-------------------------Monitor------------------------ The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control Issue 180 www.windmill.co.uk July 2013 --------------------ISSN 1472-0221---------------------- Welcome to July's issue of Monitor. Today we're pleased to launch a new version of ComDebug, the data acquisition software that we give to subscribers. All the improvements in the software have been suggested by you. Read below for details. For more measurement and control discussion and tips see the Windmill web site or join us at Google+. I hope you find Monitor useful, but should you wish to remove yourself from our mailing list please go to http://www.windmill.co.uk/newsletter.html CONTENTS ======== * Readers of Monitor help improve ComDebug * Excel Corner: A Lightning Quick Way to Create a Chart * Questions on Using Windmill * DAQ News Round-up ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Readers of Monitor Help Improve ComDebug ________________________________________________________ Windmill Software is delighted to launch an improved version of ComDebug, the serial communication, data logging and trouble-shooting software. The enhancements were all suggested by users of ComDebug, and make the software even more versatile. For instance, with ComDebug you can now: - Log data from sensors that send data as a web page - Communicate with Love Controls devices - Enter custom commands to extract data or output control messages - Collect data more easiliy from Modbus devices - Collect data as 4-byte (32-bit) integers, 4-byte words (double words), ASCII characters, hexadecimal, signed bytes, bytes, bits, 4-byte floating point or 4-byte reverse floating point - Easily identify communication problems The new custom commands allow ComDebug to extract data even if it is an unusual format. For example, the start of a message might be indicated by only part of a byte whilst the rest of the byte carries data. By entering a custom command, ComDebug can log the just data and ignore the rest. You can enter custom commands yourself, or we are happy to set up a custom command for your instrument. Another improvement makes it easier to use ComDebug with some Modbus devices. Previously ComDebug read data as 2-byte words. This was inconvenient when the device sent 4-byte words. One user had to open the log file in Excel, concatenate the two hex strings then convert the hex to decimal. Do-able but laborious. We've taken notice of his "gotta be an easier way???" plea and added options to collect data as 4-byte words or 32-bit integers. A trouble-shooting screen in the new software means that you can quickly identify where any problems may be occurring. The screen shows the outcome of each data reading, the messages sent and received, the data extraction procedure and result and the time in hundredths of a second since data logging started. ComDebug communicates with instruments over TCP/IP, Modbus, RS-485, RS-422 and RS-232. Bundled with the free software is a trial of the other Windmill data acquisition programs. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions. Contact [email protected] or fill in the comments form at http://www.windmill.co.uk/serial.html ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ A Lightning Quick Way to Create an Excel Chart ________________________________________________________ It was quite a complex tip last month - on saving a copy of the logged file in Excel every day. In contrast this month a bit of light relief - how to create a chart with one keystroke. 1. Highlight the area to be charted. 2. Hit Alt F1. And there is the chart with the default settings. To change the default chart type: 1. Select the chart and then the chart menu. 2. Choose Chart Type. 3. Either Click the Standard Types tab and click the built-in chart type which you want to be the new default, or Choose the Custom Type and define the type of chart you want. 4. Click the Set as default chart button. This month's tip was suggested by Michael Rempel of Another Set of Eyes. If you have an Excel tip contact [email protected] Read more tips on charting with Excel at http://www.windmill.co.uk/excel/excel-charting.html ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Questions on Using Windmill ________________________________________________________ In this section we answer a question we've been asked this month about using Windmill. If you have a question on Windmill e-mail [email protected] Question: Do I understand correctly, that I can use an input signal, say temperature, to send an output signal that will close or open a valve or trip an alarm? Answer: Yes. With the Windmill SetupIML program you can set alarm thresholds and link these to digital output lines. For example, whenever a temperature rises above 33 oC a valve could automatically be opened. You can set two alarm thresholds, warning and critical, on each measurement channel. SetupIML is included in the standard Windmill software suite which costs just £50 from https://www.windmillsoft.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. China's DCS Market on a High Growth Trajectory According to the 12th Five-Year Plan, China will invest in the process industries and energy sectors. However, ARC Advisory Group's new study, states that the DCS market in China is experiencing fierce competition and this trend will not change in the short-term. More than ten players are competing in this market, and are slashing prices to gain more market share. Source: ARC Advisory Group http://www.arcweb.com/p Water treatment technique uses apple and tomato peels Billed as low cost and efficient, the novel water purification methods could benefit economically and technologically disadvantaged communities Source: National University of Singapore http://www.science.nus.edu.sg/ EU and US to Extend Scientific Cooperation on Measurements and Standards The EU and US have agreed to expand their current scientific cooperation to include new areas of research, such as energy, clinical measurements, food safety and nutrition. Source: NIST https://www.nist.gov/jrc_nist_071813.cfm Internet-Wide Scan Finds Hundreds of Thousands of Ready-Made Backdoors Many poorly-secured company servers are exposed online, offering attackers ready made backdoors to wipe or steal data Source: MIT Technology Review http://www.technologyreview.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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