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Thread: dumb noob question on passing strings via serial UART

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2013

    dumb noob question on passing strings via serial UART

    I have my BT module working now with my Teensy 2.0.
    I can pass individual characters, or bytes, across but I am not handling strings correctly.
    As a test, I want to send a character string via BT to serial UART, to the Teensy.
    How do I read strings from the serial port, not knowing ahead of time how long the string will be?

    HTML Code:
    /* Teensy 2.0 UART test with BT module.
      This code takes a serial input from the BT module, 
      modifys the test, and then spits it back out via 
      serial to the BT module, as char format data. This tests BT connectivity 
      and the interfacing between the BT module and Teensy 2.0
    String inByte = 'Nyet!';         // incoming string
    // This line defines a "Uart" object to access the serial port
    HardwareSerial Uart = HardwareSerial();
    void setup()  {
    void loop()  {
      if (Uart.available() > 0) {
        inByte =;
        Uart.print("Here it is, fatso!!! : ");

  2. #2
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Arduino has a readBytesUntil() or readStringUntil() functions that can read a string, where you specify the end character. Usually '\n' is used, so you read everything until the end of the line.

    For example:

      char mystring[200];
      Serial.readBytesUntil('\n', mystring, 200);
    For more details:

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Johnson City, TN
    If you are creating a system out of whole cloth that uses serial communications of your own design, it would be a great idea to design a robust protocol that you can use to build data packets that can be easily and reliably passed from one device to another. There are many ways to do this, for example:

    Byte..... Function
    0..... Starting Code identifying the start of a packet, e.g. 0x7E (ASCII "~") or ASCII <STX>
    1,2.....Message length, in Bytes, applied to Bytes 3 through n
    3 to 7.....Addressing, etc.
    8 to n.....Your Data (Payload)
    n+1.....Checksum, (e.g. 1-Byte, 1's Compliment), applied to Bytes 3 through n

    Other common ways to do this could, for example, eliminate the Length bytes, and instead, put a unique character(s) as an end code, such as ASCII <CR> or <CR><LF>.

    Personally, I prefer using a start code and length bytes, skipping the end-codes, which makes a premature packet terminations less likely. This, by the way, is how XBee radios communicate with their host processors in API mode. A checksum is always a good idea to ensure data integrity.

    Good luck!

    (BTW- the only "dumb" questions are the ones you are too proud to ask!)
    Last edited by EasternStarGeek; 05-26-2013 at 08:05 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    A few people have written Arduino libraries that attempt to do most of this automatically, or semi-automatically.

    Here's one of them....

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