Windmill Software Ltd
Data Acquisition Intelligence

May 2007

The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 106           May 2007
--------------------ISSN 1472-0221----------------------

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* Windmill News
* Excitation in Data Acquisition
* Excel Corner: Choosing Markers in a Scatter Chart
* DAQ News Roundup

Windmill News

New Staff Member...
We're pleased to welcome a new member of staff to 
Windmill - Asad Syed. Asad has replaced Ben Worthy who 
has moved to Leceistershire for family reasons.  If you 
ring Windmill with a sales or technical support request 
you may find yourself talking to Asad.

Asad graduated at UMIST with a degree of Electrical and 
Electronic Engineering.  He went on to complete a 
masters degree in Computer Integrated Manufacturing and 
Management at the University of Huddersfield. He worked 
in the finance industry before joining Windmill. Born 
and bought up in Burnley in the Northwest of England, 
he loves the scenery of the pennine moors which 
surround the town.


We have recently had a problem with our technical 
support form on the web. Although it looked like the 
form had been sent successfully, when it got to us it 
was blank. So our apologies to anyone who requested 
support via the web site and didn't receive a reply. 
If you still need help please re-submit your request at

Excitation in Data Acquisition

In data acquisition, excitation is the voltage or 
current applied to a transducer. 

Many transducers need a power supply. The signal from 
these transducers is either a voltage or a mA current. 
For many transducers the supply will be low voltage DC 
(direct current), but for transducers based on 
capacitance measurement an AC (alternating current) 
supply may be required.

When purchasing a data acquisition system you should 
check that your measurement hardware can be equipped 
with power supplies suitable for providing the 
excitation voltage(s) you need. Because the choice of 
power supply will depend on the number and type of 
transducers, it's best to draw up a list of transducers 
and their excitation requirements. The information 
needed includes voltage range and current requirements, 
and for AC excitation voltages, the frequency used.

Excel Corner: Choosing Markers in a Scatter Chart

Last week we were asked "Can I choose the type of marker 
used in a scatter chart".  The answer is easy.

1. In your chart double-click a data marker which you 
   wish to change.  The Format Data Series 
   dialogue appears.
2. Choose the Patterns tab.
3. Select the style of marker you wish.

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

DAQ News Roundup

Welcome to our roundup of the 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, mobile phone or a newsfeed viewer.

New noise discovery promises to improve sensors
   More sensitive sensors based on semiconductor 
   electronics could result from new findings by 
   researchers from the United States, Norway and Russia. 
   Their research has yielded a decisive step in 
   identifying the origin of the universal "one-over-f" 
  (1/f) noise phenomenon; f stands for "frequency."
   Source: Argonne National Laboratory

Electric fields could give subs 'fish-like' sense
   Robotic and uncrewed submersibles could operate 
   more effectively by mimicking the way some fish probe 
   their surroundings with electric fields, say 
   researchers. Some fish can generate their weak 
   electric fields over short ranges to help navigate, 
   identify objects, and even communicate with other 
   fish. By studying the biomechanics of these "weakly 
   electric fish", scientists have now come up with an 
   artificial electric-field sensing system. They say it 
   could ultimately give robot submersibles the same 
   additional sensory capabilities.
   Source: New Scientist

ISA Announces New Recommended Practice for HMI Task Analysis
   The new document provides guidance and suggests an 
   approach for conducting a task analysis as part of the 
   design and development of new control rooms and systems 
   for power plants and for supporting major control room 
   upgrade programs.
   Source: ISA

Network 20000 times faster than broadband
   Co-operating universities have created a high-speed, 
   regional optical network that will enable their 
   researchers to better share data and collaborate 
   with colleagues around the world. Called the Broadband 
   Optical Research, Education and Sciences Network 
   (BOREAS-Net), the network consists of a ring of optical 
   fibre cable and other equipment that allows four 
   universities to connect to national research and 
   commercial networks based.
   Source: The University of Iowa

Industrial Networking Growth in Asia-Pacific Driven by Ethernet Adoption
   According to a study published by VDC, the global 
   market for network infrastructure products for industry 
   will increase by 25% through 2011.  Of the three 
   regions covered in the research - Asia-Pacific, 
   Europe and Americas - the highest overall market 
   growth is forecast for the Asia-Pacific region.
   Source: VDC

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* Reprinting permitted with this notice included
* For more articles see

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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
E-mail: [email protected]

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