-------------------------Monitor------------------------ The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control Issue 156 www.windmill.co.uk July 2011 --------------------ISSN 1472-0221---------------------- Welcome to Monitor, the newsletter for data acquisition and control. This month we've improved our Windmill software so it can show, save and send data in hexadecimal format. We made the improvement in response to a request from one of our customers who was using Windmill with RFID readers. He explained that it would makes things much easier for him if he could enter data into the Windmill AnalogOut program in Hex format, and also save it in Logger in Hex. We were happy to upgrade the software for him and it is now available for everyone. The Windmill data acquisition software is still just £50 from our on-line shop at https://www.windmillsoft.com/daqshop/rs232-modbus.html. For devices communicating via RS232, RS485 or Modbus. We hope you find the newsletter useful, but should you wish to remove yourself from our mailing please go to https://www.windmillsoft.com/daqshop/Monitor_Newsletter.html CONTENTS ======== * Windmill News: Windmill Logger Saves Data in Hex * Interfacing RFID Readers to the PC * Excel Corner: Plotting Data Sets with Different Timestamps * DAQ News Round-up ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Windmill News: Windmill Logger Saves Data in Hex ________________________________________________________ Up until now you could see data in hex format in the free ComDebug program, which collects data from instruments connected to the PC's COM port. The other Windmill programs, however, would show it in ASCII. Now Windmill Logger can save data in hexadecimal and you can enter hex codes in AnalogOut. Windmill works with just about any device which you can plug into the COM port - real or virtual - of the PC. You can also integrate other instruments and sensors to the data collection system; logging data from all devices into one file. For example, GPS receivers, motion sensors, data loggers and digital gauges have all been interfaced by Windmill. With the addition of the hex capability Windmill is now well suited for interfacing RFID readers. The serial numbers thus collected are saved in text files or sent directly to Excel or other Windows program. All data is time- and date-stamped on collection. Monitor subscribers can download a free trial of the software. For more information e-mail [email protected] or telephone +44 (0)161 833 2190. ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Interfacing RFID Readers to the PC ________________________________________________________ RFID stands for Radio-frequency identification. It is a system that uses radio waves to transmit the identity of an object wirelessly. The identity is in the form of a serial number, transmitted either in ASCII or hexadecimal format. In an RFID system, an identity tag is attached to an object. When this tag comes within range of a RFID reader it transmits its unique number. Data collection software like Windmill can then store the serial number on the PC. A RFID tag comprises an antenna and a wireless transducer. These tags can be either active or passive. Active tags have on-chip power whilst passive tags have no battery but use the power induced by the magnetic field of the RFID reader. Passive tags are therefore cheaper but have a lower range, of under 10 metres. A RFID reader comprises an antenna, transceiver and decoder. It sends periodic signals to locate any tag in vicinity. With the new version of Windmill you can now easily integrate serial RFID readers, and other devices like GPS receivers and temperature sensors, into a PC-based data collection system. You can buy the Windmill software for just £50 from https://www.windmillsoft.com/daqshop/rs232-modbus.html Further Reading: RFID and Windmill - https://www.windmill.co.uk/rfid.html RFID Settings - http://windmill.co.uk/rfid_software.html ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Excel Corner: Plotting Data Sets with Different Timestamps ________________________________________________________ There may be times when you want to copy two logged data files into the same Excel worksheet. Maybe you were running two copies of Logger and collecting data at different rates. If you later copy the data into Excel you will have two time and date columns - which will create problems if you want to chart the data. The solution is to rearrange the data. Say you have two channels of temperature data. One channel (T1) was logged every 10 minutes but the other (T2) was only logged when an alarm level was crossed. Column A contains the time and date of the T1 readings, column B contains the T1 readings themselves, column C contains the time and date of the T2 readings and column D the T2 readings themselves. What we need to do is copy the contents of column C (T2 timestamps) to below the contents of columns A (T1 timestamps), and copy column D (T2 readings) to below and one column to the right of the T1 readings. So you would have 3 columns, one showing the timestamp, one showing readings from the T1 channel and one showing readings from the T2 channel. Data sorted in Excel by time You now need to sort the data, so the timestamps are in order. Select all the timestamps and readings and sort by column A. You can now create an xy scatter chart to show the data. If there are gaps in the line chart, as there inevitably will be, you can instruct Excel to join them up. From the Tools menu select Options and then the Chart tab. Choose Interpolated. Right-click the data line on the chart and select Format Data Series. Choose the Axis tab and select Secondary Axis. Any Excel questions, or tips, please get in touch. Further Reading: Using Excel for Data Acquisition https://www.windmill.co.uk/excel/ Charting Data with Excel https://www.windmill.co.uk/excel/excel-charting.html ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ 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 https://www.windmillsoft.com/monitor.xml. Read https://www.windmill.co.uk/newsfeed.php for notes on how to display the live news on your own web site. Final Version of Industrial Control Systems Security Guide Published The National Institute of Standards and Technology has issued the final version of its Guide to Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Security, intended to help managers of critical infrastructures to secure their systems while addressing their unique performance, reliability, and safety requirements. Source: NIST https://www.nist.gov/el/isd/ics-062111.cfm 'Orca ears' inspire researchers to develop ultrasensitive undersea microphone Researchers have developed a microphone that can be used at any depth in the ocean, even under crushing pressure, and is sensitive to a wide range of sounds, from a whisper in a library to an explosion of TNT. They modeled their device after the extraordinarily acute hearing of orcas. Source: Stanford University News http://news.stanford.edu/.html New Sensor To Measure Structural Stresses Can Fix Itself Researchers have designed a sensor that can measure strain in structural materials and is capable of fixing itself when broken: an important advance for collecting data to help make informed decisions about structural safety in the wake of earthquakes, explosions or other unexpected events. Source: North Carolina State University http://news.ncsu.edu/releases/wmspeterssensor/ Industrial Automation Electronics Equipment Market Set to Surpass Pre-recession levels in 2011 Following initial reports of a strong first quarter for industrial automation electronics equipment (IAEE), IMS Research has upgraded its forecast to 12.9% market growth in 2011. The global IAEE market is now projected to be worth $97 billion in 2011, according to a new report, “The World Market for Industrial Automation Electronics Equipment”. Source: IMS Research http://imsresearch.com/ ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ * Copyright Windmill Software Ltd * Reprinting permitted with this notice included * For more articles see https://www.windmill.co.uk 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 https://www.windmill.co.uk/newsletter.html and an index of articles at https://www.windmill.co.uk/monitorindex.html 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] https://www.windmill.co.uk/ https://www.windmillsoft.com/
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