-------------------------Monitor------------------------ The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control Issue 163 www.windmill.co.uk February 2012 --------------------ISSN 1472-0221---------------------- Welcome to February's issue of Monitor. Thank you very much all those who filled in our survey last month. The results are below. If you would like to let us know your thoughts on the newsletter, our software and our technical support service, you can still do so. Go to http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RVRQ9HP I hope you find the newsletter useful, but should you wish to remove yourself from our mailing please go to Monitor Newsletter CONTENTS ======== * New Year Survey Results * Windmill Notes: Logging data when you press a button on your measurement instrument * Excel Corner * DAQ News Round-up ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ New Year Survey Results ________________________________________________________ Thank you everyone who completed our survey last month. If you haven't yet filled it in, and would like to, go to http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RVRQ9HP. We found that some people wanted information on topics we have already covered - you might find our full subject index of previous issues useful at http://www.windmill.co.uk/monitorindex.html. Regarding the format of the newsletter - whether you wanted plain text; mainly text with just a few pictures or fancy formatting and pictures; - 35% wanted plain text, 40% wanted mainly text but with some pictures and 30% would prefer it fully formatted. We'll therefore be including more pictures in future issues, but will keep the format quite plain. We were pleased to see that most respondants reported having no problems with the software (although of course those that did might just have stopped getting the newsletter). "...Windmill worked better than the other packages for my 'quick and dirty' measurements" was one response. However, if you have had problems we would like to hear from you - contact [email protected] ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Windmill Notes: Logging data when you press a button on your balance or other measurement instrument ________________________________________________________ The Windmill Logger program regularly saves data from sensors and instruments to the computer's hard disk. You can choose from many logging options, including: to log continuously, to log only when readings cross an alarm threshold, to log for a set time or to log only new data values. The latter allows external events to control logging, for instance when you press a button on your instrument. The data does not have to change to be logged. For example, imagine you are using our COMIML serial driver to gather data from an electronic balance. Every time you press a button on the balance, COMIML takes a reading. It might be that two consecutive readings happen to be identical. However, every time COMIML takes a reading it updates a "record number". Logger watches the record number and so knows when new data is available, even if it is the same value as the previous reading. To set Logger to log data only when you press an instrument button: 1. In ComDebug, create a new data channel and "Extract Record Number" to it. Also, make sure the data persistence time (the time that the data remains valid) is longer than Logger's "Read Inputs Every" interval. 2. Open Logger and select the Inputs menu. Make sure that the first channel in the Connected Channels list is the one to be monitored for updates. For data supplied by COMIML, this should be the channel holding the record number. 3. Select Settings from Logger's menu bar. 4. Select "Log on First Channel Change". 5. Enter a Log Duration of 0 as you only want to take one reading at a time. 6. Clear the Indicate empty scans box. 7. Decide how often you want Logger to check the first channel for a new value and enter this into the Read Inputs Every box. 8. Press the Logger's Start button. Now, whenever your instrument sends new data, and only then, Logger will record the value. To download a trial of Windmill Logger subscribe to Monitor. Further Reading: http://www.windmill.co.uk/logging.html ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Excel Corner ________________________________________________________ Our survey showed that the Excel Corner was a popular section of the newsletter. We have a large index of tips for using Excel for data acquisition and control at http://www.windmill.co.uk/excel/ and http://www.windmill.co.uk/excel/excel-charting.html. We've now updated this so there is even more information there. The Excel Corner proper returns next month - but we need your help. Please send us a question on using Excel for measurement or control tasks and we will endeavour to answer it in a subsequent issue. ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ DAQ News Round-up ________________________________________________________ Welcome to our round-up of the data acquisition and control news. If you would like to receive more timely DAQ news updates then either grab our RSS newsfeed at https://www.windmillsoft.com/monitor.xml or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/DataAcquisition Electronic Eyes Monitor Tuna Fishing A Spanish purse seiner is the first tropical tuna vessel to test the latest in electronic monitoring technology, designed for instances where an onboard human observer is not a practical option. A vessel has been outfitted with a video-based electronic monitoring system. The system uses an array of sensors to monitor key fishing gear, and trigger the video cameras when it detects fishing activity. An onboard control center manages the system and logs the data, along with vessel location, speed, and heading information provided by the system's GPS receiver. Source: ISSF http://iss-foundation.org/ NASA pinning down 'here' better than ever Before our Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation devices can tell us where we are, the satellites that make up the GPS need to know exactly where they are. NASA is helping to lead an international effort to upgrade the four systems that supply this crucial location information. Source: Eureka Alert http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-02/nsfc-npd022312.php Electronic tagging system could replace barcodes Researchers have developed a cheap electronic tagging system that could replace barcodes with a much more detailed store of information. They have developed a high-performance radio frequency identification (RFID) tag that could be cheaply mass-produced and prevents data transfer from being interrupted. Source: The Engineer https://www.theengineer.co.uk/ Europe to Experience Five-Fold Growth in Smart Meters The European smart meter market is at a growing stage. While smart meter developments are taking place in countries like Denmark, Finland and Norway, large scale rollout has been planned in countries such as UK, France, Spain and Portugal to meet the energy targets and environmental policies set by the EU. New analysis from Frost and Sullivan finds that the smart meter revenue in Europe is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 29.3% to 2017. Source: Frost and Sullivan http://tinyurl.com/6uob3bn Parking sensors to take pain out of finding a space Bringing together wireless sensors and mobile apps could steer drivers towards vacant spots, and lead traffic wardens to parking offenders. Source: New Scientist http://www.newscientist.com/ ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ * 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/monitorindex.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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