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Serial Binding

tkuehne71 edited this page Jul 24, 2016 · 19 revisions


For installation of the binding, please see Wiki page Bindings.

Generic Item Binding Configuration

In order to bind an item to a Serial device, you need to provide configuration settings. The easiest way to do so is to add some binding information in your item file (in the folder configurations/items).

The format of the binding configuration is simple and looks like this:

serial="<port>@<baudrate>,REGEX(<regular expression>)" 
  • where <port> is the identification of the serial port on the host system, e.g. "COM1" on Windows, "/dev/ttyS0" on Linux or "/dev/tty.PL2303-0000103D" on Mac.
  • where <baudrate> is the baud rate of the port. Backward compatibility is given; if no baud rate is specified the serial binding defaults to 9600 baud.
  • where REGEX(<regular expression>) allows parsing for special strings or numbers in the serial stream. This is based on the RegEx Service. This is optional and new in version 1.8.
  • where BASE64 enables the Base64 mode. With this mode all data received on the serial port is saved in Base64 format. In this mode also all data that is sent to the serial port has to be Base64 encoded. (This was implemented because some serial devices are using bytes that are not supported by the rest interface) Base64 can be decoded in the rules by importing javax.xml.bind.DatatypeConverter and then decoding the value like this: DatatypeConverter::parseBase64Binary(ITEM.state.toString) For encoding use the printBase64Binary method of the DatatypeConverter. This is optional and new in version 1.8.

Switch items with this binding will receive an ON-OFF update on the bus, whenever data becomes available on the serial interface (or simply by short-cutting pins 2 and 7 on the RS-232 interface)

String items will receive the submitted data in the form of a string value as a status update, while openHAB commands to a String item are sent out as data through the serial interface.

Number items will receive the RegEx result and attempt to convert the string to a number.

As a result, your lines in the items file might look like the following:

Switch HardwareButton     "Bell"	           (Entrance)      { serial="/dev/ttyS0" }
String AVR                "Surround System"    (Multimedia)    { serial="/dev/ttyS1@115200" } 
Number Temperature        "My Temp. Sensor"    (Weather)       { serial="/dev/ttyS1@115200,REGEX(ID:2.*,T:([0-9.]*))" } 

If you are working with a Mac, you might need to install a driver for your USB-RS232 converter (e.g. osx-pl2303 or pl2303) and create the /var/lock folder, see the rxtx troubleshooting guide.


If you are using non standard serial ports you have to adapt to have the serial port included. the java command line should then include the following parameters:

where ttyAMA0 is the path to your serial port. Please be aware to change all scripts you might use for startup (debug, automatic start in linux,...)


With version 1.8 it is allowed to use a serial connection for multiple items. This has changed for the RegEx extension.


If you are running on linux then you have to remember to add openhab as user to the dialout group to allow openhab permission to read/write to the serial port:

assuming you are running openhab as user "openhab" with the serial port access rights tied to the group "dialout" (i.e. ubuntu, check the docs for your distribution)

sudo usermod -a -G dialout openhab

The user will need to logout from all login instances and log back in to see their new group added. If you add your user to this group and still cannot get permission, rebooting the box to ensure the new group permission is attached to your user is suggested.


If you use more than one USB serial converter like FTDI or CP2102, it may happen that your /dev/ttyUSB0 device is named /dev/ttyUSB1 after a reboot. To prevent this problem you can assign alias names for your serial devices by adding them to /etc/udev/rules.d/99-com.rules.


SUBSYSTEM=="tty", ATTRS{idVendor}=="0403", ATTRS{idProduct}=="6001", ATTRS{serial}=="AE01F0PD", SYMLINK+="ttyMySensors"
SUBSYSTEM=="tty", ATTRS{idVendor}=="10c4", ATTRS{idProduct}=="ea60", ATTRS{serial}=="0001", SYMLINK+="ttyCulStick"

feature overview


Setup intro

Linux and OS X





User Interfaces



(link to openHAB forum)



Application Integration



A good source of inspiration and tips from users gathered over the years. Be aware that things may have changed since they were written and some examples might not work correctly.

Please update the wiki if you do come across any out of date information.

Binding configurations

Use case examples

Item definition examples

Sitemap definition examples

Collections of Rules on a single page

Single Rules


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Release Notes

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