Serial.available acting funny

for some reason my serial.available is acting really funny, it wont print the line Serial.print("serial avail passed val: "); but it seems to be receiving data…in some way because I can see the serial monitor reacting to processing program when I run it. It seems that serial.available() is just not passing and returning 0 or null. any idea?

//SERVO stuff
#include <Servo.h> 
Servo myservo;  // create servo object, max 8 servo objects
  
// incoming serial data from processing
String serialDataIn;
String data[3];
int counter;
int inbyte;

void setup() {
  Serial.begin(9600);
  myservo.attach(3);  // server is on pin 3
  counter = 0;
  int pos = 0; 
}

void loop() {
  //sensor 1
  float distance = analogRead(1);

  //map float to an int
  int x = (int) distance;

  Serial.print("initial value: "); Serial.println(x);

  // SERVO stuffs
  int incomingByte = 0;
  if( x > 400 && x < 750){
    Serial.write("length");
    if (Serial.available()) {
        Serial.print("serial avail passed val: ");
        
        delay(1);
        inbyte = Serial.read();
        Serial.println(inbyte);
        if(inbyte >= '0' & inbyte <= '9')
            serialDataIn += inbyte;
        if (inbyte == ','){  // Handle delimiter
            data[counter] = String(serialDataIn);
            serialDataIn = String("");
            counter = counter + 1;
        }
        if(inbyte ==  '\r'){  // end of line
                //handle end of line a do something with data
        }        
        
        // say what you got:
        Serial.print("I received: ");
        Serial.println(incomingByte, DEC);
    }
    myservo.write(x);              // tell servo to go to position in variable 'pos' 
    delay(25);  
  } 
}

hilukasz:
for some reason my serial.available is acting really funny, it wont print the line Serial.print("serial avail passed val: "); but it seems to be receiving data...in some way because I can see the serial monitor reacting to processing program when I run it. It seems that serial.available() is just not passing and returning 0 or null. any idea?

I can't make sense of that, probably because you are mistaken about what Serial.available() is supposed to do. Serial.available() doesn't print anything, does not receive data, does not pass or return anything written to or read from the stream.

What are you trying to do?

ah, I thought it returns number a length of items that where being sent. If nothing is sending then imagined it returned 0 or null and something sent it was greater than 1 hence true and that statement would pass. I've seen that Serial.available() in example files, so I guess I am confused on how to use it then...?

The Serial port can be used both to send and receive.

Serial.available() tells you how many bytes are available to be received. This is unrelated to how many bytes you have sent.

PeterH:
The Serial port can be used both to send and receive.

Serial.available() tells you how many bytes are available to be received. This is unrelated to how many bytes you have sent.

ok sure, maybe I am misreading the documentation then, it states:

This is data that's already arrived and stored in the serial receive buffer (which holds 64 bytes)

according to: Serial.available() - Arduino Reference
when I say data I have sent, I mean data I have sent from processing to arduino, just to be clear. I send data over to processing no problem, its getting it back after I have modified that data that is the problem. It's hard to monitor too, because Arduino IDE seems to initialize the serial monitor on top of the Processing, so I get double data.

Perhaps I have misunderstood your problem, then. Serial.available() tells you how many bytes are waiting to be received. These would be bytes send from your Processing application to the Arduino which the sketch has not read yet.

You can only have one thing writing to and reading from each end of the Serial connection, so if you have a Processing application accessing it, you must not use the Arduino serial monitor at the same time.

PeterH:
Perhaps I have misunderstood your problem, then. Serial.available() tells you how many bytes are waiting to be received. These would be bytes send from your Processing application to the Arduino which the sketch has not read yet.

You can only have one thing writing to and reading from each end of the Serial connection, so if you have a Processing application accessing it, you must not use the Arduino serial monitor at the same time.

ok sure. So the problem persists. Been at it for some time now. It seems like arduino just isn't receiving the data correctly, which makes me think I am sending it to arduino wrong. If I open a serial port to receive data in processing, would I have to open a new one to send it? or can I just use same port.

You should be able to send and receive on the same serial port.

In your code you only seem to be trying to read from the Serial port when the distance reading is in range. I don't know why you're doing that - is it deliberate? Do you know that the value actually is in range? You need to know what's going on inside your sketch, and to understand that you really need to know what it's outputting to the Serial port and what your Processing application is writing to it.

For simplicity while testing, you could set the Processing application aside and use the Arduino serial monitor to send input to the Arduino and display whatever the Arduino outputs.

Your code doesn't compile:

sketch_oct22b.cpp: In function 'void loop()':
sketch_oct22b:54: error: expected `}' at end of input

Please note that, at present, the String library has bugs as discussed here.

In particular, the dynamic memory allocation used by the String class may fail and cause random crashes.

I recommend reworking your code to manage without String. Use C-style strings instead (strcpy, strcat, strcmp, etc.).

  float distance = analogRead(1);

The analogRead() function returns an int. Why are you storing that in a float?

  //map float to an int
  int x = (int) distance;

There's no "mapping" going on here.

            data[counter] = String(serialDataIn);

The serialDataIn variable is already a String. There is no reason to make another String instance, and then invoke the copy constructor on that instance, and then delete that instance. That is just uselessly gambling with an already dodgy class.

it compiles with no errors on my end. I will look into String thing, but I think its more of a format issue. I am receiving data in bytes and need to convert it to an int by subtracting 0. Will try both solutions tonight.

it compiles with no errors on my end.

That may well be true, but the code you have posted doesn’t.

hilukasz:
I think its more of a format issue.

If you don't want to fix the problems being pointed out then it seems pointless taking the effort to try to help you find them.

Couple of remarks, hope they can help.

First, the line ' //}' seems weird, with the comment marks it does NOT compile. Taking out the '//' compiles ok.

Next, does it actually print the "length" string? If x is not inside your range, nothing is done, whatever you receive.

Then, the line 'float distance = analogRead(1);', again hmm, analogRead returns a int, not a float. Not critical, but not clean.

But, most critical, you are not looping yourself, but using the Arduino background code to repeatedly call loop(). This means you are not in full control over what the system is doing. Even in the Arduino the microcontroller 'rule' the main function never exits is still a good one to follow.

Now, i am not sure, but it looks like the serial buffer is reset upon entering loop().

If i place the main block in a while(true) { .. } loop, it seems to work; at least it sees the incoming data etc.

Oh, and finally, the lines
// say what you got:
Serial.print("I received: ");
Serial.println(incomingByte, DEC);
make no sense, inComingByte is initialise to 0 and never set.

HTH,
Guido

String data[3];

...
            data[counter] = String(serialDataIn);
            serialDataIn = String("");
            counter = counter + 1;

counter is never reset to zero, it will exceed 2 soon enough, and overwrite memory.

PeterH:

hilukasz:
I think its more of a format issue.

If you don't want to fix the problems being pointed out then it seems pointless taking the effort to try to help you find them.

woah there buddy. thats why I said "Will try both solutions tonight."

PeterH:
You should be able to send and receive on the same serial port.

In your code you only seem to be trying to read from the Serial port when the distance reading is in range. I don't know why you're doing that - is it deliberate? Do you know that the value actually is in range? You need to know what's going on inside your sketch, and to understand that you really need to know what it's outputting to the Serial port and what your Processing application is writing to it.

For simplicity while testing, you could set the Processing application aside and use the Arduino serial monitor to send input to the Arduino and display whatever the Arduino outputs.

yeah I know it's in range. It works fine on arduino alone, it's when I send data to processing and get it back that is the issue. if you fall below 400 it causes inaccurate readings so I had to cap it. I was monitoring the serial connection and the values were between 400 and 750, I didnt want the motor jumping around all over the place because of an analog signal, so I capped it. I feel I have a good understanding what is basically going on other than recieving data, this is still forign to me.

I have already tested this all on arduino, everything is fine. I agree to start simple, I always try to start simple and build up, I got stuck at the part where I send data back from processing.

oh shoot nick you're right! I had JUST made an edit and commented out a "}" and a conditional, but somehow only undid the conditional. code is "fixed" (at least compiles, but isn't fixed fixed) now, and it compiles again--sorry about that.

PaulS:

  float distance = analogRead(1);

The analogRead() function returns an int. Why are you storing that in a float?

  //map float to an int

int x = (int) distance;



There's no "mapping" going on here.



data[counter] = String(serialDataIn);



The serialDataIn variable is already a String. There is no reason to make another String instance, and then invoke the copy constructor on that instance, and then delete that instance. That is just uselessly gambling with an already dodgy class.

ooo, I was under impression that arduino needs that as a float since its reading volts, guess I was wrong in my assumption. That actually brings up a weird issue I am not noticing where I am casting the float to an int then in processing going all over the place too. I think it was left over from when I had it just in arduino and was trying to smooth the analog signal (without much success so I moved on for sake of keeping it simple). I had converted it to int so there wouldn't be as much floating point randomness.

the mapping happens in processing here:

edit: posted most up to date code below.

DeepZ:
Couple of remarks, hope they can help.

First, the line ’ //}’ seems weird, with the comment marks it does NOT compile. Taking out the ‘//’ compiles ok.

Next, does it actually print the “length” string? If x is not inside your range, nothing is done, whatever you receive.

Then, the line ‘float distance = analogRead(1);’, again hmm, analogRead returns a int, not a float. Not critical, but not clean.

But, most critical, you are not looping yourself, but using the Arduino background code to repeatedly call loop(). This means you are not in full control over what the system is doing. Even in the Arduino the microcontroller ‘rule’ the main function never exits is still a good one to follow.

Now, i am not sure, but it looks like the serial buffer is reset upon entering loop().

If i place the main block in a while(true) { … } loop, it seems to work; at least it sees the incoming data etc.

Oh, and finally, the lines
// say what you got:
Serial.print("I received: ");
Serial.println(incomingByte, DEC);
make no sense, inComingByte is initialise to 0 and never set.

HTH,
Guido

Yes, you are totally right, I just noticed the weird “//}” as well when I went to check if it compiles. It does print the length string. X shouldn’t be in range-- all the values outside of that are nonsense (it’s an IR sensor), so I just filter them out.

Ah…I see what you are saying, really I could just do int x = analogRead(IRpin);
right? that is a bit silly now that I look at it…I think I was assuming it comes in a float as default, but its probably bytes…? I don’t know much about this language…I come from JS background, so this is really foreign to me. I was following some code posted up on stack exchange, but apparently with no luck and I should have caught that silly error too, I didn’t notice it was being reset. I usually use split to split this type of data, but I have no idea how to do it in C style

this part confused me the most because I am still terrible at using bytes. Not quite sure how to match “Data” in bytes, or even what best practice is. I’m ok with using bytes if this is fast and standard.

if(inbyte >= '0' && inbyte <= '9')

the serial coming back into arduino looks something like this: Data,0,20,
where second data set “0” would be between 0 and 180 ( I map this in processing)