HTTP - FTP
Version 5.0 (zipped)
v5.0 - 10 Feb 2020
HTTP - FTP
Version 5.0 (exe)
v5.0 - 10 Feb 2020
ComCap User Manual
HTTP - FTP
Acrobat File, 200 pages
11 Feb 2020
ComCap Online Help
No beta at present
Old Versions are
available for those
upgraded to the latest
ComCap v4.20 (old version)
v4.20 - 29 May 2019
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
10th February 2020 - major new version ComCap 5,0
today, final version in a few days when help is done.
ComCap5 is a Windows application designed to
capture data received on PC serial communications ports or using network TCP
and UDP streams and write it to text files. Captured data is shown in
scrolling windows, and may 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 2,000 network streams can be
captured simultaneously, in separate or mixed 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.
Major changes between v4 and v5
Single channel will accept
hundreds of simultaneous remote clients with 'TCP Multi Server',
simplifies set-up and operation.
Zip compression of capture
logs during rotation to save disk space.
Improved data Filtering
including 'Required Phrases', one of which must exist for record to be
Capture alerts to different
email addresses or SMS numbers for differing phrases.
Capture of XML and Json data
formats, more flexible CSV formats.
Capture of HTTP protocol POST
and PUT requests.
Reformat captured data, for
instance from Fixed Width Columns to CSV, saving in new format.
New SMS bureau, The SMS Works.
Automatic free SSL/TLS
certificate acquisition and installation from Let's Encrypt.
Improved SSL/TLS certificate
support, more flexible configuration.
Capture time format can now be
UTC or local time without summer time.
Hexadecimal capture data
converted to ASCII.
Manually close a remote TCP
connection if stalled.
Windows Defender Firewall
Capture from hundreds of serial COM
ports or TCP/IP Server, TCP/IP Client and UDP/IP network protocol
streams 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 port. A TCP/IP Multiple Server channel
will capture up to 2,000 simultaneous SSL streams saved to a single log
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
Capture from serial ethernet device
servers that ‘convert’ serial port data to network protocols,
for instance, easing data capture distances,
Audon in the UK sells
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. It includes support
for the latest TLSv1.3 protocol and automatic SSL/TLS certificate
acquisition and installation from Let's Encrypt
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 alerts.
GPS NMEA 0183 sentences and various
vehicle tracker outputs 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 working.
GPS location data may be captured on
Windows tablets and high end laptops that have a GPS location sensor
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 stopped.
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 optionally zip compressed to save
space, moved to another directory for further processing or emailed to
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), variable named columns, Json
or XML. 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 again.
Capture data may be reformatted and
saved in a different format, for instance fixed width lines of data,
Json or XML may be saved as comma separated quoted columns for easier
processing, or CSV could be saved as Json.
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 location.
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
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
A sound file may be played when each
new line of data is captured (with a minimum gap between sounds, in case
of frequent data).
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. Hexadecimal
capture data can be converted to ASCII
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 capture device.
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 by filtering to reduce the amount of data saved,
for instance from GPS locators or environmental sensors. Alerts may be
sent according to filtered data. Filters may discard records with
specific phrases or only save records such records (ie specific mobile
IMEI or IP address).
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
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.
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, 2016 and 2019, both 32-bit and 64-bit
editions. Note Windows XP, 2003 and 2000 are no longer supported. ComCap
may be run with a higher priority than other windows applications to
ensure stable data capture, although a dedicated PC is recommended for
ComCap v5 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
v5 Unlimited may be ordered valid for one week, if one hour at a time is
insufficient time for testing. ComCap v4 Standard licenses may be ordered
for users only needing to capture up to three channels without any advanced
features. An existing
ComCap v4 license key may be used to demo
ComCap v5 for a 24 hours, before needing to be restarted.
||Upgrade v4 Standard to v5
Unlimited to v5
||ComCap v4 Standard
|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 February 2020, £100 is about US$130, depending on the daily conversion rate used by your
credit/debit card company from UK sterling to dollars. For Europe, £100 is about
120 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.
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
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