PTZ Serial Connection Troubleshooting

PTZ serial troubleshooting is somewhat involved since we are dealing with several interconnected elements: the TriCaster software/hardwareserial-USB adapter’s driver settings, and serial connections to the camera. These elements are listed in the order of the flow of data. This is not always going to be the flow of troubleshooting. For instance, it can help to make sure that TriCaster is up to date before troubleshooting the preceding elements.


Generally, the TriCaster will connect to the camera through serial output via a serial to usb adapter. The first thing to check is whether the driver software has been installed for the adapter. If it hasn't, it may not properly transmit the data coming from the scoreboard controller. Next, find which com port handles the connection to the scoreboard or scoreboard controller:

  1. In Windows, select Start and then right-click on “Computer”. Then select "Manage" from the menu to open the Computer Management panel.
  2. Open the Device Manager by clicking that entry in the left pane of this window. 
  3. Click the + sign next to Ports (COM and LPT) in the right-hand pane to disclose available communication ports.
  4. Locate the entry for your USB to Serial adapter – take note of which COM port number is assigned to it (such as COM1 or COM2).

Note: You should see your new connection listed. If it doesn’t appear at first, try removing and re-inserting the USB cable connector – or you can use the “Scan for hardware changes” item in the Device Manager’s Action menu. (If it does appear but an ! icon appears next to the entry, this may indicate a problem with either the USB connection or your adapter driver installation.  Try re-installing the adapter driver following the directions supplied with it.)

In some environments, Windows may arbitrarily reassign the external device to a different COM port following a reboot. If this happens, you can update the COM port entry in the affected TriCaster session. However, if you prefer instead to lock the connected device to a specific COM port, you can do so within Windows Device Manager.

To lock the device to a specific com port, locate the current port entry for your scoreboard controller. Right-click the entry name, then select Properties in the drop-down menu. Next, click the Port Settings tab at the top of the Properties panel, and click the button labeled “Advanced”.  Use the Com Port Number drop-down menu to choose an unused port number, and click the "OK" button. "OK" the Properties panel too, then close the Device Manager. The Port Number you assigned should now be retained on subsequent reboots.

In the port settings listed above, you can find the information you will need to configure camera control in the TriCaster interface. It will usually look like this:

Make sure to note the "Bits per second" (Baud Rate), and ensure both "Parity" and "Flow Control" are set to "None".

*Note - You will need to ensure the "Bits per second" (Baud Rate) matches what is listed in 1) The camera's user guide and 2) The TriCaster "PTZ Control" configuration.

This info also provides insight into verifying whether you are getting data from the com port at all.

To use HyperTerminal to look at data coming from a com port, follow these steps:

  1. Go the the port settings as described in the image and steps listed above and write them down.
  2. Extract the contents of this zip file to the system.
  3. Run hypertrm.exe.
  4. It will ask to make it the default Telnet program. Select "no."
  5. Next it will ask you to install a modem. The answer is again “no.”
  6. Enter a name for the connection and select an icon. We usually type "scoreboard", and click in the transparent area to select an invisible icon.
  7. It will then ask you for phone number info. You must enter an area code, but leave the rest blank. Select the com port that is associated with your scoreboard’s adapter and press OK.
  8. Next verify and select the port settings. Make sure they match the information you wrote down in step 1 and press OK.
  9. If the camera and adapter are working properly, you will get constant flowing text output. If this issue needs to be submitted or escalated in a ticket, go to the Transfer menu, click Capture Text and Start. In the File box, type a descriptive name for the file, and then click Start. After a few moments, select Stop. Attach the resulting text file to the ticket.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If HyperTerminal is running, it will fight with TriCaster over the com port. Once you have verified that the com port is successfully outputting text, end the HyperTerminal connection and close the program before launching TriCaster.

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