How to access serial and parallel ports by using Visual Basic .NET

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Article ID: 823179 - View products that this article applies to.
For a Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 version of this article, see 904795.
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SUMMARY

This step-by-step article describes how to access serial ports and how to access parallel ports by using Microsoft Visual Basic .NET. This article also contains sample code that illustrates the concepts that are discussed in this article.

Requirements

The following list outlines the recommended hardware, software, network infrastructure, and service packs that you need:
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Windows XP, or Microsoft Windows 2000
  • Visual Basic .NET
This article assumes that you are familiar with the following topics:
  • Programming in Visual Basic .NET
  • Platform invoke services in Visual Basic .NET

Use the MSComm control in Visual Basic .NET to access serial ports

Because no Microsoft .NET Framework classes exist to access the communications resources that connected to your computer, you can use the MSComm control in Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0. The MSComm control provides serial communications for your application by enabling the transmission and reception of data through a serial port. To implement basic serial communications by using a modem, follow these steps:
  1. Start Microsoft Visual Studio .NET.
  2. On the File menu, point to New, and then click Project.
  3. Under Project Types, click Visual Basic Projects.
  4. Under Templates, click Console Application.
  5. In the Name box, type MyConsoleApplication, and then click OK.

    By default, Module1.vb is created.
  6. Right-click the MyConsoleApplication project, and then click Add Reference.
  7. Click the COM tab, click Microsoft Comm Control 6.0 under Component Name, click Select, and then click OK.

    Note To use the MSComm control, you must install the related COM components of Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 on the same computer that has Microsoft Visual Studio .NET installed.

    For more information about license issues when you use Visual Basic 6.0 controls in Visual Studio .NET, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    318597 Errors when you use Visual Basic 6.0 controls in Visual Studio .NET
  8. Replace the code in Module1.vb with the following code example.
    Imports MSCommLib
    
    Module Module1
    
        Sub Main()
            'New a MSComm control
            Dim MSComm1 As MSComm
            MSComm1 = New MSComm
            ' Buffer to hold input string.
            Dim Buffer As String
            ' Use the COM1 serial port.
            MSComm1.CommPort = 1
            ' 9600 baud, no parity, 8 data, and 1 stop bit.
            MSComm1.Settings = "9600,N,8,1"
            ' Tell the control to read the whole buffer when Input is used.
            MSComm1.InputLen = 0
            ' Open the serial port.
            MSComm1.PortOpen = True
            Console.WriteLine("Open the serial port.")
            ' Tell the control to make the Input property return text data.
            MSComm1.InputMode() = InputModeConstants.comInputModeText
            'Clear the receive buffer.
            MSComm1.InBufferCount() = 0
            ' Send the attention command to the modem.
            MSComm1.Output = "ATV1Q0" & Chr(13)
            Console.WriteLine("Send the attention command to the modem.")
            Console.WriteLine("Wait for the data to come back to the serial port...")
            ' Make sure that the modem responds with "OK".
            ' Wait for the data to come back to the serial port.
            Do
                Buffer = Buffer & MSComm1.Input
            Loop Until InStr(Buffer, "OK" & vbCrLf)
            ' Read the "OK" response data in the serial port.
            ' Close the serial port.
            Console.WriteLine("Read the OK response data in the serial port.")
            MSComm1.PortOpen = False
            Console.WriteLine("Close the serial port.")
        End Sub
    
    End Module
  9. Press CRTL+F5 to build and run this project. You will receive the following output messages:
    Open the serial port.
    Send the attention command to the modem.
    Wait for data to come back to the serial port...
    Read the OK response data in the serial port.
    Close the serial port.

Use platform invoke services to call Win32 API functions in Visual Basic .NET to access serial and parallel ports

To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Start Microsoft Visual Studio .NET.
  2. On the File menu, point to New, and then click Project.
  3. Under Project Types, click Visual Basic Projects.
  4. Under Templates, click Console Application.
  5. In the Name text box, type MyConsoleApplication, and then click OK.

    By default, Module1.vb is created.
  6. Add the following code to Module1.vb before the Module Module1 statement:
    Option Strict On
    
    ' Define a CommException class that inherits from the ApplicationException class, 
    ' and then throw an object of type CommException when you receive an error message.
    Class CommException
       Inherits ApplicationException
       Sub New(ByVal Reason As String)
          MyBase.New(Reason)
       End Sub
    End Class
  7. Declare structures, constants, and references to external functions that are in Kernel32.dll

    To call unmanaged functions from your managed Visual Basic .NET application, you must declare references to the structures that you pass as parameters to the unmanaged functions, and you must declare the constants that you pass as parameters to the unmanaged functions. To do this, add the following code to Module1.vb after the Module Module1 statement:
    'Declare structures.
       Public Structure DCB
       Public DCBlength As Int32
       Public BaudRate As Int32
       Public fBitFields As Int32 'See Comments in Win32API.Txt
       Public wReserved As Int16
       Public XonLim As Int16
       Public XoffLim As Int16
       Public ByteSize As Byte
       Public Parity As Byte
       Public StopBits As Byte
       Public XonChar As Byte
       Public XoffChar As Byte
       Public ErrorChar As Byte
       Public EofChar As Byte
       Public EvtChar As Byte
       Public wReserved1 As Int16 'Reserved; Do Not Use
    End Structure
    
    Public Structure COMMTIMEOUTS
       Public ReadIntervalTimeout As Int32
       Public ReadTotalTimeoutMultiplier As Int32
       Public ReadTotalTimeoutConstant As Int32
       Public WriteTotalTimeoutMultiplier As Int32
       Public WriteTotalTimeoutConstant As Int32
    End Structure
    
    'Declare constants.
    Public Const GENERIC_READ As Int32 = &H80000000
    Public Const GENERIC_WRITE As Int32 = &H40000000
    Public Const OPEN_EXISTING As Int32 = 3
    Public Const FILE_ATTRIBUTE_NORMAL As Int32 = &H80
    Public Const NOPARITY As Int32 = 0
    Public Const ONESTOPBIT As Int32 = 0
    
    'Declare references to external functions.
    Public Declare Auto Function CreateFile Lib "kernel32.dll" _
       (ByVal lpFileName As String, ByVal dwDesiredAccess As Int32, _
          ByVal dwShareMode As Int32, ByVal lpSecurityAttributes As IntPtr, _
             ByVal dwCreationDisposition As Int32, ByVal dwFlagsAndAttributes As Int32, _
                ByVal hTemplateFile As IntPtr) As IntPtr
    
    Public Declare Auto Function GetCommState Lib "kernel32.dll" (ByVal nCid As IntPtr, _
       ByRef lpDCB As DCB) As Boolean
    
    Public Declare Auto Function SetCommState Lib "kernel32.dll" (ByVal nCid As IntPtr, _
       ByRef lpDCB As DCB) As Boolean
    
    Public Declare Auto Function GetCommTimeouts Lib "kernel32.dll" (ByVal hFile As IntPtr, _
       ByRef lpCommTimeouts As COMMTIMEOUTS) As Boolean
    
    Public Declare Auto Function SetCommTimeouts Lib "kernel32.dll" (ByVal hFile As IntPtr, _
       ByRef lpCommTimeouts As COMMTIMEOUTS) As Boolean
    
    Public Declare Auto Function WriteFile Lib "kernel32.dll" (ByVal hFile As IntPtr, _
       ByVal lpBuffer As Byte(), ByVal nNumberOfBytesToWrite As Int32, _
          ByRef lpNumberOfBytesWritten As Int32, ByVal lpOverlapped As IntPtr) As Boolean
    
    Public Declare Auto Function ReadFile Lib "kernel32.dll" (ByVal hFile As IntPtr, _
       ByVal lpBuffer As Byte(), ByVal nNumberOfBytesToRead As Int32, _
          ByRef lpNumberOfBytesRead As Int32, ByVal lpOverlapped As IntPtr) As Boolean
    
    Public Declare Auto Function CloseHandle Lib "kernel32.dll" (ByVal hObject As IntPtr) As Boolean
  8. Before you can access a serial port or a parallel port, you must obtain a handle to the appropriate port and then configure the port communications. To do this, add the following initialization code to Module1.vb after the Sub Main statement.

    Note To establish communication with the LPTx port, you must stop the Print Spooler service. To do this, use the Services tool in Administrative Tools.
    ' Declare the local variables that you will use in the code.
    Dim hSerialPort, hParallelPort As IntPtr
    Dim Success As Boolean
    Dim MyDCB As DCB
    Dim MyCommTimeouts As COMMTIMEOUTS
    Dim BytesWritten, BytesRead As Int32
    Dim Buffer() As Byte
    
    ' Declare the variables to use for encoding.
    Dim oEncoder As New System.Text.ASCIIEncoding
    Dim oEnc As System.Text.Encoding = oEncoder.GetEncoding(1252)
    
    ' Convert String to Byte().
    Buffer = oEnc.GetBytes("Test")
         Try
             ' Access the serial port.
             Console.WriteLine("Accessing the COM1 serial port")
             ' Obtain a handle to the COM1 serial port.
             hSerialPort = CreateFile("COM1", GENERIC_READ Or GENERIC_WRITE, 0, IntPtr.Zero, _
                OPEN_EXISTING, FILE_ATTRIBUTE_NORMAL, IntPtr.Zero)
             ' Verify that the obtained handle is valid.
             If hSerialPort.ToInt32 = -1 Then
                Throw New CommException("Unable to obtain a handle to the COM1 port")
             End If
             ' Retrieve the current control settings.
             Success = GetCommState(hSerialPort, MyDCB)
             If Success = False Then
                Throw New CommException("Unable to retrieve the current control settings")
             End If
             ' Modify the properties of the retrieved DCB structure as appropriate.
             ' WARNING: Make sure to modify the properties according to their supported values.
             MyDCB.BaudRate = 9600
             MyDCB.ByteSize = 8
             MyDCB.Parity = NOPARITY
             MyDCB.StopBits = ONESTOPBIT
             ' Reconfigure COM1 based on the properties of the modified DCB structure.
             Success = SetCommState(hSerialPort, MyDCB)
             If Success = False Then
                Throw New CommException("Unable to reconfigure COM1")
             End If
             ' Retrieve the current time-out settings.
             Success = GetCommTimeouts(hSerialPort, MyCommTimeouts)
             If Success = False Then
                Throw New CommException("Unable to retrieve current time-out settings")
             End If
             ' Modify the properties of the retrieved COMMTIMEOUTS structure as appropriate.
             ' WARNING: Make sure to modify the properties according to their supported values.
             MyCommTimeouts.ReadIntervalTimeout = 0
             MyCommTimeouts.ReadTotalTimeoutConstant = 0
             MyCommTimeouts.ReadTotalTimeoutMultiplier = 0
             MyCommTimeouts.WriteTotalTimeoutConstant = 0
             MyCommTimeouts.WriteTotalTimeoutMultiplier = 0
             ' Reconfigure the time-out settings, based on the properties of the modified COMMTIMEOUTS structure.
             Success = SetCommTimeouts(hSerialPort, MyCommTimeouts)
             If Success = False Then
                Throw New CommException("Unable to reconfigure the time-out settings")
             End If
             ' Write data to COM1.
             Console.WriteLine("Writing the following data to COM1: Test")
             Success = WriteFile(hSerialPort, Buffer, Buffer.Length, BytesWritten, IntPtr.Zero)
             If Success = False Then
                Throw New CommException("Unable to write to COM1")
             End If
             ' Read data from COM1.
             Success = ReadFile(hSerialPort, Buffer, BytesWritten, BytesRead, IntPtr.Zero)
             If Success = False Then
                Throw New CommException("Unable to read from COM1")
             End If
          Catch ex As Exception
             Console.WriteLine(Ex.Message)
          Finally
             ' Release the handle to COM1.
             Success = CloseHandle(hSerialPort)
             If Success = False Then
                Console.WriteLine("Unable to release handle to COM1")
             End If
          End Try
    
          Try
             ' Parallel port.
             Console.WriteLine("Accessing the LPT1 parallel port")
             ' Obtain a handle to the LPT1 parallel port.
             hParallelPort = CreateFile("LPT1", GENERIC_READ Or GENERIC_WRITE, 0, IntPtr.Zero, _
                OPEN_EXISTING, FILE_ATTRIBUTE_NORMAL, IntPtr.Zero)
             ' Verify that the obtained handle is valid.
             If hParallelPort.ToInt32 = -1 Then
                Throw New CommException("Unable to obtain a handle to the LPT1 port")
             End If
             ' Retrieve the current control settings.
             Success = GetCommState(hParallelPort, MyDCB)
             If Success = False Then
                Throw New CommException("Unable to retrieve the current control settings")
             End If
             ' Modify the properties of the retrieved DCB structure as appropriate.
             ' WARNING: Make sure to modify the properties according to their supported values.
             MyDCB.BaudRate = 9600
             MyDCB.ByteSize = 8
             MyDCB.Parity = NOPARITY
             MyDCB.StopBits = ONESTOPBIT
             ' Reconfigure LPT1 based on the properties of the modified DCB structure.
             Success = SetCommState(hParallelPort, MyDCB)
             If Success = False Then
                Throw New CommException("Unable to reconfigure LPT1")
             End If
             ' Retrieve the current time-out settings.
             Success = GetCommTimeouts(hParallelPort, MyCommTimeouts)
             If Success = False Then
                Throw New CommException("Unable to retrieve current time-out settings")
             End If
             ' Modify the properties of the retrieved COMMTIMEOUTS structure as appropriate. 
             ' WARNING: Make sure to modify the properties according to their supported values.
             MyCommTimeouts.ReadIntervalTimeout = 0
             MyCommTimeouts.ReadTotalTimeoutConstant = 0
             MyCommTimeouts.ReadTotalTimeoutMultiplier = 0
             MyCommTimeouts.WriteTotalTimeoutConstant = 0
             MyCommTimeouts.WriteTotalTimeoutMultiplier = 0
             ' Reconfigure the time-out settings, based on the properties of the modified COMMTIMEOUTS structure.
             Success = SetCommTimeouts(hParallelPort, MyCommTimeouts)
             If Success = False Then
                Throw New CommException("Unable to reconfigure the time-out settings")
             End If
             ' Write data to LPT1.
            	' Note: You cannot read data from a parallel port by calling the ReadFile function.
             Console.WriteLine("Writing the following data to LPT1: Test")
             Success = WriteFile(hParallelPort, Buffer, Buffer.Length, BytesWritten, IntPtr.Zero)
             If Success = False Then
                Throw New CommException("Unable to write to LPT1")
             End If
          Catch ex As Exception
             Console.WriteLine(Ex.Message)
          Finally
             ' Release the handle to LPT1.
             Success = CloseHandle(hParallelPort)
             If Success = False Then
                Console.WriteLine("Unable to release handle to LPT1")
             End If
          End Try
    
          Console.WriteLine("Press ENTER to quit")
          Console.ReadLine()
    
  9. On the Build menu, click Build Solution.
  10. On the Debug menu, click Start to run the application.

    You may receive the following text in the console:
    Accessing the COM1 serial port
    Writing the following data to COM1: Test

    Read the following data from COM1: Serial Data
    Accessing the LPT1 parallel port

    Writing the following data to LPT1: Test

    Press ENTER to quit
    Note Serial Data represents the data that you read from the serial port.
  11. To close the application, press the ENTER key in the console.

Sample code listing (Module1.vb)

Before you use the following code example, replace COM1 with the name of your serial port, and replace LPT1 with the name of your parallel port.

Note The following code works only when serial devices and parallel devices are connected to the corresponding ports on the computer. If you do not connect these devices and you run the program, the program waits indefinitely.
Option Strict On

' Define a CommException class that inherits from the ApplicationException class.
' Then throw an object of type CommException when you receive an error message.
Class CommException
   Inherits ApplicationException
   Sub New(ByVal Reason As String)
      MyBase.New(Reason)
   End Sub
End Class

Module Module1
      'Declare structures
      Public Structure DCB
      Public DCBlength As Int32
      Public BaudRate As Int32
      Public fBitFields As Int32
      Public wReserved As Int16
      Public XonLim As Int16
      Public XoffLim As Int16
      Public ByteSize As Byte
      Public Parity As Byte
      Public StopBits As Byte
      Public XonChar As Byte
      Public XoffChar As Byte
      Public ErrorChar As Byte
      Public EofChar As Byte
      Public EvtChar As Byte
      Public wReserved1 As Int16 'Reserved; Do Not Use
   End Structure

   Public Structure COMMTIMEOUTS
      Public ReadIntervalTimeout As Int32
      Public ReadTotalTimeoutMultiplier As Int32
      Public ReadTotalTimeoutConstant As Int32
      Public WriteTotalTimeoutMultiplier As Int32
      Public WriteTotalTimeoutConstant As Int32
   End Structure

   'Declare constants.
   Public Const GENERIC_READ As Int32 = &H80000000
   Public Const GENERIC_WRITE As Int32 = &H40000000
   Public Const OPEN_EXISTING As Int32 = 3
   Public Const FILE_ATTRIBUTE_NORMAL As Int32 = &H80
   Public Const NOPARITY As Int32 = 0
   Public Const ONESTOPBIT As Int32 = 0

   'Declare references to external functions.
   Public Declare Auto Function CreateFile Lib "kernel32.dll" _
      (ByVal lpFileName As String, ByVal dwDesiredAccess As Int32, _
         ByVal dwShareMode As Int32, ByVal lpSecurityAttributes As IntPtr, _
            ByVal dwCreationDisposition As Int32, ByVal dwFlagsAndAttributes As Int32, _
               ByVal hTemplateFile As IntPtr) As IntPtr

   Public Declare Auto Function GetCommState Lib "kernel32.dll" (ByVal nCid As IntPtr, _
      ByRef lpDCB As DCB) As Boolean

   Public Declare Auto Function SetCommState Lib "kernel32.dll" (ByVal nCid As IntPtr, _
      ByRef lpDCB As DCB) As Boolean

   Public Declare Auto Function GetCommTimeouts Lib "kernel32.dll" (ByVal hFile As IntPtr, _
      ByRef lpCommTimeouts As COMMTIMEOUTS) As Boolean

   Public Declare Auto Function SetCommTimeouts Lib "kernel32.dll" (ByVal hFile As IntPtr, _
      ByRef lpCommTimeouts As COMMTIMEOUTS) As Boolean

   Public Declare Auto Function WriteFile Lib "kernel32.dll" (ByVal hFile As IntPtr, _
      ByVal lpBuffer As Byte(), ByVal nNumberOfBytesToWrite As Int32, _
         ByRef lpNumberOfBytesWritten As Int32, ByVal lpOverlapped As IntPtr) As Boolean

   Public Declare Auto Function ReadFile Lib "kernel32.dll" (ByVal hFile As IntPtr, _
      ByVal lpBuffer As Byte(), ByVal nNumberOfBytesToRead As Int32, _
         ByRef lpNumberOfBytesRead As Int32, ByVal lpOverlapped As IntPtr) As Boolean

   Public Declare Auto Function CloseHandle Lib "kernel32.dll" (ByVal hObject As IntPtr) As Boolean

   Sub Main()

      ' Declare local variables that you will use in the code.
      Dim hSerialPort, hParallelPort As IntPtr
      Dim Success As Boolean
      Dim MyDCB As DCB
      Dim MyCommTimeouts As COMMTIMEOUTS
      Dim BytesWritten, BytesRead As Int32
      Dim Buffer() As Byte

      ' Declare variables to use for encoding.
      Dim oEncoder As New System.Text.ASCIIEncoding
      Dim oEnc As System.Text.Encoding = oEncoder.GetEncoding(1252)

      ' Convert String to Byte().
      Buffer = oEnc.GetBytes("Test")

      Try
         ' Serial port.
         Console.WriteLine("Accessing the COM1 serial port")
         ' Obtain a handle to the COM1 serial port.
         hSerialPort = CreateFile("COM1", GENERIC_READ Or GENERIC_WRITE, 0, IntPtr.Zero, _
            OPEN_EXISTING, FILE_ATTRIBUTE_NORMAL, IntPtr.Zero)
         ' Verify that the obtained handle is valid.
         If hSerialPort.ToInt32 = -1 Then
            Throw New CommException("Unable to obtain a handle to the COM1 port")
         End If
         ' Retrieve the current control settings.
         Success = GetCommState(hSerialPort, MyDCB)
         If Success = False Then
            Throw New CommException("Unable to retrieve the current control settings")
         End If
         ' Modify the properties of the retrieved DCB structure as appropriate.
         ' WARNING: Make sure to modify the properties according to their supported values.
         MyDCB.BaudRate = 9600
         MyDCB.ByteSize = 8
         MyDCB.Parity = NOPARITY
         MyDCB.StopBits = ONESTOPBIT
         ' Reconfigure COM1 based on the properties of the modified DCB structure.
         Success = SetCommState(hSerialPort, MyDCB)
         If Success = False Then
            Throw New CommException("Unable to reconfigure COM1")
         End If
         ' Retrieve the current time-out settings.
         Success = GetCommTimeouts(hSerialPort, MyCommTimeouts)
         If Success = False Then
            Throw New CommException("Unable to retrieve current time-out settings")
         End If
         ' Modify the properties of the retrieved COMMTIMEOUTS structure as appropriate.
         ' WARNING: Make sure to modify the properties according to their supported values.
         MyCommTimeouts.ReadIntervalTimeout = 0
         MyCommTimeouts.ReadTotalTimeoutConstant = 0
         MyCommTimeouts.ReadTotalTimeoutMultiplier = 0
         MyCommTimeouts.WriteTotalTimeoutConstant = 0
         MyCommTimeouts.WriteTotalTimeoutMultiplier = 0
         ' Reconfigure the time-out settings, based on the properties of the modified COMMTIMEOUTS structure.
         Success = SetCommTimeouts(hSerialPort, MyCommTimeouts)
         If Success = False Then
            Throw New CommException("Unable to reconfigure the time-out settings")
         End If
         ' Write data to COM1.
         Console.WriteLine("Writing the following data to COM1: Test")
         Success = WriteFile(hSerialPort, Buffer, Buffer.Length, BytesWritten, IntPtr.Zero)
         If Success = False Then
            Throw New CommException("Unable to write to COM1")
         End If
         ' Read data from COM1.
         Success = ReadFile(hSerialPort, Buffer, BytesWritten, BytesRead, IntPtr.Zero)
         If Success = False Then
            Throw New CommException("Unable to read from COM1")
         End If
      Catch ex As Exception
         Console.WriteLine(Ex.Message)
      Finally
         ' Release the handle to COM1.
         Success = CloseHandle(hSerialPort)
         If Success = False Then
            Console.WriteLine("Unable to release handle to COM1")
         End If
      End Try

      Try
         ' Parallel port.
         Console.WriteLine("Accessing the LPT1 parallel port")
         ' Obtain a handle to the LPT1 parallel port.
         hParallelPort = CreateFile("LPT1", GENERIC_READ Or GENERIC_WRITE, 0, IntPtr.Zero, _
            OPEN_EXISTING, FILE_ATTRIBUTE_NORMAL, IntPtr.Zero)
         ' Verify that the obtained handle is valid.
         If hParallelPort.ToInt32 = -1 Then
            Throw New CommException("Unable to obtain a handle to the LPT1 port")
         End If
         ' Retrieve the current control settings.
         Success = GetCommState(hParallelPort, MyDCB)
         If Success = False Then
            Throw New CommException("Unable to retrieve the current control settings")
         End If
         ' Modify the properties of the retrieved DCB structure as appropriate.
         ' WARNING: Make sure to modify the properties according to their supported values.
         MyDCB.BaudRate = 9600
         MyDCB.ByteSize = 8
         MyDCB.Parity = NOPARITY
         MyDCB.StopBits = ONESTOPBIT
         ' Reconfigure LPT1 based on the properties of MyDCB.
         Success = SetCommState(hParallelPort, MyDCB)
         If Success = False Then
            Throw New CommException("Unable to reconfigure LPT1")
         End If
         ' Reconfigure LPT1 based on the properties of the modified DCB structure.
         Success = GetCommTimeouts(hParallelPort, MyCommTimeouts)
         If Success = False Then
            Throw New CommException("Unable to retrieve current time-out settings")
         End If
         ' Modify the properties of the retrieved COMMTIMEOUTS structure as appropriate.
         ' WARNING: Make sure to modify the properties according to their supported values.
         MyCommTimeouts.ReadIntervalTimeout = 0
         MyCommTimeouts.ReadTotalTimeoutConstant = 0
         MyCommTimeouts.ReadTotalTimeoutMultiplier = 0
         MyCommTimeouts.WriteTotalTimeoutConstant = 0
         MyCommTimeouts.WriteTotalTimeoutMultiplier = 0
         ' Reconfigure the time-out settings, based on the properties of the modified COMMTIMEOUTS structure.
         Success = SetCommTimeouts(hParallelPort, MyCommTimeouts)
         If Success = False Then
            Throw New CommException("Unable to reconfigure the time-out settings")
         End If
         ' Write data to LPT1.
         ' Note: You cannot read data from a parallel port by calling the ReadFile function.
         Console.WriteLine("Writing the following data to LPT1: Test")
         Success = WriteFile(hParallelPort, Buffer, Buffer.Length, BytesWritten, IntPtr.Zero)
         If Success = False Then
            Throw New CommException("Unable to write to LPT1")
         End If
      Catch ex As Exception
         Console.WriteLine(Ex.Message)
      Finally
         ' Release the handle to LPT1.
         Success = CloseHandle(hParallelPort)
         If Success = False Then
            Console.WriteLine("Unable to release handle to LPT1")
         End If
      End Try

      Console.WriteLine("Press ENTER to quit")
      Console.ReadLine()

   End Sub

End Module

Troubleshoot

  • When you run the application, you may receive the following error message:
    System.NullReferenceException: Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
    You may receive this error message because your function declarations are incorrect. This error message typically occurs when your declarations contain ByVal parameters instead of ByRef parameters.
  • Your application may wait indefinitely when you invoke the ReadFile function. This behavior typically occurs when you set the read time-outs to zero in the retrieved COMMTIMEOUTS structure. To resolve this issue, modify the properties of the COMMTIMEOUTS structure, as appropriate.

REFERENCES

For more information, visit the following Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Web sites:
Communications resources
http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa363196.aspx

Interoperating with unmanaged code
http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/sd10k43k(vs.71).aspx

System.Runtime.InteropServices namespace
http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/system.runtime.interopservices(vs.71).aspx

DllImportAttribute class
http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/system.runtime.interopservices.dllimportattribute(vs.71).aspx

The Windows API and other dynamic-link libraries
http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa141322(office.10).aspx

Understanding handles
http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/modcore/html/deovrUnderstandingHandles.asp

For more information about AT modem commands, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
164660 AT modem command reference

Properties

Article ID: 823179 - Last Review: November 26, 2007 - Revision: 3.4
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Visual Basic .NET 2003 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Visual Basic .NET 2002 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbvs2005swept kbvs2005doesnotapply kbserial kbsdk kbkern32dll kbdll kbcommport kbapi kb32bitonly kbinterop kbconsole kbconfig kbappdev kbprogramming kbsample kbhowtomaster KB823179

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