------------------------Monitor------------------------- The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control Issue 48 www.windmill.co.uk July 2002 --------------------ISSN 1472-0221---------------------- Here in Manchester we're in the thick of the Commonwealth Games. However, we've managed to restrain ourselves from giving this issue of Monitor a sporting theme. Instead we describe how Windmill software can help save energy in buildings. We also outline how Windmill is being used to teach technology, and list other resources for technology education ideas. We only send this newsletter to people who have subscribed - should you wish to cancel your free subscription please do so at https://www.windmill.co.uk/newsletter.html CONTENTS ======== * Windmill News: Windmill monitors Eco House * Teaching technology ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Windmill News: Windmill Monitors Eco House ________________________________________________________ With increased concern about global warming and the wider cost of energy use, one place to look for savings is in the consumption of our buildings. From this premise, the University of Nottingham and David Wilson Homes teamed up to design an energy efficient house showcasing the technology available and to develop new ideas. The Eco House has been designed to incorporate sustainability into all aspects of the building, from sustainable materials and construction methods to the conservation of energy and water and the use of new technology. Key Features of the Eco House are: - Solar Chimney using glass blocks to heat and cool the building. - Wind Catcher in the roof pinnacle enhances the house ventilation. - Photovoltaic cells on the south side of the building to provide electricity for heat and lighting. - Illumination from a Sun Pipe: an innovative solution, similar to a skylight, to light the naturally darker areas in the house, even downstairs. - Access basement allows under-floor ducting for heat systems. - Rainwater collection from the roof to conserve use of drinking water. - Low energy bulbs and light sensors used throughout to reduce electricity use. With all this new technology in a test environment, some type of monitoring system was required to ensure the devices were all working to their full potential. This is where Windmill Software was called in. The outputs from the photovoltaic (PV) cells needed to be measured to see what level of electricity was being produced throughout the day and in all weathers. Microlink 1500 hardware was employed to monitor the output from the PV arrays, the strength of the sunlight from a solar radiation meter, the temperature from thermocouples and the wind speed from an anemometer. The 1500 hardware was chosen due to its robust nature and the fact that monitoring points can be distributed all around the building, connected by a single RS485 link. All of this data from around the building was then fed to a central PC, via the RS485 link, to be logged by Windmill Software. If more electricity is generated by the PV array than the building consumes, then this excess can be sold to the National Grid. A 2-way power meter is employed to measure the power in and out of the building and the and its operation is logged from an RS232 outputs via Windmills ComIML serial driver (https://www.windmill.co.uk/https://www.windmillsoft.com/daqshop/rs232-modbus.html). The software displays the real-time data from all the devices on a Graphics screen, and also saves the data to disk to allow trends to be plotted and reports to be produced. The Eco House has just scooped a top award at the prestigious Britannia National Homebuilder Design Awards. Beating off tough competition, the Eco house was singled out as the Best House of the Future, so we may be seeing more of these technologies in our own homes. Further Reading More details of the Eco House are on the University of Nottingham's web site. http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/sbe/research/eco_house.htm Information on the Microlink 1500 hardware is in the Microlink Measurement and Control Systems Catalogue. This is available free from Biodata http://www.microlink.co.uk/contact.html by Ben Worthy ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Resources for Teaching Technology ________________________________________________________ Windmill is a popular package for teaching technology and we give a few application examples at the end of this section. But first, other resources giving help and ideas for teaching technology and engineering. Technology in the Classroom This site includes case studies describing what instructors are doing with technology in the classroom and the types of problems they are solving http://www.wcer.wisc.edu/nise/cl1/ilt/solution/ Stamps in Class The Parallax BASIC Stamp is a small microcontroller often used to teach robotics and process control. Their website includes examples of educational projects and courses. http://www.stampsinclass.com/ Java Applets for Engineering Education Java applets to calculate, for example, the thermodynamic properties of air or to study shear, moment and deflection distribution over the length of a beam under various transverse loads. http://www.engapplets.vt.edu/ Journal of Technology Education A forum for discussion of topics relating to technology education. The Journal publishes book reviews, editorials, guest articles, comprehensive literature reviews and reactions to previously published articles. http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JTE/ International Technology Education Association ITEA supports the teaching of technology. Much of this website, however, requires you to be a member before giving you access to information. http://www.iteawww.org/ American Society for Engineering Education Aims to promote and improve engineering and technology education. A source of engineering education resources. http://www.asee.org/ * Windmill in Education ===================== Windmill Software is often used to teach technology. Its versatility, ease-of-integration with other packages like Excel and, of course, the free download make it very popular in schools and colleges. Here are just a few of the ways Windmill has been used in education. Teacher Training Otago Schools' Technology Education Centre (OSTEC) are using the free Windmill software in one of their short courses to extend teachers' professional development. OSTEC illustrate how to collect data from an electronic temperature sensor and use it in a spreadsheet on the teacher's PC. Measurement and Data Analysis Napier University (Edinburgh) has used Windmill in their computer spreadsheet-based measurement and data analysis course. http://www.cpd.napier.ac.uk/cppd/energy.pdf Process Control in Further Education The free Windmill Graphics simulation software has been seen as essential for further education student's Information Technology core skills. The software lets students control a process from their PC screens. By pointing and clicking they can simulate closing drain valves, filling tanks, starting heating operations, and so on - thus familiarising themselves with process control software. https://www.windmill.co.uk/education.html ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ * 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/newsletter.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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