Sentry – the hardware part

Setting up the hardware for the Sentry project requires relatively little time. However to correctly configure you should install the included BV application. This article shows how to connect, configure and test each individual device before linking them in series. Get a coffee and I’ll begin !


Connect the 5 pin end of the serial cable to the ribbon cable – the pin which has no wire in it should connect to the row of holes in the connector on the edge with the notch nearest it and with the red line at the left. Connect the 9 pin serial end to your pc’s serial port.

Don’t plug in the power supply yet ! Connect the 3 pin connector of the serial lead to the power regulator. This is also at the end of the lead with the 5 pin connector.

Its the three pin connector furthest from the LED on the regulator board that you need to connect to and the third pin of the connector is empty so – From left to right – the colour of the wires is yellow orange empty.

Next connect one of the LED matrixes to the ribbon cable – with the red line on the ribbon cable at the right hand side of the matrix as you look at it from behind. and its into the row of holes nearest the notch on the connector.

Recheck the connections and then add power by plugging in your transformer. The LED on the regulator should light up green.


Install the BV app and start it up.

Connect the serial lead to comm port and establish connection at 9600, 8, None , 2 stop bits

Press the red icon at the right hand side (it will turn green to show connection) and press return a few times to get the L> prompt

Device Addressing

Configure addresses for the devices one at a time !! Only have one device connected until you are sure each of them works.

type the following at the L> prompt (this sets the first LED matrix as device D1 and configuration slot 5)

ZC5 -r

once done you will not get the L> prompt connecting to the newly configured device

Testing Output

in the BV application – connect as above and type


this should output a RED A on the led matrix

TURN OFF POWER and remove that Matrix from ribbon and do next Matrix changing the commands to

ZC5 -r

Disconnect the second Matrix from ribbon after testing

and finally setup the LCD as Device D3 and configuration slot 7 – note when connecting the ribbon cable to the back of the LCD – the red line is at the bottom and the pins of the LCD panels connect go into the row of holes nearest the notch on the connector.

set its ID and config slot with

ZC7 -r

test it with slightly different command

:D3BT”its alive”

to get output of “its alive” displayed on line 1.

Things to remember

– the baud rate is 9600, 8 , none and two (2) stop bits

– the device name is case sensitive – so its D1 not d1 in this case for the first LED matrix if thats what you set it to

– once configured the devices need a colon in from when sending them commands i.e :D1CR65 to get A and :D2CR66 to get a B on second display

– finally remember that the LCD does not respond to :D3CR65 rather you need :D3BT”A” to get A displayed.

– on the ribbon cable connect the pins of the devices in the row of holes nearest the notch of the connector.

More about the control codes and theirs uses in the next article.

In conclusion

Finally – turn off the power again – assemble all the devices by pluging D1 into the first connecter nearest the end of the ribbon cable that has serial five pin connection into – with the pins nearest the notch – the the second LED Matrix into the next connector and finally the LCD panel with the red line to the bottom – and recheck working with

:D3BT”All done”

which should give you “A” , “A” and “All done” on the two LED matrices and the LCD respectively.

When finished click on the green icon in the BV application to close serial connection and close BV application down.