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18 April 2014

Windmill Software
Data Acquisition Intelligence
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Collecting Data from a RFID Reader

Windmill software lets you continually log data from RFID Readers,and other instruments with an RS232 serial port (GPS, temperature sensors, etc), on a PC running Windows. All data is time-stamped and can be imported into Excel and other software either during or after data collection. Alternatively, subscribers to the Monitor newsletter (ISSN 1472-0221) can download free logging software: ComDebug. This lets you log data from one instrument and save it in a text file. After collection is finished data can be imported into Excel.

  1. Run the Windmill ComDebug program and enter your RFID reader's communication settings.
  2. Run the Windmill DDE Panel or Logger program to save and display data from your RFID reader.

After you have entered your configuration settings with ComDebug, you don't need to use this again and can go straight to the logging and display programs. More details on entering the configuration settings are below.

Run the Windmill ComDebug program

Follow the instructions in the overview of using Windmill ComDebug. When you come entering specific settings for your RFID (point 3 onwards), return to this page and see our suggestions below. ComDebug can handle ASCII, hexadecimal and binary data. All readings are time and date stamped.

COM Port Settings

These must be the same as your RFID Reader uses: check your reader's manual. The Sunrom 1196 for example uses...

Comm Port: Select the port to which your instrument is connected.
Baud Rate: 9600
Data Bits: 8
Parity: None
Stop Bits: 1
Flow Control: None

Instrument Timing

Read: in Background
Timeout: 5000 ms
Instrument Idle or Wait Time: 250 ms
Data Persistence Time: 250 ms

Data Format

You should now see data from the RFID reader in ComDebug's Terminal or Message Screen (see Trouble-Shooting below if not). Click the Parse button and enter instructions to extract the data from the reader's message string.

Prompt command: Not needed
Example id string: <lf>0000797447<cr>
where <lf> is a line feed and <cr> is a carriage return.
Data format: ASCII
Example parsing: Search for <lf>
Extract Until <cr>
Use the NonPrint menu to enter the linefeed and carriage return characters.

Further Information:
Getting Started with ComDebug
Serial Settings

Now open Windmill SetupIML

When you've finished with ComDebug use SetupIML to set any alarm levels etc. Save your settings in an IMS file.

Open Windmill Logger

  1. From the File menu select Load Hardware Setup and choose the *.ims file you just saved.
  2. Connect your RFID channel. You should see the reading in Logger.

Getting the data into Excel

You can use the Windmill Logger program to collect data, and after collection has finished import it into Excel. Alternatively, you can collect data with Excel in real-time by using an Excel macro to read data from the Windmill DDE Panel. For more details see our Data Logging with Excel page.

Need More Help?

If you don't see any data in Comebug...

  1. Make sure that the RFID reader is switched on and plugged into the PC's com (RS232) port.
  2. Check that the communication settings you entered in ComDebug match those currently in use by the Reader: COM port, baud rate, parity, etc.
  3. If using a USB-RS232 converter, its settings must also match those used by the reader - read the USB-Serial converter tips page for details, especially point 7.
  4. If you still have problems then if possible try swapping the cable between the RFID Reader and the PC for another to see if that is the problem.
  5. If still no luck see our Testing Serial Port Communication page.

If you still have problems and you have followed the above instructions, fill in the from on the Technical Support page with as many details as possible. Include the steps you have taken so far and any error messages that you have received.

Need More Information?

Try these pages.