-------------------------Monitor------------------------ The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control Issue 99 www.windmill.co.uk October 2006 --------------------ISSN 1472-0221---------------------- Welcome to Monitor - we hope you find it useful. If you have any suggestions for the newsletter please e-mail [email protected] Should you wish to cancel your subscription you can do so at http://www.windmill.co.uk/newsletter.html CONTENTS ======== * Using a USB-Serial Converter * Windmill Notes: Parsing Data * Excel Corner: Running a Macro from Several Worksheets * DAQ News Roundup ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Using a USB-Serial Converter ________________________________________________________ Many laboratory instruments can send data to a computer over RS232 links. As USB ports are replacing RS232 ports on computers, people are increasingly using a USB-Serial converter to access data from their instruments. The converters are simple to use. You plug the converter into the PC's USB port and install its driver software. The USB converter will be assigned a COM port. You can check this by opening Windows Control Panel and choosing first System then Device Manager then Ports. When using a USB-Serial converter, you need to make sure that it is providing data in the way expected by your data acquisition software. The serial communications settings must be the same. For instance, if you have set your DAQ software to continually acquire data you must make sure that your USB-to-Serial converter is continually providing data, and not buffering it. How you do this depends on your converter. For an Edgeport converter, for example, you need to use its utility program to set its ports for "low latency" and "fast read and writes". As a subscriber to Monitor you can download a free trial of our Windmill data acquisition software. LabIML is a universal driver for instruments that send or accept ASCII messages over RS232. It automatically feeds data from the instruments to Windows application software. You could, for example, show readings from a GPS receiver and a sonar in an Excel spreadsheet, or data from an electronic balance in Windmill's own Logger program (also free). To download the free software subscribe to the newsletter at http://www.windmill.co.uk/newsletter.html We also offer an updated serial driver, COMIML. Details of this are at http://www.windmill.co.uk/https://www.windmillsoft.com/daqshop/rs232-modbus.html Further Reading =============== Tips on Using USB-Serial Converters for Data Acquisition ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Windmill Notes: Parsing Data ________________________________________________________ Windmill software lets you use your PC to collect data from instruments with RS232 ports. A Windmill user recently asked why he was unable to extract information from his data string by entering several Ignore commands. He was using the Ignore Until Character command. This tells Windmill to ignore everything in the data string until one of the characters specified arrives. The next action takes place on this character. So, if you repeatedly told Windmill to ignore everything until the next comma (intending to skip several commas) it would get stuck on the first comma it found. You could instead choose to skip the comma before carrying on, or use the Search command. For more tips on parsing messages see http://www.windmill.co.uk/parse.html For more on the Windmill serial drivers see http://www.windmill.co.uk/rs232.html http://www.windmill.co.uk/https://www.windmillsoft.com/daqshop/rs232-modbus.html ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Excel Corner: Running a Macro from Several Worksheets ________________________________________________________ Imagine you had an Excel workbook containing three sheets of data. Sheet 1 holds September's data, Sheet 2 October's and Sheet 3 November's. You create and run a macro in Sheet 1 which works perfectly. You then run it from Sheet 2 to try to analyse October's figures, but the macro persists in going back to Sheet 1. What to do? The problem is that the macro specifies "Sheet 1", for example: Sheets("Sheet1").Range("A1:B49"). You need to edit the macro and set it instead to work on the currently active sheet. 1. At the start of your macro insert a line of code like this Let Thisworksheet = ActiveSheet.Name Excel gets the name of the currently active sheet and stores it as Thisworksheet. 2. Where "Sheet1" is referenced, replace it with Thisworksheet. For example Sheets(Thisworksheet).Range("A1:B49") You can now run your macro from any of the worksheets. For more tips on using Excel for data acquisition and analysis see http://www.windmill.co.uk/excel/ http://www.windmill.co.uk/excel/excel-charting.html ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ DAQ News Roundup ________________________________________________________ Welcome to our roundup of the latest 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, read it via e-mail or through a newsfeed viewer. Scientists Campaign for Pro-Science President Concerned by the US government's stance on the environment, stem cell research and evolution, a group of scientists are campaigning to stop the politicization of science where the opinions of scientists are hushed up by political appointees. Source: SEA http://www.sefora.org/serendipity/ Google Launches Code Search Google now lets you search publicly accessible source code hosted on the Internet. It claims that this will help programmers design new software projects, test code and fix bugs. If it finds your code, and you don't want it to, you need to edit your web's robots.txt file. Source: Google http://www.google.com/codesearch US Law could Admit Many More Foreign Hi-Tech Workers Legislation pending before Congress "would admit foreign computing and engineering workers in numbers much greater than historical trends or casual assumptions about future employment levels" according to a recent study from Georgetown University, commissioned by IEEE-USA. Source: IEEE-USA http://www.ieeeusa.org/ WHO issues targets to cut air pollution For the first time, the World Health Organization has issued global targets for cutting air pollution, and it says at least 2 million people could be saved from early death each year if countries meet them. Good news not only for sufferers of air pollution, but also for the companies making pollution monitoring equipment. Source: New Scientist http://www.newscientist.com/ Ultrasonic Flowmeter Market to Grow Propelled by strong growth in the oil and gas industry, which has begun to shed its conservative stance on field device technology, the worldwide market for ultrasonic flowmeters is expected to grow at 9.6 percent over the next five years, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study. Source: ARC Advisory Group http://www.arcweb.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/newsletter.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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