Windmill Software Ltd
Data Acquisition Intelligence

January 2010

The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 138      January 2010
--------------------ISSN 1472-0221----------------------

Welcome to our first Monitor of 2010. We moved servers 
a couple of weeks ago, which didn't go as smoothly as 
we'd hoped.  My apologies for any problems you might 
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* 2010 Survey
* Continually Measuring the Weight of Ripening Shiraz Grapes
* DAQ News Roundup

New Year Survey

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1. Are there any topics you would like us to cover in Monitor? 2. Are you happy with a text-based newsletter (as it is now), or would you prefer HTML (bigger file size but with pictures, colours, etc.)? Text HTML Either 3. Have you used any Windmill data acquisition software? (If none please go to question 7) Free Windmill 4.3 with LabIML serial driver Free ComDebug download Windmill 6 Other 4. Did you experience any problems with the software and if so what were they? (Please say if you resolved the problems, or if you would like our assistance.) 5. What make, model and type of instrument you are using? 6. Our readers have told us that they find stories on how other people are using Windmill very useful. If you have used Windmill and wouldn't mind sharing your setup and application, please let us know. 7. In what field of work are you? 8. Any other comments or suggestions? E-mail: Many thanks for your help. ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Continually Measuring the Weight of Ripening Shiraz Grapes ________________________________________________________ Shiraz is the most widely planted grape variety in Australia. It accounts for one fifth of all wine grape production there. In the latter stages of ripening the bunches of grapes lose about 20% of their weight, which obviously affects the yield. It was known that the weight reduction was due to water, not dry matter, loss. Until recently, however, no-one had established the exact cause. A recent study published in the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture investigated the reasons for the water loss: testing whether it was caused by increased loss of water through the surface of the grape (transpiration) or by the shutting down of the supply of water to the grape (decreased vascular flow). As part of their research, the scientists measured the daily changes in the fresh weight of bunches of grapes. They lifted a hanging bunch still attached to the vine, and supported it horizontally on a Mettler Toledo digital balance for six to eight days. They used the Windmill COMIML serial driver to automatically read the weight of the bunch every 5 to 10 minutes, continuously, throughout the day. At the end of six days each bunch was detached, weighed, oven-dried and the water content determined. They made the measurements at 3 stages of bunch development. This technique enabled the daily increments and decrements in bunch weight to be measured over several days. Windmill COMIML lets you read and control almost any serial device communicating over RS-232, RS-422, RS-485 or Modbus - including the Mettler Toledo balance. It comes with, amongst other software, the Windmill Logging program which automatically saves the data at regular intervals. Data can also be imported into Excel as it is collected. The Windmill logging software showed that the grapes increased in weight during the night and decreased during the day. In early stages of bunch development there was more weight gain than loss. In the late stages, though, there was more loss than gain. They concluded that the sustained weight loss occurred because water flow into the grape lessened whilst transpiration losses continued unabated. The Windmill COMIML software - with logging, charting, display and control programs - costs £145 from Windmill Software Limited: [email protected] Further Reading =============== Am. J. Enol. Vitic. 60:2:155-163 (2009) Windmill COMIML General Purpose Serial Driver ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Data Acquisition and Control News ________________________________________________________ Temperature Sensor Market to Grow Although the world temperature sensors and transmitters market is considered to be mature, there are many competing temperature sensor technologies that are exhibiting high-growth prospects, say Frost & Sullivan in their new analysis. Source: Frost & Sullivan NIST Updates Automation Security Guidelines The National Institute of Standards and Technology has issued a draft publication for public comment that describes changes to the Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP). Source: National Institute of Standards and Technology Acoustic Sensors Help Whales New acoustic sensors are helping monitor endangered North Atlantic right whales in an effort to reduce ship strikes, a leading cause of their deaths. Source: SCUBA Diving News Undersea internet cables could detect tsunamis The electric field generated by a passing tsunami could be picked up by seafloor cables that supply your broadband, providing a cheap alternative to existing warning systems. These use pressure sensors on the seafloor to detect the weight of a tsunami in the water column above. Only five countries own such sensor arrays the US, Australia, Indonesia, Chile and Thailand partly due to the high cost of installation. Source: New Scientist ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ * 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]


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