-------------------------Monitor------------------------ The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control Issue 182 www.windmill.co.uk September 2013 --------------------ISSN 1472-0221---------------------- Are you using the free ComDebug software? Want a quick way to change your set-up? Our article below tells you how. Plus, the Excel corner is back and we answer a question on logging soil pH and GPS co-ordinates. For more measurement and control discussion and tips see the Windmill web site - http://www.windmill.co.uk/ Should you wish to remove yourself from our mailing list please go to Monitor Newsletter CONTENTS ======== * Get Started more Quickly with free DAQ Software * Questions on Using Windmill: Logging soil pH and GPS co-ordinates * Excel Corner: Live Column of Data Links * DAQ News Round-up ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Get Started more Quickly with free DAQ Software ________________________________________________________ We are pleased to offer all subscribers a free copy of ComDebug. With it you can: 1. Trouble-shoot COM and TCP/IP communication problems 2. Log data from devices connected over RS232, RS422, RS485, Modbus or TCP/IP. You need to tell ComDebug about your instrument, making choices from menus and dialogue boxes. When you click Save, ComDebug saves your settings in a *.imd file. Some advanced users, when they want to make a small change to their settings, like to edit the imd file directly. Here we tell you exactly what the entries in the imd file mean, so you can more quickly get up and running. You will find your imd file in the Windmill directory. You can edit it in any text editing program, like Notepad or Wordpad. IMPORTANT: Before editing your imd file please make a backup! The first part of the file stores details about your communications. For example: [COMMUNICATIONS] Port=24 Baud=115200 Bits=8 Parity=0 Stopbits=1 Handshake=0 IPAddress= IPport=0 IPName= These are the details you entered in the COM Port Settings or TCP/IP boxes. Port - the number of the COM port to which your device is connected Baud - the baud rate of the instrument Bits - the group of Data Bits used, 7 or 8 Parity - 0 represents no parity, 1 odd parity, 2 even parity, 3 mark parity and 4 space parity Stopbits - 1 or 2 Handshake - 0 represents no handshaking or flow control, 1 Xon/Xoff or software handshaking, 2 hardware handshaking. Should you be interested in explanations of all the COM port terms used, we've a tutorial at http://www.windmill.co.uk/comport.html. However, all you really need to know is what settings your instrument is using and set ComDebug to use the same. IPAddress, IPport, IPName These are the settings for instruments communicating over TCP/IP. IPAddress - when your instrument has a fixed IP address. It will be in the format 18.104.22.168. IPport - the Port Number within the IP address. IPName - when your instrument has a dynamic IP address. You can learn more sabout TCP/IP settings at the Understanding TCP/IP page. The remainder of the imd file covers the timing and data extraction settings. More on these in next month's Monitor. If you need any help setting up ComDebug to work with your instrument - we have a series of examples at http://www.windmill.co.uk/serial_driver.html. Alternatively you could e-mail your *.imd file, together with details of your instrument and a description of the problem, to [email protected] ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ 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: I would like to log soil pH and GPS position based on a on/off switch. Also, I need a way to record the same information based on a manual keystroke of my computer. Can I input and datalog the two types of information (soil pH and GPS position )into one software program? Answer: You can log both pH and GPS data into one file with the Windmill Logger program. Logger will take readings when you press a key on your keyboard. It can also log data when an alarm occurs. If you set the on/off switching as an alarm in Windmill, Logger could monitor the switch and log at the appropriate time. More details of Logger, its data logging options and how to download a free trial, are at http://www.windmill.co.uk/logger.html ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Excel Corner: Live Column of Data Links ________________________________________________________ Windmill can send data directly to Excel. One way to do this is simply to copy links from Windmill and paste them into the spreadsheet. Normally the links go across the spreadsheet, with data filling up the columns below. This week a Windmill user asked "Is it possible to paste links as a column in Excel rather than as a row?" You can't do the directly, but you could "transpose the links". 1. Paste the links as normal. They will be pasted as a row. 2. Select the cells where you would like the links to be, for example cells B2 to G2. 3. Into the formula bar, type =TRANSPOSE(A1:G1) and press Ctrl-Shift-Enter to enter as an array. For this method to work you also need to keep the original row of live data links. Alternatively you could either just copy one channel at a time into the column, or use a macro to insert the links. Read more tips on using Excel for data acquisition at http://www.windmill.co.uk/excel/excel-tips.html ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ 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 follow us on Twitter - @DataAcquisition. Ocean Colour Seen The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is working to improve ocean colour measurements vital for modelling climate and monitoring the health of the oceans. Source: NPL http://www.npl.co.uk/news/ocean-colour-seen Food-Beverage Industry Sensor Demand Grows Sensors already have a wide range of applications in the food and beverage industry. According to a new report from Frost and Sullivan, the uptake of sensors is set to receive further impetus from the increasing automation of food and beverage plants and processes. Legislation encouraging greater investments in automation and control solutions will reinforce these trends. Source: Frost & Sullivan http://tinyurl.com/oz8rvft The school carpet that generates energy and tracks pupils' every move Carpet tiles produce power from your footsteps and can pin-point people's movement through a building. Source: The Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/ Scientists help farmers create greener dairies Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have started a slew of studies to determine how dairy farms can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Source: Environmental Expert http://www.environmental-expert.com/ NIST Nose a Hit When They Smell It Traditionally, the training of bomb-sniffing dogs has been a hazardous job, but newly developed odour- releasing materials could take the risk out of that work. Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are seeking to patent a novel system that can capture scents and release them over time. Source: NIST https://www.nist.gov/ ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ * 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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