500Hz or higher serial port data recording

Hello I'm trying to read some data from the serial port and record it in the hard drive. I'm using visual C++ express, and made an application using the windows form.

The program basically sends a byte ("s") every t seconds, this trigger the device connected to the serial port to send back 3 bytes. The baud rate now is on 38400bps. The time t is controlled by the timer class of visual c++.

The problem I have is that if I set the ticking time of the timer to 1ms, the data is not recorded every 1ms, but around every 15ms. I've read that maybe the resolution of the timer is set to 15ms, but not sure about it. Anyhow, how can I make the timer event to trigger every 1ms, instead of every 15ms? or is there another way to read the serial port data faster? I'm looking for 500Hz or higher.

The device connected to the serial port is a 32bit microcontroller, which I have control over the program as well so I can easily change it, but just can't figure out another way to make this transmission.

Thanks for any help!


Windows is not a real-time OS, and regardless of what period your timer is set to there are not guarantees that it will be consistently maintained. Morover the OS clock resolution is dependent on the hardware vendor's HAL implementation and varies from system to system. Multi-media timers have hifger resolution, but the real-time guarantees are still not there.

Apart from that, you need to do a little arithmetic on the timing you are trying to achieve. At 38400,N,8,1, you can only transfer at most 3.84 characters in 1ms, so your timing is tight in any case since you are pinging with one character and expecting three characters to be returned. You can certainly go no faster without increasing the bit rate.

A better solution would be to have the PC host send the required reporting period to the embedded target once then have the embedded target perform its own timing so that it autonomously emits data every period until the PC requests that it stop or sends a different period. Your embedded system is far more capable of maintaining hard-realtime constraints.

Alternatively you could simply have your device perform its sample and transmit the three characters with the timing entiely determined by the transmission time of the three characters, and stream the data constantly. This will give you a sample period of 781.25us (1280Hz) without any triggering from the PC and it will be truely periodic and jitter free. If you want a faster sample rate, simply increase the bit rate.

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