Configuring and Using
Hyperterminal with Serial Devices

Hyperterminal is a communications program that is included free with Windows 95 and later. Although the program has some quirks, it's handy for sending data to serial displays. This tip sheet shows how to configure the program, and lists some known peculiarities.

Hyperterminal's publisher, Hilgraeve, offers free and low-cost upgrades to the program, as well as more advanced communication software. It's very likely that most or all of the issues listed here will be solved by downloading a new release from their site.

  NOTE: If you just want to demo our serial displays, try our free Windows serial-sender utility. Download the program here.


Setting up Hyperterminal

In a normal installation of Windows 95 or later, Hyperterminal is automatically installed under Programs:Accessories, so you access it as follows:

Upon launching Hyperterminal, you'll be given the opportunity to name and assign an icon to your settings. You may choose any name/icon. Afterwards, a series of dialog boxes will appear. Enter the following settings:

Phone Number

COM1 Properties, Port Settings


This will get you into the main Hyperterminal window. There are still a few more settings to make. Pull down the File menu and select Properties.

Properties Dialog

Using Hyperterminal

Once you've configured the program, make sure to save your configuration for reuse. If you launch the program using your configuration icon, your settings will be loaded automatically.

With the settings listed above, anything you type into the Hyperterminal window will be sent out the serial port. You can also send most control characters by holding down the Ctrl key and typing the appropriate letter. For example, control-L (formfeed) is recognized by our BPP-, BGX-, VFD-, and SGX-series displays as a clear-screen instruction. Hold Ctrl and type L to clear the LCD screen.

You can also use an old DOS trick to send particular ASCII values that may not have control-key equivalents. Hold down the Alt key and type the decimal ASCII value on the keyboard's numeric keypad (not the number keys along the top of the keyboard), then release Alt. Precede the number with a 0 (zero). For example, to send ASCII 133, press and hold Alt, type 0 1 3 3 on the keypad, then release Alt.

Don't leave out the 0 (zero) preceding the number! If you do, the actual value sent can be changed in odd ways. For example, ASCII 14 sent as Alt-down 1 4 Alt-up works fine, but ASCII 15 sent as Alt-down 1 5 Alt-up gets translated to ASCII 164.

The smart customer who pointed out the necessity of the leading zero speculates that it has to do with Windows' conversion of character codes to the DOS character set.

Corrupted Config Files

Saved configurations can be corrupted in odd ways. The most obvious symptom is that typing the same character three times in a row causes the third instance of the character to be sent incorrectly. In other cases, the terminal program fails to work altogether. The only fix we know of is to create a new configuration from scratch, as described above.