Windmill Software Ltd
Data Acquisition Intelligence

July 2009

The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 132          July 2009
--------------------ISSN 1472-0221----------------------

Welcome to Monitor, the data acquisition newsletter.  I 
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* Windmill Notes: Connecting a Remontec TRL-50 Sonar 
* Excel Corner: Editing the Same Cell in Several Sheets
* DAQ News Roundup

Windmill Notes: Connecting a Remontec TRL-50 Sonar 

The TRL-50 is a microprocessor-controlled system for 
determining when a towed body is on the seabed. It uses 
sonar to send and receive data.

You have a choice of two Windmill programs with which to 
collect data from the TRL-50: COMIML or LabIML. COMIML 
is part of the Windmill 6 suite of software and has many 
more facilities than LabIML - details are at

LabIML is part of the Windmill 4.3 suite of software and 
is free to Monitor subscribers.

How to connect the TRL-50 to a PC

Here is how to configure the free LabIML software to log 
data from the TRL-50. There are three basic steps.

1. Run the Windmill ConfIML program and enter your 
   communication settings. 
2. Run the Windmill SetupIML program and choose names 
   and units for your data. 
3. Run the Windmill DDE Panel or Logger program to 
   display or save data.

Once you have configured the Windmill software you can 
in future go straight logging data. 


Windmill ConfIML

This program detects and saves a record of the hardware you want to use, in our case the TRL-50. 

1. Start ConfIML and Press the Add button. 

2. Select LabIML RS232 ASCII Instrument Handler. 

3. Type a name for the instrument, eg Trawl, and a 
   description.  Enter 1 for the number of channels of 
   data. Press OK.

4. Enter your instrument's settings:
   - Reading Protocol: Continuous Flow
   - Instrument Idle or Wait Time: 0
   - Data Persistence: 10 000 mS
   - Returned Message Length: 8
   - Instrument Initialisation String: Leave blank

5. Click the Channels button and tell the software how 
   extract the reading from the string of data received. 
  - Make sure that Read channel is checked
  - Enter the engineering units, eg metres
  - You can ignore the maximum and minimum settings: 
    these are just a guide for chart scaling etc.
  - Tell Windmill how to extract the data. In the 
    ConfIML Reply Parse String enter: 
    \S"9:"\E"\C013"\I01. This instructs Windmill to 
    search for 9:, extract data until the carriage 
    return and ignore the next character. It then starts 
    again by searching for 9:. 

6. Enter the communication settings used by your TRL-50, eg:
   - Baud: 4800
   - Data Bits: 8
   - Parity: None
   - Flow control: Xon/Xoff

7. Save your settings, close ConfIML and start SetupIML. 


Windmill SetupIML

With the SetupIML program you can name convert units, set alarms and so on.

1. Choose to Create a New Setup and enter a name and 
   description. This can be anything you like.

2. From the Device menu select LabIML.

3. Your data channels will be shown as a number, for 
   example 10000.
   Double click this channel number.

4. Type name for your channel, eg Trawl and make sure 
   Enable for Input is checked. 

5. Save your settings in a *.ims file, close SetupIML 
   and run DDE Panel or Logger


Windmill DDE Panel

1. From the File menu select Load Hardware Setup and 
   choose the *.ims file you just saved.

2. Connect your channels. You should see your readings 
   in DDE Panel.

3. Proceed similarly for the Logger programs. 


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. For more 
details see our Excel page at



If you are having problems receiving data, right-click 
the LabIML icon on the tool bar and select "Debug 

If the LabIML Debug window says "Parsing Failed", 
go back to the ConfIML window and edit your 
Reply Parse String.

Note that with RS232 connections Windmill can collect 
data at speeds of up to 5 readings per second, or one 
reading every 0.2 seconds.  Don't try to run Windmill 
any faster otherwise you may inadvertently slow the 
system down.

If you still have problems, or are interested in the 
Windmill settings for a different instrument, fill in 
the form at

Further Reading
Interfacing a NMEA Device

Excel Corner: Editing the Same Cell in Several Sheets

You may have organised your data in Excel so that each 
day's or week's data is in a separate worksheet in a 
workbook. The layout of the worksheets, though may be 
identical.  If this is the case you can edit the same 
cell in all worksheets at once.  This is useful for 
entering or changing formulae.

1. Select the sheets you wish to modify. To select all 
   sheets: Right-click a sheet tab then click Select All 
   Sheets on the shortcut menu. To select several non-
   adjacent sheets: hold down the Ctrl key and select 
   the sheets. Excel adds the word "Group" to its title 

2. Edit a cell in the worksheet that is currently 
   visible. Your changes are made on every other 
   selected sheet as well.

3. Click any tab other than the first to deselect the 
   group of worksheets.
For more on using Excel for data acquisition 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 live news on your own web site.
Sensor hears collapsing bubbles
   The UK's National Physical Laboratory  has developed 
   the first sensor capable of measuring localised 
   ultrasonic cavitation  the implosion of bubbles in a 
   liquid when a high frequency sound wave is applied. 
   The sensor will help hospitals ensure that their 
   instruments are properly disinfected before they are 
   used on patients.
   Source: NPL

Wireless LAN use to expand
   Manufacturers plan to expand use of wireless LAN and 
   wireless sensing technologies within manufacturing 
   plants, says a survey commissioned by Motorola Inc.  
   The study found manufacturers with mobility 
   applications saved a daily average of 42 minutes 
   per employee.
   Source: Control Engineering

New transistors save power
   The power gadgets waste when converting alternating 
    current to direct current could be cut by a third by 
   switching to converters that use gallium nitride 
   transistors instead of silicon ones. These 
   transistors will also make adaptors small enough to 
   fit inside a laptop - doing away with the need to 
   carry a separate adaptor, says a team at Fujitsu 
   Laboratories in Kawasaki, Japan.
   Source: New Scientist

Keeping track of hospital equipment
   Technology that uses Wi-Fi and ultrasound to track 
   hospital equipment could improve patient care. The 
   tracking system, developed by Airetrak, is designed 
   to address the issue of lost equipment in 
   environments that have an existing 
   Wi-Fi infrastructure.
   Source: The Engineer Online

* Copyright Windmill Software Ltd
* Reprinting permitted with this notice included
* For more articles see

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An archive of previous issues is at
and an index of articles at

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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