Serial Module Insertion Problem
John Davis  [71 posts]
12 year
I just purchased the latest version of RoboRealm after a few days of using the trial version.  I have tried the Serial module on three different machines.  RR can insert the Serial module on only one of these machines, an old desktop running Vista.

Each machine has a different version of Windows: XP, Vista, 7.  All three machines are up to date with the latest service packs and updates.

The test serial port was a Dynex USB-to-serial cable that I have used for years.  Before each test, Device Manager showed that it was recognized as a COM port after the Prolific driver was installed.

On each machine, the test is to start a new pipeline, select Control->Other->Serial, and click on Insert.  

On Vista, it just works.  The Edit screen then allows the selection of the port, setting the baud rate, etc.

On XP, RR dies with the all-too-familiar sorry message.  

On Windows 7, the RR window flashes briefly, but does not die; however, the Serial module does not appear in the pipeline.
Anonymous 12 year

There was a problem detected with the serial module in the last couple day. A correction to the saving of the COM port caused other issues. This has now been fixed.

Can you try the latest version and see if that helps? If not let us know and we'll research on those systems further.

John Davis  [71 posts] 12 year

Thanks for the prompt response.  It fixed the problem on Win 7.  RR still does not see the comm ports on the Pololu Micro-Maestro.  I'll try XP next.

John Davis  [71 posts] 12 year

XP (on robot truck) does see Pololu ports as well as the Dynex adaptor from a GPS.  However, it does not see any data.  (Hyperterm, however, does see the NMEA strings, so the port is OK.)  It also does not say "Connected" when selected in the Serial module Edit box.

The Win 7 may not have seen the Pololu ports because it was a different, spare chip and probably not configured for that mode.

I'll try Vista next.
John Davis  [71 posts] 12 year
Update 2:

RR on Vista now can insert Serial, connect to the Prolifics comm port, and and read data from my GPS correctly.  I didn't bother testing the Pololu chip since I will not be licensing this machine.

I do need to eventually fix the problem with the XP not reading data, however.  It may be something I overlooked in the setup.

John Davis  [71 posts] 12 year
Update 3:

I could not resolve the serial data problem with the XP machine on the robot.  Visible within RR, but will not connect.

I then connected the robot's Pololu Micro Maestro to the Win 7 desktop and that RR worked!  

The Maestro's TTL port is currently the serial interface to a Sure digital compass, so within RR's Serial module I was able to both send a valid command string ("$sure<sp>ga<cr><lf>") and receive a valid reply ("Angle=270deg.<cr><lf>").

Both XP and Win 7 installation files for RR were downloaded separately today and installed today.

Do you have an XP system where you could reproduce this problem?  If not, what can I do that would help solve this?
John Davis  [71 posts] 12 year
Update 4:

General RR XP question answered.  When RR was installed on an old Toshiba laptop with XP, the Serial module worked fine.  

This is a now a problem specific to the Asus netbook.  HyperTerm can do serial on it, but RR can't.  Suggestions welcome.

I dread reinstalling XP since this is a factory-installed system on a netbook with no DVD.  I have an external DVD drive but it will still be a lot of work.  Also, it is a dual boot system, with Ubuntu.  

(It was after failing to get ROS (Robot Operating System) working completely on Ubuntu with Kinect that I decided to give RR a shot.  Kinect does work in RR on the same XP netbook, albeit at a lower frame rate.)

Anonymous 12 year

We will do some testing on XP to see if we can replicate the issue.

Have you tried playing with the Flow control button in the serial module to see if that helps?

What are you settings for hyperterm? 9600 baud, 1 stop bit, 8 data bits?

John Davis  [71 posts] 12 year
I just sat down with the robot to verify the settings.  Shut down RR.

First, tried HyperTerm (HT) on the Maestro TTL to interact with the compass; that worked.  Settings: 8 bit, no parity, 1 stop, no flow control.  Exited HT.

Fired up RR, started a fresh pipeline with New.  Inserted Serial as the only module - and it worked perfectly!  Same settings as before and as with HT just now.  This is the first time I tried the Serial module all by itself.  I left all Flow control boxes unchecked which I assume means no flow control.

Next, I inserted Serial into the Red Object Tracking example; it still works!  The Age of Miracles has not passed!


P.S.  I was able to enhance the ROT example with a Python code so that my robot actually acquired a traffic cone with a front fixed webcam and drove right to it.  That was the easiest fully functional system I have ever done.  RR is now a truly outstanding product.  (Previously I had developed a fully functional RoboMagellan entry with C++ on the same platform; it took many months of effort.)


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