-------------------------Monitor------------------------ The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control Issue 177 www.windmill.co.uk April 2013 --------------------ISSN 1472-0221---------------------- Welcome to April's newsletter. If you are interested in measurement and control tips, why not also join the new Google+ Data Acquisition Community? https://plus.google.com/communities/112455140252887229395 I hope you enjoy this issue, but should you wish to remove yourself from our mailing please go to Monitor Newsletter CONTENTS ======== * Capturing Data from High-Numbered Com Ports * Excel Corner: Finding the Last Empty Row * Data Acquisition Exhibitions * DAQ News Round-up ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Capturing Data from High-Numbered Com Ports ________________________________________________________ By default, the free Windmill ComDebug software logs data from instruments connected to Com ports numbered between 1 and 24. This month a Windmill user asked us how to select a virtual port with a higher number than 24. There are two ways to do this. 1. Assign a lower number to the virtual COM port. 2. Use, for example, Notepad to edit the ComDebug Instrument File Assigning a New Virtual COM port number ======================================= Many people use a USB-to-Serial converter to access data from their measurement instruments. When you plug the converter into the computer's USB port, Windows will assign it a COM port number. You can find out what this is by opening Windows Control Panel and choosing first System then Device Manager then Ports. It will look something like "USB serial port(Com X)", where X is the COM port number assigned. (A question mark indicates that there is a problem with the drivers or the connection.) To resassign a lower number to the port, use Windows Device Manager. Select your converter and click Properties. Choose Port Settings then Advanced. Windows may list all the lower COM port numbers as in use. This is not always so: look at the computer's actual COM ports physically available and you may find a lower port number. For more information see our USB-Serial Converter page at http://www.windmill.co.uk/usb-serial.html. Editing the ComDebug Instrument File ==================================== You can alternatively keep the high virtual port number, and adjust settings in ComDebug. Within ComDebug, save your current ComDebug settings - select Save .IMD File from Main Menu. You can now edit this file manually. Use Notepad (or similar) to open the *.IMD file you have just saved and edit the port parameter. Change Port=4 (for example) to, say, Port=25. Save and close the file. In ComDebug open the new IMD file: from the opening screen choose "Edit an Existing Windmill Instrument File". Download the Free ComDebug Serial Data Collection Software ========================================================== ComDebug is free to all Monitor subscribers. It logs data from sensors and devices connected to the PC's Com port over RS232, RS422, RS485 and Modbus. It also helps you solve serial connection problems with many trouble- shooting capabilities. ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Excel Corner: Finding the First Empty Row ________________________________________________________ One of our readers, Thomas Hundebøl Thomsen, writes: "I use Windmill dde to log data into Excel next row via a macro. It works fine too. But when the screen is filled by row No. 25, the new data will not be visible until I manually user page down. How do I get the screen to follow the latest data as when (one) normally keys data into Excel? Currently it is a weight of harvested tubers and the tractor operator must check that the weight is ok before lifting the next experimental plot." To do this you could find the first empty row, jump to this and then write in the data. The macro code to find the first empty row is: Dim LastRow As Long LastRow = Sheet1.Cells(Rows.Count, "A").End(xlUp).Row LastRow = LastRow + 1 Actually, what this does is find the number of the last row in Column A with data in it and then adds 1 to give the first empty row. The code above assumes you are collecting data in a worksheet called "Sheet1". How the Code Works ================== Rows.Count returns a count of the number of rows in the worksheet: eg 65536 in many versions of Excel or 1,048,576 in Version 10 of Excel. Sheet1.Cells(Rows.Count, "A") means the last cell in column A - eg Cell A65536. End(xlUp) is equivalent to pressing the Ctrl and Up Arrow keys on the keyboard when in Excel. That is, it moves to the top cell in the current data range. If no data is in the currenct cell (as in our case) it moves to the first cell above which contains data. LastRow = LastRow + 1 just adds one to this to give the first empty cell in Column A. To stop this macro press the Esc key. The full code is as follows ---------------------------------------------- Declare Sub Sleep Lib "kernel32" (ByVal dwMilliseconds As Long) Sub SampleData() 'Ask for sample interval. SamplePeriod = InputBox("Enter sample interval in secs", "Sample Interval") ' Convert to milliseconds - needed for sleep statement below. SamplePeriod = SamplePeriod * 1000 'Repeats data collection DoAgain: 'Initiates conversation with DDE_Panel ddeChan = DDEInitiate("Windmill", "Data") 'Requests data from all channels and stores it in 'memory in an array called mydata. mydata = DDERequest(ddeChan, "AllChannels") ' Ignores any warnings generated On Error Resume Next 'Finds the lower & upper boundaries of array, to determine the 'number of columns needed to store the data. Lower = LBound(mydata, 1) Upper = UBound(mydata, 1) 'Finds first empty row Dim LastRow As Long LastRow = Sheet1.Cells(Rows.Count, "A").End(xlUp).Row LastRow = LastRow + 1 ActiveSheet.Cells(LastRow, Column).Select 'Inserts data from the array into a row of cells in Sheet1. For Column = Lower To Upper Sheets("Sheet1").Cells(LastRow, Column).Value = mydata(Column) Next Column 'Closes the DDE conversation DDETerminate (ddeChan) 'Waits for the specified sample interval Sleep SamplePeriod 'Repeats the process GoTo DoAgain End Sub ---------------------------------------------- More Excel macros - including timestamping, logging only when new data arrives and automatically starting and stopping logging - are on our website at http://www.windmill.co.uk/excel/excel-tips.html Have an Excel question? Send it to [email protected] ________________________________________________________ Data Acquisition Exhibitions and Conferences ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ The quarterly update of data acquisition and control exhibitions around the world. SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing 29 April - 3 May 2013 Baltimore United States Conferences on optics, imaging and sensing for defence, security, industry and the environment. http://spie.org/defense-security-sensing.xml Israchem 30 April - 2 May Tel Aviv, Israel Trade show for processing, chemical engineering, measurement, control and instrumentation. Medtec UK 1-2 May London UK Conference for medical equipment manufacturers. Topics include: wearable wireless sensors and devices and agile approaches to electronic device development. http://medtecukshow.com/ National Manufacturing Week 7-10 May Melbourne Australia Biennial exhibition includes process & control and manufacturing. http://www.nationalmanufacturingweek.com.au/ International Fair of Technique and Technical Achievements 13-17 May Belgrade, Serbia Covers measuring devices and instruments and processing equipment. http://www.beogradskisajamtehnike.rs/ Manutec Africa 14-16 May Gauteng South Africa Manufacturing technologies expo including process control, automation, computers in manufacturing, sensors and instrumentation and drives and controls. http://www.exhibitionsafrica.com/ems/manutec.html Sensor + Test 14-16 May Nurnberg Germany Fair of sensors, measuring, and testing systems. http://www.sensor-test.de/ Product Design + Innovation 15-16 May The Oval, London, UK Conference explores how product design can drive economic growth. Topics include: Internet of things - designing connected objects; Emerging industries - new fields for design and The circular economy - designing for reuse, repair and recycling. http://www.pdesigni.com/ MTA Vietnam 2-5 July Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam Incorporating Metrology and Automation Vietnam. http://www.mtavietnam.com/ ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ 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 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 or automatically tweet it. In-Road Sensors Weigh Lorries in Motion A project in Norway aims to deter hauliers from overloading their vehicles by developing a system that checks and weighs HGVs whilst they are in motion. Advanced sensors installed in the road surface, combined with number plate recognition systems, will enable the detection of far more incorrectly loaded trailers. Source: The Engineer https://www.theengineer.co.uk/ Wireless "Smart Skin" Sensors could provide remote Monitoring of Bridges Major bridge failures in recent years have focused attention on the need to monitor highway bridges and other infrastructure. Researchers are developing a novel technology that would facilitate close monitoring of structures for strain, stress and early formation of cracks. Their approach uses wireless sensors that are low cost, require no power, can be implemented on tough yet flexible polymer substrates and can identify structural problems at a very early stage. The only electronic component in the sensor is an inexpensive radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip. Source: Georgia Institute of Technology http://www.gatech.edu/newsroom/release.html?nid=206881 Underwater Robot Successfully Tested at Sea Underwater robot passes test to retrieve aircraft black boxes at sea. Source: SCUBA News http://news.scubatravel.co.uk/underwater-robot.html Remote Sensing Study Yields Unprecedented Detail on Arctic Wetlands A team of geoscientists using newly available remote- sensing technology has achieved unprecedented detail in quantifying subtle, long-period changes in the water levels of shallow lakes and ponds in hard-to-reach Arctic wetlands. Source: Southwest Research Institute http://www.swri.org/9what/releases/2013/alaska-wetlands.htm ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ * 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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