Capturing Serial Port data for logging


Occasionally, if we cannot diagnose a problem remotely, we will ask customers to capture a logfile of data exchanged between Helm and a broadcast device. For IP-based equipment the best logging tool is WireShark. For RS232 and RS422 serial communication, we recommend HDD’s free Serial Port Monitor.

To debug serial communications between Helm and a router or other device, follow these instructions.

  • Open your panel in Helm, and note which COM port is used for the device (COM1 in this example)
    serialcapture001
  • Close Helm.
  • Download and install HDD Serial Port Monitor.
  • Start Free Serial Port Monitor.
  • Select File/New Session, session type Serial Port Monitor.
    serialcapture002
  • Select the correct COM port.
    serialcapture003
  • Select Request View visualizer.
    serialcapture004
  • Click Finish to start the monitor session.
  • Now, start Helm Designer, and open your panel.
  • Run your panel, and press buttons to cause messages to be sent to the device.
  • The serial monitor should show the port being opened, and all data sent to and from the device.
    serialcapture005
  • Use the Edit/Export menu to save the serial log to a file.
  • Finally, please email the file to us for inspection!

As always, please remember to include the three key bits of information for fault finding and bug reporting:

  • 1: What steps you did, *exactly*: Example
    • I opened the attached panel in Helm Designer,
    • I clicked the “Run Panel” button
    • I pressed PGM bus “SERV A SRC” button
  • 2: What you expected to happen: Example
    • I expected PGM bus “SERV A SRC” button to switch on, and PST bus to remain unchanged
  • 3: What actually happened… Example:
    • PGM bus “SERV A SRC” button did switch on,  but PST “SERV A SRC” also switched on!
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