Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Multiple Simultaneous Serial Communications

As I mentioned in an earlier post I have an Arduino Mega with a broken USB to serial chip. With that in mind, I thought it would be useful to have an external USB to UART cable. Mine was $4 on Ebay. When it arrived I set to work ringing it out to make sure it worked. Here are the results.

Because my "broken" Arduino is still on my robot, I just used my working one. It is a supposedly identical Arduino Mega 2560 R3. As I played with this I realized that I could communicate with 2 ports simultaneously now (or 3 if I broke out my Bluetooth again). Why is this useful? It's not at the moment. This is really pretty simple, so this will be a short post.

Step One: Wire it up. With my cable it is as follows.

  • Black: Ground
  • Green: Tx (using Tx1 pin 18)
  • White: Rx (using Rx1 pin 19)
  • Red: 5v (this is optional if you have an external power supply).
It is worth noting that my cable does not allow for auto reset. This means that it is pretty difficult to load new programs to the Arduino with the default bootloader. 

Step Two: Load program on Arduino. This very simple. HERE is my example. When you're done, leave the USB plugged in.

Step Three: Open the Serial Monitors and watch for the messages. You will either need to use another program like Tera Term as mentioned in THIS post, or you can open two windows of the Arduino IDE.

That's all there is to it. Now you can communicate with the computer via two serial ports "simultaneously." If you need more information on Serial communications check out THIS post. I also have a post on I2C communication as well as Bluetooth.


1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    Theres a little error ive spent about an hour looking at today.
    In step one the Green TX cable should go to the Mega's RX and vice versa.
    Hopefully this will save someone else some time!