The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 101 www.windmill.co.uk December 2006
Welcome to the last Monitor of the year - we hope you
find it useful. If you have any suggestions for the
newsletter please e-mail the Editor. Should you wish to
cancel your subscription you can do so at
* Windmill News: Windmill Launch USB Box to Measure Strain
* Excel Corner: Recovering Data from Damaged Worksheets
* DAQ News Roundup
Windmill Launch USB Box to Measure Strain
Windmill are pleased to announce their new all-in-one
751 SBox. This lets your PC monitor four strain gauges.
It connects to the PC over a USB cable and comes with
the Windmill data acquisition and control software suite.
The SBox has been designed to be really easy to set up.
You can quickly connect or disconnect your strain gauges.
Putting everything in just one box means that it is ideal
for mobile applications or for moving from place to place.
When the Windmill software takes a reading from a strain
gauge bridge, it automatically monitors excitation
voltage and calculate the measurement in microstrain.
This eliminates errors due to changes in excitation
voltage. You can also set a zero reference level and
monitor changes relative to that level. An integrating
analogue-to-digital converter reduces noise and the
system automatically recalibrates itself.
The 751 SBox accepts four easily-connected bridges in
quarter or half bridge configuration.
The modular Windmill software offers data logging,
charting, alarm indication and output control. Data
can also be exported in real-time to other applications
The 751 SBox costs 930 GBP (1375 Euros or 1815 USD).
For more information on this or other Windmill
products e-mail [email protected]
For tips on computerised strain measurement see
Excel Corner: Recovering Data from Damaged Worksheets
What to do when a system crash, virus attack or other
nasty corrupts your Excel spreadsheet? Don't panic.
The majority of your data will still be there, all you
have to do is retrieve it. Here are eight suggestions
to try to get back your data.
1. Switch off your PC and then restart. (Simple but
often fixes problems.)
2. Run Scandisk to check for file system errors and
bad sectors on your hard disk. Close all programs
then from the Windows start menu select All Programs
> Accessories > System Tools > Scandisk. If you
can't find it there then open My Computer, right-
click the hard drive and select Properties. Go to
Tools and run the Error Checking option.
3. If you can open the file in Excel, do so then save
it in HTML or SYLK format. Choose to save the
entire workbook. Close the file then re-open it and
save it under a different name in Excel format again.
4. In Excel 2003, Use the Open and Repair Command - see
below for details.
5. Open the file in Word. Select the resulting table,
then copy and paste the table into Excel. Formulas
will be lost but the data will be there.
6. Use External References to link to the file - see
below for details.
7. Extract Data from a Chart - see below for details.
8. Use a commercial Excel Recovery program - see below
In Excel 2003, Using the Open and Repair Command
1. On the File menu, click Open.
2. In the Open dialog box, select your damaged file.
3. Click the arrow on the Open button, and then
click Open and Repair.
4. When you are prompted, click Repair to try to
recover your most recent changes. If Excel cannot
repair your workbook, click Extract Data instead
5. If your workbook contains formulas, Excel prompts
you to select either Convert to Values or
6. If you receive the following error message,
click Yes. "The document file name caused a serious
error the last time it was opened. Would you like
to continue opening it?"
7. Save your recovered workbook.
Using External References to Link to the File
1. On the File menu, click Open. Browse from the current
folder to the folder that contains the damaged file, and
2. Click New on the File menu. Click Workbook then OK.
3. Type =File Name!A1 in cell A1 of the new workbook, where
File Name is the name of the damaged workbook. If the
Select Sheet dialog box appears, select the appropriate
sheet and click OK.
4. Select cell A1 and on the Edit menu click Copy.
Select an area that is slightly larger than the range of
cells that contain data in the damaged file, then click
Paste on the Edit menu.
5. Select the range of cells again, click Copy on
the Edit menu.
6. On the Edit menu, click Paste Special. Select Values
and click OK. This removes the links to the damaged
file and leaves only the data.
Extract Data from a Chart
Microsoft provides a macro to retrieve data from a chart
even when the data is in an external worksheet or workbook.
When the source data to a chart is lost, the data might
still be retrieved from the chart itself.
Excel 2002, 2003 see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/300643/
Excel 2000 see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/213814/
Excel 98 and earlier see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/137016/EN-US/
Use a Commercial Excel Recovery program
If you are unable to retrieve your data yourself, there
are recovery programs out there to help you.
Recovery for Excel from OfficeRecovery.com, $149.00 US.
Demo version available. Doesn't recover Visual Basic
modules, drawings or cell names.
Excel Fix from cimaware, 80 GBP
Demo version available. Doesn't recover password
protected files, visual basic and macros, array formulas
or pivot tables.
R-Excel from r-tools technology, $78.99 US
Demo version available.
Kernel Excel Recovery from Nucleus Data Recovery, $49 US.
Demo version available.
ExcelRestore from PC Recovery, $145 US
For more tips on using Excel for data acquisition and
DAQ News Roundup
Welcome to our roundup of the latest data acquisition
and control news. If you would like to receive more
timely DAQ news updates then grab our RSS newsfeed
at https://www.windmillsoft.com/monitor.xml. Read
http://www.windmill.co.uk/newsfeed.php for notes
on how to display the news on your own web site,
read it via e-mail or through a newsfeed viewer.
Scientists find safer ways to detect uranium
Queensland University of Technology scientists have
found a safer way of detecting radioative
contamination in the ground. Using a technique known
as near infrared spectroscopy, radioactive minerals
can be detected by scientists far away from a
contaminated site. The technique uses a light source
to scan the surface of a material to identify the
chemical properties of that surface. In doing so, it
is possible to safely determine whether or not
radioactive uranium minerals are present in
Source: Queensland University of Technology
Regulatory Compliance Drives Growth of LIMS
There are an increasing number of regulatory demands
placed on analytical laboratories in all industries.
These demands will drive the growth of Laboratory
Information Management Systems by 5.3 percent,
according to a new report from the ARC Advisory Group.
Source: ARC Advisory Group
UK's First Weblab Goes Live
The UK's first 'weblab', which allows people anywhere
to control a live experiment remotely through a computer,
has been launched at the University of Cambridge. Internet
users will be able to log on and control a simple experiment
in a reactor in the Department of Chemical Engineering,
altering the variables so that the machine produces different
results. The entire process can be watched live on a webcam.
The weblab consists of a reactor, auxiliary equipment and
industrial process control devices and software.
Source: University of Cambridge
Honeywell Introduces New Magnetic Sensor/Amplifier
Honeywell has developed a new magnetic hybrid
sensor/amplifier that it claims will simplify design
and improve the performance of small portable products
such as compass watches, personal Global Positioning
System (GPS) receivers, and wireless telephones. The
HMC6042 Magnetic Sensor Plus incorporates small
sensors and signal processors that convert magnetic
field strengths into a differential output voltage.
NASA Climate Data on Google Earth
NASA's climatologists have an enormous problem:
when it comes to data on the atmosphere, they have
too much of it. Now it has hit on a simple way to
make that data accessible: software that superimposes
it on the global 3D maps provided by Google Earth.
The new system, called iEarth, will be available for
anyone to use in April, NASA says.
Source: New Scientist
* Copyright Windmill Software Ltd
* Reprinting permitted with this notice included
* For more articles see http://www.windmill.co.uk
We are happy for you to copy and distribute this
newsletter, and use extracts from it on your own web site
or publication, providing the above notice is
included and a link back to our website is in place.
An archive of previous issues is at
and an index of articles at
Windmill Software Ltd, PO Box 58, North District Office,
Manchester, M8 8QR, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)161 833 2782
Facsimile: +44 (0)161 833 2190
E-mail: [email protected]
Do you have a question, comment or suggestion on this
newsletter? Fill in this form to contact the editor.