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Issue 3.1


Data Out

The Vernier LabPro and REALbasic Interfacing

Issue: 3.1 (September/October 2004)
Author: William H. Murray and Chris H. Pappas
Author Bio: William H. Murray is the department chairman of the Electrical Engineering Technology Department at Broome Community College in Binghamton, N.Y. Chris H. Pappas is the department chairman of the Computer Studies Department at the same college. BCC is part of the SUNY system of New York Colleges. Together, Murray and Pappas have coauthored dozens of magazine articles and over 50 books on assembly language, Windows, C, C++, and C#. A recent paradigm shift at the college has brought the two departments together to build an eighteen unit Mac lab for a new Simulation program that is bound to make use of devices such as the LabPro.
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 40,456
Starting Page Number: 13
Article Number: 3109
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Excerpt of article text...

In the last issue of REALbasic Developer, we investigated a number of interesting ways in which the Vernier LabPro can be connected to your Mac's serial or USB port and programmed to perform a number of data input feats using the REALbasic language. The data collection methods discussed in the previous article included how to take temperature, voltage, and current measurements using REALbasic programming examples that allow you to plot data, calculate the power used in circuits, and more.

The first article just touched on the number of interesting sources of data that you can collect with a LabPro -- but there are many, many more. Table 1 shows the current set of Vernier Software and Technology probes and sensors available for the LabPro.

With thirty-nine probes and sensors, the data collection possibilities are almost endless. Each probe or sensor can collect data from the LabPro and send it right into your REALbasic application -- just as we did with the programs that were developed in the previous article.

If you are reading this series of articles you probably already agree that data input and output (I/O) is still of great interest to the casual experimenter, programmer, scientist, engineer, or technician. In the previous article you learned how to interface the LabPro with the USB ports of today's modern Macs. However, it is also true that the LabPro operates with legacy serial ports. If you are interested in a serial port interface, we direct you to the LabPro Technical Reference Manual that contains many programming examples and suggestions. This reference manual can be downloaded for free from Vernier's web site or obtained directly from the company. Contact Vernier Software & Technology at 13979 SW Millikan Way in Beaverton, Oregon 97005-2886. Their Web site is http://www.vernier.com

This article, like its predecessor, is NOT a product review. We are going to take you on a quick journey and show you how to program the LabPro to provide data output rather than reading probes and sensors. If you are more interested in collecting data from probes and sensors, then you'll want to return to the first article for that information.

The first article covered many of the basics necessary to initialize the LabPro, whether it is used to collect or output data. For example, in the first article you learned how to interface the LabPro with your Mac computer using REALbasic. In so doing, you addressed the USB port, sent and retrieved strings of commands to and from the LabPro, retrieved data, and formatted it for your own use. While we'll use some of that basic code again, we won't spend a lot of time detailing each operation that has already been covered in the first article.

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