When trying to create a custom serial application, programmers often rely on dedicated software tools that help read serial port data and identify problems arising during the process of the app development. Specialized software solutions are usually aimed at sniffing data going through COM ports and displaying it to the developer in real time. It's not always possible, however, to resolve all problems immediately. In this case, specialists resort to the help of utilities able to not only monitor COM port activity but capture serial port data to a file for its further analysis. In this article, we'll tell you about the best RS232 recorder software and compare their functionality.
The optimal solution for reading and recording COM port data
Serial Port Monitor is a professional program that clearly comes to mind when someone asks about a powerful and easy to use serial data recorder. The software provides users with the ability to start reading any serial port available in a system even if the interface has already been opened by another app.
With the software, you can send information or commands to the required COM-based devices or serial apps in different formats (string, binary, octal, decimal, hexadecimal, mixed), monitor their reaction to the commands and save received data to a single log using the first in, first out method. In addition, Serial Port Monitor will allow you to redirect COM port output to a file or copy it to the clipboard so that you can access it anytime.
Alternative solutions to read data from
Technet solution (Portmon 3.x) by Microsoft
Portmon is a dedicated solution designed by Microsoft for monitoring COM ports. The program is capable of tracking the activity of parallel interfaces as well. If you need to access serial ports remotely and monitor the data exchange over the network, this software will be a good choice.
Reading COM ports with Portmon is rather simple: you just specify the port you'd like to sniff and the software sends a request with the NT name to the port’s device driver. The app installs its client software itself, which means you can easily capture data from another system (located on the same network) when working on Windows NT/2K system.
Serial Monitor by HHD
Serial Monitor by HHD is another efficient monitoring tool that serves for catching, displaying, analyzing, saving, and replaying data communicated between Windows apps and COM port devices. You will definitely enjoy this solution if your goals are to monitor several devices simultaneously and transfer data at a high speed.
As you can see, each of the aforementioned monitoring apps is aimed at making reading and recording COM port data effective and effortless. However, considering the advantages of each solution, it may be rather difficult for you to decide which software is better suited to your needs. Well, we hope that our handy comparison chart below will clear things up for you.
Feature comparison table
|SPM (Eltima)||Portmon (Microsoft)||HHD Serial Port|
|Analyzing the activity of any serial software/hardware||+||+||+|
|Monitoring multiple COM ports at a time||+||-||+|
|Support for all types of serial ports||+||+||+|
|Recording all data going through a COM port||+||+||+|
|Built-in search option||+||+||+|
|Data visualization||+||-||in Ultimate version|
|Logging of incoming and outgoing data streams||+||+||+|
|Tracing all serial IOCTLs||+||+||+|
|Copying captured data to the clipboard||+||+||+|
|Ability to log customizable monitoring sessions||+||+||in Ultimate version|
|Loading and exporting the monitored data||+||+||+|
|Advanced filtering option (presets included)||+||+||+|
|Reading COM ports already used by other apps||In Pro version||-||-|
|Availability of the 'Advanced Send Dialog'||In Pro version||-||-|
|Support for Windows environment (both 32-bit and 64-bit)||+||works only on 32-bit Windows||works only on 32-bit Windows|
|Price||from $65,95||free||from $199,99|
The above chart clearly shows how the solutions differ in terms of functionality. Comparing the three software tools, it can be concluded that Serial Port Reader by Eltima Software offers a wider range of advanced COM port reading features. In addition, this versatile RS232 serial data recorder works equally well in Windows 32- and 64-bit.
Serial Port Monitor
Version 7.0.342 (13th Jan, 2018) Release notes