Not logged in - Login

Test Only Setup

Before we worry about making stuff blink, let’s make sure this new hardware is working. In this guide we will be setting some of your new Komby gear in testing mode so you know it is working correctly. When dealing with new hardware, it’s not uncommon to not know what is wrong, where things have gone wrong or how to figure out why things aren't working. This article should help with that.

Learning objectives

  1. Learn to use the FTDI Programmer to program an RF1 device.
  2. Learn to use the TestRFTransmitter as a debugging tool.
  3. Learn to use the PrintingReceiver as a debugging tool.
  4. Learn to use the Arduino IDE to load firmware on your Komby gear.
  5. Gain confidence in your hardware and put some tools in your toolbox for later.


Software needed
  • You need to have an installed copy of the Arduino IDE.
  • You will need an installed copy of the current release of RFShowControl Firmware.

(If you are using Komby Release Candidate 1.1, November 2013, make sure you have read and followed instructions at
How To Setup Arduino IDE.)

Hardware needed for this example

  • At least two RF1 devices, one will be a transmitter the other a receiver.
  • One FTDI Programmer , you will use this to program your RF1s.

Assembled hardware
If you haven't already, Now would be a good time to build those devices. Instructions for assembling your new gear is available here:

Step 1: Set up a transmitter

The transmitter you will be setting up in this step is not going to be your “real” transmitter you will be using with your sequencer, but just a testing transmitter. From now on, let’s call the testing transmitter “RF_Out_Rainbow_Test”. To set up your transmitter, you will need one of your RF1 devices, a FTDI Programmer and a power source for the transmitter.
  1. Begin by connecting your FTDI Programmer to your computer via a USB cable.
  2. Once connected to your PC you will need to connect to your RF1 as shown [HERE TBD].
  3. Now that things are all connected, we need to open the Arduino IDE.
  4. In the Examples/RFShowControl folder, locate and open the RF_Out_Rainbow_Test sketch.
  5. Select the COM port your FTDI is using and click on upload to load the test transmitter sketch.
  6. Now you need to disconnect this RF1 and connect it to a power source other than the FTDI.
  7. Once connected to power CONGRATS! You have configured your first RF1 transmitter!
  8. This transmitter will be sending data for 512 channels of data on RF Channel 10. The Test Transmitter is a great debugging tool, especially if you are building a bunch of Komby gear — it’s not a bad idea to leave this one setup as long as you can, it will come in handy. It allows you to test your receivers without worrying about getting data from your PC and will help you rule out some variables why your setup may not be working correctly.

Step 2: Set up a receiver

  1. Next, Make sure your transmitter is still powered up and grab another RF1 board.
  2. Next, connect your FTDI programmer to your second RF1.
  3. The IDE is still open from your previous step, if it isnt you need it so go open it now
  4. In the Examples/RFShowControl section, locate the "RF_In_Debug_Printing" sketch and open it.
  5. The printing receiver sketch is a test receiver you can use to make sure your transmitter is transmitting. In this How-To you are testing that the test RF Transmitter is working, However; you can also use this sketch when we start transmitting real data.
  6. Make sure your COM port is selected and upload the Printing Receiver sketch to your second RF1.
  7. When it is completed uploading, scan through the sketch and make note of the Baud Rate used; it should be set to 115200, but may be set to 57600.
  8. Next you need to open the Serial Monitor (it’s in the same drop down you used to select the COM port). Make sure the right COM port is still selected and click on the "Serial Monitor" option.
  9. Now that the Serial Monitor is open, if the baud settings are correct this should be in English, if it looks funny the baud rate settings are wrong; they’re at the bottom portion of the screen. Set to the correct baud rate.
  10. OK, so if all went well you should see a bunch of numbers scrolling super fast off the screen. These numbers represent packet offsets in your 512 channels of data. Because we are sending one packet per 30 channels you should see the numbers 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16. They should be in this order, if they are out of order it could be OK as long as all the numbers are represented. If you don't see any of these numbers and are wondering what the heck I’m talking about, there is something wrong with your transmitter. If you see those numbers over and over again, Congrats! You just proved your transmitter and receiver hardware is working! You should now proceed to our next setup example and learn how to configure a real receiver.

Step 3: Test and cheer!