Let's Make Robots!

How To: Arduino to Parallax Serial Terminal

Well folks, I finally got around to doing this...

There are a lot of terminal programs out there, the obvious being the one included with the Arduino software, but I have always preferred the Parallax Serial Terminal. It connects instantly, it is clear and easy on the eyes, simple GUI and most importantly, has a few extra bells and whistles. The bell and/or whistle I use most often is its "setCursor" function which allows the screen to operate much more like a giant character LCD. You can now set-up your serial monitor with colums or rows of data, add headers, clear specific chunks of text without clearing the whole screen etc. --and all this with out the scrolling!!!

 In other words, you can now refresh your data as fast as you want without the worthless blur of numbers scrolling by while at the same time, eliminating the need to add a delay(500); to your main loop. Woo Hoo!

Now, for some bizar reason, I found time tonight to actually write some code to allow the Arduino to talk nicely to the PST. It is incredibly simple, clear code and should be a piece of cake to use. The sketch includes all the nuts-and-bolts of the code in its own tab, and the main loop is an example of some of the "set cursor" commands. There are even some beeps at the end! Hey, everyone loves beeps!

How to do it:

  • Download the PST HERE and install it. 
  • Download the sketch attached to this post
  • De-zippify the sketch and stick it where ever you want --your sketchbook folder, perhaps
  • Plug in some kinda arduino board to your computer
  • Jzink the sketch into your Arduino
  • Open the PST and set your comPort# and set your baudRate to 115200
  • Click "Enable"
  • Watch in amazement as the words "Hello World" go zipping around on your terminal screen
  • Click "Disable" to zap another program into your Arduino
  • Click the click-box "DTR" to reset your Arduino





Arduino_to_PST.zip1.25 KB

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This is not a library. This is just a chunk of code. If you want to use this in your own sketch, you gotta cut and paste. --Don't forget to get the few variables at the top.