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29 January 2015

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Monitor - ISSN 1472-0221
The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 198, January 2015

Welcome to Monitor. A belated Happy New Year to you all. This month a story of how researchers are investigating the drying and cracking soils; logging weight data; using Excel in Europe and the news round up.

If you wish to download our free data acquisition software please do so from http://www.windmill.co.uk/jsarrpsrr.htm. Should you wish to remove yourself from our mailing list, go to Monitor Newsletter

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Contents

* Measuring the desiccation and cracking of soil
* Can the Windmill software interface my Ohaus Balance?
* International Excel Corner - Changing the Decimal Separator
* DAQ News Round-up


Measuring the desiccation and cracking of soil

Web link: Measuring the Desiccation and Cracking of Soil

Researchers testing a new system to investigate drying soils are using Windmill software in their experiments.

Measuring soil desiccation

Desiccation cracks in soil cause all sorts of problems. They open a path for water and pollutant flow. In earth embankments, cracking reduces strength and can lead to seepage. In extreme cases, the cracks may trigger subsidance and even landslides. As the soil re-hydrates it swells, which could produce ground heave and serious structural damage to the fabric of buildings.

The study by American and European engineers, is using non-contact methods to monitor simultaneous changes in water content, volume change and the pattern of cracks as the soil dries. They use a 2D laser scanner to track changes in the volume of the soil. By combining 2D profiles they achieve a 3D representation.

The experimental setup comprises

  • laser scanner
  • laser motion controller
  • electronic balance
  • relative humidity and temperature sensor
  • digital camera
  • computer with Windmill software and data acquisition system

The scientists use a Mettler Toledo SB-8001 weighing balance to measure water loss during soil desiccation. They connect the balance to a computer and use Windmill data acquisition software to continuously measure the water loss.

Combining all the data gives the researchers a digital model of the soil. Scans at different times show how the phenomena of crack propagation evolve in time, both on the soil surface and at depth.

The results are published in the journal Acta Geotechnica

Further Reading:

Interfacing Mettler Toledo Balances, Windmill Software

Data Acquisition Case Studies, Windmill Software

Exploring desiccation cracks in soils using a 2D profile laser device. Sanchez, Marcelo; Atique, Alvis; Kim, Sewon; Romero, Enrique; Zielinski, Marcin. In: Acta Geotechnica, Vol. 8, No. 6, 2013, p. 583-596.


Questions on Using Windmill

Web link: Connecting an Ohaus Balance

Question

Can you confirm that the Windmill software can interface with my Ohaus Ranger 3000 balance or not?

Ohaus Balance

Answer

Yes. You you can use the free ComDebug software to collect data from an Ohaus Balance.

Download ComDebug and enter the settings which your balance is using. The Default settings for a Ranger 3000 are given on our web site. You can change these with the Ohaus COM1 menu.

Further Reading:
Connecting an Ohaus Balance, Windmill Software


International Excel Corner - Changing the Decimal Separator

A engineer from Belgium is using Windmill to collect data and automatically send it to Excel. However, like in many European countries, he has his system set-up to use a comma as the decimal separator. His measurement device though sends the data using a decimal point. Windmill captures this data and sends it to Excel, still using a decimal point. Once in Excel it remains as 10.0 (for example) rather than being shown as 10,0 and any calculations and formulae applied to the data won't work. Our customer wanted to know if he could change the settings in Excel to show the data from Windmill with a comma, without changing them in the rest of his system.

To do this

  1. From Excel's Tools menu choose Options (or in Excel 2007 open the Excel Options window )
  2. Select the International tab (in Excel 2007 select Advanced and look for the Editing Options section)
  3. Clear the Use system separators box
  4. Enter a comma as the Decimal separator

Excel: Changing the decimal separator
Changing the decimal separator to a decimal point

Excel: Changing the decimal separator
or in Excel 2007

Read more Excel tips 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 or Google+ - https://plus.google.com/107072683025496630222/

Smart keyboard cleans and powers itself, and can tell who you are

In a novel twist in cybersecurity, scientists have developed a self-cleaning, self-powered smart keyboard that can identify computer users by the way they type. The device could help prevent unauthorised users from gaining direct access to computers.
Source: Georgia Tech
http://www.news.gatech.edu//

Networked Gadgets Waste 400 Terawatt-Hours of Energy Every Year

Consumers are losing money in the form of wasted energy, which is leading to more costly power stations and more distribution infrastructure being built than we would otherwise need - not to mention all the extra greenhouse gases that are being emitted. The bulk of the wasted energy comes when devices sit idle in standby mode. While in that mode they often spend energy to maintain a network connection, rather than actually going to "sleep" and using very little. There are easy and often cheap technical fixes to this issue available today.
Source: IEEE Spectrum
http://spectrum.ieee.org/

Global Sensors market to grow by 9.2 percent

TechNavio's analysts forecast the Global Sensors market to grow at a CAGR of 9.2 percent over the period 2013-2018.
Source: Report Linker
http://www.reportlinker.com/

International collaboration aims to launch eco-friendly ships

Research collaboration will address the emission of harmful gases like sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrous oxides (NOx), particulate matter and greenhouse gases - in particular CO2 - from ships' heavy fossil fuel burning combustion engines.
Source: The Engineer
https://www.theengineer.co.uk/

Leap second to be added in June

The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) has announced that a leap second will be added to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) at the end of June this year.
Source: NPL
http://www.npl.co.uk/


* 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 other publication, providing the above notice
is included and a link back to our website is in place.

For previous issues by subject see http://www.windmill.co.uk/monitorindex.html

FREE DATA ACQUISITION SOFTWARE
As a thank you for subscribing we offer you the ComDebug data logging and Com port trouble-shooting software for free. Log data over RS232, RS422, RS485 or Modbus. Also included is a free month's trial of the Windmill 7 logging, charting and control programs. To download go to http://www.windmill.co.uk/jsarrpsrr.htm

SUBSCRIBING OR CANCELLING SUBSCRIPTION Visit http://www.windmill.co.uk/newsletter.html and add or remove your e-mail address.

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/
Google+


* 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 other publication, providing the above notice
is included and a link back to our website is in place.

For previous issues by subject see http://www.windmill.co.uk/monitorindex.html

FREE DATA ACQUISITION SOFTWARE
As a thank you for subscribing we offer you the ComDebug data logging and Com port trouble-shooting software for free. Log data over RS232, RS422, RS485 or Modbus. Also included is a free month's trial of the Windmill 7 logging, charting and control programs.

SUBSCRIBING OR CANCELLING SUBSCRIPTION Visit http://www.windmill.co.uk/newsletter.html and add or remove your e-mail address.

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/
Google+


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