Windmill Software Ltd
Data Acquisition Intelligence

February 2010

The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 139      February 2010
--------------------ISSN 1472-0221----------------------

Welcome to Monitor, the data acquisition and control 
newsletter. Thanks very much to all who filled in our 
survey: your responses were very useful and we'll be 
addressing the topics and issues you raised in the next 
few newsletters, starting below.  If you didn't complete 
the survey last month but would like to give us your 
opinions and requests, please go to and send 
us your comments.

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

* Windmill Notes: Automatically Starting Logging
* Excel Corner: Finding Readings
* DAQ News Roundup

Windmill Notes: Automatically Starting Logging

One of the questions raised in our survey responses, was 
how to start logging data as soon as Windmill Logger was 
launched. This is very easy to do  you just need to edit 
its command line.

1. Right click the Logger icon and select Properties. In 
   the Target box you will see something like

2. Change this to read "C:\Windmill\LOGGER.exe logsetup.wlg /AUTO"
   Where logsetup.wlg is the name of your file which 
   contains all your custom settings: logging speed, time 
   stamp, type of log file and whether older files should 
   be overwritten for example.  You will have saved this 
   the first time you used Logger.

3. If you just want to load your settings into Logger, 
   but not automatically start collecting data, type 
   "C:\Windmill\LOGGER.exe logsetup.wlg" 
   instead, missing out the /AUTO switch.

Version 4.3 of Logger is free to newsletter subscribers. 
A later version, with more features, is available as 
part of the Windmill 6 package. This, for instance, 
lets you start logging when a reading crosses an alarm 
threshold or when your equipment sends new data. 
More details at

Further Reading:
Monitor 73: Starting and stopping Logger with Excel

Excel Corner: Finding Readings

A useful Excel function is VLOOKUP. You tell it what to 
look for in the first column of a table, and it will read 
across that row and return an answer. You specify how 
many columns to the right Excel should look. For example, 
you have logged how many people enter a shop every day. 
In the first column is the date. In the second column is 
the number of people. To find how many people entered on 
14th February you would use

Firstly comes the date: 14/02/2010
Secondly the range of the data table: $A$2:$B$366
Thirdly how many columns across to look up: in our case 2
Lastly either true or false. False tells VLOOKUP to 
search for an exact match. True will find the nearest 
value. To use True you should always make sure your data 
is sorted.

In our date example, you need to make sure that the first 
column is formatted as text and not as dates. When you 
import the logged data into Excel, in the Text Import 
Wizard select text as the format of the date column.

Further Reading
Excel charting tips

Excel data acquisition tips

If you have an Excel question you would like answering, 
please let us know. 

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.

Piezoelectronics gets green makeover
   A new generation of lead-free piezoelectric materials 
   could lead to greener actuators, sensors and even 
   ultra-dense data storage. The new materials, which 
   generate an electric field when squeezed, copy the 
   crystal structure of conventional piezoelectric 
   materials but use bismuth instead of lead. 
   Source: New Scientist

First open specification for battery-less wireless sensors
   The EnOcean Alliance is publishing the first open 
   specification for energy harvesting wireless sensors 
   which ensures interoperability between products of 
   different manufacturers. The specification contains 
   50 equipment profiles supporting the development of 
   building automation, such as switches, remote 
   controls, sensors, sensor combinations and data of 
   every kind.
   Source: EnOcean Alliance

Variable Speed Drives in Home Appliances to Double by 2013
   The use of inverter-based variable speed drives (VSD) 
   in home appliances is forecast to double over the next 
   five years according to IMS Research. Currently, 
   appliances with VSD account for just one in eight new 
   appliances - mainly air conditioners and washing 
   machines. Variable speed motor controls allow greater 
   efficiency, more reliable performance and 
   quieter operation. 
   Source: IMS Research

Ocean Robots to Monitor Oil Spills
   Swarms of miniature robotic ocean explorers could one 
   day help predict where ocean currents will carry 
   oil spills.
   Source: SCUBA News

Efficiency gains for wind turbines
   A new type of hydraulic technology could be used to 
   build more reliable and less expensive transmission 
   systems for wind turbines, its developers 
   have  claimed.
   Source: The Engineer

* 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