RS232 Converter DIP - MAX232 MAX3232

Replacement:COM-00589. We still offer the SMD package for this part. This page is for reference only.

The 'must have' IC for 3V projects. This is the RS232 converter IC that is capable of running at 3V and communicating with 3V logic.

This chip comes in a 16-pin DIP package. Requires four external capacitors. The MAX3232 can use very small 0.1uF ceramic capacitors - no more 10uF monsters! Operates from 2.7V to 6V so this DIP will work with your 5V projects or your 3V projects.



Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • TechnoChris / about 12 years ago / 1

    This is NOT a MAX232, This is a Sipex SP3232EBCP. Datasheet:

  • brentbxr / about 12 years ago / 1

    Why do you advertise this as the MAX232 when its not even similar. The chip you get is an SP3232E which is not characteristically the same as the MAX232.

    1) It does NOT create true RS232 voltage of +/-10v; it creates +/-5.5v. I have not tried this; but I did purchase one (by accident, i thought it was a MAX232; Dumb me, right?). 2) It is NOT pin compatible (You can not switch a dead MAX232 with this; different pin count/placement/and voltages. 3) who is sipex? lol.

    Sparkfun you should really consider carrying the true MAX232 chip; Its alot better then this cheap knock off you are selling us. I know you want to make money so you have to buy knock-offs and sell them.

    Please do yourself and your clients a big favor and start selling a better chip; this one is no good. I mean RS232 level chips are everywhere, everyone makes 20 differnt types of these chips.

    A good one and reasonable priced (besides the TRUE MAX232 chip, of course). Is Analog Digital's ADM232A. It creates the TRUE* +/-10v and it IS pin compatible with the MAX232.

    But most importantly; please stop advertising falsely. Why not just have the title of this "RS232 Converter DIP-SP3232E"? You are getting poeple like me, who are familiar with the MAX clicking the purchase without noticing its not the MAX until I got it.

    Although buying IC's from sparkfun is just silly; you are just middle-middle manning yourself! I do really enjoy the boards you guys create and carry though, those I buy. :) Although I am guilty of purchasing ICs from you!

  • Beta / about 13 years ago / 1

    Before I buy this, just to get it clear:
    1. Will this work without a hitch in a 5V circuit?
    2. Will it serve the same function as the FTDI FT232RL that is used for serial data transmission in the Arduino Duemilanove?
    3. Are the +8.5V and - 8.5V lines a reference voltage generated by the IC, or are they input voltages that the user has to supply?
    I think that the answers are:
    1. Yes.
    2. Yes.
    3. Internally generated voltages.
    But I am not 100% sure. Can someone please clarify?

  • sjg / about 14 years ago / 1

    I've checked and rechecked and rechecked again the circuit. Doesn't work. Replaced the 3232 with a spare. Doesn't work.
    Logic analyzer shows data into a logic level TX line, but nothing coming out the RS232 side. :-(
    I'm using 0.1uF ceramic caps from Sparkfun (sku: COM-08375). These ARE non polarized, right?
    Any ideas?

    • SiliconFarmer / about 14 years ago / 1

      Yes, those are the right caps.
      Did you check for +5v and -5v on V+ and V- respectively?
      Did you forget to put a .1uF bypass cap on VCC? Are the other 4 caps are all wired up correctly? Ground on pin 15, power on pin 16?

  • MattR. / about 14 years ago / 1

    I'm using this chip to print to a serial receipt printer from an Arduino Duemilanove + Ethernet Shield. The setup works perfectly when I have my Arduino drawing power from the USB port connected to my computer's hub, but if I use a power supply, the text is garbled. I've tried the 9V 650mA AC adapter sold here and a 5V 4.0A adapter I have, and neither work. Any clue what I'm doing wrong?

  • jsprigg / about 14 years ago / 1

    The Datasheet calls for 0.1uF Capacitors for 3.3V operation, but the description and the sample circuit both call up 1uF capacitors.
    Which do we go by??

    • ddegn / about 14 years ago / 2

      I'm using this chip in a 3.3V circuit with only 0.1uF caps and it works great.

  • waffle / about 15 years ago / 1

    Will this chip work with the 10uF capacitors?

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