RFzero Manager

The RFzero Manager is an alternative to installing the Arduino Integrated Development Environment (IDE) especially if all you want to do is to use the RFzero programs or programs made by others.

The RFzero Manager can also replace e.g. the Arduino IDE Serial Monitor, Termite (Windows), CuteCom (Linux) and Terminal (Mac OS) terminal programs.


The RFzero Manager is a Windows program developed on the .Net 4.6.1 package using Microsoft Visual Studio 2017. Mads, OZ6MJ, runs RFzero Manager on Parallels Desktop for Mac.

Download the RFzero Manager, then unzip and run the installation program RFzeroManager_Install.exe.

The language of the references to Windows is based on a Windows 10 Pro 64 US installation. If you are using Windows in another language than English many, if not all, of the English names in Windows will be different. At the bottom of this page is a list of the English names and terms, used in Windows, and in other languages.

RFzero driver installation

If you have previously installed the Arduino IDE, then the RFzero (Arduino Zero) driver has already been installed, and you don’t have to do it again. Instead you can go straight to using RFzero Manager.

If you haven’t installed the Arduino IDE, or are in doubt if the driver has been installed, you can verify this in the Windows Device Manager from the Windows start menu. First connect your RFzero and when the Device Manager opens go to “Ports (COM & LPT). If the driver has been correctly installed the RFzero will show up and identify as “Arduino Zero (COM#)”. If the RFzero identifies as “USB Serial Driver (COM#)” the driver was either not installed or not installed correctly. The # indicates the actual COM port number, e.g. COM10 as show in the picture below.

The installation of the RFzero driver can be done from RFzero Manager Menu | Help | Install RFzero driver where you can also open the Windows Device Manager if you cannot find it in the Windows start menu. Then select either “Automatic installation (…)” or “Manual installation” and follow the instructions.

Update check

When the RFzero Manager launches, and there is access to the Internet, it automatically checks if there is a new RFzero Manager version or programs available. If so the new versions can be downloaded/updated from the Menu | Help | Check for updates.

Using the RFzero Manager

Connecting to the RFzero

Before the RFzero Manager can be used for uploading or interaction with your RFzero, a connection must be established. This is done from the Connections pane.

Click on the dropdown box and find the RFzero. Please remember that the RFzero identifies itself as an Arduino Zero or Arduino Zero bootloader! Then click on the [Connect] button. If you cannot find the RFzero (Arduino Zero or Arduino Zero bootloader) you may try to see if the Windows Device Manager, click on the [?] button below the dropdown box, can identify the RFzero among the Ports (COM & LPT) devices.

If you cannot see the RFzero (Arduino Zero or Arduino Zero bootloader) in the Windows Device Manager, then you will have to troubleshoot the connection between Windows and the RFzero. Please also check if the USB cable works on a different device and/or computer, and if it doesn’t work either change the USB cable. While this takes place you may close the RFzero Manager.

In case the RFzero identifies as Arduino Zero bootloader you cannot access the RFzero in run or configuration modes. For some reason the RFzero has been brought into the bootloader state. You may try to physically disconnect and remove the power from the RFzero. Then reconnect and press the [Refresh] button to update the COM ports in the dropdown box and see if anything has changed. If you still see the Arduino Zero bootloader identification, you will have to upload a known working program to the RFzero, to bring it back into the normal operation state. This is a safe process since the EEPROM configuration, for each program, is preserved.

Uploading to the RFzero

Uploading programs, more specifically binary files with the .bin extension, to the RFzero can be either the standard RFzero programs provided by the RFzero team or programs provided by third parties which includes yourself.

If you only have the source code you will still have to use the Arduino IDE or similar to compile the source code before uploading can take place.

During the uploading process status information will be sent to the communication window. If more status information is wanted then check the [Verbose] checkbox.

Uploading RFzero programs

To upload one of RFzero programs please select the relevant one from the list of programs and click the [Upload] button. The [Upload] button and [Verbose] checkbox are disabled if the program .bin file is missing for some reason. If so please update the programs from the Menu | Help | Check for updates | Update example programs, even if the release dates are identical.

If you want to see more about the program you may double click on the relevant program, and your Internet browser will go to the example program page on the RFzero homepage.

From time to time new versions of the programs will be issued. This typically happens when a new version of the RFzero library has been released. To update the programs please go to Menu | Help | Check for updates. The RFzero Manager automatically check for updates when it launches and you will be notified if new versions of the programs are available.

Uploading third party programs

To upload third party programs in the form of .bin files please go to Menu | File | Upload .bin file. Then find the relevant .bin file and click the [Open] button. The upload process will then begin.

How to create .bin files

The binary program files, .bin files, are not made with the RFzero Manager. They come from the Arduino IDE and are somewhat difficult to find. However, enable verbose all in the Arduino IDE preferences and after the compilation has completed look at the output comments and identify the path containing something like …\arduino_build_######/<Program_name>.ino.bin, where ###### is a six digit number. Then go there and copy the .bin file to the OwnBinFiles directory.

Communication window

The communication window is used to show status messages in blue during the upload process, received information from the RFzero in green and sent data in red.

It is possible to save or log the information in the communication window from the Menu | Communication | Save or Menu | Communication | Log | … options.

Input line

Below the communication window is an input line where data to send can be entered. To send the input text press the [Enter] key.

Received and sent timestamps

In the lower right corner are two timestamps. The green one is the received information timestamp and the red one is the one for sent data.

Function keys

The F6 to F12 function keys are currently not in use.

Instead of typing some of the Man Machine Interface (MMI) commands you may use the F-keys instead. Please be aware that most MMI commands invoked by the F-keys are only relevant in configuration mode.

F1 ?

Sends a “?” to the RFzero for showing the available commands.

F2 config

Sends the “config” MMI command to the RFzero to change from run mode to configuration mode.

F3 rd cfg

Sends the “rd cfg” MMI command to the RFzero listing the current configuration on the USB port.

F4 wr defaults

Sends the “wr defaults” MMI command to the RFzero forcing it to configure the program with the default values if the RFzero is in configuration mode.

F5 exit

Sends the “exit” MMI command to the RFzero making it exit the configuration mode.


File |  Upload .bin file

Use this option to upload a .bin file directly to your RFzero A.bin file is a ready-to-use program that you don’t have to compile with the Arduino IDE first. You can upload .bin files from third parties or official RFzero .bin files. Actually the programs included with the RFzero Manager are .bin files too.

When you click Upload .bin file the file browser starts in the OwnBinFiles sub-directory, but the .bin file may be located anywhere on your computer.

File |  Send command file

Opens a file browser in the Commands sub-directory where command files are located. Command files are simple text files, with the .txt extension. A file contains MMI commands that can be uploaded to your RFzero instead of typing them manually. The command files are typically used for configuration purposes.

Example of a command file.

You can use any plain text editor like Notepad.

In command files blank lines, lines beginning with an exclamation mark “!” and comments beginning with “//” are allowed.

It is not possible to send a command file, if there is no connection to the RFzero.

File |  Open working directory

Opens the file explorer in the working directory.

File |  Open downloads directory

Opens the file explorer in the default downloads directory. This may be useful when you download a new version of the RFzero Manager.

File |  Exit

Exits the RFzero Manager.

Communication |  Save

Saves the communication to a file named RFzeroManager_S_YYYYMMDD_HHMMSS.rtf in the communication window to the Communication sub-directory.

Communication |  Log start

Logs the communication, until it is stopped manually,  to a file named RFzeroManager_L_YYYYMMDD_HHMMSS.txt  to the Communication sub-directory.

You cannot start the log if it is already running.

Communication |  Log stop

Stops the current logging.

You cannot stop the log if it is not running.

Communication |  Copy to clipboard

Copies the messages in the communication window to the clipboard. You may then paste the message elsewhere.

Communication |  Clear

Clears the communication window.

Tools |  Bin, Dec and Hex

Opens a window with a binary <=> decimal <=> hexadecimal converter.

Tools | GPS view

Opens a window showing various GPS data from the $GPGGA, $GPGLL, $GPGSA, $GPGSV, $GPGST, $GPRMC, $GPVTG and $GPZDA NMEA frames. By default none of the RFzero programs, except the ucenter program, echo the GPS NMEA frames to the USB port. However, they can be enabled in configuration mode by setting the GPS echo to 1 or 2 and then exit to run mode.

In the sky map the green dots are the satellites in use, the red ones are visible but not used satellites and the gray ones are the satellites without an S/N that are not tracked. The edge of the sky map represents an elevation of 0°, the inner circle is at 45° and the center is at 90°.

Clicking the L buttons opens a browser window showing the locator. Clicking the G buttons opens a browser windows showing the latitude and longitude on a Google map.

When the Trace is checked the movement of the satellites are shown as traces across the sky map. This is very useful to find out if the location of the GPS antenna has some blind spots.

When Hide is checked satellites without S/N that are not tracked are hidden.

Tools |  ModeX symbols and metrics

Opens a window where raw formatted symbols may be formatted correctly, for direct use in the ModeX.ino file.

The timer counts value can also be calculated from the time sample rate and time samples. Then select the value best integer value and insert it into the ModeX.ino file.

Tools |  WSPR/FST4W TX control bits to hex

Opens a window that may help in finding out the hex value for the control bits.

Tools |  WSPR config

The WSPR transmitter graphical user interface can be used to change the configuration of WSPR transmitter.

Before the configuration is read, the RFzero Manager has to be connected to the RFzero via the right COM port, just like normal. Then open the configuration window and make the necessary changes. For more details about the configuration please see the WSPR transmitter page.

You can also save, click the Save button, the configuration to a file or load, click the Load button, a configuration you have saved to a file.

When you want to update the RFzero click the Write button. The Read button is normally not used, but can be used in case there is a problem with the communication between the RFzero and the RFzero Manager.

Help |  Help (online)

Opens this page in your default Internet browser.

Help |  RFzero home page

Opens the RFzero home page in your default Internet browser.

Help |  RFzero user group

Opens the RFzero user group page in your default Internet browser.

Help |  Check for updates

Opens a new windows showing the current RFzero Manager version number and the version available online.  If you want to download the online version e.g. because you want to update to the latest version please click the [Download RFzero Manager] button. Once downloaded exit the RFzero Manager, go to your default download directory, unzip RFzero_Manager.zip and run the installation program. Then start the RFzero Manager again.

The window also shows the release date for the example programs. If you want to update to the latest versions please click the [Update example programs] button.

Help |  Install RFzero driver | Open Device Manager

Opens the Windows Device Manager.

Help |  Install RFzero driver | Automatic installation (…)

This is only relevant if there is no Arduino Zero driver already installed.

Executes the automatic Arduino Zero driver installation. But before this can take place RFzero Manager must run as administrator. To run as administrator exit RFzero Manager then with the right mouse button click on the RFzero Manager icon or RFzeroManager.exe file and select “Run as administrator”. Then go to the RFzero Manager Menu | Help | Install RFzero driver | Automatic installation and the installation will take place.

Help |  Install RFzero driver | Manual installation

This is only relevant if there is no Arduino Zero driver already installed.

Opens a window with a manual driver installation guide.

Help |  About

Pops up the RFzero Manager about box that also shows the installation, download directory, working directories and system properties.

Files and directory structure

The RFzero Manager consists of the following programs

If the bossac.exe file is missing the RFzero Manager cannot upload programs, and both files must be present in the installation directory, typically C:\Program Files (x86)\RFzeroManager.

The RFzero Manager uses the following directories

  • Program installation directory
    typically C:\Program Files (x86)\RFzeroManager
  • The RFzeroManager working directory, C:\Users\<User>\Documents\RFzeroManager, includes the following sub-directories
    • Commands
      where command .txt files are located
    • Communication
      where saved and logged communication files are stored
    • OwnBinFiles
      where third party binary .bin program files are stored
    • RFzeroBinFiles
      where RFzero program binary .bin files are stored. This directory also includes the RFzeroPrograms.txt file that is a control file used by the RFzero Manager to link to the .bin files

Local installation

If you want you can also make an installation, after having made the standard installation, in another directory where all files and directories are located relatively to the position of the RFzeroManager.exe file. It can be useful to make e.g. a USB stick installation for “portable” use. To make a local installation please follow the procedure below

  1. Run RFzero Manager and see if there are any updates. If so please update
  2. Create the destination directory, e.g. E:\RFzeroManager
  3. Make a copy of ALL the files and sub-directories from the standard installation directory
  4. Paste the files and sub-directories to the destination directory
  5. Create a new file called Local.txt and save it to the destination directory. The Local.txt file doesn’t have to have any content, but feel free to write something in the file if you want
  6. You are done and may now use the local installation

If you has made a “portable installation” you may have to install the Arduino Zero driver on the destination PC. Otherwise the RFzero will identify itself as “USB Serial Device (COM#)” instead of “Arduino Zero”, and you will not be able to upload programs, but only change the configuration.

English Windows names and terms in other languages

If your language is missing, or the translations are incorrect, please do something about it and help others 🙂


  • Danish: Udklipsholder
  • French: Presse-papiers
  • German: Zwischenablage
  • Spanish: Portapapeles

Device Manager

  • Danish: Enhedshåndtering
  • French: Gestionnaire de périphériques
  • German: Geräte-Manager
  • Spanish: Administrador de dispositivos


  • Danish: Direktorie/mappe
  • French: Répertoire/dossier
  • German: Verzeichnis/Ordner
  • Spanish: Directorio/carpeta


  • Danish: Driver
  • French: Pilote
  • German: Treiber
  • Spanish: Controlador

File Explorer

  • Danish: Stifinder
  • French: Explorateur de fichiers
  • German: Datei-Explorer
  • Spanish: Explorador de archivos

Function keys (F-keys)

  • Danish: Funktionstaster/F-taster
  • French: Clés de fonction
  • German: Funktionsschlüssel
  • Spanish: Claves de función


  • Danish: Notesblok
  • French: Bloc-notes
  • German: Notizblock
  • Spanish: Bloc de notas

Run as administrator

  • Danish: Kør som administrator
  • French: Exécuter en tant qu’administrateur
  • German: Als Administrator ausführen
  • Spanish: Ejecutar como administrador