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2 March 2016

Windmill Software
Data Acquisition Intelligence
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Improved Software Logs RFID Codes

We have improved our Windmill software so you can now easily integrate RFID readers, and other devices like GPS receivers and temperature sensors, into a PC-based data collection system. We updated the software in response to a request from a customer who wanted to get hex RFID codes into Excel. Previously users could see and enter data in hex format in the free ComDebug program, but the other Windmill programs would show it in ASCII. Now all the Windmill programs - Logger, AnalogOut, etc - can handle hexadecimal data and pass it in this format to Excel and other spreadsheets and databases. All data is time- and date-stamped on collection.

What is RFID?

RFID stands for Radio-frequency identification. It is a system that uses radio waves to transmit the identity of an object wirelessly. The identity is in the form of a number, usually transmitted either in ASCII or hexadecimal format.

In an RFID system, an identity tag is attached to an object. When this tag comes within range of a RFID reader it transmits its unique number. Data collection software like Windmill can then store the serial number on the PC.

A RFID tag comprises an antenna and a wireless transducer. These tags can be either active or passive. Active tags have on-chip power whilst passive tags have no battery but use the power induced by the magnetic field of the RFID reader. Passive tags are therefore cheaper but have a lower range, of under 10 metres.

A RFID reader comprises an antenna, transceiver and decoder. It sends periodic signals to locate any tag in vicinity.

Windmill Data Acquisition Software

With Windmill's flexible approach to building command strings and extracting data strings, the majority of serial instruments are supported. These include - in addition to RFID readers - GPS receivers, temperature sensors, vibration sensors, data loggers, plcs and motion sensors. Windmill lets you interface devices from many manufacturers into one system.

Windmill extracts the serial number from the ID string and saves it as either up to 20 ASCII characters or 6 pairs of hexadecimal characters. This is suitable for a RFID 36- or 40-bit serial number and 96-bit tag.

Windmill is a suite of data acquisition and control software for all versions of Windows, from Windows 10, 8, 7 64-bit to Windows 95. It comprises

  • Data logging with the Windmill Logger program
  • Trend charting with the Windmill Chart program
  • Data display and DDE server with the Windmill DDE Panel program
  • Output control with the AnalogOut and DigitalOut programs
  • Connect up to 10 instruments to the PC over RS232, RS422, RS485, Modbus or TCP/IP with the COMIML driver
  • Data saved in text files and can be sent in real-time to other programs like Excel
  • Free technical support for life

We offer free software, ComDebug, to log data from just one RFID reader. To download this subscribe to our newsletter and follow the instructions. Alternatively you can buy the complete Windmill package, which works with up to 10 devices, for just £50 from our Data Acquisition Catalogue.