June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Engineering Physics & Physics
24.125.1 - 24.125.12
A versatile platform for programming and data acquisition: Excel and Visual Basic for Applications We have switched to a new software platform to for instrument interface and data collection in our upper-‐division Sensors Laboratory course. This was done after investigating several options and after several meetings with our industrial advisory board. This change was motivated by a campus-‐mandated change in operating system, plus expiring software licenses. We decided on the Visual Basic for Applications platform (VBA), which resides in the Microsoft Office suite (in particular, MS Excel). This meets the recommendations of our advisory board, which strongly urged that we use a “traditional” programming language, as opposed to a graphical one, in order to provide our students the broadest possible applied programming “base.” Further, it has the advantage that the platform is widely available and the required add-‐ins are free, so that graduates (and other programs) are able to use this as well. Finally, this approach has the added benefit of extending the students’ prerequisite computer programming into VBA, which is useful beyond the realm of instrument control and data acquisition. This paper will describe the resources that were collected – and modified – by the author, for the apparently novel combination of VBA, 64-‐bit programming, and access to both serial/USB and GPIB instrumentation, and provides examples of implementation. The basic principles of VBA for non-‐experts will also be given, as well as strengths and drawbacks of this approach. We will also report on the first offering of the redesigned course and remark on future improvements.
Evensen, H. T. (2014, June), A Versatile Platform for Programming and Data Acquisition: Excel and Visual Basic for Applications Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/20017
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