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Digital/Analog USB Data Logger, Pt.3

In this third and final article on the USB Data Logger, we describe how to use the accompanying Windows host software. This software allows you to edit and test scripts, upload them to the logger and change its settings.

By Mauro Grassi

As explained previously, scripts are used tell the Data Logger which sensor(s) are attached, how to query them, what the readings mean, how often to log the data and the data format to use.

If you have not already prepared a memory card, you can format it with a FAT or FAT32 file system (a quick format is OK) before plugging it into the Data Logger, with the power off. Having installed the host software and driver (see Pt.2), plug the Data Logger into your PC and launch the software by double-clicking the .exe file.

What the software does

Essentially, the Windows host software is a “development environment” which allows you to write scripts, upload them to the Data Logger and test them. It also allows you to monitor scripts as they run and download logged data over the USB interface. In addition, you can change the Data Logger’s settings from the host software.

Since complex scripts can be difficult to debug when running on the Data Logger itself, the software allows you to “simulate” the scripts, running them on the host PC to see what they do. Scripts can be simulated at an accelerated rate which is useful for those scripts which involve long delays.
Note that because simulated scripts are run on the host PC, they can not access the sensors as they can on the Data Logger. For example, if a simulated script reads from an analog input, the result is always zero.

Click for larger image
Fig.11: this is the user interface for the PC host software. This lets you edit, compile and upload scripts to the USB Data Logger via the USB interface. It also allows you to change settings and to download log files.

User interface

The interface for the Windows-based host software is shown in Fig.11. When plugged into a USB port, the Data Logger is detected automatically. Its firmware version and the connection status are shown in the window title bar, at top.

The main window has a number of sub-windows. The script editor sub-window is at upper left and this is where scripts can be created or modified. The log sub-window below it allows you to keep track of program actions as they take place. There are some buttons between the two which clear the log window and perform other common actions.

At lower right is the console sub-window, which has a grey background. It allows you to see what a script is logging as it runs or is simulated, which is useful for testing complex scripts (more on that later). Above the console are several buttons, used to control the simulation.

At far upper right are the Data Logger settings and below them the Host Settings, which apply to the PC host software.

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