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29 May 2019

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Monitor - ISSN 1472-0221
The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 248, May 2019

Welcome to Monitor - the data acquisition and control newsletter. Any comments or questions email [email protected]. You can download this issue as a pdf file from

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* Solving surges in solar power
* Your DAQ Questions Answered: Collecting NMEA data
* Data Acquisition News Round-Up

Solving Surges in Solar Power

Web link: solar-power-datalogging.html

The power distribution system is undergoing changes; the need for real-time control is increasing. Researchers at Wichita State University are modelling how to avoid "voltage violations" caused by renewable energy spikes, and using Windmill data logging software to test their models.

Worldwide, solar photovoltaics is one of the fastest growing renewable energy industries. This fast pace of development poses challenges for the distribution system. Renewable energy sources are intermittant in nature, consequently, voltage regulation needs addressing.

Voltage magnitude at the consumer end is very important as significant voltage changes affects the efficiency of equipment.

There are several methods to dealing with voltage rise which is caused by the increasing number of solar farms. Many of the methods, though, are not cost-effective. A paper presented at the Clemson University Power Systems Conference by Sultan Hakmi detailed a new approach.

Together with Visvakumar Aravinthan, he had created a mathematical model to predict distributed generator outputs. To test the model the researchers used Windmill software to collect voltage readings throughout the day. Around noon, when solar power generated voltage peaks, Windmill showed that their distributed generator control system avoided the over-voltage.

Voltage generated from solar power - spike control

Further Reading

S. Hakmi and V. Aravinthan, "A Fast AC Power Flow Model Based Distribution Voltage Regulation" 2018 Clemson University Power Systems Conference (PSC), Charleston, SC, USA, 2018, pp. 1-4. doi: 10.1109/PSC.2018.8664047

Your Data Acquisition Questions Answered: Collecting NMEA Data


How can I talk with a external device which sends and receives NMEA0183 data format. Is there any software to make this work? I want to send some standard commands to set my device. The standard commands are available in instruction manual of device.


You can use the Windmill software to collect NMEA0183 data. This is free to Monitor subscribers - email [email protected] for details. Windmill also lets you chart data and export it to other programs like mapping packages, spreadsheets and databases.

When using Windmill you have to specify how to extract data from the NMEA sentence, storing each type of data in a channel. For example, a GPS receiver might send
where 5330.25 is latitude and 00215.31 is longitude
to obtain a latitude reading using Windmill you might
- search for "$GPGLL,"
- extract next 7 characters
and store the result in a channel called, for example, "Latitude".

More details are at Data Logging from NMEA Devices. Or see step-by-step instructions using a GPS receiver as an example.

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 - @DataAcquisition - or grab our rss feed.

Sensor fish reveal physical what real fish experience at dams

Hundreds of surrogate "fish" will be put to work to understand what happens to fish as they pass through turbulent waters and turbines at hydroelectric facilities.
Source: PNLL

Precise Temperature Measurements with Invisible Light

Novel infrared thermometer offers dramatically improved performance.
Source: NIST

Global sensors market to increase by 13%

Industry boosted by automobile automation and industrialisation in developing economies
Source: BCC Research

Researchers create first sensor package that can ride on bees

The package requires only a tiny rechargeable battery that could last for seven hours of flight and then charge while the bees are in their hive at night. Useful for farmers to monitor temperature, humidity or crop health.
Source: University of Washington

Bee with sensor
Photo credit: Mark Stone/University of Washington

AI to shed light on deep sea species

Can computer vision speed up identification of new deep-sea species?
Source: SCUBA News

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