Chapter 37. Controlling MagicQ using the serial port

The MQ500 and MagicQ PC software support the use of a serial port for controlling external devices or automation computers.

The serial port can also be used to remote control the MagicQ console or MagicQ software via a simple set of text commands.

MagicQ supports standard baud rates, stop bits and parity options for serial communication.

The use of a serial port on MagicQ PC is only enabled when it is connected to a MagicQ Wing or Interface.

37.1. Connecting the serial port

The MQ500 uses a female DE-9 connector.

Table 37.1. Serial port pinout

DE-9 pin Signal Direction



Into console



Out of console



You need a cross-over cable (aka "null modem cable") to connect between two serial ports, which swaps pins 2 and 3 .

Turn off software and hardware flow control on the remote serial port - MagicQ does not use these. The usage of pins other than 2, 3 and 5 varies between consoles but in most cases do not need to be connected.

37.2. Enabling the serial port

Enable the serial port in SETUP, VIEW SETTINGS, Ports. Set Serial com port to the COM port that you wish to use (on the console always select COM1). Set the baud rate, parity, data bits and stop bits.


37.3. Writing to the serial port

Commands are transmitted out of the serial port by placing the command in the Macro field of the Cue Stack window.

The format of serial commands is X followed by the data. To send serial data, the X command must be the only macro command in the macro field. The X command is followed by ASCII data contained within quotes (' ') or by decimal values separated by commas. For example to send Hello World followed by a carriage return:

X'Hello World',10,13

To send the binary data stream 00 01 02 03 04


To send text only:


To send several lines of text:


37.4. Reading from the serial port

Serial remote protocol must be set to CRP & Automs to receive remote commands or trigger AUTOM items.

ChamSys Serial Remote protocol consists of a list of parameter values separated by commas ‘,’ and ending in a character A to Z (or a to z). Commands can contain spaces, tabs, and carriage returns; they are all ignored. See the section on ChamSys Remote Protocol for further details.

AUTOM items can trigger on serial commands. Set Type to Serial, P2 to the number of bytes expected and P3 to the serial command expected, in the same format as serial cue macros without the leading X.

If there are any serial AUTOM items, remote protocol commands are ignored.

37.5. Testing receiving serial commands

It is possible to test the behaviour when MagicQ receives serial commands without an external serial connection. Type "testser" followed by the command, in the same format as serial cue macros without the leading X.

For example to activate playback 1 enter:

testser '1a'


testser 49,65

MagicQ version v1.8.6.6 minimum is needed to use the MQ500 serial port or the "testser" command.