SimpleSerial Terminal Application

Using our "SimpleSerial" Terminal Application To "Play" With Steppers

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to fully learn and appreciate how the GenStepper based product offerings (the SimStep and BiStep series of boards) operate is through use of our "SimpleSerial" application.  Using the program allows you to directly issue commands to the controller, and see what actually happens to the motor, and what response is sent back by the stepper controller board.

Please note that you may also use the "HyperTerminal" application as is pre-installed on earlier versions of Windowstm.  Please click here for a short note on using HyperTerminal to test our products.

To set up SimpleSerial to operate compatibly with our products,

  1. Load "SimpleSerial".  On most installations of our "SetUpStepperBoard" application, you will find this under "Start", "programs", "StepperBoard", "SimpleSerial".
  2. When SimpleSerial first loads on a new installation, it will automatically perform a "Best Port" scan, which attempts to find the lowest-numbered COM port which is attached to a StepperBoard-based product.  If it cannot find a StepperBoard product, it will start with the lowest-numbered COM port as being opened.
  3. If it found a StepperBoard product, and you only have one board connected to the system, then you are connected: the application automatically sets up communication rates for you.
  4. If you did not have your board turned on when you started "SimpleSerial", it will not detect it as being a valid StepperBoard product.  Turn the board on, and then do a re-scan by selecting the "File->Open Best Port Found" option.  This will perform the same scan as that described under (2), and will thus set up a connection for you.
  5. If the auto-scan does not work or if you have multiple StepperBoard-based products attached to your system, you may manually select the COM port and board rate to use by selecting the "File->Open Specific COM Port" option.  This will present you with two text fields: one for the COM port name (such as "COM1"), the other for the baud rate.  Note that the application will automatically add any extra name decorations needed for correct operation (such as the "\\.\"). predicate)

At this point, you are in direct communication with the stepper controller.  Using the appropriate firmware manual as your guide, enter numeric values and commands, and see the responses from the controller and the motors.

For example, if you type:

    -1?

The board will echo back something like:

    X,-1,0

    Y,-1,0

    *

The final "*" states that it is ready to accept another command; the prior command may still be executing (such as issuing a "goto" command).

Another simple test would be to enter the text sequence:

    B+1000s

Observe that both motors spin in one direction for a while, and then stop (they actually "go forward" 1000 microsteps).

    -1000s

Both motors spin in the reverse direction, the same 1000 microsteps.

Refer to your UniversalStepper manual for the full list of commands available; all of them may be run from SimpleSerial, and thus all sequences which you may wish to try may be tested here first.