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9 November 2016

Windmill Software
Data Acquisition Intelligence
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Route Data from Instruments and Devices into Microsoft Access

Windmill software reads data from instruments and devices connected to your PC. We have a range of drivers for many types of equipment, and our RS232 data acquisition software is currently reduced. This means that you can acquire data from instruments connected to your PCs COM port. Many channels of data can be accepted from each instrument and imported into a Microsoft Access database.

Acquiring Data in Access

The easiest method is to collect data with the free Windmill Logger application, and after collection has finished import it into your Access database. Logger time-stamps every data item and stores it in a tab-separated file.

Windmill Logger

Alternatively you can transfer data as it arrives, using dynamic data exchange. In this case use our free Windmill DDE Panel as a gateway to transfer data values between your instruments and Access.

Using Dynamic Data Exchange to Collect Live Data

It's perhaps best to use the free Software Signal Generator to start with, so you can eliminate potential hardware connection problems. The Signal Generator mimics an actual hardware device, continually sending ever-changing data. Start displaying data in the Windmill DDE Panel and then start Access.

How to Update Data in Access Every Time you Click a Button

  1. Create a table with a text field called myField.
  2. Ceate a form based on that table, showing that field.
  3. On the form insert a button with an on-click event.
   Private Sub Command7_Click
   Dim myDDE
   myDDE=DDEInitiate("WINDMILL", "Data")
   myField.Text=DDERequest(myDDE, "InputA")
   DDETerminate (myDDE)
   End Sub


Everytime you click the button in Access, the reading updates.

Displaying Information Other Than Data Readings
You can display other types of information, such as the units of the data, or whether the channel is in an alarm state or not. In the myDDE=DDEInitiate("WINDMILL", "Data") line, instead of Data simply type a different topic. Choose from

For more details on DDE topics open the DDE Panel on-line Help, and go to the section entitled "Types of Information: DDE Topics".

We hope this brief guide helps you get started with Windmill and Access. Once you've used the on-click button, you can experiment with different Access controls: for example using a Timer control to periodically update readings without your intervention.

Questions About Windmill and Access

Can I Display a Live Graph of the Data?

Yes, our free Chart program will graph the data as its collected.

My Access macro is asking me to start DDE Panel. Can I do this automatically?

Yes. The answer is in the Windmill DDE Panel Help file, wmdde.hlp. See the "Automatically Starting DDE Panel when you Switch on the Computer" topic.

In Access, how do I store each data reading in a new cell?

This depends on whether you wish to analyse the data in Access after collection has finished, or whether you need the data in Access in "real-time". In the first case you simply use Windmill Logger to save the data, then later open the data file in Access. In the second you need to create an Access macro to read and store the data from the DDE Panel.