synching with blackrock via serial port

Najib Majaj's Avatar

Najib Majaj

24 Jun, 2015 04:37 PM

hi chris,

just wanted to pick your brain about the possibility of bypassing NIDAQ in order to sync mworks with blackrock.

my colleague romesh and i were able to send words using a serial connection and it looks rather easy. how easy would it be to implement such a module in mworks?

the only issue that we foresee is that there is no feedback signal, from blackrock. that is a really nice feature of the DIO that allows us to check the timing of both systems.

just want to throw it out there as maybe an option worth pursuing.


  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Christopher Sta... on 25 Jun, 2015 02:07 PM

    Christopher Stawarz's Avatar

    Hi Najib,

    Writing an MWorks plugin to send words via a serial port wouldn't be too difficult. However, it'll probably be a month or more before I really have time to work on one.

    I checked the Cerebus manual, but it doesn't say much about how serial input works. Do you just send it one byte at a time, each of which gets saved as a 8-bit digital input value?


  2. 2 Posted by Najib Majaj on 26 Jun, 2015 07:29 PM

    Najib Majaj's Avatar

    Thanks Chris.
    When you have time please let me know, it will be awesome to have an
    alternative that allows us to talk directly to Cerebus as compared to going
    through NIDAQ or ITC.
    Serial works exactly as you described, you open a port with the
    specifications described by blackrock and you send it one byte at a time
    and it gets saved as an 8-bit digital input.
    We were able to do it here using Python and Matlab and from a terminal
    program. You probably have a better idea of the Objective C serial API.

    In theory serial is faster than parallel because Blackrock reads it at
    115kHz, compared to the parallel ports' 30kHz read out rate, but because we
    are using USB to serial there is a buffering lag.
    Whatever plug in ends up being written, we need to specify the serial port
    device driver.

    What we have is this old USB serial port adapter:

    but if it is easier to right for the newer ones with the more latest
    driver, that should work as well.

    If you need the python/matlab code let me know.


  3. Christopher Stawarz closed this discussion on 28 Jul, 2015 03:16 PM.

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