Debugging with Different Ports, Pins and Speeds

If you need your serial port for your own purposes, e.g. for communication to other devices, then you can instruct Visual Micro to use a different serial port or you can freely define to use pins of your choice as serial ports.

In general, Visual Micro supports all the serial communication options your Arduino board offers. Vice versa, it depends on your board's capabilities which options you can choose. For example, the Arduino MEGA has 4 serial ports to choose from, while many other boards only have one.

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Visual Micro uses the upload port only while the sketch is uploaded, afterwards it releases it and it can be used for other purposes.

Using Separate Ports for Debugging

Serial Communications 2 ports

The port used for debugging is kept open by Visual Micro as long as the debugging session is running.

Using different transport methods

Arduino provides a multitude of serial communications methods which are all supported by Visual Micro. Advanced users can select the transport method of their choice and can take advantage of the flexibility needed for certain constellations.

All settings are project dependent and can be found in the Project Properties window.

Remote Port
Specifies which port of your board shall be used for debugging. The names of the settings like "Serial1" etc. are related to the names of the Arduino library "Serial" functions for the respective ports. Make sure your board supports the ports you have selected.
For debugging over the network with the Arduino Yún, select "Console" here.
Remote Speed
Specifies the speed (baud rate) that is used for debug communication.
This value must match the Local Speed setting in your Project Properties window.
Remote Transport
Specifies which transport method (class) of the Arduino library shall be used for debug communications.
"HardwareSerial" is the Default using the UART circuits of the board's CPU.

"SoftwareSerial" uses purely software based serial communication, where you can freely choose the RX (receiving) and TX (transmitting) pins which serve as serial port.
Therefore, with "SoftwareSerial" you must also specify these RX and TX pins in the respective fields of the project properties.

"Bridge" is used for the Arduino Yún in conjunction with the so-called bridge.

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Please note that the terms HardwareSerial and SoftwareSerial refer to the method in which outgoing signals are generated and incoming signals are decoded (with hardware in your processor or with a software module from the Arduino library). HardwareSerial and SoftwareSerial do not refer to hardware or software handshake (RTS/CTS vs. XON/XOFF). Arduino does not use hardware handshake with any of its serial ports.


Remote Pin RX
When using SoftwareSerial as remote transport method, you must specify which pin of the board shall be used as the RX (receiving) pin of the software emulated serial port.
With HardwareSerial, the pins to be used are determined by the hardware and, therefore, cannot be changed.
Remote Pin TX
When using SoftwareSerial as remote transport method, you must specify which pin of the board shall be used as the TX (transmitting) pin of the software emulated serial port.
With HardwareSerial, the pins to be used are determined by the hardware and, therefore, cannot be changed.

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Pins specified by "Remote Pin RX" and "Remote Pin TX" can only be used for debugging, if they are connected to a Serial-To-USB adapter like this one.
If only debug trace (without breakpoints) is required, then you only need a TX pin. If you want trace and breakpoints, you need two pins.

Using a Different Local (=PC) Port for Debugging

To change to local (=PC) port used for debugging, open the Project Properties window and change the settings for "Local Port" and "Local Speed".

Debugging over a network with Arduino Yún

To debug over the network, use the following settings in the Project Properties window:

Local Port = <Enter the IP address of the Arduino Yún in your network>
RemotePort = Console
RemoteTransport = Bridge

Using Serial adapters

If your board has only one USB port, you can get yourself a second port with the use of an external Serial Adapter, like this one.

Serial Adapter

By using SoftwareSerial, you have a large freedom of choice of pins that you can use as the second serial port. You can use this second port as described above, and can remove the Serial adapter later, if your are not debugging your board anymore.

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Interestingly, for simple Arduino boards, the serial port hardware is the most expensive part of the board.
If you are often working with small boards like the Arduino Nano, you can save money by buying an external Serial adapter and using an Arduino Mini instead. Although the Mini is marked as "retired" on Arduino's official page, you will find clones everywhere on the web, for ridiculously low prices.

See also:

Working with the Serial Monitor shows you how serial communications between the board(s) and your PC can be visualized and configured.

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