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Loadstar Sensors Blog

Short Updates on interesting applications using our sensor solutions.

Loadstar Sensors Software require Microsoft .NET Frameworks

All Windows versions of Loadstar Sensors software require Microsoft .NET Framework v 4.0 or later installed on your computer.

Some components of the software also require .NET Framework v 3.5 installed. This is because v 4.0 framework "does not automatically use its version of the common language runtime to run applications that are built with earlier versions of the .NET Framework".

Framework v.4 is preinstalled in most versions of Windows beginning with Windows 8. Framework v 3.5 is pre-installed in most versions of Windows 7

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Monitoring plant growth and irrigation needs in a nursery using digital weight sensors

Monitoring plant growth and irrigation needs in a nursery using digital weight sensors

Drought conditions in California has led to steep increases in cost of water for agricultural use this year.  Vegetable and fruit growers as well as nurseries are paying close attention to the amount of water they use for irrigation purposes.  

Farmers typically use sprayers to spray water onto plants at regular intervals.  However, this method leads to uniform spraying across a wide area.  Some plants may be getting more water and some less due to non-uniform distribution of the sprays.  Furthermore, since it is based purely on time, even when rainfall has taken place on some days, the water is still sprayed.

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Measuring forces and weights on your iPhone or iPad using the LoadVUE iOS App

Measuring forces and weights on your iPhone or iPad using the LoadVUE iOS App

The LoadVUE iOS App for measuring loads, weights or forces with a load cell is now available for download on the Apple Store.  This load cell app works on an iPhone or an iPad and can display the measured forces in a variety of units, log the data as well as plot the data in real time.

It works in conjunction with the DI-1000 WiFi Interface device which can be connected to any four or six wire resistive load cell (made using strain gages in a bridge configuration).

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Measuring thrust forces exerted by quadcopter rotors

Measuring thrust forces exerted by quadcopter rotors

Are you a drone or quadcopter enthusiast?  Trying to build your own kick-ass quadcopter that will soar high and move fast?  Then you need to really understand the thrust characteristics of your motors and make sure it can generate enough thrust to provide sufficient lift and forward movement.  

Jim Grubb, the VP of Emerging Technologies Marketing and Chief Demonstration Officer at Cisco Systems is one such enthusiast, who uses our iLoad TR USB load cell system to characterize the thrust applied by the motors and uses the iLoad Mini load cells to measure the weight and balance of the quadcopter to make sure it is properly balanced so the motors do not have to do extra work to rectify the imbalance resulting in reduced fuel efficiency.

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Troubleshooting connectivity issues with Loadstar Sensors sensors or interfaces

On rare occasions, we get tech support calls from users whose computers have trouble detecting a sensor or interface. The steps below outline what you can do to troubleshoot the issue.

Check Device Manager

First make sure the load cell or interface shows up in the device manager. All our devices use an FTDI device driver to convert serial port signals to a USB virtual COM port. This virtual COM port will appear in the device manager as an "USB Serial Port" device under the "Ports" section. To launch the device manager,

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Digital Tank Weighing Solution

Tank Solution

Tank Weighing Solution using iWeigh Scales with USB or WiFi Output

Many applications require different amounts of liquids and solids to be mixed into a mixing tank.  In such cases, one needs to weight the contents of the tank accurately and display, log and sometimes plot this information on a PC for quality control purposes.


Our iWeigh scales are perfect for such applications!  They come as 8" x 8" weigh modules with a load cell attached between them and a USB or Wireless Load Cell Interface like our DI-1000U or DI-1000WiFi attached to the load cells and calibrated together in compression mode.  The RAL1, RSB6, RAP3, RAP4, RSP1, and RAPG load cells can all be used to make the weigh module, depending on the specifications of the application (weight, accuracy, temperature conditions etc.). 


The tanks usually have three to four or sometimes larger number of legs with rectangular plates as feet.  The digital scales can be placed underneath each leg of the tank and can be secured with four bolts on each leg.


The four sets of load cells + interfaces with USB output, can then connected to a HX-400 USB hub. After connecting the USB hub to a Mac/PC, Loadstar Sensor's ControlVUE software allows the user to display, log and plot individual weights as well as the total weight of the tank.


The ControlVUE software has a special feature where one can connect a USB Relay (1/2/8 Channels) to control external devices such as a valve, motor, switch or other electrical apparatus as well as outputs such as alarms and speakers to be set off at specified values from the sensors.


This solution provides a simple, elegant digital solution for a very affordable price and makes it easy to display, log and plot tank weights. 

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Load Cells with USB, UART, & Analog 0-5V Output shown in various configurations

Load Cells with USB, UART, & Analog 0-5V Output shown in various configurations

The iLoad Pro load cell is one of the family of load cells that use capacitive measurement techniques to measure forces or loads.  Unlike traditional strain gauge load cells, these capacitive load cells do not use resistive strain gauges that are bonded to a metal member.  Instead it uses two capacitive plates separated by a gap as the sensing element.  When the load/force is applied, this gap changes changing the capacitance.  This change is measured and transmitted as a digital signal directly from within the sensor and can be in the UART or USB format.  In addition, an analog voltage (0-5 V DC) can also be output as an option simultaneously making it easy to use for a wide variety of application!  

 

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Unobtrusive Patient Monitoring System using Digital USB Load Cells

Unobtrusive Patient Monitoring System using Digital USB Load Cells

When researchers Stephen J. Spikings, Bashir M. Al-Hashimi, and Nick R. Harris of the University of Southhampton in England wanted to monitor the well-being of a person on a bed based on measuring their weight, they turned to Loadstar Sensors' Digital USB Load Cells for its low profile, low cost and ease of use. 

The iLoad Load Cells look like round hockey pucks about 3 inches in diameter and half an inch high, these capacitive load cells have integrated electronics housed inside the package and offer direct USB connectivity directly from load cell without need for any external signal conditioning electronics.  Put one under each corner of the bed under the foot and plug the four units into a USB Hub and then into the PC.  Using LoadVUE Pro LV-4000 software, one can gather data at up to 500 Hz data update rate.

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Body Weight Sensor for Health Kiosk

Body Weight Sensor for Health Kiosk

A leading health kiosk player wanted to add the ability to measure body weight to its kiosk.  The kiosk utilized an open source PC server running Linux with custom software and wanted a easy way to talk to a weight sensor via USB.  

Loadstar Sensor's RAP3/RAP4 load cells with the DI-100U 16-bit USB Load Cell Interface turned out to be the perfect solution for this need.  With a capacity of 550 lbs, it has enough range to measure the most obese person on earth with accuracy of about +/- 0.25 lbs or better.  The DI-100U USB Load Cell Interface includes easy to use ASCII command set that provides two simple ASCII commands for "Tare" and "Read" functions using which a software engineer can quickly incorporate weight readings into his/her software in minutes!  No need to understand analog electronics, amplification of signals, digitization of signals, calibration or other arcane details!  With just two commands, one can get calibrated readings into ones application!

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Measuring forces and torques acting on artificial hip due to friction between joints

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