Robot Tutorials

Posted on Feb 6, 2014

The UART, or Universal Asynchronous Receiver / Transmitter, is a feature of your microcontroller useful for communicating serial data (text, numbers, etc. ) to your PC. The device changes incoming parallel information (within the microcontroller/PC) to serial data which can be sent on a communication line. Adding UART functionality is extremely use

Robot Tutorials
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ful for robotics. With the UART, you can add an LCD, bootloading, bluetooth wireless, make a datalogger, debug code, test sensors, and much more! Understanding the UART could be complicated, so I filtered out the useless information and present to you only the useful need-to-know details in an easy to understand way. . . The first half of this tutorial will explain what the UART is, while the second half will give you instructions on how to add UART functionality to your $50 robot. These are the different standards/protocols used from transmitting data. They are incompatible with each other, but if you understand what each is, then you can easily convert them to what you need for your robot. RS232 is the old standard and is starting to become obsolete. Few if any laptops even have RS232 ports (serial ports) today, with USB becoming the new universal standard for attaching hardware. But since the world has not yet fully swapped over, you may encounter a need to understand this standard. Back in the day circuits were noisy, lacking filters and robust algorithms, etc. Wiring was also poor, meaning signals became weaker as wiring became longer (relates to resistance of the wire). So to compensate for the signal loss, they used very high voltages. Since a serial signal is basically a square wave, where the wavelengths relate to the bit data transmitted, RS232 was standardized as +/-12V. To get both +12V and -12V, the most common...

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