Minicom is a text-based serial port communications program, similar to Cutecom. It is used to talk to external RS232 devices such as mobile phones, routers. It's available for all versions of the Ubuntu family. Links to several specific guides for configuring hardware are detailed in the 'Useful Links' section below.


Go to Applications - Accessories - Terminal update the apt cache with

sudo apt-get update

Install the program with

sudo apt-get install minicom

Alternatively you can get Minicom via the Synaptic Package Manager.

Using the program

Select Applications-Accessories-Terminal.

In order to find the name of your port(s) enter this command in terminal

dmesg | grep tty

The output will be something like this:

[   22.587279] console [tty0] enabled
[   24.186230] serial8250: ttyS0 at I/O 0x3f8 (irq = 4) is a 16550A
[   24.186860] 00:08: ttyS0 at I/O 0x3f8 (irq = 4) is a 16550A
[   51.598012] audit(1243322582.732:2): type=1503 operation="inode_permission" requested_mask="a::" denied_mask="a::" name="/dev/tty" pid=5705 profile="/usr/sbin/cupsd" namespace="default"

What we are interested in is the name of the serial port, in this case ttyS0, which we will need in order to use Minicom. In terminal enter

sudo minicom -s

'-s' is for setup and we need to set up port speed, parity and a few other items. This may edit the system-wide defaults in /etc/mini‐com/minirc.dfl with this option. A new menu will now be displayed, so the keyboard arrow keys select the menu item labeled "Serial Port Setup" and then hit 'Enter'. This will open a new menu in which you need to make some changes. Enter 'A' and set the serial device name, in our case /dev/ttyS0 Now press 'Enter' to set the changes. Enter 'E' to set the port speed, parity, etc (this information will be in the user manual of the device you wish to connect to. The new menu will give you a number of options you can use 'A' and 'B' to toggle through the port speeds or 'C', 'D' and 'E' for preset speeds. The next value is number of data bits (normally 8) use keys S-V to set this. Next comes parity (normally Odd) use keys L-P. Lastly we have stop bits (normally 1), set with keys 'W','X'. If you're not sure of the settings press keys 'C' and 'Q' as these are standard settings for many devices. Press 'Enter' to keep these new settings. The final setting is Hardware or Software control (see user manual), press 'F' and 'G' to toggle them on and off as required. Press 'Enter' to save the settings. To save all settings to the /etc/mini‐com/minirc.dfl file select 'Save settings as dfl'. Another useful Option is to log all information to a file which will be saved in your Home directory. Select 'Filenames and paths' and press 'F' (Logging options). By default this will be saved as 'minicom.log', but change it to whatever you like with the 'A' key. Press 'Enter' to save the changes.

To exit Minicom when in terminal mode press 'Ctrl-A' to get a message bar at the bottom of the terminal window and then press 'X'.

Useful Links

There are also manpages which can be accessed via terminal with man minicom

Minicom (last edited 2011-04-01 09:44:39 by kevbert1)