Parallax Data Aquisition (PLX-DAQ) Update Streams Data into Excel with Windows 10
PLX-DAQ has been useful in laboratories and classrooms around the world for real-time sensor data collection and subsequent analysis in Excel. However, recent releases of Excel and Windows updates broke our software.
Last week we received an e-mail from an educational customer who wrote “I have been a heavy user of your products (BASIC Stamps, Propeller chips) going back nearly 25 years. I recently obtained a new version of Excel (for Office 365) and realized that PLX-DAQ does not work with it. Are you going to develop a version of PLX-DAQ that works with current/new versions of Excel (and Windows 10)? I hope so greatly!” It seems we received an e-mail per week from Arduino users who also wanted PLX-DAQ updated.
We contacted the software developer, Marty Hebel of Selmaware (and creator of the MakerPlot) and asked if he’d bring the software up to date. 48 hours later we were running a test version, and today we’re making it available for all of our customers! Some of the big features of PLX-DAQ include:
– Plot or graph data as it arrives in real-time using Microsoft Excel / Windows 10
– Record up to 26 columns of data
– Mark data with real-time (hh:mm:ss) or seconds since reset
– Read/Write any cell on a worksheet
– Read/Set any of 4 checkboxes on control the interface
– Example code for the BASIC Stamp 2, and Propeller 1 (Spin) available (BlocklyProp example coming soon)
– Baud rates up to 128K
– Supports COM 1 to 15
"Display, GUI, and Multimedia Options with the Propeller 2" with Raymond Allen on Wednesday, June 24th at 8 am Pacific
Parallax has planned the formal release of the Propeller 2 in Q4, 2020. Until then, we’re running the Propeller 2 Live Forum – Early Adopter Series zoom meetings. These presentations are made by people who’ve contributed to the Propeller 2 design and may have been programming it with our FPGA code for several years already, providing insight about the types of applications that will be easy to use in the future. Their development process starts with low-level languages but within a year the work of early adopters becomes accessible to the product developer, hobbyist, and educator.
This week’s presentation is by Ray Allen, a Parallax community member for at least 15 years. Ray started with Parallax on the BASIC Stamp 2, moved to the Propeller 1, and will demonstrate how the Propeller 2 can be used to drive displays (including video), including the hardware and software required to make a project. If you’re ready to learn, lurk, or ask questions, this is a unique opportunity to see how the Propeller 2 forum comes to life as a real, live, working community!
ESP8266/ESP32 IoT Sensor Data Acquisition with Propeller 2
Australia seems to have the largest number of Propeller 2 Early Adopters per capita! Richard Morrison is one of them, having contributed a paper entitled Evaluating the Parallax Propeller 2 Chip a few months ago. Mr. Morrison created several low-cost, accurate chemical and environmental acquisition systems with the Propeller 1. Now, he’s experimenting with a long-range sensor data acquisition system that uses an ESP8266 at the base station to send commands over-the-air to a remote ESP32 on a shield connected to a Propeller 2 Evaluation Board. A fast two-way SPI link between the ESP32 and the Propeller 2 allows sensor data to then be gathered as required (which could be performed by either processor) with the results transmitted back to the base station.
While range testing with standard 2.4 GHz PCB antennas allows reliable links out to ~150 meters, the use of home-brew YAGI antennas allows 16k data packets to be sent over distances exceeding 1 km.
What does this mean for future Propeller 2 users? Most likely, we’ll have code objects and examples to readily connect the Propeller 2’s many I/Os to the internet. We currently estimate that more than half of the Propeller 2 production products will connect to the internet.
We will share Richard’s future papers, code, and research as made available.
Programming the BBC micro:bit a "must read" for cyber:bot users ($11.99 - $3.00 off)
Parallax cyber:bot tutorials teach enough Python to effectively use the language on the cyber:bot, but a it helps to have more Python examples. This book will quickly expand your abilities with examples of scripting lists and dictionaries, writing your own modules and classes, and showing more advanced uses of functions with multiple parameters — a necessity when it comes to minimizing code space in the micro:bit. These programming concepts are useful and for advanced applications like maze solving, cyber:bot to cyber:bot radio communication, and integration of the micro:bit module’s on-board compass and accelerometer sensors for robot navigation.