Windmill Software Ltd
Data Acquisition Intelligence

September 2011

The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 158      September 2011
--------------------ISSN 1472-0221----------------------

This month we are delighted to launch the Microlink 840. 
This small box lets you perform a multitude of data 
acquisition and control tasks. You can use it anywhere 
on an Ethernet network or over the internet. Furthermore 
it comes with Windmill software and, should you need it, 
unlimited technical support for life.

If you missed last month's issue of Monitor, we had 5 tips 
on measuring strain and offered you 300 off our strain 
measurement package. This offer is still available at 
and you can read our strain tips in our newsletter archive 

We hope you find the newsletter useful, but should you 
wish to remove yourself from our mailing please go to 
Monitor Newsletter

* Windmill News: Windmill Launch Multi-Function Data Logger
* Windmill Software Helps Determine Future Wheat Yields
* Excel Corner: Automatically Starting Windmill from Excel
* DAQ News Round-up

Multi-Function Data Logger Launched

Windmill are very proud to announce the new 
Microlink 840 data logger.  The culmination of 30-years 
of experience designing data acquisition and control 
systems has resulted in an extremely versatile, compact 
unit at a very competitive price of just £295.

Not only can Biodata's Microlink 840 datalogger monitor 
analogue transducers and digital sensors, it can also 
supervise alarm thresholds and output digital 
control signals

The Microlink 840 communicates using Ethernet, so can be 
situated wherever you can connect to a network or 
the internet.

It comes complete with Windmill software to configure the 
unit, log data and send control signals.

Microlink 840 Data Logger

What you can do with the Microlink 840

1. Monitor analogue transducers, including pressure, 
   temperature, force, voltage and 4-20 mA current.

2. Monitor Digital Sensors, including flow meters.

3. Monitor Utility Meters, including electricity meters 
   and gas meters.  Logged data can be exported as 
   Energy Lens compatible files, or as text files.

4. Machine monitoring, for instance you can record 
   percentage on/off times and count items produced.

5. Digital status monitoring, for instance count 
   switch closures.

6. Control digital outputs.

7. Sound alarms, for instance 
   - Alarm on analogue level, on-off state or count
   - Output for switching audible or visual notification
   - Adjustable delay before alarm triggered
   - Combined alarm conditions
   - Alarms notified to a PC via a network

For more information or to discuss your requirements, 
contact [email protected] or visit

You can download the Microlink 840 Manual from the 
Microlink data logger site.

Windmill Software Helps Determine Future Wheat Yields

Global carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration has increased 
by around 40% from the pre-industrial period to today.  
It is expected to increase by even more by the end of the 
century. This influences crop yields, and Spanish 
researchers are investigating the effect of 
CO2 concentration on wheat. As part of their experiments 
they are using Windmill software to log temperature and 
humidity in Greenhouses.

The scientists sowed Durum wheat seeds at an experimental 
farm in Salamanca.  The wheat was covered by six 
greenhouses. Three greenhouses were kept at today's 
level of CO2 and three at the elevated level predicted 
by the end of the century.

It was important to measure, amongst other things, the 
temperature and humidity of the greenhouses. To do this 
the team connected HMDSO sensors, from Vaisala, to a 
751 data acquisition unit. They plugged the 751 into a 
computer running Windmill Logger software. Logger took 
temperature and humidity readings every hour throughout 
the season. It timestamped the readings and saved them 
in text files ready for analysis.

The 751 unit is currently reduced from £595 to 
£295 at

Further Reading
751: Multi-Function Data Acquisition and Control

Does ear C sink strength contribute to overcoming 
photosynthetic acclimation of wheat plants exposed to 
elevated CO2? J Exp Bot. 2011 Jul;62(11):3957-69. 
Epub 2011 Apr 21

Automatically starting Windmill from Excel

Back in issue 58 of Monitor, we told you how Excel could 
automatically launch the Windmill programs.  This tip 
still works, but under Windmill 7 Excel cannot open a 
file which is in the \program files\ directory. You 
therefore need to make sure that your setup files are 
stored elsewhere. 

The macro code to start Windmill from Excel is...

Sub StartWindmill()
Shell "C:\PROGRAM FILES (X86)\Windmill Software\Windmill\WMDDE.EXE"
Application.Wait Now + TimeValue("00:00:02")
End Sub

The above code will start DDE Panel. If you have saved a 
configuration file you can load this at the same time, 
so DDE Panel would automatically start collecting data.

For example:

Sub StartWindmill()
Shell "C:\PROGRAM FILES (X86)\Windmill Software\Windmill\WMDDE.EXE c:\windmill\siggen.wdp"
Application.Wait Now + TimeValue("00:00:02")
End Sub

It is the *.wdp file which needs to be out of the 
\program files\ directory.

To download a free trial of the Windmill software, which 
can send data readings directly to Excel, subscribe to 
our newsletter.

For more Excel data acquisition tips see

DAQ News Round-up

Welcome to our round-up of the data acquisition and 
control news.  If you would like to receive more 
timely DAQ news updates then either grab our RSS 
newsfeed at 
follow us on Twitter at!/DataAcquisition

Redefining the kilogram and the ampere
   Groundbreaking research by the National Physical 
   Laboratory's Quantum Detection Group and an international 
   team of collaborators is underpinning the biggest change 
   in the Systeme Internationale d'unites (SI Units) since 
   the system began 50 years ago. 
   Source: National Physical Laboratory

Wireless Test Equipment Market to Grow
   The proliferation of 4G technologies will give a huge 
   boost to the wireless test equipment market in Europe, 
   according to a new report from Frost and Sullivan.
   Source: Frost and Sullivan

'Pygmy shrew' robot navigates using tactile whisker sensors
   A new robotic system based on the Etruscan pygmy shrew can 
   navigate by using tactile whisker sensors to build up a 
   probabilistic map of its environment.
   Source: The Engineer

Windows 8 to Offer Native Bluetooth low energy and Wi-Fi Direct
   Microsoft has recently announced that its next operating 
   system, Windows 8, will offer support for a range of new 
   wireless connectivity standards, including Bluetooth low 
   energy and Wi-Fi Direct. If PCs include both Windows 8 
   and the associated radios, this paves the way for them 
   to connect to a wide range of devices without the need 
   for an additional dongle.
   Source: IMS Research


* 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