Windmill Software Ltd
Data Acquisition Intelligence

21 December 2006

The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 101      December 2006
--------------------ISSN 1472-0221----------------------

Welcome to the last Monitor of the year - we hope you 
find it useful. If you have any suggestions for the 
newsletter please e-mail the Editor.  Should you wish to 
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* Windmill News: Windmill Launch USB Box to Measure Strain
* Excel Corner: Recovering Data from Damaged Worksheets
* DAQ News Roundup

Windmill Launch USB Box to Measure Strain

Windmill are pleased to announce their new all-in-one 
751 SBox.  This lets your PC monitor four strain gauges.  
It connects to the PC over a USB cable and comes with 
the Windmill data acquisition and control software suite. 

The SBox has been designed to be really easy to set up.  
You can quickly connect or disconnect your strain gauges.  
Putting everything in just one box means that it is ideal 
for mobile applications or for moving from place to place.  

When the Windmill software takes a reading from a strain 
gauge bridge, it automatically monitors excitation 
voltage and calculate the measurement in microstrain. 
This eliminates errors due to changes in excitation 
voltage. You can also set a zero reference level and 
monitor changes relative to that level. An integrating 
analogue-to-digital converter reduces noise and the 
system automatically recalibrates itself.

The 751 SBox accepts four easily-connected bridges in 
quarter or half bridge configuration.

The modular Windmill software offers data logging, 
charting, alarm indication and output control.  Data 
can also be exported in real-time to other applications 
like Excel.

The 751 SBox costs 930 GBP (1375 Euros or 1815 USD).  
For more information on this or other Windmill 
products e-mail [email protected]

For tips on computerised strain measurement see

Excel Corner: Recovering Data from Damaged Worksheets

What to do when a system crash, virus attack or other 
nasty corrupts your Excel spreadsheet?  Don't panic.  
The majority of your data will still be there, all you 
have to do is retrieve it. Here are eight suggestions 
to try to get back your data.

1. Switch off your PC and then restart. (Simple but 
   often fixes problems.)

2. Run Scandisk to check for file system errors and 
   bad sectors on your hard disk.  Close all programs 
   then from the Windows start menu select All Programs 
   > Accessories > System Tools > Scandisk.  If you 
   can't find it there then open My Computer, right-
   click the hard drive and select Properties. Go to 
   Tools and run the Error Checking option.

3. If you can open the file in Excel, do so then save 
   it in HTML or SYLK format.  Choose to save the 
   entire workbook.  Close the file then re-open it and 
   save it under a different name in Excel format again.

4. In Excel 2003, Use the Open and Repair Command - see 
   below for details.

5. Open the file in Word. Select the resulting table, 
   then copy and paste the table into Excel. Formulas 
   will be lost but the data will be there.

6. Use External References to link to the file - see 
   below for details.

7. Extract Data from a Chart - see below for details.

8. Use a commercial Excel Recovery program - see below 
   for details.


In Excel 2003, Using the Open and Repair Command

1. On the File menu, click Open. 
2. In the Open dialog box, select your damaged file.
3. Click the arrow on the Open button, and then 
   click Open and Repair. 
4. When you are prompted, click Repair to try to 
   recover your most recent changes. If Excel cannot 
   repair your workbook, click Extract Data instead 
   of Repair. 
5. If your workbook contains formulas, Excel prompts 
   you to select either Convert to Values or 
   Recover Formulas.    
6. If you receive the following error message, 
   click Yes. "The document file name caused a serious 
   error the last time it was opened. Would you like 
   to continue opening it?" 
7. Save your recovered workbook.


Using External References to Link to the File
1. On the File menu, click Open. Browse from the current 
   folder to the folder that contains the damaged file, and 
   click Cancel.     
2. Click New on the File menu. Click Workbook then OK.     
3. Type =File Name!A1 in cell A1 of the new workbook, where 
   File Name is the name of the damaged workbook. If the 
   Select Sheet dialog box appears, select the appropriate 
   sheet and click OK.     
4. Select cell A1 and on the Edit menu click Copy.  
   Select an area that is slightly larger than the range of 
   cells that contain data in the damaged file, then click 
   Paste on the Edit menu.     
5. Select the range of cells again, click Copy on 
   the Edit menu.     
6. On the Edit menu, click Paste Special. Select Values 
   and click OK.  This removes the links to the damaged 
   file and leaves only the data. 


Extract Data from a Chart

Microsoft provides a macro to retrieve data from a chart 
even when the data is in an external worksheet or workbook. 
When the source data to a chart is lost, the data might 
still be retrieved from the chart itself. 
Excel 2002, 2003 see
Excel 2000 see
Excel 98 and earlier see


Use a Commercial Excel Recovery program

If you are unable to retrieve your data yourself, there 
are recovery programs out there to help you.

Recovery for Excel from, $149.00 US.
Demo version available. Doesn't recover Visual Basic 
modules, drawings or cell names.

Excel Fix from cimaware, 80 GBP
Demo version available. Doesn't recover password 
protected files, visual basic and macros, array formulas 
or pivot tables.

R-Excel from r-tools technology, $78.99 US
Demo version available.

Kernel Excel Recovery from Nucleus Data Recovery, $49 US.
Demo version available.

ExcelRestore from PC Recovery, $145 US


Further Reading
For more tips on using Excel for data acquisition and 
analysis see

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  Read for notes
on how to display the news on your own web site, 
read it via e-mail or through a newsfeed viewer.

Scientists find safer ways to detect uranium
   Queensland University of Technology scientists have 
   found a safer way of detecting radioative 
   contamination in the ground. Using a technique known 
   as near infrared spectroscopy, radioactive minerals 
   can be detected by scientists far away from a 
   contaminated site. The technique uses a light source 
   to scan the surface of a material to identify the 
   chemical properties of that surface. In doing so, it 
   is possible to safely determine whether or not 
   radioactive uranium minerals are present in 
   the ground.
   Source: Queensland University of Technology

Regulatory Compliance Drives Growth of LIMS
   There are an increasing number of regulatory demands 
   placed on analytical laboratories in all industries. 
   These demands will drive the growth of Laboratory 
   Information Management Systems by 5.3 percent, 
   according to a new report from the ARC Advisory Group.
   Source: ARC Advisory Group

UK's First Weblab Goes Live
   The UK's first 'weblab', which allows people anywhere 
   to control a live experiment remotely through a computer, 
   has been launched at the University of Cambridge.  Internet 
   users will be able to log on and control a simple experiment 
   in a reactor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, 
   altering the variables so that the machine produces different 
   results. The entire process can be watched live on a webcam. 
   The weblab consists of a reactor, auxiliary equipment and 
   industrial process control devices and software. 
   Source: University of Cambridge

Honeywell Introduces New Magnetic Sensor/Amplifier
   Honeywell has developed a new magnetic hybrid 
   sensor/amplifier that it claims will simplify design 
   and improve the performance of small portable products 
   such as compass watches, personal Global Positioning
   System (GPS) receivers, and wireless telephones.  The 
   HMC6042 Magnetic Sensor Plus incorporates small
   sensors and signal processors that convert magnetic 
   field strengths into a differential output voltage.
   Source: Honeywell

NASA Climate Data on Google Earth
   NASA's climatologists have an enormous problem: 
   when it comes to data on the atmosphere, they have 
   too much of it. Now it has hit on a simple way to 
   make that data accessible: software that superimposes 
   it on the global 3D maps provided by Google Earth. 
   The new system, called iEarth, will be available for 
   anyone to use in April, NASA says.
   Source: New Scientist

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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
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