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[FAQ] When do you need termination on an RS-485 bus, and what are the advantages and drawbacks to the system?

When do you need termination on an RS-485 bus, and what are the advantages and drawbacks to the system?

  • In most RS-485 applications, termination resistors match the characteristic impedance of the cable to prevent signal reflections. Termination resistors should be placed at each end of an RS-485 cable. There are some short-distance-communication cases where the network will operate normally without termination resistors, but terminating the line is a best practice for all applications. The drawback of termination resistors is the DC loss generated by the resistance, which leads to increased power losses in the system. Even with this drawback, however, termination resistors are still a good idea for the majority of applications.

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