ZentriOS provides a flexible serial interface. It supports various serial protocols and modes, and is easy to use for both humans and machines alike. ZentriOS supports two serial protocols, UART and SPI.
A single or dual UART is available for use by the host MCU. If a host can support two UARTs, one UART may be used for control and data communication, and the other used for debug logging. If a single UART is available, control, data and debug logs (if enabled) are interleaved.
SPI provides a higher speed communications interface for higher bandwidth applications such as audio and video. Full support for a serial-SPI communications interface will be added in an upcoming release of ZentriOS.
Issuing Commands and Streaming Data
A ZentriOS device connects a host system to a network via Wi-Fi.
First the ZentriOS device is configured to connect to the network and to other hosts on the network. Then the ZentriOS device allows the local host to communicate with other hosts by exchanging data.
To exchange data with other hosts, you can stream data transparently between the Wi-Fi interface and the local serial interface. This bus mode is called Stream Mode.
Alternatively, you use ZentriOS commands to mediate the exchange of data.
ZentriOS commands can be issued via:
- The ZentriOS terminal console on the local serial interface.
This bus mode is called Command Mode.
- Remote terminal via Telnet.
See Networking and Security, Remote Terminal.
- HTTP RESTful API.
See Networking and Security, HTTP Server.
To configure command mode and response, see Command Mode Configuration.
The local serial interface and the remote terminal are mutually exclusive: connecting a remote terminal disables the local serial interface to the command parser. See Serial Bus Mode.
The local serial interface can either stream data, or send commands and receive responses. It cannot do both simultaneously. See Serial Bus Mode.
Note: to guarantee that no characters are dropped when using the local serial interface, uart.flow must be turned
on. This applies at any baud rate.
The HTTP RESTful API interface is available at all times, if the HTTP server is running and the RESTful API is enabled.
Access to the ZentriOS command parser is determined by:
- serial bus mode
- remote terminal status
- HTTP RESTful server status
Serial Bus Mode
Serial bus mode concerns the local UART serial interface.
A module running ZentriOS can operate in two distinct local serial bus modes, determined by the bus.mode variable:
- COMMAND mode — ZentriOS commands are issued via the serial UART interface. A module is in COMMAND mode if it booted with bus.mode set to
- STREAM mode — data is transferred directly between the serial UART interface and the Wi-Fi interface. A module is in STREAM mode if it booted with bus.mode set to
ZentriOS commands can also be issued via the local serial interface when in STREAM mode:
- by sending the breakout sequence specified by the bus.stream.cmd_seq
- by asserting the GPIO specified with the bus.stream.cmd_gpio function
The diagram below shows a schematic representation of access to the command parser via the serial interface and the Wi-Fi interface.
Note that this diagram illustrates access to the command parser only. Access via ZentriOS commands to Wi-Fi ports and other module features is unaffected by serial bus mode or remote terminal status.
Command configuration and protocols are as described in Command Mode and Command Protocol, whether commands are issued via the UART in COMMAND mode or COMMAND breakout, via the remote terminal, or via the HTTP RESTful API.
In STREAM mode, you can stream data between the UART and the Wi-Fi interface, as described in Stream Mode.
As the STREAM mode + Remote Terminal case in the above diagram suggests, you can stream data to a remote host, and at the same time issue commands to the ZentriOS device via the remote terminal or the HTTP Server RESTful API. A command issued to the command parser blocks commands from other interfaces until it is completed.
The state diagram below shows the transitions between serial bus modes.
Rebooting to COMMAND mode
To reboot to COMMAND mode, set the bus.mode variable to
command, save, and reboot:
set bus.mode command
COMMAND breakout from STREAM mode
To issue commands in STREAM mode, send the breakout character sequence specified by the bus.stream.cmd_seq. This is by default
Alternatively, set up a GPIO to enter command mode by enabling the bus.stream.cmd_gpio GPIO function.
On switching from STREAM mode to local COMMAND mode, ZentriOS responds with
Command Mode Start.
You can then issue any ZentriOS commands.
You can set bus.mode to
command and save, so that on the next reboot the ZentriOS device starts in local COMMAND mode.
When you have entered local COMMAND mode from STREAM mode via a breakout sequence or GPIO, you can return to STREAM mode by issuing the exit command.
Rebooting to STREAM mode
To switch to STREAM mode from command mode, set the bus.mode variable to
stream and reboot:
set bus.mode stream
Exit from COMMAND Breakout
When you have entered local COMMAND mode, or remote COMMAND mode, from STREAM mode via a breakout sequence or GPIO, you can return to STREAM mode by issuing the exit command. ZentriOS responds with
Command Mode Stop. For example:
|Sequences and Commands
Using the Remote Terminal
When the remote terminal is enabled and connected via telnet, the local command interface is disabled. However the UART can still stream to the Wi-Fi interface if the module is in STREAM mode. When a ZentriOS device is in COMMAND mode and a remote terminal is connected, disconnecting the remote terminal switches back to COMMAND mode. You can then issue commands via the local serial interface.
Enabling and Connecting the Remote Terminal
Enable the remote terminal with remote_terminal_enabled:
set remote_terminal.enabled 1
Then connect a remote device via telnet to the ZentriOS device. The default port is
2000. The host IP or name depends on the ZentriOS configuration.
For details, see the Wi-Fi Remote Terminal application note.
Command mode is the primary mode used to configure ZentriOS. Understanding how command mode works, and the options provided, is the key to mastering the use of ZentriOS. The serial interface is designed to cater for humans and machines alike, and the interface is configurable to suit the needs of both.
Note: When controlling ZentriOS via an MCU, we suggest using machine mode, described below.
Command Mode Configuration
In command mode, ZentriOS and the ZentriOS device effectively provides a slave interface to the host. The host is the master and ZentriOS is the slave. The host initiates all transactions, which follow the sequence:
- host issues a command
- ZentriOS provides a response
ZentriOS commands are used by the host to read and write ZentriOS variables, send control information, and send and receive data across network connections.
The variable system.cmd.mode is provided for convenience to make it easy to switch between human mode and machine mode. Setting system.cmd.mode conveniently changes the value of each of the following variables to configure the desired command mode.
Human Friendly Command Mode
By default, the serial interface is configured to be human friendly with the following settings.
set system.print_level all -> Turn on all debug & informational prints
set system.cmd.header_enabled 0 -> Disable a response header
set system.cmd.prompt_enabled 1 -> Turn on the user prompt
set system.cmd.echo on -> Turn on echo to see what you're typing
See System Functions, Configuring Command Mode and Response.
Machine Friendly Command Mode
To configure the serial interface for machine friendly operation, use the following settings.
set system.print_level 0 -> Turn off all debug & informational prints
set system.cmd.header_enabled 1 -> Enable a response header (described below)
set system.cmd.prompt_enabled 0 -> Turn off the user prompt
set system.cmd.echo off -> Turn off character echo
See System Functions, Configuring Command Mode and Response.
ZentriOS commands are formatted as shown below.
<command name> <arguments>\r\n
<command name>is a ZentriOS command - see Commands
<arguments>may be required depending on the command
In the case of the get and set commands, the arguments are in the form:
<variable name> <arguments>
<variable name>is a ZentriOS variable name. See Variables
<arguments>may be required depending on the variable.
The command is terminated by a carriage return and newline character (
Responses from ZentriOS follow the format shown in the text below.
Rdenotes a Response header. NOTE! If the module is operating in Safe Mode,
Ris replaced with
Xis the error code (response error codes are listed below).
YYYYYis the response data length in bytes including a trailing
\r\n. The response data length is zero if no data is available, or >2 (including
\r\n) if data is available.
<response data>. If the response data length is >0, the
<response data>is the data returned from ZentriOS in response to the command.
Response Error Codes
0 = Success
1 = Command failed
2 = Parse error
3 = Unknown command
4 = Too few args
5 = Too many args
6 = Unknown variable or option
7 = Invalid argument
8 = Serial command line buffer overflow
9 = Bounds error, command specific, bounds of the command were exceeded
If system.print_level is greater than 0, a log header together with one or more informational debug logs may be returned in addition to a response header and response data when a command is issued. Log headers follow the format shown in the table below.
Ldenotes a Log header.
Xis the log level.
YYYYYis the log message length in bytes including a trailing
\r\n. Log messages are always >2 bytes in length and including terminating
<log message>. The log message returned by ZentriOS in response to the command.
As depicted in the following diagram, stream mode provides a transparent connection between a serial port and a network stream such as a UDP or TCP client or server. It is perfect for implementing applications such as a wireless serial port.
Bytes or characters sent from the host to a serial interface are transparently pushed by ZentriOS to a network stream via a wireless interface. Conversely, bytes or characters received by a network stream (from a remote server) via a wireless interface are transparently pushed by ZentriOS to a serial interface connected to the host. A wireless serial port is a typical application that uses stream mode.
Stream mode is used primarily by host applications that can handle asynchronous data (with the optional use of hardware flow control). It is perfectly suited to applications that need to use only a single network stream at any one time.
For networking considerations, see Networking and Security, Serial STREAM Mode.
Stream Mode Configuration
The simplest way to setup a ZentriOS device to use Stream mode is to do all the ZentriOS configuration first using command mode, then reboot into stream mode. Configuration involves just a few simple steps:
- Setup a wireless and network interface to use with stream mode e.g. wlan interface and TCP client. This typically requires setting up the wireless interface and network stream to auto-connect, or enable connection using a GPIO control pin.
- Set the serial bus.mode to
- Then save and reboot the module.
For an example, see the application note Wireless Serial Port.
Both the wlan and softap interfaces have an auto-start on bootup capability using the wlan.auto_join.enabled and softap.auto_start variables. The TCP server has auto-start capability using the tcp_server.auto_start variable. Network clients can be started using a GPIO or manually by breaking out of stream mode as described below.
Breaking out of Stream Mode
When the serial bus is in Stream mode, commands are disabled and every character sent to the serial port is automatically forwarded to a network stream. There are two ways to break out of stream mode and enable command mode entry temporarily. The first method is to send a character sequence, configurable with the bus.stream.cmd_seq, after 3 seconds of inactivity on the serial interface. By default, the stream break out sequence is
$$$. The other option available to break out of stream mode is to use a GPIO configurable with the bus.stream.cmd_gpio variable. When you're done entering commands, return to stream mode by issuing the exit command.
On breaking out of Stream mode, additional network connections may be available.