Bootstrap via Terminal Emulator

Connecting  the station to the PC via the USB port requires a Virtual Com Port device driver (VCP) provided by Silicon Labs. Follow this link and download/install the driver appropriate for your operating system. In case you already plugged in the station before you installed the driver you might have to update or uninstall the device first in order for the OS to find it on the next connect.   Newer Linux distributions already have the required driver pre installed.

Once you have successfully loaded the driver and connected the station to your PC, the hardware device manager (windows) will display a new COM port under “Ports COM & LPT”.  The port is labeled “Silicon Labs CP210x USB to UART Bridge (COMn)”.  Take note of the COM port number, you will need it to connect the terminal emulator to it later. The savvy Linux operator will know where to find the appropriate dev/tty.

To connect to  the COM port we need a terminal emulator program. If you are running Windows XP you are in luck and you can use Hyper Terminal under “Start/Programs/accessory/Communication/Hyper Terminal” . On Linux you will have multiple tty programs at your disposal, however on Windows Vista and newer you will first have to install a suitable program.  You can get a 30 day free trial of  Hyper Terminal from Hillgrave or you can use PuTTY  for free.  Wikipedia also shows a list of terminal emulators.

Configure the terminal emulator to connect to the COM port that you noted above as belonging to the station,  set the connection parameters as follows :  38.4Kbaud, 8,N,1 No hardware handshake.

Follow these steps to configure the Station now:

  1. Connect the station via the USB cable to your PC.
  2. Verify the COM port number  in the hardware manager  ( i.e. COM7).
  3. Start the terminal emulator, configure the appropriate COMn port as 38.4Kbs,8,N,1,None.
  4. Connect to the appropriate COMn port.  (I always forget this step !! ).
  5. Press and HOLD switch S1 on the station.
  6. Press Reset momentarily, then release switch S1 within one second.
  7. You should see a list of configuration items on the terminal.
  8. Follow the instructions to configure the SSID and encryption settings according to your WiFi router.

After the save and reboot, the station should connect to your WiFi, but be patient! If encryption was enabled in the steps above it will take up to 1 minute for the initial connection during  which the green led flashes impatiently. Subsequent connections will go much faster since the encryption key is being cached.  Connected status is indicated by a blinking led at a one second interval.  Also the terminal window will display status info .

If the connection does not establish within one minute and you are sure that the SSID and Password are correct press the Reset button and wait one more minute.

Once a connection to the local network is established the station can be reached through it’s Netbios name WXBOARD  (default) from a browser, or if configured with a static IP  address through that.  Sometimes the Netbios name takes a while to be known to the network.  Also some browsers try to be “helpful” and start a internet search for the word  you typed as the Netbios name. You might have to type the full url as http://wxboard to get the proper result.  You can also look at the router’s DHCP table to find out what IP address the station received if DHCP was enabled.