-------------------------Monitor------------------------ The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control Issue 171 www.windmill.co.uk October 2012 --------------------ISSN 1472-0221---------------------- Welcome to Monitor - this month we've a story about how a research laboratory used Windmill to investigate effects of flooding on building materials. For more data acquisition news and tips follow us on Twitter - @DataAcquisition. I hope you enjoy this issue, but should you wish to remove yourself from our mailing please go to Monitor Newsletter CONTENTS ======== * Investigating Flood Effects on Building Materials * Excel Corner: Plotting Random Samples against Time * DAQ News Round-up ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Investigating Flood Effects on Building Materials ________________________________________________________ Engineers at University College London (UCL) are investigating the effects of wind-driven flood conditions on different wall cladding materials. To do this they are using a Microlink 3000 from Biodata, and Windmill software, to log data and control conditions. They chose Windmill Test Sequence software to control the flood events - water from rainfall, wind, etc. Windmill lets the researchers cycle many events during the monitoring period and examine long term changes to the wall cladding. Test Sequence communicated with a Microlink analogue output module to send, for example, 4-20mA signal to control spray nozzles. The researchers monitored environmental parameters, such as temperature and humidity, at a number of positions within the test lab. They used Microlink modules to interface combined T (temperature) and RH (relative humidity) sensors to the Windmill logging software. Strain on the wall cladding panels under test was monitored using strain gauges connected to a Microlink 3052 bridge input module. The 3052 also interfaced load cells in order to monitor compression of the panels. Windmill software also collected data from a Microlink 3020 event timer, recording the timing of compression events. The Microlink connects to the PC via USB. The Windmill Graphics software shows the status of the lab in real-time, updating continuously to reflect the real-world conditions. More Information ================ For more information about the design, and research expectations, for the laboratory contact: Victoria Stephenson Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering University College London Gower Street London WC1E 6BT UK [email protected] About The Microlink 3000 ======================== The Microlink 3000, from Biodata, is a modular system for measurement and control. It offers unrivalled hardware flexibility, allowing almost any instrument or transducer to be connected to a personal computer. With a range of over 40 interchangeable modules, Microlink is equally suited to high or low speed data acquisition and to control, timing or counting. For more on the Microlink 3000 see http://www.microlink.co.uk/3000.html or e-mail [email protected]. More on the Windmill Software ============================= For more on our Windmill software visit https://www.windmillsoft.com/daqshop/software.html or contact us at [email protected]. ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Excel Corner: Plotting Random Samples against Time ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ We welcome your Excel questions, and have been asked: "How do I plot randomly-timed samples against an evenly spaced time axis?" In Excel charts you can choose a category axis or a value axis. In a line-type chart, for example, the x axis is a category axis. Although the labels may be times, they are treated as text and spaced evenly, in the order they are listed in the spreadsheet, regardless of their values. So if you had a reading at 10:20, 10:22, 10:30 and 10:31, you would have four evenly spaced ticks on the x axis.
Athough there are two minutes between 10:20 and 10:22, and eight minutes between 10:22 and 10:30, they are the same distance apart on the chart. To space the x axis to reflect the actual times, you need to choose a value x axis. For example, an x-y scatter chart uses a value axis. The x axis ticks are spaced according to the time, and in the right order. You can see that the two graphs give a different impression of the rise in temperature.
The x axis ticks are spaced according to value, although Excel's automatic choices for the ticks and labels may not be what you would choose Excel uses a decimal number to represent time. To discover the relevant number, use the formula =TIME(10,20,0), where the first figure is the hours, the second the minutes and the third the seconds. Make sure that the cell in which you enter the formula is formatted as a number with at least 5 decimal places. You can now tell Excel to use this time number as, for example, the first tick on the x axis. - Right-click the x axis on the chart and choose Format Axis - Choose Scale - Enter the number in the Minimum box You can do the same for the interval - find the number and enter it into the Major unit box. For more Excel charting tips see https://www.windmill.co.uk/excel/excel-charting.html If you want to ask us a question on using Excel please e-mail [email protected]. ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ 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 follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/DataAcquisition Wireless meters tell snoopers when you are not home Criminals no longer need to stake out a home or a business to monitor the inhabitants' comings and goings. Now they can simply pick up wireless signals broadcast by the building's utility meters. Source: New Scientist http://www.newscientist.com/ Canada Invests $32 Million in Ocean Science Canada has the longest coastline in the world and is investing in a network of underwater sensors to record and broadcast, in real time, data and images from the sea floor. Source: SCUBA News http://news.scubatravel.co.uk/ Survey shows continued wireless survey growth Despite a challenging economy, the industrial Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) market has doubled over the past two years. A recently completed ON World survey of 216 industrial automation professionals, in collaboration with ISA, HART Communication Foundation (HCF), and the Wireless Industrial Networking Alliance (WINA), points to increasing WSN adoption and expanding markets. Source: ISA http://tinyurl.com/9ek8lcy Research team claims low-cost photovoltaic solution Oxford researchers have developed a photovoltaic (PV) technology claimed to have the potential to deliver low-cost, efficient solar cells that can be incorporated into glass building facades. Source: The Engineer https://www.theengineer.co.uk/ ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ * 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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