On a windows PC I'd like to be able to find an approach to see incoming data on a serial port, as it comes in (i.e. rather than logging to a file and then converting and viewing the file after the fact).

I have been using PuTTY with a font (Compendium Arcana) that displays characters as hex values, but values that equate to ASCII non-printing hex values do not show (e.g. space still shows as a space, and ASCII SOH [0x01h] does not display at all)

Is it possible to make PuTTY, or any other terminal emulator, display these characters as they arrive?

PS: I could probably live with spaces being displayed, or indeed any actual character being displayed, rather than nothing being displayed. this would mean I could at least tell the difference between one character and another.

  • sounds like a limitation of the font. If it uses ascii encoding it should display every ascii character as a unique hex number. – jiggunjer Sep 30 '16 at 10:41
  • @jiggunjer Have you a suggestion for a font that manages this? Based on my experimentation I had the opinion that it was down to the terminal - it interprets the command type codes as commands instead of as data to be displayed (e.g. 0x07h sounds the bell) but most command codes don't actually do anything these days :-\ – Toby Sep 30 '16 at 10:49
  • maybe you can test by saving a file with the command characters and then cat the file. Printing should just print. – jiggunjer Sep 30 '16 at 11:21
  • He's in Windows. cat is not available, and the Windows equivalent will have the same issue. – Xalorous Sep 30 '16 at 12:10

Hercules setup can do this. If you ignore all of the product specific odds and ends it's a very flexible generic serial & network terminal program.

Right click in the main display window and select special chars->hexadecimal. All non printing characters will show up as {HEX value}

If you then right click again and select Hex enable all of the data including printable characters will now be displayed as hex. Ones that represent printable characters will be in black, ones that represent non-printables will be grey.

  • For others that might be looking, while obviously developed for in-house use, this does the job just as well as Termite. Likewise it is pretty lightweight and portable but also allows other comms such as UDP and TCP and so forth, though it does forget some settings on a program restart (e.g. the HEX Enable option). Very happy to have found both of these! – Toby Sep 30 '16 at 12:07

After extended searching, I've come across Termite.

Termite is a small, portable and basic application that has a hexadecimal view plugin (they call it a filter)(available on the same page). The plugin allows one to send and receive hexadecimal values very easily and with no more setup required than entering the ports serial settings (eg. baud, flow control, etc)

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take HTERM, it displays chars and optionally hex, dec or bit values.


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