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30 September 2013

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

The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 182      September 2013
--------------------ISSN 1472-0221----------------------

Are you using the free ComDebug software? Want a quick 
way to change your set-up? Our article below tells 
you how. Plus, the Excel corner is back and we answer a 
question on logging soil pH and GPS co-ordinates.

For more measurement and control discussion and tips 
see the Windmill web site -

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Monitor Newsletter

* Get Started more Quickly with free DAQ Software
* Questions on Using Windmill: Logging soil pH 
  and GPS co-ordinates
* Excel Corner: Live Column of Data Links
* DAQ News Round-up

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

Get Started more Quickly with free DAQ Software

We are pleased to offer all subscribers a free copy of 
ComDebug. With it you can:
1. Trouble-shoot COM and TCP/IP communication problems
2. Log data from devices connected over RS232, 
   RS422, RS485, Modbus or TCP/IP.

You need to tell ComDebug about your instrument, making 
choices from menus and dialogue boxes. When you click Save, 
ComDebug saves your settings in a *.imd file. 

Some advanced users, when they want to make a small change 
to their settings, like to edit the imd file directly.

Here we tell you exactly what the entries in the imd file 
mean, so you can more quickly get up and running.

You will find your imd file in the Windmill directory. 
You can edit it in any text editing program, like 
Notepad or Wordpad.

IMPORTANT: Before editing your imd file please 
make a backup!

The first part of the file stores details about your 
communications. For example:


These are the details you entered in the COM Port Settings 
or TCP/IP boxes.

com port settings

Port      - the number of the COM port to which your 
            device is connected
Baud      - the baud rate of the instrument
Bits      - the group of Data Bits used, 7 or 8
Parity    - 0 represents no parity, 
            1 odd parity, 
            2 even parity, 
            3 mark parity and 
            4 space parity
Stopbits  - 1 or 2
Handshake - 0 represents no handshaking or flow control, 
            1 Xon/Xoff or software handshaking, 
            2 hardware handshaking. 

Should you be interested in explanations of all the COM port 
terms used, we've a tutorial at 
However, all you really need to know is what settings your 
instrument is using and set ComDebug to use the same.

IPAddress, IPport, IPName

These are the settings for instruments communicating over TCP/IP. 

IPAddress - when your instrument has a fixed 
            IP address. It will be in the format 

IPport    - the Port Number within the IP address. 

IPName    - when your instrument has a dynamic 
            IP address. 

You can learn more sabout TCP/IP settings at the
Understanding TCP/IP page.

The remainder of the imd file covers the timing and 
data extraction settings. More on these in next 
month's Monitor.

If you need any help setting up ComDebug to work with 
your instrument - we have a series of examples at 
Alternatively you could e-mail your *.imd file, together 
with details of your instrument and a description of the 
problem, to [email protected] 

Questions on Using Windmill

In this section we answer a question we've been asked 
this month about using Windmill. If you have a question 
on Windmill, e-mail [email protected]

   I would like to log soil pH and GPS position
   based on a on/off switch. Also, I need a way to record 
   the same information based on a manual keystroke of my 
   Can I input and datalog the two types of information 
   (soil pH and GPS position )into one software program? 

   You can log both pH and GPS data into one file with 
   the Windmill Logger program. 
   Logger will take readings when you press a key on your 
   keyboard. It can also log data when an alarm occurs. 
   If you set the on/off switching as an alarm in 
   Windmill, Logger could monitor the switch and log at 
   the appropriate time.

More details of Logger, its data logging options and 
how to download a free trial, are at

Excel Corner: Live Column of Data Links

Windmill can send data directly to Excel.  One way to 
do this is simply to copy links from Windmill and paste 
them into the spreadsheet. Normally the links go across 
the spreadsheet, with data filling up the columns 

This week a Windmill user asked 
   "Is it possible to paste links as a column in 
    Excel rather than as a row?"

You can't do the directly, but you could "transpose the 

1. Paste the links as normal. They will be pasted as a 

2. Select the cells where you would like the links to be, 
   for example cells B2 to G2.

3. Into the formula bar, type 
   and press Ctrl-Shift-Enter to enter as an array.

For this method to work you also need to keep the original 
row of live data links. 

Alternatively you could either just copy one channel at 
a time into the column, or use a macro to insert the 

Read more tips on using Excel for data acquisition at

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 - 

Ocean Colour Seen
   The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is working to 
   improve ocean colour measurements vital for modelling 
   climate and monitoring the health of the oceans. 
   Source: NPL

Food-Beverage Industry Sensor Demand Grows
   Sensors already have a wide range of applications in 
   the food and beverage industry. According to a new 
   report from Frost and Sullivan, the uptake of sensors 
   is set to receive further impetus from the increasing 
   automation of food and beverage plants and processes. 
   Legislation encouraging greater investments in 
   automation and control solutions will reinforce 
   these trends.
   Source: Frost & Sullivan
The school carpet that generates energy and tracks pupils' every move
   Carpet tiles produce power from your footsteps and can 
   pin-point people's movement through a building.
   Source: The Guardian

Scientists help farmers create greener dairies
   Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have 
   started a slew of studies to determine how dairy farms 
   can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
   Source: Environmental Expert

NIST Nose a Hit When They Smell It
   Traditionally, the training of bomb-sniffing dogs 
   has been a hazardous job, but newly developed odour-
   releasing materials could take the risk out of that 
   work. Scientists at the National Institute of 
   Standards and Technology (NIST) are seeking to patent 
   a novel system that can capture scents and release 
   them over time.
   Source: NIST

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* Reprinting permitted with this notice included
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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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