Thanks again, Mike.
I'm sure you're right. It SHOULD help. But for a guy who is challenged to do the software end, and who knows very little about the hardware end, it will be a major accomplishment if I can just get an interface board assembled, let alone designed, by myself. This is for a very specific use and I just need the RS-485 connection. It appears that because there are the other flavors of serial I/O on the dev board, there is a lot more circuitry there than I need. All that other circuitry is what's hard for me to figure out and understand what is the minimal circuitry I need to make just the RS-485 connection.