Windmill Software Ltd
Windows Engineering Software

25 January 2005

The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 78       January 2005
--------------------ISSN 1472-0221----------------------

Welcome to our first issue of 2005 - a Happy New Year.  
Traditionally we include a reader survey in the 
January issue.  This year we're keeping it to just two 
questions.  Please help us by filling it in.  Feel free 
to add any other comments you wish.

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* Reader Survey
* Windmill News: Improved Help Files
* Windmill Notes: Logging Only New Data
* Finding Academic Information: New Google Scholar
* Excel Corner: Highlighting out-of-range Data

Reader Survey

We'd appreciate it if you filled in our short survey.  
Just hit the Reply button, fill in the blanks and send.
1. If you have used some software from Windmill, have you had any problems? Please give details. (If you have not yet resoloved the problem we'll do our best to help.) 2. Have you successfully used Windmill? If so could you tell us a little about the application to which you put the software? E-mail: Many thanks for your help.
________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Windmill News: Improved Help Files ________________________________________________________ We've updated the Help files for two of our programs: ComDebug and VTupload. To download the new Help go to Unzip the file into your Windmill folder. The free ComDebug program lets you communicate with almost any RS232, RS422, RS485 or Modbus device. Its extensive trouble-shooting capabilities make it ideal for solving comms problems, or for quickly checking that you can communicate with your instrument before starting to automatically acquire data. More details are at VTupload reads data from people counters (footfall counters) and saves them in a text file on the PC. More details are at ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Windmill Notes: Logging Only New Data ________________________________________________________ The Windmill Logger program regularly saves data from sensors and instruments to the computer's hard disk. You can choose to log continuously, or to only record a value when new data arrives. The latter allows external events to control logging. 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 up to log only new data: 1. Open Logger and make sure that the first channel of data to be logged is the one to be monitored for updates. For data supplied by COMIML, this should be the channel holding the record number. 2. Select Settings from the menu bar. 3. Tick "Log on First Channel Change". 4. Enter a logging duration of 0 and press OK. 5. Press the Start button. Using Logger with the COMIML Serial Driver ------------------------------------------ COMIML acquires data from instruments connected to your PC by RS232, RS422, RS485 or Modbus. Logger can then grab the data from COMIML and save it to file. To log only new data you need to allocate the final channel in COMIML to store the record number. To do this... 1. In ComDebug (the COMIML configuration program) go to the Terminal screen 2. Press the Parse button. The Reply Parser window appears. It should show a number of channels, each configured to extract an item of data (temperature, pressure, latitude, etc.) 3. Select the first blank action cell. 4. From the Extract menu select Extract Record Number. 5. Add a new channel, click it and confirm you want to select it. Further Reading --------------- Windmill Logger Help: logger.hlp, available from COMIML ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Finding Academic Information ________________________________________________________ Have you ever wanted to restrict your internet searches to academic publications? The Google search engine now lets you do just that. Called Google Scholar, the new service searches peer- reviewed papers, theses, preprints and books from universities, professional societies and academic publishers. For example, if you searched for "Windmill Software" at you'd see papers referencing our software. However, these results would not include our own web site. This is an extremely useful tool. It has the added bonus that it searches the entire text of articles, even if only their abstracts are available for free on-line, and so will find papers that would not appear in a normal web search. ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Excel Corner: Highlighting Out-of-Range Data ________________________________________________________ When Windmill Logger receives data that is outside your tolerances, it shows it in blue or red. Windmill Alarm Logger gives a more sophisticated warning, making telephone calls to engineers for example. But what about when you are using Excel to display logged data? Here is a simple macro to highlight out-of-tolerance data in column A. Sub OutOfRange() 'Finds the last entry in a column of data Set LastData = Range("A1").End(xlDown) 'Checks each value in the column For Each DataRow In Range("A1", LastData).Rows 'If the value matches your criteria displays 'it in bold If DataRow.Cells.Value > 20 Then DataRow.Font.Bold = True 'If not then clears any bold setting Else DataRow.Font.Bold = False End If Next DataRow End Sub Further Reading =============== For more on using Excel with Windmill see Details of Windmill Alarm Logger are at For conditional formatting in Excel without using macros ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ * Copyright Windmill Software Ltd * Reprinting permitted with this notice included * For more articles see 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 and an index of articles at 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:


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