How to plot serial data from Serial port or Arduino

Sometimes there is a need to visualize data from serial port in real time, like I had in my USB Accelerometer sensor project. The goal can be reach hard way by writing your own software but there is no need to do so. Smart people already write many good and free solutions and in this post I want to show you how to use them in your electronic project. For these who want to code this functionality by their own I will show how to plot serial data in Python and Matlab at the very end of this article.

1. SerialPlot

SerialPlot is my favorite project that has many configuration features and it is easy to use. It is a Qt based software for plotting data from serial port in real time. It can be installed in Linux and Windows! Here is the hackday website of the project:

SerialPlot accepts 3 different types of data input:

  • Simple binary stream, supports different number formats (unsigned/signed – 8/16/32 bits and float)
  •  ASCII data in CSV format
  • User defined custom frame format (frame start byte, frame size, checksum etc..)

2. CuteCom

CuteCom is a graphical serial terminal, like minicom. It can not plot the data but it is very useful for debugging and communicating with embedded device. Currently it runs on Linux, FreeBSD and Mac OS X. Website of the project