Total Station and GNU/Linux: Zeiss Elta R55 done!

The pySerial library is really good. Today I installed it and in half an hour I got acquainted with its class methods, even though I have little knowledge about serial ports and the like.

With some trial and error about the connection parameters, I was even able to solve the problem with non-printable characters, tweaking the bytesize of the connection.

Briefly, these are the steps I did in the interactive ipython console:

  1. >>> import serial
    >>> ser = serial.Serial('/dev/ttyUSB0', \
    baudrate=9600, bytesize=serial.SEVENBITS, timeout=0, \
    parity=serial.PARITY_NONE, rtscts=1)
  2. at this point, start the transfer from the device
  3. check that you have received some data:
    >>> ser.inWaiting()

    A non-zero result means that you have received something.

  4. I saved this value to use it with the read() method of the Serial class:
    >>> n = ser.inWaiting()
    >>> result =
  5. The result object is a string, seeing its contents is as simple as:
    >>> print(result)
    0001 OR.COOR
    0002                   0S        X        0.000 Y         0.000 Z     0.000
    0003                                            Om     397.0370
    0004 POLAR
    0005 INPUT                       th       1.500 ih        0.000
    0006 INPUT                       th       0.000 ih        0.000 Z     0.000
    0007                   1         X       -0.472 Y         1.576 Z     0.004

    As you can see, there are no errors after the END sentence, because the serial connection is handled gracefully now. The previous attempt with cat /dev/ttyUSB0 was a bit brutal…

For now, that’s all. I go back studying and maybe also writing some Python code for this Total Station. If you have got a total station and want to contribute to this project, let me know by leaving a comment here.

Di Stefano Costa

Archaeologist, I work in Liguria where I live with my family. In my studies, I spent most of my energies with the Late Antique and Early Medieval/Byzantine period on the northern side of the Mediterranean, focusing on pottery usage patterns. I'm also involved in open source and open knowledge initiatives.

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