Today, computer viruses have literally flooded the world and continue moving freely around the Internet. Now, when we hear the word “port”, the first thing that comes to our minds is logical ports that are used in network technologies like TCP/IPor UDP to organize communication channels, but we forget about physical ports serving for connecting external devices. High-speed USB interfaces are now seen as a universal means for connecting printers, mice and keyboards, whereas good old COM ports are used less frequently. However, the latter ones are still present in some modern computers, and probably the time has come to use them for some other purposes, for example, for controlling specialized COM-based equipment.
In order to monitor and analyze serial communications between a computer and a COM port device, you can rely on a dedicated software - serial data logger which will read and record RS232 data to a text file for its further analysis.
There are also special hardware RS232 port analyzers designed to capture analog and digital signals but, like any professional equipment, they are rather expensive to buy.
In this article, I’ll cover both software and hardware COM port loggers and highlight the clear benefits you get with one or another solution. Read on to learn how to capture serial port data to file in the fastest and simplest way.
If you’re looking for a handy solution to capture and display traffic passing over serial connections of your computer, a COM port data logging software is what may help you do this quickly and effortlessly. With a decent serial logger app, you can capture RS232 communication data, parse it and decode into a human-readable form.
Below you’ll find the description of several popular software COM loggers allowing users to review the serial communication data and perform effective analysis of RS232 data packets.
1. Serial Port Logger by Eltima
COM Port Logger by Eltima takes the leading position in the market of software apps for serial data reading and recording.
Serial Port Logger is a convenient tool to log and analyze COM port activity
Eltima’s Serial Logger delivers a host of powerful features helping users monitor the activity of their systems’ COM ports, read serial communication data and save it to a file. The utility will let you prevent issues from arising during development, testing or optimization of a serial app or driver. Serial Data Logger provides several ways to visualize captured data and gives you the ability to see what’s happening to any of your serial interfaces in real time.
RS232 Logger app allows collecting data from virtually any device communicating over RS-232, RS-422 or RS-485 protocol. Also, you can use the utility to monitor the data exchange between Windows-based applications and external devices attached to a serial port of your PC. This can be a specialized measuring instrument, a home radio station, another computer connected via a null modem cable, etc.
Here are just some of the advanced features setting Serial Data Logger apart from most other serial port terminal solutions:
The program can display RS232 data in four different views: table, line, dump, and terminal.
It allows sniffing and logging multiple COM ports within one monitoring session.
It records serial input/output control codes (IOCTLs) with details.
It makes it possible to emulate sending data (string, binary, octal, decimal, hexadecimal, mixed) to a COM port on behalf of the monitored program.
It comes with advanced filters and flexible search options which let you track the data you are interested in, etc.
2. Free Serial Com Port Logger
Another utility that will come in handy for collecting precise data about RS232 port activity is FREE RS232 Data Logger - open source solution. This free app is written for the Windows platform and works well with Windows XP/7/8, Windows 10 (32-bit and 64-bit), Windows Server 2012, and more.
This program is a powerful real-time communication analyzer that allows you to monitor the data exchange over COM interfaces and understand how your serial ports work. The program has a convenient and intuitive interface that makes it simple to manage your I/O serial ports.
In addition, this freeware Serial Port Logger is able to easily:
Connect to a COM port and begin serial logging even if the port has already been used by another program.
Record the incoming data stream to a text file from several serial ports at a time.
Sniff real and virtual COM interfaces.
Start/stop serial data logging on the fly.
Work in a virtual environment (VMware, ESX, Citrix XenDesktop, Microsoft Hyper-V, etc.)
COM-File is a simple serial data logging app that can connect to and log virtually any serial peripheral.
Why choose COM-File?
Well for one, it can read and record data from up to 16 COM-based devices at a time, which is rather convenient as you can simply open another COM-File connection window and start logging a new serial port right away.
A friendly multi-document user interface of COM-File app enables you to work with multiple documents at the same time.
On top of that, COM-File software allows logging serial data directly to a disk file. All you need to do is configure the serial communication settings and specify the name of a disk file.
4. Advanced Serial Data Logger
Last but not least software solution in our collection is Advanced Serial Data Logger by AGG Software. This utility processes data packages received via RS-232 ports and records the data to an Excel or Access file or any other Windows application.
The program gives you the way to not only collect serial data from any device in real time but also receive and transmit data via an RS-232 or RS-485 interface with a hardware converter.
With this handy app, you can capture data from a serial port, process it according to your needs, extract bits of data from data packets, and then send the data to any Windows or DOS application by clicking the appropriate buttons in the application window. The data will be transferred via DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange), ODBC, OLE, etc. Advanced Serial Data Logger is a great solution for automated data collection systems, office call analysis systems, etc.
The program can also transmit requests and commands via a serial port when you need to control serial devices using ASCII (default) or Modbus protocols. In this case, Advanced Serial Data Logger becomes an I/O server.
RS232 Analyzer Hardware
Logging COM port activity can become a real challenge for users working with serial devices and applications. RS232 data logger hardware delivers a great option to monitor and analyze the activity of serial ports. This specialized hardware empowers users to capture data instantly, record RX/TX channels to output files, and detect serial communication problems on the fly.
Let’s have a closer look at two of the most efficient hardware solutions for serial data logging.
1. AirDrive Serial Logger
AirDrive Serial Logger is a compact device aimed at recording RS-232 data from such devices as COM-based printers, terminals, keyboards, mice, etc. With its advanced time-stamping and live data streaming options, this solution can be applied as both a Wi-Fi hotspot and a Wi-Fi device. You can access this serial logger from a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or computer and find the data log on the webpage it presents.
The hardware analyzer can be a big help in many usage scenarios, including:
Reverse-engineering of data exchange protocols;
Creating backup copies of important data from devices such as terminals, barcode readers, card readers, etc.
Data logging from temperature, pressure, voltage sensors, etc.
2. RSLogger Module
RSLogger Module is a hardware device offering the outstanding data-logging and analyzing capabilities that make it a favorite for many users. RSLogger solutions can transfer data over Ethernet and Wi-Fi. They work with virtual COM ports and have unlimited data storage capacities with external USB Mass Storage support.
Also, this hardware delivers numerous other features that ensure you’ll have no trouble recording serial data, including:
Consistent support for customized baud rates;
Advanced date and time stamping option;
Separate settings for each RX, TX channel, and more.
Arduino serial data logger
Want to find out how to build an Arduino data logger and watch data from an Arduino? Here’s a quick way to do this:
If you can use an SD card in your project, that is an obvious solution to create an Arduino SD card data logger. Some Ethernet shields are provided with an SD Card reader. Or you can add an SD card by using a microSD adapter.
It won’t be difficult to interact with your SD card from an Arduino, as SD cards use a form of the SPI protocol. You only need to make sure it is a slower class. A proven way is to use Class 4 cards and make sure then are 16GB or less.
The IDE comes with an SD Example called “Datalogger”, so you can find a code example there.
Requirements: Windows (32-bit and 64-bit): XP/2003/2008/Vista/7/8/10, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2016 , 9.16MB size Version 7.0.342 (13th Jan, 2018) Release notes Category: Communication Application