I have been using Arduino UNO’s for various projects for quite some time now and have been looking for an easy way to basic connectivity on new projects that I build. The first and obvious choice was to use the Firmata firmware as the basic communications protocol but opted not to go for this setup for 2 reasons: firstly, the Firmata firmware does a lot more than I currently needed, and secondly, the protocol being used (which is loosely based on midi) is just too complicated to use easily.
With this in mind I set out to write my own basic communications protocol firmware for the Arduino Uno. I found an interesting blog post (http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/tutorials/how-to-diy-128/complete-control-of-an-arduino-via-serial-3300/) which listed an easy to understand protocol. In my final firmware I have modified this protocol for use in my project. The protocol I am using can be viewed in the header of the Arduino code file.
Once the protocol had been written and tested using the serial monitor I set out to write a Visual Basic app to control all analog inputs and digital inputs and outputs from the same graphical interface, thereby providing an easy way of testing the hardware on most of my future projects before writing dedicated firmware for the project.
My final graphical interface can be seen here:
If anyone would like to make use of this project, you can download the complete Arduino Uno code and windows app here: