Serial.readBytes()

Description

Serial.readBytes() reads characters from the serial port into a buffer. The function terminates if the specified length has been read, or it times out (see Serial.setTimeout()).

Serial.readBytes() returns the number of characters placed in the buffer. A 0 means no valid data was found.

Serial.readBytes() inherits from the Stream utility class.

Syntax

Serial.readBytes(buffer, length)

Parameter Values

  • Serial: serial port object. See the list of available serial ports for each board on the Serial main page.
  • buffer: the buffer to store the bytes in. Allowed data types: array of char or byte.
  • length: the number of bytes to read. Allowed data types: int.

Return Values

  • The number of bytes placed in the buffer. Data type: size_t.

Example Code

const int BUFFER_SIZE = 50; char buf[BUFFER_SIZE]; void setup() { Serial.begin(9600); // opens serial port, sets data rate to 9600 bps } void loop() { // check if data is available if (Serial.available() > 0) { // read the incoming bytes: int rlen = Serial.readBytes(buf, BUFFER_SIZE); // prints the received data Serial.print("I received: "); for(int i = 0; i < rlen; i++) Serial.print(buf[i]); } }
  • Type "HELLO" on Serial Monitor and click Send button:
  • COM6
    Send
    Autoscroll Show timestamp
    Clear output
    9600 baud  
    Newline  
  • The result on Serial Monitor:
  • COM6
    Send
    I received: HELLO
    Autoscroll Show timestamp
    Clear output
    9600 baud  
    Newline  

※ NOTES AND WARNINGS:

  • Serial.readBytes() may read a stream of bytes in multiple times (resulting in multiple fragments). To read a stream of bytes at one time, there are two ways:
    • Based on the delimiter: Use Serial.readBytesUntil() with delimiter.
    • Based on the fixed length: Wait until the fixed number of bytes is available. for example:
const int BUFFER_SIZE = 5; char buf[BUFFER_SIZE]; void setup() { Serial.begin(9600); // opens serial port, sets data rate to 9600 bps } void loop() { // check if data is available if (Serial.available() >= BUFFER_SIZE) { // read the incoming bytes: Serial.readBytes(buf, BUFFER_SIZE); // TODO: PROCESS THE INCOMING DATA HERE } }
  • Make sure that the read length does NOT exceed the buffer size. The below is the best practice:
const int BUFFER_SIZE = 5; char buf[BUFFER_SIZE]; // application buffer void setup() { Serial.begin(9600); // opens serial port, sets data rate to 9600 bps } void loop() { // check if data is available int rxlen = Serial.available(); // number of bytes available in Serial buffer if (rxlen > 0) { int rlen; // number of bytes to read if (rxlen > BUFFER_SIZE) // check if the data exceeds the buffer size rlen = BUFFER_SIZE; // if yes, read BUFFER_SIZE bytes. The remaining will be read in the next time else rlen = rxlen; // read the incoming bytes: rlen = Serial.readBytes(buf, rlen); // TODO: PROCESS THE INCOMING DATA HERE } }
  • Serial functions are not only used for the communication between an Arduino board and Serial Monitor of Arduino IDE but also used for the communication between:
    • An Arduino board and other Arduino board
    • An Arduino board and other sensors/devices
    • An Arduino board and computer (any Serial software on computer)

See Also

ARDUINO BUY RECOMMENDATION

Arduino UNO R3
Arduino Starter Kit
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