat scale. Most equipment like this is attached to a cheap computer that can packetize the data coming off the serial connection. If you have an old pentium computer you just haven't thrown away yet, you could probably roll your own Linux system and write an app in ASM or C to just transport input from the serial port and drop it on the lan via either SNMP or SMTP or other messaging mechanism or even drop it on a mounted share drive.

HOWEVER, this question is probably more appropriate for one of the tech forums such as electrical engineering g, Unix, or programming.

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So what you want is something that can attach to a network, weigh your duck, tell someone something about the weight of the duck, and have it all be above board so that you don't have to be afraid of fleecing your customers?

The only thing that I have personally used and have had any experience with that fits your bill is Digis systems.

This seems like a good fit for what you want

While I have not used that specific solution myself, I have used their weight + wrap + label stuff before, and it works as advertised, more or less. Never had it die on me either.

I'm sure that there are competitors to digi, but I have only used their stuff professionally, so I cannot comment on them.

Hope this helps.

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