Using Windows Hyperterminal

Using Windowstm Hyperterminal To "Play" With Steppers

Please note: we now include our own simplified terminal application with our installation application.  This provides a simplified subset of the capabilities of "Hyperterminal", and is somewhat easier to configure than is HyperTerminal.  Documentation for this application is available here.

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 the Windowstm Hyperterminal 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.

To set up Hyperterminal to operate compatibly with our products,

  1. Load "Hyperterminal".  On most installations of Windows, you will find this under "Start", "programs", "accessories", "Hyperterminal".  Usually, under "Hyperterminal", Windows will have several preconfigured options: just select the one which says "Hyperterminal".
  2. When Hyperterminal first loads via the "Hyperterminal" link, it will ask for a new connection.  We suggest that you enter something descriptive, like "9600 Baud Direct Connection".
  3. It will next ask for a "Connect to" request.  Select the COM port which is connected to the SimStep or BiStep unit.
  4. It will then ask for the port settings.  Select:
        9600 baud,
        8 data bits,
        no parity ("none"),
        1 stop bit,
        flow control off ("none").
  5. You will also want to access the "File->Properties" page, "Settings" tab.
        Adjust the "Emulation" to be TTY,
        Press the "ASCII Setup" button, and select "echo typed characters locally"
  6. Connect your serial port to the BiStep/SimStep unit, and power the unit on.
  7. If you have connected correctly, then a sign-on copyright message will appear on the Hyperterminal screen, along with the version number for the firmware.

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

As you type, the characters that you type should be echoed on the screen (due to step 5, above).  If they are not, and you have completed the above procedure correctly, then you probably have one of the releases of HyperTerminal which are known to have this bug.  An updated version of HyperTerminal is available from Hilgraeve, the company which produced it for Microsoft.  Their web address is http://www.hilgraeve.com; the updated version of the code is their "HyperTerminal Private Edition" (which  is free to home users).

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 Hyperterminal, and thus all sequences which you may wish to try may be tested here first.