Windmill Software Ltd
Windows Engineering Software

May 2006

The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 94            May 2006
--------------------ISSN 1472-0221----------------------
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* Windmill News: USB Unit Comparison
* Windmill Notes: Connecting USB Units
* DAQ News Roundup
* Excel Corner: Annotating a Chart 
* Data Acquisition and Control Exhibitions

Windmill News: USB Unit Comparison

With our USB data acquisition and control units you can 
monitor voltage, strain, thermocouples, RTDs, 
resistance and pH; output an analogue voltage or 
current; switch digital outputs and read digital inputs; 
and count.

Several of the USB units we sell overlap in their 
functions, so which to choose?  We now have a newly 
updated table showing the possible functions of each 
unit and its price. This is at:

Windmill Notes: Connecting USB Units

Lights on the USB Units

Our USB units have two lights labelled ENUM and BUSY.  
Neither of these will come on until you have installed 
the Windmill software. 

ENUM stands for Enumerated. This is lit when the USB unit 
has been powered on by the USB plug and play controller. 
It is a good indication that the Windmill driver 
software has been correctly loaded.

The BUSY light shows that the USB unit is communicating 
with the Windmill software.

Unused Analogue Inputs

You can leave analogue inputs that you aren't using 
unconnected.  Be aware, though, that if you attempt to 
read from one of these you won't get 0 V: it could be 
any value.  If another connected channel has recently 
been read then the unconnected input will return a 
similar value.  This is not crosstalk.  It occurs 
because the input capacitance of the amplifier 
is charged to the voltage of the previous channel and 
has little incentive to change when connected to an 
open circuit.

Further Reading:
Issue 24 of Monitor

DAQ News Roundup

Welcome to our roundup of the latest findings in 
data acquisition and control.  

If you would like to receive more timely DAQ news updates 
then grab our RSS newsfeed at  Read for 
information how.

Cellphone masts can measure rainfall
   Cellphone masts could provide a cheap yet accurate 
   way to measure rainfall.  Monitoring the way rain 
   interferes with the signals routinely sent between 
   phone masts produces very similar results to rain 
   gauges, say Israeli researchers.  
   Source: New Scientist

Beyond the Kilogram: Redefining SI Units
   The world's official standard for mass - a 
   115-year-old cylinder of metal - will likely join 
   the meter bar as a museum piece in the near future. Will 
   the standards for electric current, temperature and 
   amount of substance soon follow?  According to a 
   new paper, three more base units of the SI that are 
   not currently linked to true invariants of nature - 
   the ampere, kelvin and mole should also be redefined. 
   Source: National Institute of Standards and Technology

Surging demand for PCB automatic test equipment
   The European electronic manufacturing industry is 
   witnessing surging demand for printed circuit board 
   (PCB) automatic test equipment to identify defects in 
   electronic assemblies and improve product quality,  
   according to a report from Frost & Sullivan.
   Source: Frost & Sullivan

Body's Defences Aid Computer Networks
   Computer networks seem to take on more and more 
   characteristics of their human operators with every 
   passing day. Like us they have long been prey to 
   vicious attacks from bugs, viruses and worms, but 
   the networks of the future could be protected by an 
   intrusion detection system modelled on the body's 
   immune defences. Like our immune system, it will have 
   an inbuilt ability to avoid raising too many 
   false alarms.
   Source: New Scientist

Excel Corner: Annotating a Chart

We were recently asked how to annotate a chart in Excel. 
This is quite simple...

1. Click the chart to which you want to add the note.
2. On the Drawing toolbar, click Text Box. (If you can't 
   see the Drawing toolbar, select it from the View menu, 
   Toolbars option.)
3. Click and drag where you want the comment to be.
4. Type into the box.

That's all there is to it.

Further Reading
For more on charting with Excel see

Data Acquisition Exhibitions and Conferences

Continuing the quarterly list of exhibitions around 
the world covering data acquisition and control.

   Nuremberg Germany
   30 May - 1 June
   International trade fair for sensors, measuring and 
   testing technologies.
Sensors Expo & Conference
   Rosemont Illinois USA
   5-7 June
   Focuses on sensors and sensor-integrated systems.

Factory Automation and Assembly Technology
   Bangkok Thailand
   1-4 June
   The 7th international factory automation and material 
   handling technology exhibition and conference.

   Lulea Sweden
   12-15 June
   International congress and exhibition on condition 
   monitoring and diagnostic engineering management.

   Penang Malaysia
   13-16 June
   The latest in the electronics manufacturing industry.

DMS: Design Engineering & Manufacturing Solutions
   Tokyo Japan
   21-23 June
   Trade show and conference focusing on IT solutions 
   for the manufacturing industry.

Instrumentation Scotland & Offshore Systems
   Aberdeen Scotland
   6-7 September
   Bienniel event for companies who supply products 
   and services specific to the offshore industry and 
   those representing processing, power generation, 
   paper, distilling, water and waste, and 
   marine engineering.

Analytica China 2006
   19-21 September 2006
   3rd International trade fair for analysis and 
   laboratory technology.

* Copyright Windmill Software Ltd
* Reprinting permitted with this notice included
* For more articles see

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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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