Connecting a Vitrek High Voltage Meter
Windmill software lets you interface Vitrek HV meters, and other instruments with RS232 serial ports, to a PC running Windows. The Windmill software package with logging, charting and interfacing to Excel costs just £50. Alternatively, subscribers to the Monitor newsletter (ISSN 1472-0221) can download the ComDebug software, which continuously logs data from one instrument, for free.
To use Windmill to collect data from a Vitrek HV meter :
- Run the Windmill ComDebug, select Create a new Windmill Instrument File, and enter your balance's serial communication settings.
- Run the Windmill DDE Panel, Logger or Chart program to save or display data from your balance.
Using ComDebug to enter your Vitrek HV meter Settings
For an overview of entering the configuration settings see the Getting Started with COMIML and ComDebug page. Specific example settings for various Vitrek HV meter s are given below.
Run ComDebug and choose Create a New Windmill Instrument File. Choose Serial Communications.
COM Port Settings
Choose Serial and enter settings which match those your meter is using, ie
|Baud||Select a baud rate on the meter via its Configuration Screen, eg 115200, and choose this.|
|More Information:||4700 Precision High Voltage Meter Downloads|
Requesting and Receiving Data
After entering the COM port settings, choose to Edit Message 1. Use the NonPrint menu to enter the <ESC> <CR> (carriage return) and <LF> (linefeed) characters.
|Example Prompt Command||Measurement query command followed by a Carriage Return, eg|
|Example data string received||12 characters starting with a + or -|
|Example Parsing||Step 1 : Add Action = Ignore until +-|
Step 2 : Extract = Extract Until <CR>
Assign a channel to hold the data you extract. Click Step to check whether data is correctly extracted.
In the Main Menu Select Edit the Instrument Timings.
|Data Persistance||Longer than your sampling rate, so data doesn't expire between readings.|
|Instrument Idle Time||0|
|Timeout||at least 100 milliseconds|
Does it Work?
In the Message Screen click Run to check that everything is working. Save Settings and Create a Windmill Device in order to use the Windmill Logging, Charting etc programs.
Have you successfully used Windmill? Let us know about your project.
If you are unable to get data from your voltmeter go back to ComDebug's Terminal screen. Make sure your command is shown in the prompt grid. Click the Send button: does your instrument reply?
- No, the data message isn't there...
- Make sure that the voltmeter is switched on and plugged into the PC's com (RS232) port.
- Check that the communication settings you entered in ComDebug match those currently in use by the instrument: COM port, baud rate, parity, etc.
- If using a USB-RS232 converter, its settings must also match those used by the instrument - read the USB-Serial page for details, especially point 7.
- Yes, data is shown in ComDebug but not in DDE Panel...
- Go to ComDebug's Message Screen, click the Parse button.
- Enter your Ignore and Extract Settings and click the Step menu. Is your data shown in the Value column?
If not adjust your settings.
- If you are getting accurate data readings, but much slower than expected, change your sampling rate. With COMIML, 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.
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