NewSoftSerial

A New Software Serial Library for Arduino

News: NewSoftSerial is in the core!  Starting with Arduino 1.0 (December, 2011), NewSoftSerial has replaced the old SoftwareSerial library as the officially supported software serial library.  This means that if you have 1.0 or later, you should not download this library.  To port your code to 1.0, simply change all NewSoftSerial references to SoftwareSerial.

NewSoftSerial is the latest of three Arduino libraries providing “soft” serial port support. It’s the direct descendant of ladyada’s AFSoftSerial, which introduced interrupt-driven receives – a dramatic improvement over the polling required by the native SoftwareSerial.

Without interrupts, your program’s design is considerably restricted, as it must continually poll the serial port at very short, regular intervals. This makes it nearly impossible, for example, to use SoftwareSerial to receive GPS data and parse it into a usable form. Your program is too busy trying to keep up with NMEA characters as they arrive to actually spend time assembling them into something meaningful. This is where AFSoftSerial’s (and NewSoftSerial‘s) interrupt architecture is a godsend. Using interrupt-driven RX, your program fills its buffer behind the scenes while processing previously received data.

Improvements

NewSoftSerial offers a number of improvements over SoftwareSerial:

  1. It inherits from built-in class Print, eliminating some 4-600 bytes of duplicate code
  2. It implements circular buffering scheme to make RX processing more efficient
  3. It extends support to all Arduino pins 0-19 (0-21 on Arduino Mini), not just 0-13
  4. It supports multiple simultaneous soft serial devices.*
  5. It supports a much wider range of baud rates.**
  6. It provides a boolean overflow() method to detect buffer overflow.
  7. Higher baud rates have been tuned for better accuracy.
  8. It supports the ATMega328 and 168.
  9. It supports 8MHz processors.
  10. It uses direct port I/O for faster and more precise operation.
  11. (New with version 10).  It supports software signal inversion.
  12. (New) It supports 20MHz processors.
  13. (New) It runs on the Teensy and Teensy++.
  14. (New) It supports an end() method as a complement to begin().

*But see below for an important caveat on multiple instances.
**Be circumspect about using 300 and 1200 baud though. The interrupt handler at these rate becomes so lengthy that timer tick interrupts can be starved, causing millis() to stop working during receives.

Using Multiple Instances

There has been considerable support for an library that would allow multiple soft serial devices. However, handling asynchronously received data from two, three, or four or more serial devices turns out to be an extremely difficult, if not intractable problem. Imagine four serial devices connected to an Arduino, each transmitting at 38,400 baud. As bits arrive, Arduino’s poor little processor must sample and process each of 4 incoming bits within 26 microseconds or else lose them forever. Yikes!

It occurred to me, though, that multiple instances could still be possible if the library user were willing to make a small concession. NewSoftSerial is written on the principle that you can have as many devices connected as resource constraints allow, as long as you only use one of them at a time. If you can organize your program code around this constraint, then NewSoftSerial may work for you.

What does this mean, exactly? Well, you have to use your serial devices serially, like this:

#include <NewSoftSerial.h>

// Here's a GPS device connect to pins 3 and 4
NewSoftSerial gps(4,3);

// A serial thermometer connected to 5 and 6
NewSoftSerial therm(6,5);

// An LCD connected to 7 and 8
NewSoftSerial LCD(8,7); // serial LCD

void loop()
{
  ...
  // collect data from the GPS unit for a few seconds
  gps.listen();
  read_gps_data();  // use gps as active device
  // collect temperature data from thermometer
  therm.listen();
  read_thermometer_data(); // now use therm
  // LCD becomes the active device here
  LCD.listen();
  LCD.print("Data gathered...");
  ...
}

In this example, we assume that read_gps_data() uses the gps object and read_thermometer_data() uses the therm object. Any time you call the listen() method, it becomes the “active” object, and the previously active object is deactivated and its RX buffer discarded. An important point here is that object.available() always returns 0 unless object is already active. This means that you can’t write code like this:

void loop()
{
  device1.listen();
  if (device1.available() > 0)
  {
    int c = device1.read();
    ...
  }
  device2.listen();
  if (device2.available() > 0)
  {
    int c = device2.read();
    ...
  }
}

This code will never do anything but activate one device after the other.

Signal Inversion

“Normal” TTL serial signaling defines a start bit as a transition from “high” to “low” logic.  Logical 1 is “high”, 0 is “low”.  But some serial devices turn this logic upside down, using what we call “inverted signaling”.  As of version 10, NewSoftSerial supports these devices natively with a third parameter in the constructor.

NewSoftSerial myInvertedConn(7, 5, true); // this device uses inverted signaling
NewSoftSerial myGPS(3, 2); // this one doesn't

Library Version

You can retrieve the version of the NewSoftSerial library by calling the static member library_version().

int ver = NewSoftSerial::library_version();

Resource Consumption

Linking the NewSoftSerial library to your application adds approximately 2000 bytes to its size.

Download

The latest version of NewSoftSerial is available here: NewSoftSerial12.zip.  Note: don’t download this if you have Arduino 1.0 or later.  As of 1.0, NewSoftSerial is included in the Arduino core (named SoftwareSerial).

Change Log

  1. initial version
  2. ported to Arduino 0013, included example sketch in package
  3. several important improvements: (a) support for 300, 1200, 14400, and 28800 baud (see caveats), (b) added bool overflow() method to test whether an RX buffer overflow has occurred, and (c) tuned RX and TX for greater accuracy at high baud rates 38.4K, 57.6K, and 115.2K.
  4. minor bug fixes — add .o file and objdump.txt to zip file for diagnostics.
  5. etracer’s inline assembler fix to OSX avr-gcc 4.3.0 interrupt handler bug added.
  6. ladyada’s new example sketch, fix to interrupt name, support for 328p.
  7. etracer’s workaround is now conditionally compiled only when avr-gcc’s version is less than 4.3.2.
  8. 8 MHz support and flush() and enable_timer0()  methods added
  9. digitalread/write scrapped in favor of direct port I/O.  Revised routines now get perfect RX up to 57.6K on 16MHz processors and 31.25K on 8MHz processors.
  10. inverted TTL signalling supported.  20MHz processors supported.  Teensy and Teensy++ supported.  New end() method and destructor added to clean up.
  11. added listen() method to explicitly activate ports.
  12. warn users about 1.0 conflict

Acknowledgements

Many thanks to David Mellis, who wrote the original SoftwareSerial, and to the multi-talented ladyada, whose work with AFSoftSerial is seminal.  Ladyada also provided the “Goodnight, moon” example sketch, fixed a problem with the interrupt naming (see v6) and tested NSS with the 328p.

Thanks also to rogermm and several other forum users who have tested NewSoftSerial and given useful feedback.

The diligent analysis of forum user etracer yielded the root cause of a tricky problem with NSS on OSX.  A bug in avr-gcc 4.3.0 causes the compiler to fail to generate the proper entry and exit sequences for certain interrupt handlers.  etracer identified the problem and provided an inline workaround.  etracer’s fix is in NSS 5.

User jin contributed a large body of work based on NSS and identified a potential problem that could result in data loss (fixed in NSS 5).  jin also made a variant of NSS that supports 4-pin serial, with the additional pins providing a very nice RTS/CTS flow control.  We may see this in NSS in the near future.

Thanks to Garret Mace, who contributed the delay tables for 20MHz processors and claims that he can send and receive at 115K baud.  Cool!

Thanks to Paul Stoffregen, both for his fine work with Teensy and Teensy++, and for contributing some useful suggestions that help NewSoftSerial run on them without modification.

I appreciate any and all input.

Mikal Hart

Page last updated on July 3, 2013 at 7:37 pm
603 Responses → “NewSoftSerial”

  1. Mikal

    7 months ago

    @SebastianUF,

    The UdooQuad is an ARM board and unfortunately, [New]SoftSerial only supports AVR devices at this time.


  2. jinwoo

    6 months ago

    thanks a lot


  3. Mikal

    6 months ago

    If 4 is RX, you need to hook Arduino pin 4 to the pin labeled “TX” on the GPS. That’s my guess.


  4. Bako

    6 months ago

    Hello Mikal iam trying to use two RF modules (CC1101) with two arduinos for sending the value of a potintiometer from one side to control a servo on the other side. the library doesn’t work even if it’s newsoftware or softwareserial . maybe I have some problem with writing the code. Can you help me ?
    Thank you


  5. Mikal

    5 months ago

    @Bako,

    Are your boards sharing a common ground?


  6. Bako

    5 months ago

    that was a problem. I then tried two different boards and it worked thanks Mikal for your help. but still has problem with the code of combining the software serial library code with the code for Knob, check this code out please and feed me back

    #include
    #include
    Servo myservo;
    int potpin=0;
    int val;
    SoftwareSerial mySerial(10, 11); // RX, TX

    void setup()

    {
    myservo.attach(9);
    // Open serial communications and wait for port to open:
    Serial.begin(9600);
    while (!Serial) {
    ; // wait for serial port to connect. Needed for Leonardo only
    }

    Serial.println(val);

    // set the data rate for the SoftwareSerial port
    mySerial.begin(9600);
    mySerial.println(val);
    }

    void loop() // run over and over
    {
    val = analogRead(potpin);
    val = map(val, 0, 1023, 0, 179);
    myservo.write(val);
    delay(15);
    if (mySerial.available())
    Serial.write(potpin);
    potpin = mySerial.read();
    if (Serial.available())
    mySerial.write(potpin);
    potpin = Serial.read();
    }


  7. Robin

    5 months ago

    I am using Arduino 1.5.4, but SoftwareSerial seems to use the variant of flush() which was removed from the Arduino libraries such as Stream, Serial etc as from Arduino 1.0. Instead of waiting until any output has been transmitted, it deletes all data which are in the incoming buffer.

    Is this intentional? If not, could it be updated?

    Apart from this, it’s a very nice library!


  8. Mikal

    5 months ago

    Hi Robin–

    Thanks for the note. Flush on output doesn’t make too much sense on SoftwareSerial, because writes are all blocking. Are you suggesting perhaps renaming the flush that flushes the input stream? Removing it?


  9. Robin

    5 months ago

    Hi Mikal,
    In C++, flush() is a standard function for flushing output streams. So it’s really confusing to find a function called flush which flushes input.
    I suggest that the function should have a different name. How about iflush?
    Hopefully this wouldn’t be a big problem for most people, as my guess is that it is not used very much.

    All the best,
    Robin


  10. Core2

    4 months ago

    Mikal,

    First off thanks for sharing your hard work.
    I am not having any luck getting the SoftwareSerial to work with my Fio V3. I am trying to get data from a GP-635T GPS sensor. Every time I use your example “Simple test” I do not receive any data from the sensor when using the Software Serial library on pins 4(RX), and 3(TX). But if I modify the code to use the hardware serial instead, and hook the GPS up to that I do get some data in. Although it is not good data it appears I am not getting a lock. But for now I am focusing on the Software Serial issue. Have you or anyone else had any success using the Arduino Fio V3 and Software Serial? Any suggestions you or anyone else could provide would be great. Thanks for your time.


  11. Martin

    4 months ago

    Hi Mikal:

    Great library, but reading through the code .. the ring buffer is updated from an ISR so shouldn’t all methods that access the ring buffer (like read(), available(), etc.) disable interrupts while processing?

    Regards,

    Martin


  12. Mikal

    3 months ago

    Hi Core2–Since the Fio is based on the 328P, I’m pretty sure it will work the same. Have you got your RX/TX crossed? Remember TX on GPS should be connected to RX on Arduino.


  13. Mikal

    3 months ago

    @Martin–

    I understand your point, but I think I’ve convinced myself that there is no danger of read(), available(), etc., producing an erroneous result, no matter when an interrupt arrives. And I don’t want to delay any incoming interrupt–that’s very important, especially at high speeds.


  14. Giancarlo

    2 months ago

    Its not working anymore, I downloaded it and I compiled its first example and it shows problem.


  15. Faruk

    2 months ago

    Hello.first of all thank you for your all libraries.I’m using tinygps++ in my project.But i’ll ask some different question.I’m using pins 0,1 of Arduino Uno for xbee shield and it receives gps infos from other arduino.At the same time i want to use pins 8,9 of same arduino for gps module and data. Is it possible to gather datas from both device(xbee shield and gps module) in one sketch and one arduino? ( as you know 0,1 are hardware serial pins,SoftwareSerial is used for 8,9 pins)Which way can you tell?can you give some details?If you could reply and help i’d be so happy.from now thank you very much for your help.I look forward to your reply.Kind regards,Faruk


  16. Mikal

    1 month ago

    @Faruk,

    You should be able to receive on both HW and SW serial. BUT you need to make sure that your code processes the incoming stream sufficiently quickly.

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    [...] そして、シリアル通信のテストに利用したArduinoのソースです。 NewSoftSerial(Arduinoライブラリ)を利用しています。 [...]

  65. Getting started with DroneCell and Arduino.

    [...] DroneCell and the GPS simultaneously. I stumbled upon this interesting behavior in NewSoftSerial. NewSoftSerial*|*Arduiniana. I seem to at least have something to go on… Using Multiple Instances There has been [...]

  66. Emular pines Serial de Arduino con la librería NewSoftSerial » Blog Archive » el blog de giltesa

    [...] eso es lo que es capaz de hacer la librería NewSoftSerial (más documentación aquí). Usándola podremos emplear el resto de pines como puertos serial, ya [...]

  67. Time - He's waiting in the wings - Cuyahoga

    [...] in the download is TimeGPS.pde, but it’s a touch outdated now that Mikal Hart’s NewSoftSerial library has been rolled up into the core (since 1.0) and renamed SoftwareSerial. The problem I had [...]

  68. Arduino的通讯扩展板介绍 | 爱板网

    [...] GPS模块与Arduino的通讯程序 [...]

  69. Giving Arduino a second UART over I2C by stacking another Arduino on top « CyclicRedundancy

    [...] tried using the SoftSerial (or the NewSoftSerial) library but ran into data corruptions even at the low speeds, so I decided to look for ways to get another [...]

  70. RFID Reader #1 « Tesla UIs

    [...] the example code. There some issues on the Arduino library SoftwareSerial, which changed to the NewSoftSerial once in a while. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Categories [...]

  71. Resources for the VCNL4000 IR Proximity Sensor | Sciencearium

    [...] - http://arduiniana.org/libraries/NewSoftSerial/ Share this: This entry was posted in AT Physics Class and tagged arduino, IR, proximity [...]

  72. Serial LCD do-it-yourself(DIY) kit | BUILD CIRCUIT

    [...] NewSoftSerial Library - Required for the example sketches. Sets up a second (third, fourth,…) serial port on the Arduino. [...]

  73. How to assemble serial LCD kit | BUILD CIRCUIT

    [...] NewSoftSerial Library - Required for the example sketches. Sets up a second (third, fourth,…) serial port on the Arduino. [...]

  74. Android talks to Arduino board - Arduino for ProjectsArduino for Projects

    [...] from this project (bluetooth_chat_LCD.pde attached below) – NewSoftSerial library from Mikal Hart: http://arduiniana.org/libraries/newsoftserial/ – Eclipse – Android Development Kit (explicitly follow all of Google’s installation [...]

  75. Burn Arduino Bootloader on an ATtiny45 for SoftwareSerial | No bread? Make it!

    [...] http://arduiniana.org/libraries/newsoftserial/ いいね:いいね 読み込み中… カテゴリー Arduino, [...]

  76. Burn Arduino Bootloader on an ATtiny for SoftwareSerial | No bread? Make it!

    [...] http://arduiniana.org/libraries/newsoftserial/ いいね:いいね 読み込み中… カテゴリー Arduino, [...]

  77. Please wait your turn! Stratoballoon GPS Sensor Sketch « Mark Gilbert's Blog

    [...] to the GPS receiver, I’d be writing to the data logger serially.  I found information here about running multiple devices serially – the short answer is that you have to access the serial [...]

  78. Going to Arduino from C#, Java, … string trouble | Hydroinformatix the Gaul

    [...] kB). I used this method and solved my intermitting (and making me crazy…) problems 2) Using PString library, added by NewSoftSerial and put in official version of Arduino. It is very handy: it hands you a [...]

  79. The Frustromantic Box, Part 4: Software | New Bright Idea

    [...] developers for the great libraries, and to Mikal Hart in particular for his work on the TinyGPS and NewSoftSerial [...]

  80. Le Dan-TECH » 2ème Partie : Reconnaissance vocale avec Arduino

    [...] , les ports 12 & 13 de l’arduino sont utilisés (liaison arduino-module via la classe newSoftSerial) et ne permettent pas l’emploi du shield Ethernet sur une platine « arduino [...]

  81. on the trail of the elusive Power Cost Monitor signal | We Saw a Chicken …

    [...] I rewrote the logger to use the Arduino’s internal UART, since — lovely though NewSoftSerial may be — it causes millis() to report wildly inaccurate times at low bit rates. I recorded a [...]

  82. 86duino

    [...] require that protocol. The version of SoftwareSerial included in 1.0 and later is based on the NewSoftSerial library by Mikal [...]

  83. 86duino

    [...] This requires the TinyGPS and NewSoftSerial libraries from Mikal Hart: http://arduiniana.org/libraries/TinyGPS and http://arduiniana.org/libraries/newsoftserial/ [...]

  84. Kerry D. Wong » Blog Archive » RF Data Link Using Si4021 And Si4311

    [...] BT1 pin settings (which are done in hardware), the receiver is totally configuration free. I used NewSoftSerial library in the code below. The main loop simply print out the incoming bit stream. You may also use [...]

  85. how to set up arduino + pololu mini maestro (for an 18 servo hexapod) | orange narwhals

    [...] newsoftserial should be downloaded from the internet and the folder inside the zip put in (path to where you [...]

  86. Starter Kit Sonar » Starter Kit

    [...] szczęście jest jeszcze jedna biblioteka „NewSoftSerial”, która jest pozbawiona tych wad i na dodatek obsługuje zanegowany sygnał [...]

  87. Twitter Poem Box -Use Arduino for Projects

    [...] Download the TrueRandom http://code.google.com/p/tinkerit/wiki/TrueRandom, NewSoftSerial http://arduiniana.org/libraries/newsoftserial/, and Twitter [...]

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