-------------------------Monitor------------------------ The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control Issue 142 www.windmill.co.uk May 2010 --------------------ISSN 1472-0221---------------------- Welcome to Monitor, the data acquisition and control newsletter. I hope you find it useful, but should you wish to remove yourself from our mailing list please go to http://www.windmill.co.uk/newsletter.html CONTENTS ======== * Windmill News: Reduce energy costs and carbon emissions with Windmill * Windmill Notes: Opening the COM Port * Spreadsheet Corner: Data Acquisition with Open Office * DAQ News Roundup ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Windmill News: Reduce energy costs and carbon emissions with Windmill ________________________________________________________ Data from Windmill's energy logging unit - the 826 - can now be analysed in Energy Lens software from BizEE Software. Energy Lens turns the energy-consumption data collected by Windmill into charts and reports. These show: - How much progress you've made at reducing consumption - When and where you're wasting energy - How much energy you're wasting Regular logging of energy consumption, every half-hour say, shows you how much energy you're using at different times of the day, or on different days of the week. Energy Lens is an Excel add-in that makes it much easier to analyse the detailed energy data logged by Windmill. The Windmill 826 unit connects to a utility meter. Battery-backed, it saves readings from the meter locally and also regulaly sends its data files to the computer for analysis by Energy Lens. Windmill runs in the background as a "Windows service". It is therefore invisible to the end user. Further Reading =============== Windmill 826 - Utility Meter Monitoring http://www.windmillsoft.com/daqshop/utility-monitoring.html Energy Lens - Energy Management Software http://www.energylens.com/ ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Windmill Notes: Opening the COM Port ________________________________________________________ Our free ComDebug program lets you communicate with almost any RS232, RS422, RS485 or Modbus serial device. Its extensive trouble-shooting capabilities make it ideal for solving communication problems. You can download ComDebug from http://www.windmill.co.uk/serial.html This month a ComDebug user asked us "Why is ComDebug telling me that it 'failed to open the com port'? There are two possible reasons for this. 1. The COM port you chose is already in use. ComDebug needs sole control of the port - if other software has already opened the COM port, ComDebug will not be able to access it. 2. If you are using a USB-Serial device which is "designed for Windows" then it will have a unique serial number. Windows reads this and uses it to remember what COM port number to use for that device. This means that when you unplug the converter, Windows continues to consider its COM port number in use. It also means that if you swap converters the port number assigned will be different. You can over-ride this with Device Manager. More details are at http://www.windmill.co.uk/usb-serial.html. ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Spreadsheet Corner: Data Acquisition with Open Office ________________________________________________________ The "Excel Corner" has transmuted to the "Spreadsheet Corner" this month, as we are focusing on Open Office. Open Office is a free suite of software which includes a spreadsheet and word processor. You can use the Open Office spreadsheet with Windmill for data acquisition. To download the Windmill software subscribe to Monitor. To download Open Office go to http://www.OpenOffice.org/ To collect data with Open Office and Windmill 1. Start collecting data with Windmill DDE Panel. 2. Open an OpenOffice sheet and format the first column to show Time (Format menu > Cells > Time). 3. Create an OpenOffice macro and copy the example macro given below into it. 4. Change the channel name (in our example 00001) to match yours. Practice collecting data from the Signal Generator before employing your device. The Signal Generator in Windmill simulates a measurement instrument. It generates data values which you can collect in Open Office. Using the Signal Generator lets you test the macro without worrying about the hardware settings. It is shown as "Device 0" in SetupIML and its channels are 00001, 00002, etc. Example Open Office Macro ========================= REM ***** BASIC ***** Sub SampleData() 'When the number of rows is equal to the number 'of sets of samples requested, the macro will stop. 'If NoOfRows = 0, the first reading will be placed in row 1. 'If TimeCol = 0, the date and time will be placed in column A 'If DataCol = 1, the readings will be placed in column B. TimeCol = 0 DataCol = 1 NoOfRows = 4 FirstRow = NoOfRows 'Ask for number of sets of samples and sample interval. NoOfSamples = Val(InputBox("Enter how many samples to collect", "Samples")) SamplePeriod = InputBox("Enter sample interval in millisecs", "Sample Interval") ' Opens a DDE conversation with the Windmill DDE ' Panel using the Service Name "Windmill" and the ' Topic Name "Data" ddeChan = DDEInitiate("WINDMILL", "Data") 'Keeps conversation open until the required number of samples 'have been collected. While NoOfRows < NoOfSamples + FirstRow 'Requests data from a channel called "00001" and stores it in 'memory as mydata. mydata = DDERequest(ddeChan, "00001") 'Selects first sheet in workbook. Sheet = thisComponent.Sheets("Sheet1") 'Writes the time and date Cell = Sheet.getCellByPosition(TimeCol, NoOfRows) Cell.Value = Now 'Writes the data reading Cell = Sheet.getCellByPosition(DataCol, NoOfRows) Cell.Value = mydata 'Waits for the specified sample interval in milliseconds Wait (SamplePeriod) 'Increments number of rows, 'so next set of samples is inserted in the next row down. NoOfRows = NoOfRows + 1 'Stops loop when required sets of samples collected. Wend DDETerminate (ddeChan) End Sub -- For more information see http://www.windmill.co.uk/openoffice.html ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ DAQ News Roundup ________________________________________________________ Welcome to our roundup of the data acquisition and control news. If you would like to receive more timely DAQ news updates then grab our RSS newsfeed at http://www.windmillsoft.com/monitor.xml. Read http://www.windmill.co.uk/newsfeed.php for notes on how to display the live news on your own web site. Infrared cameras could stop road tunnel fires A new automated system could save lives by spotting overheating components in vehicles before they get into the tunnel. Many tunnel fires start when defects in a vehicle's brakes or engine cause them to run dangerously hot. Source: New Scientist http://www.newscientist.com/ Bats Help Robots "See" Detailed studies into the way bats use sound to see in the dark could soon be used to create robots that can find their way around hazardous environments. Source: Strathclyde University http://www.strath.ac.uk/ Smart Meters Market to Grow A recent study published by IMS Research, The World Market for Smart Meters - 2010, forecasts a surging RF-Mesh market in the US while PLC shipments are expected to dramatically increase in Europe and Asia. Source: IMS Research http://tinyurl.com/windmill-co-uk ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ * 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 http://www.windmill.co.uk/newsletter.html and an index of articles at http://www.windmill.co.uk/newsletter.html 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] http://www.windmill.co.uk/ http://www.windmillsoft.com/
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