The MAQ20 communications module is offered in two models and provides the connection between a host computer and a MAQ®20 Data Acquisition System. MAQ20-COM4 communicates using Ethernet, USB, or RS-485; MAQ20- COM2 uses Ethernet, USB, or RS-232. Ethernet communications use the Modbus TCP protocol and USB communications are based on the Modbus RTU protocol, which RS-485 and RS-232 communications also use. Serial communications over RS-485 can be either 2-wire or 4-wire.

When using the Ethernet interface, up to four simultaneous socket connections are supported and each socket can process up to four simultaneous Modbus TCP transactions. Serial communications over RS-232 or RS-485 can be run at baud rates as fast as 921.6kbps.

A very useful feature of the MAQ20 system is the capability to store acquired data locally for later analysis. This is provided by the easily accessible and removable 4GB micro-SD memory card that is in the MAQ20-COMx module and can be used to log data acquired from all input modules. Each MAQ20-COMx module can interface to up to 24 I/O modules in any combination, allowing high channel counts and great flexibility in system configuration.

To power the system, a 7-34VDC power source is connected to the communications module. Regulated and protected supplies within the module then provide power both to the internal circuits and to all I/O modules in the system. When many high power I/O modules are used in a system, MAQ20-PWR3 load-sharing boost power supply modules can be installed in standard I/O module slots to provide the necessary additional power.

To ensure robustness, the communications interface-to-bus isolation is 50VDC and power input terminals are protected against overvoltage, transient, and reverse connections. As a minimum, a MAQ®20 Data Acquisition System must have a communications module, a backbone, and one I/O module.
  • Connect Host Computer and MAQ®20 System
  • Communicate using Ethernet, USB, RS-485, RS-232
  • Up to 4 Simultaneous Socket Connections with Ethernet
  • Baud Rates to 921.6kbps with RS-232/RS-485
  • Follow Modbus TCP or RTU Protocols
  • Store Acquired Data Locally
  • Interface to up to 24 I/O Modules
  • 50VDC Communications Interface-to-Bus Isolation
Communication Modules: Provide Connection, Power, Interface

MAQ20-COM2, -COM4 Devices


Part Number Description
Communication Module; Ethernet, USB, RS-232
Communication Module, Ethernet; USB, RS-485

Frequently Asked Questions


Where do I download MAQ20 configuration software?
MAQ20 configuration is best performed with ReDAQ Shape software. We do have other software for download as well. Please check out the Software Download Center.

Note:The "MAQ20-945 Configuration Software Tool" was replaced with ReDAQ Shape software tool in 2017.

Can Dataforth provide calibration reports for modules I purchased?
Yes we can provide calibration reports for the modules that you purchased.

You can either
a) visit https://www.dataforth.com/TestDataReport.aspx to search for Test Report Datasheets by Serial Number or
b) you can send us a list of model numbers and their serial numbers to support@dataforth.com

Is it possible to provide external power supply directly to the backplane rail instead through the MAQ20-COM2 front panel?
The MAQ20-COMx module has to be powered through its power connector and it powers the backbone to power the I/O modules.
If you powered the backbone too, then that power supply would fight the power supply from the COM module and they would likely damage each other.

How are unlock keys used to license IPEmotion?
Unlock keys are generated from the serial number of the COM module of the system that you purchased. These unlock codes are also generated based on how many I/O modules are in the MAQ20 system. You won't be able to run the data acquisition process in IPEmotion unless you have entered the correct unlock code for your system and the I/O module count of your system is equal to or below the allotted I/O module count determined when the unlock code was generated.

For example, if you purchased an unlock key for a MAQ20-COM2 with 1 MAQ20-VO, 1 MAQ20-VDN, and 2 MAQ20-BRDG modules, this would correspond to an I/O module count of 4. If you attempted to run the acquisition process with this configuration, it would work perfectly. If you decided to remove the two MAQ20-BRDG modules, you would still be able to run the acquisition process. However, if you were to add a MAQ20-FREQ module to your system, bringing your total I/O module count to 5, IPEmotion will not let you start the data acquisition process until the I/O module count is back to 4 or lower.

If you have more than one MAQ20-COM module in your system, it is not necessary to enter additional unlock codes for the extra COM modules.

How do I convert an RMS voltage to its corresponding peak voltage?
To convert an RMS voltage to its corresponding peak voltage, you simply take the RMS voltage value and multiply it by the square root of 2, or roughly 1.414.

For example, 1500Vrms corresponds to a peak voltage of 1500 * 1.414 = 2121 Vp

Where do I download the USB drivers for the MAQ20 to be used with ReDAQ Shape?
There are two places that you can download the USB drivers for MAQ20. If you haven't already downloaded ReDAQ Shape, you will be given the option to download the required USB drivers during the installation process. If you already have ReDAQ Shape downloaded and you somehow lost the USB drivers, you can download them from our website. The USB drivers for the 8B isoLynx SLX300 system are identical with the USB drivers for the MAQ20. Visit this link, scroll down to the "Drivers" section on the page and download "USB (Virtual Comm Port Driver)": https://www.dataforth.com/8Bisolynx_download.aspx

How do I save my module configuration in the Configuration Software Tool (MAQ20-945)?
The Configuration Software Tool for MAQ20 does not have project files that can be saved. Any adjustments you make to the configuration of your modules through the Configuration Software Tool will be saved to the modules themselves, and not to a file on your PC. It is only a tool to change the settings in the modules themselves.

Can I copy and paste data from ReDAQ Shape while in acquisition?
Yes, ReDAQ Shape has the ability to directly copy and paste raw data from the "Analyze" tab, without interrupting the acquisition process. However, you must use the "Copy To Clipboard" button located at the top left corner of the raw data table - using keyboard commands or right clicking and selecting "Copy" will not work.

Can I export data from ReDAQ shape to a text file or Excel spreadsheet?
Yes, ReDAQ Shape offers the option to export data to a .txt file or Excel spreadsheet live without interrupting the data acquisition process. Simply click the "Open Data File" or "Open Excel File" button in the "Analyze" panel.

Can I still export my acquired data to a text file or Excel spreadsheet with the User version of ReDAQ Shape?
Yes, these options are available in both the User and Developer versions of ReDAQ Shape.

How does the load resistance of a module affect the noise at the output?
Noise at the output of a module is independent of load resistance.

How are unlock codes used with ReDAQ Shape?
Unlock codes are generated based on the serial number of the COM module of the system you purchased. If you are running an unlicensed version of ReDAQ Shape you sill have access to all the features of the software, but are limited to 1 hour of usage until the software stops. Entering the unlock code associated with your MAQ20 system will remove the time limit and allow unlimited usage of ReDAQ Shape. You must purchase an unlock code for every COM module you are using in order to have unlimited usage of ReDAQ Shape.

Note: Licenses purchased for the Developer version of ReDAQ Shape are not compatible with the User version, and vice versa.

Does the MAQ20 Python API support USB connection?
Currently, the MAQ20 Python API only supports Ethernet connection.

Does USB have a faster response time than Ethernet when communicating with the MAQ20?
The MAQ20 ideally has equally fast response times regardless of whether you use USB or Ethernet connection. Other variables outside of the MAQ20 can influence this response time however, such as if you are using a USB to Ethernet adapter or if the MAQ20 is part of a larger company network.

Can the MAQ20 save data directly to a SQL database?
No, the MAQ20 cannot save or export data directly to a SQL database. ReDAQ Shape can export data directly to a .txt, .csv or Excel file, and then the data could be extracted from those files to be uploaded to a SQL database.