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27 February 2013

Windmill Software Ltd
Data Acquisition Intelligence
Call now: +44 (0)161 833 2782

The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 175       February 2013
--------------------ISSN 1472-0221----------------------

Hello and welcome to February's edition of Monitor.  
Today we've excited to announce a new way to use Excel 
to collect data from measurement instruments, with the 
launch of our Real Time Data software. What's more, the 
new software is free to anyone with the Enhanced 
Windmill package. More information below.

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

* New Way to use Excel for Data Logging and Control
* Excel Corner: Real-Time Data Acquisition
* Interfacing a Sartorius Balance
* DAQ News Round-up

Follow @DataAcquisition on Twitter Google+ Data Acquisition News Feed (RSS)

New Way to use Excel for Data Logging and Control

We are delighted to launch our Real Time Data Server 
which sends readings from your data acquisition devices 
to an Excel spreadsheet, and lets you use Excel to 
control devices and output channels.

Windmill Real Time Data Server is free to owners of 
Enhanced Windmill, or costs just £50 or 60 Euro if 
bought as an add-on to the standard Windmill. It can 
transfer data over USB, Internet, Ethernet, Modbus, 
RS-485, RS-422, RS-232 and TCP-IP. Any of the vast 
array of devices which can be handled by Windmill, 
can also be connected to Excel.

Other features include
* Alarm monitoring with automatic output control on 
  alarms (eg switch equipment on when a reading goes 
  into an alarm state)
* Choose how often to read data from devices
* Choose how often to update the data in Excel
* Time of readings recorded
* Configure instruments by making selections in 
  Windmill software: choose alarm thresholds, 
  engineering units, channel names and so on
* Easy to use
* Free technical support for life
* Money-back guarantee

Once installed, you simply enter a formula into an Excel 
cell, or a line into your Excel macros and VBA programs, 
and Excel will start collecting data. 

If you already own a copy of Enhanced Windmill that does 
not include the Real Time Data (RTD) Server, please 
contact us and we will send you the new RTD Server 
software for free. (To check, look for 
windmillRTDserver in your program list.)

If you have Standard Windmill you can buy the 
RTD Server from

Further Reading:

Enhanced Windmill

Standard Windmill

Excel Corner: Logging and Control

You've always been able to log data with Excel using 
Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE). Our new Real-Time Data 
Server software makes data acquisition easier and more 
robust. Install the Windmill software and you can 
then choose:

- How often to read data from your sensors and instruments
- How often to update the readings in Excel
- What to do if an alarm occurs, eg switch equipment 
  on or off
To get the data into Excel is easy: just enter a formula 
into a cell.  For example, to show reading from your 
instrument you would use:
Where Temperature is the name of the instrument channel 
from which you want to obtain data.
Reading data in Excel
To get the time of the reading use:

To send data to an output channel use:
=RTD("Windmill_RTD_server.IMLRTD","","write(Output1 0)")
Where Output1 is the name of the output channel and 0 
is the value to send to that channel.

You can combine actions, for instance:
=RTD("Windmill_RTD_server.IMLRTD","","write(Output1 0) list(Weight, Temperature)")
Would read channels Weight and Temperature and 
write to channel Output1.

You can run Excel remotely from your data acquisition and 
control devices. Imagine Windmill is running on a PC in 
a laboratory and continually monitoring temperature and 
pressure.  You are elsewhere on the network and wish 
to see the data in Excel.  You would use the call

=RTD("Windmill_RTD_server.IMLRTD","","List(Temperature, Pressure)")

Where is the IP address of the PC running 
Windmill. You could also use the name of the computer 
running Windmill rather than the IP address.

Read more on the Real Time Data Server for Excel at
or contact [email protected]

If you prefer, you can still use DDE to send data to 
Excel. Full details at

Dripping Liquids onto a Sartorius Balance

This month a Windmill user contacted us about getting 
data from his Sartorius balance.  He was dripping a 
liquid onto the balance and logging the result with 
Windmill. When dripping slowly the results were 
accurate, but for faster speeds readings appeared 
to be missed.  

The problem was one of stability. The Sartorius balance 
was only reporting what it considered to be stable 
readings. However,  with fast drops the readings weren't 
having time to stabilise before the next drop arrived and 
so the balance didn't report the reading.  The solution 
was to change the setting at the balance's Setup menu, 
to give a weight reading at a lower resolution.

This solved the problem and Windmill is now capturing all 
readings successfully.

For more on interfacing Sartorius balances 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 grab our RSS newsfeed 
at  Read for notes
on how to display the news on your own web site or 
automatically tweet it.

Tongue-tingling interface lets you taste data 
   Tongueduino's electrodes send signals from sensors 
   to the tongue, allowing taste buds to "read" information 
   such as the orientation of Earth's magnetic field
   Source: New Scientist

New formula to understand environmental effects on digital signals
   As modern signal speeds are pushed to quickly accommodate 
   gigabytes of data, disturbances that were once considered 
   minor, such as weather changes, now become more serious, 
   with the potential to stop systems and corrupt data. 
   Researchers have developed a formula to help understand 
   the effects of humidity and temperature on 
   electronic signals.
   Source: Penn State Harrisburg

Comprehensive Report on Market for Sensors for the Internet-of-Things
   Industry analyst firm NanoMarkets today announced the 
   release of its new report titled "Sensors for the Internet-
   of-Things: 2013-2020" The report analyses and quantifies 
   the opportunities for Internet-connected sensor products 
   in six key industry sectors: home automation, commercial 
   building automation, media and gaming, healthcare, the 
   "Industrial Internet" and "transportation and logistics." 
   The report covers both the sensors and the hubs through 
   which they are connected. 
   The A to Z of Sensors
   Source: Arc Advisory Group
IEEE launches Ethernet Study Group
   IEEE have formed an IEEE 802.3 "Standard for Ethernet" 
   study group to explore the requirements for real-time 
   control in industries such as industrial automation 
   and automotive.
   Source: IEEE
Process Industries Driven by Growth in Developing Nations
   Looking at various market characteristics, the worldwide 
   automation expenditures in process industries is expected 
   to rebound according to a new ARC Advisory Group study.  
   Source: ARC Advisory Group

* 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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