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0.3.7 • Public • Published

node-reflecta is a node.js client for communicating with an Arduino via the Reflecta protocol.

Stability: Low

Getting Started

Install the module with: npm install reflecta

var reflecta = require('reflecta');
// Connect to a board on serial port ttyACM0 which corresponds to 'first USB serial device attached' in Linux, e.g. first Arduino
var board = new reflecta.Board("/dev/ttyACM0");
board.on('ready', function() {
  // Wait for a response from the Arduino to the frame of data I'm going to send
  board.once('response', function(response) {
  // Send a frame of data containing '1'.  '1' happens to map to 'QueryInterface' in ReflectaFunctions

Detecting Arduino Boards

var reflecta = require('reflecta');
reflecta.detect(function(error, boards, ports) {
  // Choose the first board found
  var board = boards[0];
  // board is not returned until 'ready' has already fired, no need to wait for board.on('ready')
  board.once('response', function(response) {

Board Interfaces

On startup Reflecta probes the Arduino to see what libraries are installed using QueryInterface. If it finds interfaces, it will automatically load a matching set of functions onto the Reflecta object using node's require or an npm install. A few well known interfaces that are supported are:


The ardu1 interface exposes the Arduino Digital & Analog I/O Functions and Wire and Servo libraries.


The moto1 interface exposes the SparkFun Monster Moto shield with functions like Drive, Brake, and ReadCurrent.


The hart1 interface exposes the settings functions for the Reflecta Heartbeat library such as setFrameRate.


The rbot1 interface exposes the commands for RocketBot to launch pneumatic straw rockets and control blinky lights such as Animation, Compressor, Valve, and Fire.

An example of how to use interfaces:

var reflecta = require('reflecta');
reflecta.detect(function(error, boards, ports) {
  // Choose the first board found
  var board = boards[0];
  board.ardu1.digitalWrite(7, 1); // Set digital pin 7 to on, 50); // Set left and right wheel powers to 50 out of 255
  board.rbot1.Fire(); // Fire a straw rocket

Board Methods

board.sendFrame(buffer0, ..., bufferN);

Sends a frame of data to the Arduino comprised by concatenating the buffers. Parameters will be auto-converted to a NodeJS buffer so an array of octets (bytes) or a string is reasonable input.

Auto-generates a sequence number to help in detecting lost packets. Auto-calculates a simple 8 bit CRC to help detect data corruption. Auto-escapes data using SLIP escaping to turn a stream of data into deliniated frames.

Note: Be sure that ready event has fired before calling sendFrame.

Board Events

board.on('ready', function() ... );

The connection has been opened and reflecta is ready to be used to communicate with the Arduino.

board.on('error', function(error) ... );

An fatal error was detected in the protocol, such as a buffer overflow or underflow, function id conflict, or error with the communications port.

board.on('warning', function(warning) ... );

A non-fatal warning was detected in the protocol, anything from out of sequence (dropped frame) to bad CRC or unexpected SLIP Escape (corrupted data)..

board.on('message', function(message) ... );

A string message was received. Generally used for 'println debugging' from the Arduino. 'message' is a UTF8 string.

board.on('response', function(response) ... );

A response was received to a function executed on the Arduino by a frame sent from this client.

response contains properties

  • sequence contains the sequence number of the frame this is a response to so you can correlate request/response pairs.
  • data contains the byte[] data for the response.
board.on('frame', function(frame) ... );

A frame of data was received from the Arduino. This event is only fired for frames that are not recognized as a known FrameType (e.g. Error, Warning, Message, Response, Heartbeat) by the buffer[0] value.

frame contains properties

  • sequence contains the sequence number of this frame.
  • data contains the byte[] data for the response.
board.on('heartbeat', function() ... );

A frame of heartbeat data was received from the Arduino. Heartbeat is a scheduled delivery of data retrieved from the Arduino, such as the current reading of the digital io or analog io ports.

heartbeat contains properties

  • collectingLoops: number of iterations through loop() while collecting heartbeat data
  • idleLoops: number of iterations through loop() while waiting for heartbeat timer to expire
  • data: heartbeat byte[]'s
board.on('close', function() ... );

The communications port was closed. A light wrapper over node-serialport's close event.

board.on('end', function() ... );

The communications port was ended. A light wrapper over node-serialport's end event.

board.on('open', function() ... );

The communications port is open. A light wrapper over node-serialport's open event.

Release History

  • 0.3.x: Still in early state. Subject to frequent breaking API changes at this time.
  • 0.3.3: Added reflecta.detect(...), renamed ctor from Reflecta to Board to match firmata/johnny-five
  • 0.3.4: Moved nodejs client to separate repository (node-reflecta) from Arduino source (Reflecta)
  • 0.3.5: Fix breaking change in Arduino Windows drivers that prevented detection of board, Typescript conversion
  • 0.3.6: Remove Typescript, freshen code for new version dependencies
  • 0.3.7: Update dependencies


See this Trello Board for planned work.


Copyright (c) 2015 Jay Beavers
Licensed under the BSD license.




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