You can activate and control cues by sending text commands via the serial port on a Vista console or PC running the Vista application. Mac users will need a Keyspan 19H USB to serial converter to receive serial commands.

Connecting to the serial port

The cable that connects from the triggering device to the Vista should be a standard serial cable (also called a null-modem cable, or serial printer cable), not a serial cable extension. The important feature is that that pin2 at one end needs to be connected to pin 3 at the other end and vice-versa).

Enabling the serial port

The computer or other device sending the commands and the Vista must have their serial ports set to match each other. To set the Vista serial port select ‘User preferences’ from the File menu and click on the ‘External Control’ tab. Vista displays the ‘User preferences’ window:

Vista T, I and L consoles should be set to Serial Port 1, Baud Rate 9600, Data Bits 8, Stop Bits 1, Parity None and Flow Control Xon/Xoff.

PC (Windows) systems should be set the same way but the Com port can be changed to suit your computer’s configuration

On Mac systems the Keyspan 19HS device will appear in the Serial Port dropdown menu.

Playback commands

All commands should be sent to the Vista as single lines of text followed by Return or Enter.

With serial commands you can only play the next cue in a cuelist. It is not possible to play a play a cue out of order.

The syntax for sending commands is:
Command {Cuelist ID} or {Name} or {Cuelist ID:Name}

Command The supported commands to playback and load shows:

This command… does this…
Go Plays the next cue in the cuelist. Examples:

Go 1, or Go Dimmers, or Go 1:Dimmers

Pause {ID or Name or ID:Name} Halts playback of the specified Cuelist. Example:

Pause 5

Rego {ID or Name or ID:Name} Resumes play of a paused Cuelist. Example:

Rego 5

Release Releases playback of the specified Cuelist. Example:

Release 1

Load {show filename} Loads a show file. The full path to show showfile must be specified. Example:

Load C:\

Setting fixture levels

You can also send commands to set Fixture levels in the Programmer . The Syntax is:

  • {fixture id(s)} @ {level}

Where the fixture id is any combination of number, +, > and minus and level is a value between 0 and 100 or just f (or F) for full.


  • 1@F – fixture 1 to full
  • 1>10-5@ 75 – fixture’s 1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9 & 10 to 75%
  • 1>10-3>7@f – fixtures 1,2,8,9&10 to 100%

Serial command acknowledgements

Vista does not echo characters sent to the serial port but does send acknowledgements to confirm that commands have been received and either been accepted or have failed. There are three response types:

Commands that are understood and could be executed.

Successful commands return the complete command appended with “OK”. For example

“go 1:List” it would return “go List:1 OK”.

Commands that are understood but could not be executed.

If the command is good but the object of that command is not known an error message will be returned. For example, if there was no Cuelist 100

“go 100” would return “100 Unknown”.

Invalid Commands

If the command is not understand, the message “ ILLEGAL COMMAND” is returned.

  • Make sure that there is an end of line character (return or enter) at the end of each command.
  • Commands and cuelist names are *not* case sensitive.
  • Spaces before or after commands and cuelist names do not affect the behaviour.