HTTP - FTP
Version 4.20 (zipped)
v4.20 - 29 May 2019
HTTP - FTP
Version 4.20 (exe)
v4.20 - 29 May 2019
ComCap User Manual
HTTP - FTP
Acrobat File, 170 pages
27 May 2019
ComCap Online Help
No beta at present
Beta v5.0 - 27 Oct 2019
ComCap PAD XML
Old Versions are
available for those
upgraded to the latest
ComCap v4.18 (old version)
v4.18 - 11 Jul 2017
numbers and cost
data capture utility
broadband and dial-up
Links to Other
Links to Other
Magenta Home Page
Email Magenta Systems
Data Capture Utility
27th October 2019 - Eighth beta
for next major version ComCap5, final version real soon.
ComCap is a Windows application designed to capture data received on PC RS232 serial
communications ports or using network TCP/IP and UDP streams and save it. Captured data is shown in scrolling windows
and is written to text files, and may also be printed, written to SQL database tables or echoed to other PCs using
network protocols or serial ports. Captured data can have
text added such as date and time, a serial number and remote IP address. Data from up to
999 serial ports and network streams can
be captured simultaneously, in separate files, with various file rotation schemes to start new files periodically. ComCap will
capture to files on two separate disk drives for redundancy and will send email and SMS alerts if problems occur. ComCap is both
a system tray and background service application that can be set to start automatically when windows starts, and remain
unobtrusive. When using the background service, captured data may be still be viewed as it arrives.
Capture from up to 999 serial COM ports, TCP/IP
Server, TCP/IP Client and UDP/IP network protocols simultaneously, with
suitable hardware. Many network appliances output log information,
typically using the UDP/IP 'syslog' protocol, and as telephone switches
become network aware they are offering network logging instead of the
Serial COM ports are dynamically detected as they
are installed and removed from Windows, so capture will automatically
start if a USB serial device is plugged in, and stop if it's unplugged.
Capture from serial ethernet device servers that
‘convert’ serial port data to network protocols,
Tysso eCov for instance, easing data capture distances,
Audon in the UK sells eNet converters.
ComCap supports IPv4 and IPv6 network standards,
and SSL/TLS network capture and echo, to provides encryption of data
sent over the internet, and to confirm the identity of the other party
with X509 SSL/TLS certificates.
Email may be captured, such as the alert emails
sent by internet aware appliances, such as firewalls, security monitors,
power distribution units, uninterruptible power supplies, remote
sensors, transponders, etc. The emails may be written to a SQL database
or used to trigger
GPS NMEA 0183 sentences and various vehicle
tracker output can be parsed into simple
comma separated records, allowing location information received from a
serial or network connected GPS sensor to be easily saved to a SQL
database. A map window shows a GPS track to ensure everything is
GPS location data may be captured on Windows
tablets and high end laptops that have a GPS location sensor built-in.
Captured data is optionally shown in scrolling
windows as it arrives, and earlier data can be viewed as well. Coloured
tabs indicate which channels have started capturing data and which are
Data from multiple serial or network capture
channels may be merged or consolidating, allowing all data to be
displayed in a single window, written to a single log file, and added to
a database using a single connection.
Capture files may be in separate directories for
each capture port and new files may be created daily or multiple per day
(at specified times), weekly (Monday), monthly, hourly, every few
minutes, after an inactivity period, when a new page character is
received, each new record, or a fixed file name may be used. Multiple
channels may optionally capture data into a common file, to reduce the
number of separate log files.
When a capture file is closed and rotated for a new
file, it may be moved to another directory for further processing or
emailed to multiple recipients.
Capture file names (and optionally paths) are
automatically generated, with file name format customised with date and
time in various ways, numeric or alphabetic.
Capture data may be written to a database, such as
Microsoft SQL Server or MySQL. Data formats may be created to identify
fields within each line of data, as fixed width columns, character
separated columns (CSV) or variable named columns. ComCap examines the
SQL tables or stored procedures for column names and types, and allows
mapping of which field of data is written to which SQL column. ComCap
protects data that can not be immediately written to the database due to
network problems, and will write it once the database becomes available
ComCap can echo or proxy captured data directly to
serial communications ports or parallel ports to drive printers, or echo
to the network using UDP/IP (syslog), TCP/IP Server or TCP/IP Client
protocols. Network echo can be used to allow capture of the same data to
a maximum of five PCs simultaneously for redundancy or for remote
capture with one PC near the data source echoing data to a centralised
ComCap displays the status of the serial port CTS,
DSR and DCD lines, and if a TCP/IP connection is established is
connected, and flashes when data is received.
ComCap has options to safeguard captured data,
closing the log after each line to force it to write to disk, or after
an inactivity period or periodically every few seconds or minutes.
A separate information log file is maintained
showing when capture starts and stops and other ComCap events, it will
log capture status hourly with the number of lines received from each
port or stream and to which logs it is being written. The information
log may be sent to a remote PC using network protocols, perhaps to
another copy of ComCap, to ease central monitoring of remote capture.
A sound file may be played when each new line of
data is captured (with a minimum gap between sounds, in case of frequent
Raw data may be captured unchanged from the COM
port or network stream, or the data may be cleaned up with non-printing
characters removed and trailing spaces removed.
When capture is started or stopped, command
strings may be optionally transmitted and periodically repeated, perhaps
to trigger a remote appliance to start or stop. Optionally, extra
commands may be transmitted on demand, perhaps to configure a remote
Captured lines may have text added at the start or
end, that can include escape sequences to add a serial number (of
specified length), date and time in various formats, PC name, local or
remote IP address.
A comment may be added manually to any capture
channel, using a pop-up dialog, this is intended to assist in
documenting batch captures, perhaps from laboratory instruments.
Continuous data streams may be selectively
captured to reduce the amount of data saved, for instance from GPS
locators or environmental sensors.
Alerts for problems are presented in a pop-up
window and may be sent by email, by SMS to mobile telephones, using
either a GSM modem or SMS internet gateway or to a remote PC using
network protocols, perhaps to another copy of ComCap, to ease central
monitoring of remote capture. Alerts may also be triggered for phrases
in captured data.
Data loss checking, to detect if other windows
applications caused ComCap to possibly lose data. An alert may be
triggered if new data is not captured after a period, configurable by
time and day of week, or if the PC appears to hang for a short period.
For redundancy, ComCap will capture logs on two
different disk drives at the same time, and continue logging if one of
the disk drives is lost, the drives may be across a network with remote
logon details specified. ComCap makes multiple attempts to open files,
in case of conflict problems such as backup and protects data until it
can be written to the capture file. If disk space runs low, ComCap will
send an alert.
Captured data may be filtered, so that lines
containing unwanted content are ignored. Alerts may be sent according to
ComCap usually runs as a Windows service that
starts immediately the PC starts without needing a user to log-on. There
is also a system tray application which can configure, monitor and
control the service displaying data currently being captured, but which
will also capture data if the service is not used.
ComCap is supported on Windows Vista, 7, 8,
10, 2008, 2012 and 2016, both 32-bit and 64-bit editions. Note Windows XP,
2000 and 2003
are no longer supported, but should still work. ComCap may be run with a
higher priority than other windows applications to ensure stable data
capture, although a dedicated PC is recommended for valuable
- There are two editions of ComCap v4:
- ComCap v4 Standard edition is limited to three simultaneous serial or network channels and does NOT support database
or data filtering
- ComCap v4 Unlimited edition has no channel restriction and adds database and data filtering support
ComCap licenses are
ordered using a web form on our secure server,
once payment is processed a license key is provided by email. Until licensed, ComCap will only function for one hour
before stopping, but it may be restarted for further testing. A Temporary Demo License for ComCap v4 Unlimited may be ordered valid for
one week, if one hour at a time is insufficient time for testing.
||ComCap v4 Standard
||ComCap v4 Unlimited
||Upgrade v3 to v4
||Upgrade v3 to v4
||Upgrade v4 Standard to
||Upgrade v4 Standard to v5
Unlimited to v5
|Single License VAT extra
|Single License with VAT
|2 copies VAT extra
|3 to 5 copies VAT extra
|6 to 10 copies VAT extra
|11 to 25 copies VAT extra
|Over 25 copies VAT extra
VAT is added to the above 'VAT extra'' prices at 20% for UK and personal European orders.
No VAT is payable for
orders outside Europe or by businesses in Europe where a VAT number
must be supplied.
In May 2019, £50 is about US$62, and £75 is
about US$93, depending on the daily conversion rate used by your
credit/debit card company from UK sterling to dollars. For Europe, £50 is about
56 euros and £75 is about 83 euros. Please beware exchange rates
are volatile at the moment going up and down daily. VAT
is only charged for UK orders and some European orders.
The main benefits of upgrading from ComCap v3 to v4 are as follows:
- Capture of TCP/IP Client, TCP/IP Server and UDP/IP network protocols
- Increase from 30 to 999 maximum capture channels
- Transmit commands on start and stop capture
- Improved line ending and restart capture
- Redundancy writing to two different log disk drives
- Better error handling for log file errors
- Higher program priority to avoid data loss
- New multiple logs per day capture interval
- More flexible text addition to capture data
- Capture direct to a SQL database
- Better printing options, bypassing Windows print queue
- Echo captured data, using serial or network protocols
- View data captured by the service version
- Control service version from tray version
- Configuration data in files rather than the registry
- Alerts by email and SMS to mobile telephones
- Main window does not show unused serial ports
- View full and old logs in new larger window
ComCap v5 will have many new major features, those currently planned are:
- TCP Multi Server for up to 2,000 remote clients on a single channel -
- Compressing archived files as zips to save space, optional password
- More SSL functionality - done
- ComGen data generator support hundreds of short sessions -
- New window to monitor remote clients for TCP Multi Server - real
- Support HTTP protocol to capture POST and PUT web requests
- Data parsing of Json and XML protocols
- Filtering will support different email addresses and messages
- Use UTC time or ignore summer time for consistent capture time
- Clone channel settings
- Automatic configuring of Windows Firewall for ComCap network
- Reverse capture display, newest line at the top
- Hyper-V Virtual Machine access to physical server serial ports
It may take a year of more to add and test all these features, so they
won't all be in the first ComCap 5.0 release.
ComCap was originally designed to capture telephone call logging data from the serial port
provided on most telephone switching systems (PABXs), typically called Call Data Records (CDR). The saved data may then be used
as input to telephone call management applications that will cost calls and produce reports on telephone usage or for security
ComCap is application non-specific and will capture any data that arrives on a serial port
or using network protocols. It has been used for a wide variety of purposes, such as logging output from test, alarm and
monitoring equipment and serial printer data (but it can not process printer control characters).
Please note that ComCap is not designed to monitor data between modems and PC
applications, it requires exclusive access to the serial port so no other application can use the port at the same time.
The ComCap distribution includes the 'ComGen Data Stream Generator' application which is
designed to generate various types of test streams using any or all of the PC serial COM ports and potentially dozens of network
streams, UDP Client, TCP Client or TCP Server, and has been used extensively for testing ComCap capturing multiple channels.
There is also a small ‘Test RS232 Signals’ utility that may be useful in testing communication port and cabling problems. If
the requirement is to capture serial data from another application on the same PC, ComCap includes a Null Modem Emulator
(com0com) from http://com0com.sourceforge.net/
that installs a linked pair of virtual serial ports, instead of needing to use a physical pair of COM ports and a null modem
Magenta Systems Ltd, 9 Vincent Road,
Croydon CR0 6ED, United Kingdom
Phone 020 8656 3636, International Phone +44 20 8656 3636
Copyright © 2019 Magenta Systems Ltd, England. All Rights Reserved.