Simplifying Control Protocols: Binary and ASCII

  • July 16, 2014
  • Zaber Technologies
  • News

One of the core elements of a motion control device is the way that you interact with it. This is most apparent when sending commands to a controller and reading the responses that it returns. Every motion controller will have its own command protocol, or series of rules for the communication, that dictates the format of this conversation. This command protocol will affect:

  1. How intuitive the controller is to use.
  2. How quickly the controller can communicate.
  3. The type of devices with which the controller will be able to communicate.

There are a wide variety of options for the communication standard, the format in which the information is sent, and the connector that is used to send it. All of these are a part of the command protocol. Having an open, consistent, and easy-to-use format allows devices to be integrated quickly into an application, allows users to get the most out of the device, and reduces the time it takes to become proficient with the controls. The command protocols of Zaber Technologies’ stepper motor controllers were designed with these traits in mind.

Zaber Technologies produces a range of high-precision motorized positioning devices, including linear actuators and stages, rotary devices, and optic mounts. Many of these devices have integrated stepper motor controllers and drives, providing compact, turn-key solutions. One of our focuses when designing all our devices is to maintain ease of use without sacrificing functionality. This focus also cascades to the command protocols that the devices use.

Zaber’s devices use two command protocols: an ASCII protocol and a 6-byte binary protocol. This white paper discusses each protocol and provides a comparision of each, including advantages and disadvantages of using one or the other. Please visit our Technical Article, Simplifying Control Protocols, for the free complete article.

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