Serial monitors are typically used to help Makers and engineers more easily debug their projects.
However, as HackADay’s Will Sweatman notes, traditional serial monitors require a PC or laptop loaded with a terminal program.
“Most of the time this is not an issue, because the PC is used to compile the code and program the project at hand,” Sweatman explained.
“But what if you’re in the field, with a mission of fixing a headless system and in need a serial monitor? Why lug around your PC when you can make your own external serial monitor?”
And that is precisely why ARPix designed a barebones, albeit fully functional serial monitor around Atmel’s versatile ATmega328 microcontroller (MCU) and a 102 x 64 LCD display.
Although the minimalistic platform lacks a keyboard port like some other external monitors, tact switches facilitate access to the user interface (UI) for start and stop commands. As expected, the tact switches can also be used to set the baud rate.
Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official Instructables page here, which offers the relevant sketches and parts list.