How to Connect a ToughSonic Ultrasonic Sensor to SenixVIEW

Video Transcript

Welcome to the second in our SenixVIEW Video Tutorials: Connecting to the Sensor.

We begin in the main workspace window and to connect to the sensor, we go to the sensor menu, come down to connect and here you see the first twelve ports in my computer displayed with their status. It turns out that COM1 is a dedicated serial port RS-232. COM2 happens to be a USB converter with RS-485 on it. But in this case, I have a RS-232 sensor, so that’s where we’ll stay.  And I am on network address 1. If I didn’t know where the sensor was, our “find sensor” application would do a scan survey for you. But, since I do, let’s just connect.

You have a choice of copying the Sensor Setup to your Workspace so that you can work on it, or taking what’s in the Workspace and putting it in the sensor and the decision as whether you overwrite the Workspace or not – takes place right here – let’s say yes. But obviously if I had brought the configuration file from disk into the Workspace, I would not want to overwrite that. So you can choose.

In any case, we’re going to look at the various display tools that are available to you on the toolbar. At this point, we are looking at a wall a little over 6 feet from my sensor. First of all, if I were attempting to move that wall to some precise location – I moved my sensor against it – a large display may help me see what’s on the computer and you can go to that. There are some display options, I am going to stay with distance, but if you had an analog output or a switch, you could display that here, as well. There is a data chart option, it can be a “StripChart” or an “Oscilloscope” or it can be set for “Single Pass”. I happened to prefer StripChart. I’ve got the gain set for the maximum, which indicates ten thousands of an inch in each box of the vertical axis. And here we’ve got some environmental noise affecting our 6 foot measurement to the point of about thirty thousands of an inch and it may hold still for a while, plus or minus ten thousands and then bounce up, this is typical of what’s going on in the environment. In a laboratory environment, I can have it set plus or minus ten thousands all day long. As long as I don’t disturb the temperature, the air movement in the room. I can also change the X axis speed here. If I want to look for a longer period of time, set it for 1 minute per division, but you will be watching the grass grow while that takes place, as you can see here, barely.

One more thing of interest, if you are trying to characterize the sensor is the statistics package. Here I can specify a number of samples to be taken, in this case, I have 10 programed in, and I can tell it to go take 10 samples, display the Mean distance and the noise or the Standard Deviation in that measurement. I’m never happy with all zeros. And inevitably if you take the measurement again and again, you will see that the noise will change. But, generally speaking, you get a noise reduction equivalent to the square root of the number of samples you take, which would be of a great value to you in either selecting how you configure your sensor or how you interpret your data. But again, this statistics package is for evaluating the environment your sensor is in. In our next session, we are going to get into the actual configuration of the sensor. And I will show you how you can do it real time.

One of the things in the data display mode, that’s worth pointing out here, if I go to the edit menu, I can go to user preferences, there are several choices here that you can review offline, but one of them is distance units. If I am on metric environment, I might want to set it in centimeters, for example. And having selected that, you now see 188 and change displayed.

So those are some of the highlights in the Connecting to sensor space. One other thing that should be mentioned very briefly: If you happen to be working with a sensor that’s on a USB interface, Windows is sometimes cranky with different versions of Windows, as to how it deals with virtual COM Ports via USB. And those will be dealt with in a separate tutorial in greater detail. If you have a problem with that and the tutorial about USB interfaces is not on your CD, give us a call and we can help you out.

In our next session, we are going to go to the Workspace again and we are going to look at the details in the Measure window which allows us to configure a sensor.

If you have any questions, please contact Senix customer service.  We’re here to help!