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RS232 Datalogging and Control

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Andy, Jun 17, 2006.

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  1. Andy

    Andy Guest

    I've been handed the task of controlling a thermal cycling oven and a
    digital voltmeter, both RS232 enabled, so as to control the oven from a
    computer ( automatically send commands ) and log data from the voltmeter.

    Unfortunately my expertise in this area is somewhat out of date.
    MS Hyperterminal doesn't look capable enough, OK for logging data but no
    programmable capability.

    My question is, is there a datalogging program available that also allows
    ascii characters to be sent to addressable instruments, in order to (a)
    control the oven and (b) log data from the DVM without programming?

    I imagine writing a program in some language, possibly Visual Basic, is the
    way to go but that'll get me bogged down in learning a software language.
    However, if I can't buy in suitable software I'll just have to learn VB, but
    does anyone know of such software?

    thanks,

    Andy.
     
  2. budgie

    budgie Guest

    I'm not aware of any freeware for the task, but that doesn't mean it isn't out
    there.

    What platform are you using? If an NT-based Windows O/S you will probably need
    to go to a VB-type solution. Learning curve if you haven't been there. But
    from your reference to hyperterm I assume you've been around pooters a while.
    If your platform is non-NT-based Windoze, QBasic will provide a suitable
    quick'n'dirty environto do your bidding. Surely you have programmed in
    (Q)Basic? That's what I'd be using. (Win98SE)
     
  3. Si Ballenger

    Si Ballenger Guest

    For data logging, you may want to look at the DataQ products like
    below. For the multimeter interface, the bottom link might be of
    interest.

    http://www.dataq.com/194.htm
    http://www.kronosrobotics.com/Projects/rsmeter.shtml
     
  4. Jimbo

    Jimbo Guest

    I would say take a look at National Instruments. I used them several
    years back to control an environmental test chamber using a combination
    of GPIB and RS-232. It was great! They have a lot of expertise in
    data acquisition and control software. The learning curve is a bit
    high but if you can afford it their software cuts these kinds of tasks
    down by 2/3rds. They have a kind of Graphical based programming
    language which makes it fairly easy to program. Also, if you must, you
    can write your own code...I think you can write it in C but I'm not
    sure.

    you can find them at www.ni.com

    GOOD LUCK!
     
  5. Andy

    Andy Guest

    Yes, command line programming in HP QBasic to control an I/O device from a
    dedicated microcontroller ( computer with an integrated screen, keyboard and
    GPIB connector on the back ) about 12 years ago! I didn't like to mention it
    as I thought it was rather old hat nowadays and I'd be laughed for solving
    the problem like that! Maybe not! I'm using Windows '98 btw.

    Andy.
     
  6. Andy

    Andy Guest

    I saw a website demonstration of NI Labview and liked it, a graphical
    programming language that you don't have to learn syntax for. However, I am
    only at this company for a few months and they don't have Labview, so quick
    'n dirty is the only solution available to me ( I'm really an analogue
    engineer ).

    Looks like attempting to piece something together from QBasic or buying in
    some ready-made suitable software are my two best options so far, thanks for
    the replies folks.
     
  7. budgie

    budgie Guest

    The cheapest/easiest solution may not *always* be the best, but it's got one
    helluva head start.

    I still use a LOT of 16-bit apps under 98SE (which is one of the many reasons
    that I stay with 98) and do a lot of QBasic stuff, with some conversion now
    under way to VB-DOS. This is stuff that uses I/O ports that become problematic
    under NT-based MS-OS'es.

    All my PCB design work is done with DOS-based Protel AutoTrax.
     
  8. Jimbo

    Jimbo Guest

    Andy,

    This sounds like a job for Perl. Perl is a great language when you are
    dealing with any kind of ASCII interface. Also it will interpret
    "regular expressions" (Unix style). Also, it's a language that most
    programmers can pick up in about 8 hours. Also, if you look for
    modules at http://www.cpan.org/ you can use code that others have
    written to provide yourself with a terminal interface. Even though perl
    has a strong Linux/Unix history, there are many windows "interpreters"
    available. I recommend "Active Perl". It's free and it's the best in
    my opinion. For a quick primer buy this book:
    http://www.oreillynet.com/catalog/learnperl4/ It's available
    online.

    "Analogue" ?!?! It's been a very long time since I have seen that word
    spelled that way. Are you British?

    GOOD LUCK BUDDY!
    James
     
  9. Geo

    Geo Guest

    You could have a look here:-
    http://www.windmill.co.uk/rs232.html



    Geo
     
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