At Central Carolina Scale we focus on scales and weighing equipment, first and foremost. That’s what we’ve always done. We are constantly working and training to be the best and most knowledgeable scale company that we can be. Now most of that training and on the job training focuses on digital weighing indicators, load cells, scales, etc… We send scale weight information to various devices such as remote displays.
Customers have always wanted to send weight data from the scale to the computer since personal computers and laptops became prevalent.
So when it comes to sending your scale weight data from the actual digital weighing scale to the computer, how do you accomplish this?
It actually might be easier than you think and it might even be something that you accomplish on your own using our scale equipment and a readily available accessory.
Please note, if you are operating a legal for trade weighing scenario, then you will need to make sure that any software or method that you utilize is legal to use. So for example if you are operating a truck scale and you are looking to send truck weights to your computer, then you will most likely need to utilize a software like Cardinal WinVRS or Rice Lake onTrak as examples.
If you are using a Doran Scales indicator, they have made some great software available for their products. The Doran Excelerator is probably the most basic software that is offered by Doran. It allows weight data to be taken from the scale readout and placed into Microsoft Excel. Doran also has more advanced software packages available.
Cardinal Scale Manufacturing also offers a USB option for some of their weight indicators which makes sending weight data from the scale controller to a USB thumb drive very simple. You can then take the USB stick out of the indicator, load it into your PC and see the weight data on your computer screen.
If you’re using a digital counting scale like the Counterpart for example, Rice Lake has the WeighVault computer software. This is a comprehensive software package that stores and manages data on your PC. With Counterpart you can create custom reports for inventory, threshold, location and more. It is designed for operators with minimal computer experience and managers who require quick and accurate information. Scales can be added or moved on-the-fly without interrupting other scales operating on the network.
Likewise the WeighVault is also available for the CW90 checkweigher. In this case, WeighVault allows CW-90/90X users to add, edit, and access IDs over a network connection. WeighVault surpasses the CW-90/90X’s 50 ID limitation and eliminates front-panel entry of ID parameters. It also collects data as transactions occur, and provides detailed transaction and productivity reports which can be exported to Excel, Word, or PDF.
Now we have talked about all the software above at some point before. But I wanted to also mention a couple of additional choices for end users to consider.
TalTech WinWedge Serial Device Data Collection for serial devices, including meters, balances, scales or any RS232 instrument. WinWedge captures data directly to Excel, Access or any Windows application or web page. It can even send commands out a COM port so you can control your device through hot keys, buttons, or DDE.
WinWedge easily collects data from balances, gauges, meters, sensors, micrometers, barcode scanners, GPS, PLCs, analyzers and other measuring devices and laboratory instruments. It can send the data directly into any Windows program, including Excel spreadsheets, Access databases, and more.
WinWedge is designed to be highly flexible and can easily parse, filter and format your device data to fit your project’s requirements. It can also transmit prompts or commands through the serial port to control your instruments. Winwedge comes in both Professional and Standard versions.
Setup is as Easy as ONE, TWO, THREE
1. Select your device’s parameters.
Connect your device to your PC’s serial or USB port (installing any necessary drivers) and use the WinWedge interface to select your device’s communications settings, such as the COM port, baud rate, parity, data bits, and stop bits.
2. Define the data structure.
Intuitive, walk-through menus allow you to tailor the data to your needs by splitting the record into multiple fields, filter out certain characters, or format the data to meet your requirements. You can also easily define hot keys and buttons to send serial commands to your device or perform other tasks.
3. Select the mode and activate
Select from either Keystrokes Mode, DDE Server Mode, or Log to Disk, specify the target application or file, and activate WinWedge! Watch as the data from your device “pops” into the Windows application you selected. You can even input the device data directly to a chart or use Excel’s built-in functions to perform real-time analysis.
MicroRidge designs and manufactures a broad range of wired and wireless measurement collection solutions, including WedgeLink hardware and software keyboard wedges. Measurement collection is what they specialize in. They don’t manufacture gauges but they support gauges from a wide variety of manufacturers. The products are made in the USA and support the broadest range of digital & RS-232 gauges, digital indicators, scales, etc….. One nice feature is they provide unlimited and knowledgeable technical support at no charge on all of the products that they manufacture, particularly the keyboard wedge and software keyboard wedge.
What is a Keyboard Wedge?
A keyboard wedge is used when you are trying to get data from some type of measuring device into applications that cannot accept data from a serial port. A software keyboard wedge reads data from a serial port and passes this data to a PC application in such a manner that the application thinks the data is entered via the keyboard. A hardware wedge reads data from digital gauges or RS-232 devices and sends the data to the PC via a keyboard or USB port. The data sent by the hardware wedge looks like keyboard data to the current application. The more common applications that are used with keyboard wedges are Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, and other database types of applications.
Software and hardware keyboard wedges are used extensively in data acquisition applications that include statistical programs, spreadsheets, barcode, LIMS, etc. MicroRidge keyboard wedges can accept input data from any RS-232 serial device. The data is then passed to a Windows application in such a manner that the application thinks the data is actually coming from the keyboard.
About Software Keyboard Wedges
The advantage of a software wedge is that it provides much more flexibility in the formatting of data for presentation to the application and control of the target where the data is sent. In addition to transferring the information to the application, the WedgeLink software keyboard wedge can also simultaneously send the information to a disk file. The disadvantage of a software wedge is that your software wedge settings can be changed by your users.
About Hardware Keyboard Wedges
It is not uncommon in a production type environment that a company will insist upon using a hardware wedge rather than a software wedge. An advantage of a hardware wedge is that it is simpler to use because it is more like a plug ‘n play device. In most cases, just plug it in and you are ready to go.
Hopefully this months article will provide you with some resources and ideas when it comes to sending weight information from your laboratory balance to your laptop computer (or whatever your particular needs are). As you can see, there are several good choices available and several choices that will hopefully work for both your budget and your particular requirements. In some cases, you may very well be able to send data from your scale to your computer; and set it up all by yourself with the help of a wedge software.
For more information and assistance for your particular situation, contact our sales department by calling (919) 776-7737 or visiting our website and clicking the Request a Quote button.