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Serial Port Interface

Communication using the serial port interface

Serial communication is the most common low-level protocol for communicating between two or more devices. Normally, one device is a computer, while the other device can be a modem, a printer, another computer, or a scientific instrument such as an oscilloscope or a function generator. For many serial port applications, you can communicate with your instrument without detailed knowledge of how the serial port works. Communication is established through a serial port object, serial, which you create in the MATLAB® workspace. For information about creating the serial object, see Serial Port Object.

Before you can write or read data, both the serial port object and the instrument must have identical communication settings. For information, see Configuring Communication Settings.


clear Remove instrument objects from MATLAB workspace
delete Remove instrument objects from memory
fclose Disconnect interface object from instrument
fopen Connect interface object to instrument
fprintf Write text to instrument
fread Read binary data from instrument
fscanf Read data from instrument, and format as text
fwrite Write binary data to instrument
get Instrument object properties
instrhwinfo Information about available hardware
instrreset Disconnect and delete all instrument objects
propinfo Instrument object property information
readasync Read data asynchronously from instrument
set Configure or display instrument object properties
serial Create serial port object
seriallist List of serial ports connected to your system
stopasync Stop asynchronous read and write operations
binblockread Read binblock data from instrument
binblockwrite Write binblock data to instrument
disp Display instrument object summary information
flushinput Remove data from input buffer
flushoutput Remove data from output buffer
tmtool Open Test & Measurement Tool
fgetl Read line of text from instrument and discard terminator
fgets Read line of text from instrument and include terminator
instrcallback Display event information when event occurs
instrfind Read instrument objects from memory to MATLAB workspace
instrfindall Find visible and hidden instrument objects
instrhelp Help for instrument object type, function, or property
instrid Define and retrieve commands that identify instruments
instrnotify Define notification for instrument events
inspect Open Property Inspector
isvalid Determine whether instrument objects are valid
length Length of instrument object array
load Load instrument objects and variables into MATLAB workspace
methods Class method names and descriptions
obj2mfile Convert instrument object to MATLAB code
query Write text to instrument, and read data from instrument
save Save instrument objects and variables to MAT-file
scanstr Read data from instrument, format as text, and parse
size Size of instrument object array


Query Instrument Query or read instrument data
To Instrument Send simulation data to instrument
Serial Configuration Configure parameters for serial port
Serial Receive Receive binary data over serial port
Serial Send Send binary data over serial port

Examples and How To

Serial Port Object

The serial port object establishes a connection between MATLAB® and the instrument via the serial port.

Configuring Communication Settings

Communication settings are associated with the baud rate and serial data format.

Writing and Reading Data

You can write and read both text and binary data with a serial port object.

Events and Callbacks

Enhance your instrument communication using events and callbacks.

Using Control Pins

The control pins allow you to signal the presence of connected devices and to control the flow of data.


Serial Port Overview

Basic features of the serial port.

Instrument Control Toolbox Properties

These properties are available in the toolbox.


Troubleshooting Serial Port Interface

Try these tips if you have problems using the toolbox with the Serial Port interface. Includes information about Serial Port supported platforms, adaptor requirements, configuration and connection, and other interface-specific tips.

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