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Monday, July 23, 2012

Serial Port Graphing Utility

There has always been a need for charting the data logged from the embedded devices. This involves the process of Storing the data first with the embedded device and then fetching it onto a PC. Next tabulate the data in form of a spreadsheet and finally chart it into a graph pattern.
serialchart utility showing Graph Data

Serial port is a more than obvious choice for this type of data transfer.
We found a easy way through this, using serial port charting utilities.
serialchart utility GUI
 There have been a few project that provide this functionality using a GUI that can decode the format of data sent out from the embedded hardware.
Here are the two that have been most successful:
Serialchart is compatible on windows and has already been used for Arduino IMU Project.
Arduino IMU Project
There is a basic configuration needed for serialchart utility to work. We tested this out in one of our  MSP430 Launchpad projects and sent out the data in the CSV format. Here is the config script that we used:

[_setup_]
port=COM11  
baudrate=9600

width=1000
height=201
background_color = white

grid_h_origin = 100
grid_h_step = 10
grid_h_color = #EEE
grid_h_origin_color = #CCC

grid_v_origin = 0
grid_v_step = 10
grid_v_color = #EEE
grid_v_origin_color = transparent

[_default_]
min=-1
max=1

[Field1]
color=red

[Field2]
color=blue

The results of the graphing were same as the normal process but much easier to catch flaws.
We are still in process of evaluating the Kst tool. This is much powerful with lots of features. Another advantage it that this too is available both for linux as well as windows.
Once we are tthrough with evaluating this tool, we would post a complete update to complete this article.

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