-------------------------Monitor------------------------ The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control Issue 143 www.windmill.co.uk June 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 Notes: Using the Free Data Acquisition Software * Excel Corner: Speeding Things Up * DAQ News Roundup ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Windmill Notes: Using the Free Data Acquisition Software ________________________________________________________ As a "thank you" for being one of our subscribers, we offer you some free software to gather data from devices with a RS232 port. You can configure the data acquisition software to work with hundreds of devices: balances, GPS receivers, pH meters, fluorometers, etc. This means that the initial set up procedure has to be flexible. However, if you are not sure of some of your instrument settings then the configuration can be a matter of trial and error. To help you we have a Technical Support section at http://www.windmill.co.uk/software.html#technicalsupport and a Setup Library at http://www.windmill.co.uk/serial_driver.html. If we haven't covered your device, and you are not sure of your settings, you might get an "Error 114" message. This means that the Windmill programs are not getting data values from your instrument. There are three possible causes for this. 1. A Cabling or communication problem. 2. A Parsing problem. 3. A Timing problem. 1. A cabling or communication problem. To check for this: - Right click the LabiML icon on the task bar and select "Debug Options". The LabIML Debug window appears. - Select all the options. If the window shows the raw data from your instrument then the cabling and communication settings are fine. If not then investigate further. See our page on "Trouble-Shooting Serial Port Communications" at http://www.windmill.co.uk/rs232-communication.html #Serial 2. A parsing problem. What is parsing? When your instument sends a message it doesn't just send one data reading. Its string of characters may contain many different values, commas, time stamps, identifiers and so on. You need to "parse" the message to extract just the data items in which you are interested. To check for parsing problems: right click the LabIML icon on the task bar and select "Debug Options". Does the LabIML Debug window say "Parsing Failed"? If so - Close all Windmill programs and IML Device icons. - In ConfIML select your instrument. - Press the Settings button. - Press the Channels button and enter the Reply Parse String. Note that when parsing data you need to: a. Locate the position of the data in the message string b. Extract the data to be logged. For more information see our Parsing Help page at http://www.windmill.co.uk/parse.html 3. A timing problem. In Windmill you can set how long data should remain valid: the data persistance time. With continuous flow instruments, if this is shorter than your sampling interval then Windmill will report that no valid data is available. In ConfIML lengthen the data persistance. I hope this helps you get started with the free software. If you need any more help please get in touch. Further Reading =============== Windmill FAQ: http://www.windmill.co.uk/techsupp.html Windmill Technical Support: http://www.windmill.co.uk/software.html#technicalsupport Trouble-Shooting Serial Port Communications: http://www.windmill.co.uk/rs232-communication.html #Serial Parsing Messages: http://www.windmill.co.uk/parse.html ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Excel Corner: Speeding Things Up ________________________________________________________ When you have large amounts of data in a spreadsheet moving around it becomes tedious. And the shortcut keys are not always obvious. Here are some you might find useful. Moving to the Last Data Item before a Blank Space ================================================= Move to the end of a column: Ctrl and Down Arrow Move to the top of a column: Ctrl and Up Arrow Move to the right of a row: Ctrl and Right Arrow Move to the left of a row: Ctrl and Left Arrow Selecting Cells =============== Select column cells below the current location (until a blank space occurs): Ctrl and Shift and Down Arrow Select column cells above current location (until a blank space occurs): Ctrl and Shift and Up Arrow Select entire column: Ctrl and Spacebar Select rest of row to right of current location (until a blank space occurs): Ctrl and Shift and Right Arrow Select rest of row to left of current location (until a blank space occurs): Ctrl and Shift and Left Arrow Select entire row: Shift and Spacebar Select rest of row to the far left: Shift and Home Extend the selection to the beginning of the worksheet: Ctrl and Shift and Home Select entire worksheet: Ctrl and A, or double-click the top-left square above the Row numbers. Extend the selection to the lower-right cell of a worksheet: CTRL+SHIFT+END (This is very useful for finding the end of the worksheet. If you have removed data, you may have many blank cells taking up room which you could safely delete, thus reducing the size of your spreadsheet.) Select cells directly referenced by formulas in the selection: CTRL and [ Select cells that contain formulas that directly reference the active cell: CTRL and ] Inserting Text ============== Start a new line in the same cell: ALT and ENTER Insert the date: Ctrl and ; Insert the time: Ctrl and Shift and ; -- For more information on data acquisition with Excel see http://www.windmill.co.uk/excel/ and http://www.windmill.co.uk/excel/excel-charting.html If you have a question about using Excel for data acquisition, please get in touch. ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ 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 https://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. Flying robots could monitor forest-fire effects Swarms of flying robots may one day soar into blazing forest fires, cling to undamaged trees and deploy crucial sensors and tools to track the inferno and its effects. Source: The Engineer https://www.theengineer.co.uk/ NASA Demonstrates Tsunami Prediction System A NASA-led research team has successfully demonstrated, for the first time elements of a prototype tsunami prediction system using GPS technology that quickly and accurately assesses large earthquakes and estimates the size of resulting tsunamis. Souce: Nasa http://www.nasa.gov/ Soil tester to help crop yields A non-invasive acoustic method of soil testing is being developed, to help improve crop yields in times of water shortages. The interaction of sound with soils can provide information on soil strength, moisture content and permeability. Source: Open University http://www.pressreleasepoint.com/ "Internet of Things" Advances ZigBee wireless Alliance and IPv6 Forum have formed a strategic alliance with the IPSO Alliance to speed adoption of IP networked smart objects. Source: IPSO Alliance http://tinyurl.com/35hsmuf Shipments of Industrial Control Equipment Surge in USA Industrial control shipments in the USA increased on a year-over-year basis for the first time since 2008. Source: NEMA http://www.nema.org/ ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ * 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/ https://www.windmillsoft.com/
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