Windmill Software Ltd
Data Acquisition Intelligence

December 2009

The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 137     December 2009
--------------------ISSN 1472-0221----------------------

Welcome to Monitor, the data acquisition and control 
newsletter.  A happy New Year to you. 

I hope you find the newsletter useful, but should you 
wish to remove yourself from our mailing list please 
go to 

* Excel Corner: Adding Alarm Limits to Charts
* DAQ News Roundup
* Data Acquisition and Control Exhibitions

Excel Corner: Adding Alarm Limits to Charts

If you use Windmill software to collect readings you can 
set alarm levels for each series of data. When a reading 
is taken outside this limit it provokes a response in 
software. In the Windmill charting software this 
manifests itself as the chart trace being shown in a 
different colour. Markers are also inserted on the 
chart axis.  

How do you show readings in alarm on an Excel chart? One 
way is to draw a horizontal line at each alarm level. 
The method for this is very similar to the moving grid 
line we discussed in October's Monitor.

1. To draw an alarm marker across the Excel chart you 
   need to add another series of data. This series has 
   just two points: one to set the start of the line and 
   one to set the end. Assuming you had the time of 
   data collection in column A, data in column B and 
   columns C and D free:
   - In Cell C1 copy a reference to the first timestamp.
     For example =A1.
   - In Cell C2 insert a dynamic reference to the last 
     timestamp, which in our example is the last row of 
     column A. To do this enter
   - In Cells D1 and D2 enter the alarm level.

2. Highlight and drag Cells C1 to D2 onto the chart. 
   This will draw a straight line across the chart,  
   showing the alarm level.

You can also use this method to insert horizontal lines 
at the maximum, minimum, average and median values in 
the chart. In our example, to draw a line at the 
maximum value, insert =MAX(B:B) in cells D1 and D2.

Further Reading
Excel charting tips

Excel data acquisition tips

Monitor 135

Charting with Windmill

Data Acquisition and Control News 

Baubles used to study water channels under ice sheets
   Tiny orange balls made from Christmas tree baubles 
   could shed new light on how Greenland's Ice Sheet 
   will respond to a warming world. Scientists have 
   shown how the 4cm spheres can go through water 
   channels that run under glaciers and be recovered 
   afterwards.  When equipped with sensors, these balls 
   can gather data on how this meltwater is lubricating 
   the movement of the ice. 
	 Source: BBC

Smart Grids for Sensors
   According to a new report from NanoMarkets, the 
   rollout of the Smart Grid will create significant 
   new opportunities for sensor manufacturers.  The 
   report claims that building the new Smart Grid 
   infrastructure will generate $11.4 billion revenue 
   for sensors and related products. 
	 Source: NanoMarkets

New fast gas detectors
   A new generation of optical sensors is enabling the 
   development of robust, long-lasting, lighting-fast 
   trace gas detectors for use in a wide range of 
   industrial applications.
	 Source: Cordis

Want fresh air? Give your house a nose job
   A heat-exchange system based on the temperature-
   regulating trick of the kangaroo rat could keep house 
   air fresh without losing heat.
	 Source: New Scientist

Sizing up the sorting issue
   Reducing the need for manual sorting is one of the big 
   challenges for automation systems, and the development 
   of ever more advanced machine vision technology is 
   playing a key role in meeting it. Now a team of 
   specialists in the field has used image-processing 
   techniques to help the retail sector reduce the time 
   and cost needed to deal with one of the most basic 
   tools of its trade - the humble size tag.
	 Source: The Engineer

Data Acquisition Exhibitions and Conferences

The quarterly update of data acquisition and control 
exhibitions around the world.

24-26 January
California USA
Unveils new technology related to laboratory automation.

Automotive Testing Expo India
2-4 February
Hyderabad India
Covers all aspects of testing, evaluation and quality 
engineering technologies, services and equipment.

28 Feb - 5 March
Florida USA
Conference on laboaratory science for all who use 
analytical instrumentation, equipment and techniques.

Automation World
3-6 March
Seoul Korea
Includes industrial automation, instrumentation, 
measurement, intelligent building systems 
and robotics.

Medtec 2010
27-28 April
Birmingham UK
With high-tech manufacturing, packaging, materials, 
automation and design, Medtec UK presents the latest 
technologies and tools for medical device manufacturing.

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

We are happy for you to copy and distribute this 
newsletter, and use extracts from it on your own web site 
or publication, providing the above notice is 
included and a link back to our website is in place.

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]


To receive Monitor every month please fill in your e-mail address below. We will not pass your address to any third parties, nor send you any unsolicited e-mail.

Subscribe Monitor

You will receive an e-mail confirming your subscription, with details of how to download the free software. If you don't receive this then your spam filter may be blocking our message. Make sure it is set to accept messages from [email protected] If you have problems contact the Editor.

Previous Issue Next Issue