Windmill Software Ltd
Data Acquisition Intelligence

March 2010

The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 140         March 2010
--------------------ISSN 1472-0221----------------------

Welcome to Monitor, the data acquisition and control 
newsletter. I hope you find it useful, but should you 
wish to remove yourself from our mailing list please go 

* Monitor Survey Results
* Windmill Notes: Versions of Windows
* Excel Corner: Using Logarithmic Charts
* DAQ News Roundup

Monitor Survey Results

Thanks to all of you who returned our survey

Your answers were very helpful and we hope to cover 
most of the points you raised in this and upcoming 

One thing that kept cropping up was how much you liked 
our case studies.  For these we need your help.  As you 
can download the Windmill software for free we rarely 
find out how people are using it.  We would really 
appreciate it if you could share details of you our 
software, so we can continue with our application stories.  
fil in the form at

We asked if you would prefer the newsletter in text or 
HTML format. 59% of you voted in favour of keeping the 
plain text format, 25% didn't mind how we presented it 
and just 16% preferred HTML.  

The Excel corner was very popular so we will be 
continuing to include our spreadsheet tips.  If you 
have any Excel problems which you would like us to cover, 
or solutions you have found which would benefit other 
readers, please get in touch.

Several of you wondered if there was an index of past 
issues by subject. There is indeed and it is at

If there is anything else we can help you with, please 
let us know. If you haven't yet done so  please fill in 
our survey and tell us what you think: we look forward 
to hearing from you.

Windmill Notes: Versions of Windows

Since Windmill was first launched there have been many 
incarnations of the Windows operating system. Just as 
you're used to one, another comes along.  Here is a 
guide to Windmill's compatibility with Windows.  

There are two suites of Windmill software currently 
available: Windmill 4.3 which is free to Monitor 
subscribers and the later Windmill 7.  This table 
summarises their compatibility.

Windows       Windmill
Version       Compatibility
7 (64-bit)      WM7
7 (32-bit)      WM4.3, WM7
Vista           WM4.3, WM7 (note 1)
XP              WM4.3 (note 2), WM7
2000            WM4.3, WM7
98              WM4.3, WM7
NT              WM4.3, WM7
95              WM4.3, WM7
3.1             WM4.3

note 1: To run Windmill under Vista, install it in its 
own top level directory, for example c:\windmill\.  
Don't install it into a sub-directory of Program Files.

note 2: Windmill 7 works with XP. On some computers 
Windmill 4.3 works well with Windows XP, but on others 
it doesn't. If there appears to be an intermittent fault 
then make sure you don't open an Explorer window when 
Windmill is running. If you still have problems using 
Windmill 4.3 with XP we recommend upgrading to the 
Windmill 7 package. 

Excel Corner: Using Logarithmic Charts

Last week one of our readers was having problems making 
his Excel chart X axis logarithmic and asked our help. 

One of the problems was that his chart was not an 
x-y scatter chart. An x-y scatter chart uses values on 
the X axis, but other Excel charts use the X axis for 
categories of information. On a line chart, for example, 
the X axis labels are spaced equally no matter what their 
value is.  This is obviously no use for a 
logarithmic chart.

To set the X axis to logarithmic
1. First make sure your chart is an x-y scatter chart 
   (right click the chart and choose Chart Type). 
2. Right-click the x axis and choose Format Axis. 
3. Click the Scale tab. 
4. Select the Logarithmic scale check box. 

A logarithmic scale has intervals going up in orders 
of magnitude. For example, equal distances on the axis 
may ascend as 1, 10, 100, 1000, etc; rather than the 
linear 10, 20, 30, 40 etc.

You may have a situation where you want a logarithmic 
scale on the Y axis and a linear scale on the X axis.  
This is useful, for example, for comparing percentage 
changes rather than absolute amounts, or when you have 
very high and very low values.  This is called a 
semi-logarithmic chart. In this case you can use a line 
chart to display the data.  In a semi-logarithmic chart, 
what would have been an exponential curve appears as a 
straight line. 

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.

More is merrier for wireless power supply
   A coil embedded in a wall or ceiling could efficiently 
   beam power to several gadgets in the same room. Using 
   magnetic induction to send electricity to devices is 
   more efficient when more than one machine is involved. 
   Researchers have found that power transfer is 
   10 per cent more efficient with two devices receiving 
   rather than one, regardless of how efficient the 
   transfer was to begin with.   
   Source: New Scientist

Distributed Control System Market to Grow
   The world market for distributed control systems is 
   projected to exceed $17.2 billion by 2014, according 
   to IMS Research. The growth of this market will 
   primarily be driven by the power, oil and gas, and
   water industries. 
   Source: IMS Research

Zigbee Wireless Standards Available for Downloaded
   The Zigbee wireless alliance has made two of its 
   popular standards, Zigbee Home Automation and 
   Zigbee Remote Control, available for public download.
   Source: The Zigbee Wireless Alliance 

Laser adds extra dimension to lab-on-chip 
   A European research project has shown how to build 
   optical sensors directly into the structure of 
   labs-on-chips. The breakthrough paves the way for 
   on-the-spot medical diagnostics. 
   Source: ICT Results 

Industrial Wireless Transmitter Powered by Heat
   Wireless sensors are rather inexpensive and can be 
   deployed almost anywhere. Deploying more sensors 
   would lead to safer and more efficient process 
   control, and much reduced maintenance cost - if cost 
   and effort of battery maintenance could be obviated. 
   Energy harvesting is used by ABB and Micropelt to 
   replace the battery with an unlimited, green, 
   sustainable, maintenance-free power supply. 
   Source: Micropelt

* 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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