Getting Connected

The easiest way to connect with Aurora is to use one of the official Aurora apps or SDKs. It is possible, however, to manually connect to Aurora using the methods described below.

USB Serial

When Aurora is plugged in to your computer over USB and turned on, it exposes itself as a virtual COM/Serial port. Connecting to this virtual port will reveal a CLI that can be used to control Aurora. Establishing such a connection varies from platform to platform, however in all cases the following serial port parameters are required:

  • Baudrate: 115200
  • Data bits: 8
  • Stop bits: 1
  • Parity: none
  • Flow Control: none

A wonderful tutorial at SparkFun provides a great overview for those new to serial port communication.

Windows

Windows users will require a 3rd-party terminal emulator capable of communicating over a COM port as a serial device. A number of programs are available (PuTTY, RealTerm, HyperTerminal), however we recommend PuTTY because of its tiny size and portability.

The first step is to determine which COM port Windows assigned to Aurora. Open the Device Manager and look underneath the Ports (COM & LPT) section. If Aurora is on and connected properly it will show up as a device with a name like "USB Serial Device (COMXX)"*. If you have multiple devices listed, you can turn Aurora off and on again to determine which device name is associated with Aurora. Once identified, take note of the number that appears next to the "COM" text.

Putty Setup

Luckily PuTTY's serial port configuration defaults match those required for Aurora so all that's necessary is to switch to the "Serial" connection type and enter the serial port name and baud rate as shown in the image above. It is also recommended to change the number of columns displayed to 120 to avoid ugly line wrapping. (This setting can be found under the "Window" section in PuTTYs left panel.) Once PuTTY is configured, click the "Open" button to open a new connection and terminal window where you can enter commands and see event/stream data with USB output enabled.


* Aurora might also appear with the name "STMicroelectronics Virtual COM port (COMXX)". If Aurora doesn't seem to show up properly, first check to make sure the micro USB cable being used is capable of transmitting data and inserted properly. If the device still doesn't show up within Device Manager or a yellow exclamation mark appears next to the device name, you may need to manually install drivers. Consult the FAQ for driver installation instructions.

MacOS and Linux

Connecting to Aurora on a MacOS or Linux computer is a bit easier, thanks to the built in tool Terminal. Open the Terminal application (command+space "terminal" in MacOS) and determine which port has been assigned to Aurora by typing the following command:

ls /dev/tty.usbmodem*

This should bring up a list of all serial port devices connected to your machine over USB. Aurora should appear with a name like "/dev/tty.usbmodem251". If nothing shows up, double check Aurora is on and plugged in to your computer via a micro USB cable with data transfer support. Make sure Aurora Desktop is also closed. Once identified, a connection to Aurora can be established by running one more command:

screen /dev/tty.usbmodem251

Be sure to substitue the device name of Aurora with the one listed by the previous command.

Bluetooth LE

We do not recommend directly interacting with Aurora over BLE. The SDKs do a wonderful job of abstracting all the difficult aspects of establishing a connection, subscribing to characteristics, receiving notifications, queuing commands, etc. However, seasoned developers are welcome and encouraged to reference the SDK implementations for details about the Aurora custom BLE service and communication protocol. Please get in touch if you are interested in developing an SDK for an unsupported platform.

Storage Mode

Aurora can be placed in Storage Mode which allows it to appear on your computer as an external USB hard drive, providing direct access to the Aurora's onboard SD card. This mode can be useful to modify profiles, download collected data, or manually update firmware. To enable Storage Mode, perform the following steps:

  1. Turn Aurora on and connect it to your computer using a micro USB cable capable of transmitting data.
  2. Press and hold the Aurora's power button. The LEDs will turn red but continue holding down the button until the LEDs turn white. This generally takes about 8 seconds but it can take longer the first time your computer recognizes the storage device.
  3. When the LEDs are white, release the power button. Aurora should show up on your computer as an external drive with the name "AURORA" and can now be accessed like any other storage device.
  4. Exit "Storage Mode" by either ejecting the disk as you would a USB thumb drive (preferred method) or by again holding down the power button until the LEDs first turn red and then turn off entirely.

While in Storage Mode normal USB serial connections are not allowed. Avoid removing the USB cable while Aurora is in Storage Mode, as this can cause Aurora's SD card to become corrupted.


Useful Tip:
Aurora can also be placed in Storage Mode by using the command usb-mode 2.

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