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I am writing a utility program to test relay boards. I'd like to be able to accept a user input of the number of relays on the board. Is this doable via the serial monitor since when I'm testing boards I'm generally doing it at my desk with my testing Arduino attached to my laptop? I'd prefer not to go the LCD and keypad route.

Is there an accepted practice for doing this?

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Yes, it is perfectly do-able through the serial monitor. However the serial monitor is very very basic and you will be able to create a much better user experience using a proper serial terminal emulator (such as TeraTerm, Putty, etc) and using ANSI control codes to lay the screen out as a proper text-based application.

A useful resource is on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ANSI_escape_code

I have a little library that I started a while back and never finished that performs two basic ANSI control sequences - clear screen and set cursor. You can look at it to see how to perform ANSI control codes: https://github.com/MajenkoLibraries/ANSI

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