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Connecting the ABN to a PC
Using the optional serial interface cable, the ABNs can be connected to a computer system in order to control all of the AutoBleep functions.
This may be useful to either program and control the ABN conveniently using a PC, or else to utilise the functions of the ABN from a computerised control system.
All of the functions of the ABN (plus one or two extras) are available via the serial port. No additional software is required other than a simple terminal emulator.
How to set it up
If you are using Microsoft Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP, simply plug the serial interface cable into one of your COM ports. The other end of the cable plugs into the header connector at the top of the ABN.
Microsoft supplies HyperTerminal with all of its operating systems. Ensure that HyperTerminal is indeed installed and run it. When HyperTerminal presents you with its setup options, set it to the COM port you have chosen and set the options to 9600 bps, 8 bits, no parity, one stop bit and no flow control.
If you are using Unix or Linux, the same configuration can be used to set the 'tip' command to communicate with the ABN.
Power up the ABN and the message 'AutoBleep ABN-8 Version 3.2' should appear on the screen after a few moments. It will be followed by a 'greater than' sign (>) prompt.
You can now type in any of the ABN commands which you would normally send by SMS. Whilst interacting with the ABN using the PC, normal operation of the ABN is unaffected.
In addition to the standard ABN commands, the following command is permissible from the PC:
This command will simply send the message 'Test message' to phone number 27835559999. Note that the command starts with a 'right parenthesis' character ()). This will permit any equipment connected to the ABN through the special serial cable to send SMS messages via the ABN.
Where the ABN is connected to a PC and the user wishes to send an SMS to the PC from his cellphone (this may be necessary for some control applications), the following:
will simply result in the string 'Hello, PC!' being written to the serial port. Note that although it is necessary that the SMS message starts with a 'left parenthesis' character, only the text following the left parenthesis is written to the serial port.
An additional command which was originally included for debugging purposes, but is sometimes useful is the 'question mark' (?) command. This will do a dump to the screen in both hexadecimal and ASCII of the contents of the ABN's storage memory. No documentation is available to tell you what is going on in there!