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8 May 2016

Windmill Software
Data Acquisition Intelligence
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Connecting a Denver Balance

Windmill software lets you interface Denver balances, and other instruments with RS232 serial ports, to a PC running Windows. The Windmill software package with logging, charting and interfacing to Excel costs just £50. Alternatively, subscribers to the Monitor newsletter (ISSN 1472-0221) can download the ComDebug software, which continuously logs data from one balance, for free.

To use Windmill to collect data from a Denver balance:

  1. Run the Windmill ComDebug, select Create a new Windmill Instrument File, and enter your balance's serial communication settings.
  2. Run the Windmill DDE Panel, Logger or Chart program to save or display data from your balance.

Using ComDebug to Enter Data about Your Denver Balance | Data Logging Options | Getting the data into Excel | Fault-Finding


Using ComDebug to enter your Denver Balance Settings

For an overview of entering the configuration settings see the Getting Started with COMIML and ComDebug page. Specific example settings for various Denver balances are given below. These are the default factory settings - your balance Manual will tell you how to check and change these.

Run ComDebug and choose Create a New Windmill Instrument File. Choose Serial Communications.

COM Port Settings

Summit Balance Factory Settings - COM Port

Baud1200
Data Bits 7
Parity Odd
Stop Bit 1
Handshake Hardware
More Information:Summit Interface Description (S and SI balances)

Timberline Balance Factory Settings - COM Port

Baud1200
Data Bits 7
Parity Odd
Stop Bit 1
Handshake Software (Xon/Xoff)
More Information:Timberline Series Operating Instructions

XP Balance Factory Settings - COM Port

Baud9600
Data Bits 7
Parity Space
Stop Bit 1
Handshake None or Software (Xon/Xoff)
More Information:XP Series Balance Operation Manual

Pinnacle Balance Factory Settings - COM Port

Baud9600
Data Bits 8
Parity 0
Stop Bit 1
Handshake None
More Information:Pinnacle Series Operation Manual

Requesting and Receiving Data

After entering the COM port settings, choose to Edit Message 1. Use the NonPrint menu to enter the <ESC> <CR> (carriage return) and <LF> (linefeed) characters.

Summit Balance Messages

Operating Mode: Printer - You must change this to ASCII via the balance's menu
Example Prompt Command
<Esc>L<CR><LF>
This requests a stable reading
Alternatively set the balance to "auto print" to have it continuously send readings without prompting.
Example data string received
+    123.56 g  <CR><LF>
Example ParsingIgnore Until 123456789
Extract Until <space> [shown as \C(032]

Parsing the message from a Denver Summit balance

Timberline Balance Messages

Example Prompt Command
<Esc>P<CR><LF>
Alternatively set the balance to "auto print" to have it continuously send readings without prompting.
Example data string received
+    123.56 g  <CR><LF>
Example ParsingIgnore Until 123456789
Extract Until <space> [shown as \C(032]

XP Balance Messages

Example Prompt Command
<Esc>P<CR><LF>
Alternatively set the balance to "auto print" to have it continuously send readings without prompting.
Example data string received
+    123.56 g  <CR><LF>
Example ParsingIgnore Until 123456789
Extract Until <space> [shown as \C(032]

Pinnacle Balance Factory Settings

Example Prompt Command
<Esc>P<CR><LF>
Alternatively set the balance to "auto print" to have it continuously send readings without prompting.
Example data string received
+    123.56 g  <CR><LF>
Example ParsingIgnore Until 123456789
Extract Until <space> [shown as \C(032]

Instrument Timings

Settings here depend upon whether you have your balance set up to continuously send readings or to wait for a command. For full details see Notes on the Serial Data Acquisition Terms Used.

Continuously Sending Readings

ReadRead in the Background
Data Persistance5000 milliseconds
Wait Time0
Timeout5000 milliseconds

Waiting for a Command

ReadRead in Backgroundor Read Directly
Data PersistanceLonger than your logging intervalShorter than your logging interval
Wait Time0Only needed if you put Wait delays in your Prompt String.
Timeout5000 milliseconds5000 milliseconds

Success?

Have you successfully used Windmill with your balance? Let us know about your project.

Details of how you are using Windmill:

Balance:       
          
  
:        

Fault-Finding

If you are unable to get data from your balance go back to ComDebug's Terminal screen. If your balance is in manual mode, make sure your command is shown in the prompt grid. Click the Send button: does your instrument reply?

  1. No, the data message isn't there...
    1. Make sure that the balance is switched on and plugged into the PC's com (RS232) port.
    2. Check that the communication settings you entered in ComDebug match those currently in use by the balance: COM port, baud rate, parity, etc.
    3. If using a USB-RS232 converter, its settings must also match those used by the balance - read the USB-Serial page for details, especially point 7.
    4. Check your balance is set up to talk to a computer in ASCII mode, not to a printer.
       
  2. Yes, data is shown in ComDebug but not in DDE Panel...
    1. Go to ComDebug's Message Screen, click the Parse button.
    2. Enter your Ignore and Extract Settings and click the Step menu. Is your data shown in the Value column?
    3. If not adjust your settings.
       
  3. If you are getting accurate data readings, but much slower than expected, change your sampling rate. With COMIML, Windmill can make 5 readings per second per channel. So it can record one weight measurement every 0.2 seconds. If you have the sampling interval set much smaller than this, then Windmill may slow down considerably and only make a couple of readings per minute.

Still having problems? Fill in our technical support form.


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