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21 July 2016

Windmill Software Ltd
Data Acquisition Intelligence
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Torque Measurement using Windows Software

Windmill software lets you continually log data from Torque Meters, gauges, wrenches and other instruments with an RS232 serial port, on a PC running Windows. All data is time-stamped and can be imported into Excel either during or after data collection. Our Windmill data acquisition software is currently reduced from £145 to £50. Alternatively, subscribers to the Monitor newsletter (ISSN 1472-0221) can download free logging software: ComDebug. This lets you log data from one instrument and save it in a text file. After collection is finished data can be imported into Excel.

  1. Run the Windmill ComDebug program and enter your torque meter's communication settings.
  2. Run the Windmill DDE Panel, Logger or Chart program to save or display data from your balance.

After you have entered your configuration settings with ComDebug you don't need to use this again and can go straight to the Windmill data logging and display programs, or other programs like Excel. More details on entering the configuration settings are below.

Before running the software connect your torque equipment to the PC's RS232 serial port using an appropriate cable. If your PC does not have a serial port you will need a USB-Serial converter.


Run the Windmill ComDebug program

  1. Enter the communication settings used by your torque meter, eg:
    • Baud: 4800
    • Data Bits: 8
    • Parity: None
    • Flow control: None
       
      Check your manual for your settings.
       
  2. Enter your torque meter's timing settings. These should work for most torque meters:
    • Read: Directly
    • Timeout: 5000 mS
    • Data Persistance: 5000 mS
    • Instrument Idle or Wait Time: 0

    •  
  3. You now need to define how to extract data. To do this edit a ComDebug Message. Your settings here depend upon how you have configured your torque meter. Check your meter's Manual. An Omega torque meter, for example, sends a 16 character data stream. The 7th character gives the polarity (positive or negative) and the next 8 give the data values.
    • In the Message Screen click Send
    • You should see a reply. or the example above, from the Extract menu select to ignore the first 6 characters and then to extract the next 9
       
  4. In the Message Screen click Run to check that everything is working.
     
  5. Save the settings you've entered as an .IMD file and click OK in the main window.
     
  6. Choose Edit Windmill Device and add your .IMD file. Repeat for any other instruments you have then select the Make IMS button.

Data Logging Options

For simple logging from one instrument you can use the free ComDebug program. For more logging options from many instruments use the Windmill Logger program and load the *.ims file you've just created.


Getting the data into Excel

You can use the Windmill Logger program to collect data, and after collection has finished import it into Excel. Alternatively, you can collect data with Excel in real-time by using an Excel macro to read data from the Windmill DDE Panel. For more details see our Excel data acquisition page.


Trouble-Shooting

If you are getting accurate data readings, but much slower than expected, change your sampling rate. With serial communications Windmill can make 5 readings per second per channel. So it can record one measurement every 0.2 seconds. If you have the sampling interval set much smaller than this, then Windmill may slow down considerably and only make a couple of readings per minute.

For more trouble-shooting tips see our technical support page.


Success?

Have you successfully used Windmill with your torque meter? Let us know about your project. If you have any problems then you can instead use this form to ask our advice

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