Does the A&D AD-1688 weighing data logger also work with scales from other manufacturers?

What is the A&D AD-1688 weighing data logger?

It is a compact device designed to be connected to scales and balances made by A&D via their RS-232 interface. It stores the weight and – if required – a sequential number and the date/time. After weighing, it is connected to a USB port on a computer (just like a flash drive) to access the data:

data logger ad-1688 connected to pc

The CSV file created by the AD-1688 can be opened in applications such as Excel by simply double-clicking on it. The weight will appear as a number in its own column, ready for further processing.

Does the data logger work with scales from other manufacturers?

Sometimes, but it almost never works as well as with scales from A&D. In our tests, the following problems occurred.

Connectors and pinout

Weighing data logger AD-1688 connectors
Connectors of the cables included with the AD-1688 weighing data logger

The data logger comes with suitable cables for (almost) all scales and balances made by A&D. On a DE9 connector (often erroneously called DB9), it uses pins 2 (RxD), 5 (GND) and 6 (DSR), though the latter is not strictly necessary. To connect to scales from other manufacturers, you may need adapters such as “gender changers” or null modem adapters, or you may need to make a special cable:
rs232 gender changer null modem adapter

Please do not assume that the pinout is compatible just because the connector can be plugged in on your scale!

Possible damage

Some scales use pins of the RS-232 port for other purposes, e.g. for powering peripherals such as check weighing signal lights. These pins must not be connected to the AD-1688!

Power supply via the RS-232 interface

The AD-1688 gets its power from the scale it is connected to (or the USB port when connected to a computer). RS-232 voltage levels are clearly defined in the RS-232 standard. Nevertheless, the “RS-232” interface of some scales does not supply the voltage required to operate the AD-1688. On a Kern DE parcel scale, for example, the data logger did not turn on at all, even though the pinout matched:

ad-1688 weighing data logger and kern de scale
AD-1688 weighing data logger conencted to a Kern DE parcel scale

Further analysis revealed that this scale did not contain an RS-232 transceiver and that logic one (“mark”) was sent as 0 V (instead of −15 to −3 V).

Interface parameters

The settings for baud rate, number of data bits and parity must match on the scale and on the data logger, otherwise the AD-1688 won’t be able to read the incoming data correctly.

When using the data logger with scales from A&D, you do not have to worry about this: Almost all A&D weighing instruments use 2400 bps, 7 data bits, parity “even”. This is also the default setting of the AD-1688.

For scales made by other manufacturers you will have to change the interface parameters either on the scale or on the data logger. The AD-1688 supports the following settings:

  • Bit rate: 600, 1200, 2400, 4800, 9600, 19200.
  • Data bits/parity: 7 even, 7 odd, 8 none.

Data format

The data logger expects all data to be sent as ASCII in A&D’s standard format:

First line: byte number; second line: ASCII character sent by an A&D balance; third line: hexadecimal value
 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 91011121314151617
ST,+00456.89gCRLF
53542C2B30303435362E38392020670D0A

Only a very small number of scales made by other manufacturers support this exact format. If your scale sends data in a different format, two problems may occur:

  1. Unless each line is terminated with carriage return and line feed, the AD-1688 won’t record it.
  2. Even if this is the case, the numeric value of the weight will not be separated from the unit (and other characters sent by the scale).

You can generally solve the second issue by using the import wizard of your spreadsheet application. With Excel, the easiest way to open the file in the import wizard is to rename it from .CSV to .TXT.

You can try this out yourself by right-clicking here and downloading a (renamed) file we recorded on an AD-1688 connected to an Ohaus Catapult 5000 scale. This is the scale shown in the header image of this article.

Number of lines

Many scales send several line breaks after the weight (for the paper feed of a serial printer). This causes the data logger to create empty rows not containing any data. If you cannot modify the line feed configuration of your scale, you can instead increase the “Line” setting of the AD-1688 to combine several lines into one row.

This will result in empty columns (see example file above), which is much better than empty rows. However, the maximum is 7 lines. Beyond that, data will spill into the next row.

Decimal point or comma

The AD-1688 data logger cannot convert between a decimal point and comma. If you’re in a country which uses a decimal comma, this again means that you will have to use the import wizard of your spreadsheet app to correctly format the weight as a number.

Note: A&D scales let you choose whether the weight should be sent with a point or comma (e.g. “12.34″ or “12,34″) and therefore do not have this problem. You only have to ensure that the “dP” setting on the data logger matches the decimal separator used by your scale.

Transmission mode

Most scales have a “print” or “data” button to send a single weight reading to a connected device. However, this is not always the case. Some scales send the weight continuously with several values per second. This would quickly fill the memory of the AD-1688. You can mitigate this by using the “Rec” setting so that data is only stored at certain intervals, but this is far from ideal for most applications.

Other scales use bi-directional protocols (very common with point-of-sale scales):

nci pos protocol
Example: NCI POS protocol

Such scales can definitely not be used with the AD-1688 weighing data logger as it can only passively record incoming data. It is unable to send requests to the connected scale (see pinout above, there is no transmit pin).

Intended use according to A&D

Finally, the manual (PDF) clearly states that the AD-1688 is designed to be connected to “balances and scales with an RS-232C connector manufactured by A&D“. It was never intended to be used with weighing instruments made by other manufacturers. Given the many pitfalls described here, this is an understandable decision.

Conclusion

The trouble-free operation of the AD-1688 weighing data logger is only guaranteed with compatible scales from A&D.

On scales from other manufacturers, the AD-1688 may work, but there are many potential problems that can cost you a lot of time. Even in the best case, the resulting CSV file will often not be fully comma-separated due to differences in the data format and will require further processing.

If your scale is not made by A&D, consider connecting it to a PC for data acquisition. You can use our Simple Data Logger software, which is designed to work with scales from many different manufacturers.

Note: The information in this article is valid for firmware P1.10 of the AD-1688.

Links and further information about the AD-1688 weighing data logger

Reading the weight from an Ohaus Defender 5000 scale with PHP

Defender 5000 scales can be equipped with a WiFi or wired Ethernet interface. The scale acts as a TCP server and your script establishes a connection as a TCP client. You can then use one of the supported commands to request the weight or simply wait for the scale to send the weight (e.g. when the operator presses the print button).

You can easily test this by using PuTTY in “raw” mode and connecting to the scale:

PuTTY raw tcp connection
The WiFi dongle uses port 6060 (wired Ethernet: port 9761), the IP address is assigned via DHCP by default.
Defender 5000 scale: weight in PuTTY
IP (immediate print) command used to request the weight and reply sent by the scale (N: net weight, G: gross weight, T: tare weight).

Using PHP to communicate with the scale

For demonstration purposes, I’ve adapted example #2 (simple TCP/IP client) from the official documentation:

<?php
error_reporting(E_ALL);

echo "TCP/IP Connection\n";

/* Ohaus Defender 5000 WLAN interface uses port 6060 by default, Ethernet interface uses port 9761 */
$service_port = 6060;

/* IP address of the scale, can be displayed/set in the menu */
$address = "192.168.0.195";

/* Create a TCP/IP socket. */
$socket = socket_create(AF_INET, SOCK_STREAM, SOL_TCP);
if ($socket === false) {
    echo "socket_create() failed: reason: " . socket_strerror(socket_last_error()) . "\n";
} else {
    echo "OK.\n";
}

echo "Attempting to connect to '$address' on port '$service_port'...";
$result = socket_connect($socket, $address, $service_port);
if ($result === false) {
    echo "socket_connect() failed.\nReason: ($result) " . socket_strerror(socket_last_error($socket)) . "\n";
} else {
    echo "OK.\n";
}

$in = "IP\r\n"; //IP command (Immediate Print) - supported commands depend on the manufacturer, model and LFT settings
$out = '';

echo "Sending command...";
socket_write($socket, $in, strlen($in));
echo "OK.\n";

echo "Reading response:\n\n";
while ($out = socket_read($socket, 2048)) {
    echo $out;
}

echo "Closing socket...";
socket_close($socket);
echo "OK.\n\n";

It produced the following output:

Defender 5000 weight requested with PHP

You can modify the output template through the menu of the scale or by using the Ohaus Scale Mate software, e.g. to send just the net weight and date/time:

Ohaus Defender 5000 custom template

You’ll find a list of commands supported by the scale in the user manual. In the script, I used the IP (immediate print) command, which tells the scale to send the weight immediately (whether it is stable or not). This command is available on all newer Ohaus scales. One notable exception are legal-for-trade (LFT) models, which only support the P command (similar to pressing the print button) and in some cases the SP command (stable print, send weight as soon as it has stabilized). The Defender 5000 also supports many MT-SICS commands (which is the closest thing to a communication standard that the weighing industry currently has).

Please note that I’m not a PHP expert and that this is not a recommendation to use PHP. It is only supposed to be a very basic demonstration (as a potential customer asked me if it was possible to use PHP to communicate with the scale). Other programming languages such a C#, Java, JavaScript or Python may be more suitable. I’m frankly not even sure why the script works the way it does, as I would have expected it to fill the buffer (2048 bytes) before outputting any received data.


The header photo shows a Defender 5000 communication test case (a hard case with a built-in Defender 5000 indicator with all optional communication interfaces installed).

A&D Precision Balances Communication Manual (GX-A, GF-A and GX-AE)

A&D scales and balances have always been an excellent choice when it comes to data transfer to a computer, printer or other devices. With a data format that has remained virtually unchanged throughout the company’s history, we have seen customers replace decades-old balances with new ones without having to adapt their existing data acquisition software.

This does not mean that the communication capabilities of A&D balances are not evolving. The new GX-A, GF-A and GX-AE models are particularly interesting because they are equipped with multiple interfaces and can be controlled by a connected computer (or PLC) via a large number of commands.

Communication Manual

Best of all, A&D has documented everything in a 56 page communication manual, which you can download here (PDF).

If you thought that my interface description of A&D’s FX-i and FZ-i balances was already quite comprehensive, you’ll certainly be impressed by this communication manual for the GX-A/AE and GF-A series, which covers more topics in much greater detail.

Table of contents

To give you an idea, you’ll find the table of contents from the communications manual below:

  1. Introduction
    1. Applicable models
    2. Features of the communication function
      1. Using standard RS-232C / extension RS-232C interface
      2. Using standard USB interface
      3. Connecting multiple peripheral devices
  2. Interface specifications
    1. RS-232C
    2. USB
  3. Connecting Peripheral Devices
    1. Cables needed to connect to peripheral devices
    2. About data output method
    3. Specific examples when connecting multiple peripheral devices at the same time
  4. Printing Weighing Values To the Printer
    1. In case of AD-8127
    2. In case of AD-8126
  5. Connecting to a PC or a PLC
    1. Quick USB mode
    2. Virtual COM mode
    3. RS-232C
    4. WinCT data transmission software (USB Virtual COM mode or RS-232C)
    5. Notes when using quick USB
  6. Data output
    1. Data output mode
    2. Weighing data format
    3. Output examples of weighing data format
    4. Other data formats
  7. Commands
    1. Control commands
    2. The <AK> code and error codes
    3. Command usage examples
  8. Error codes
    1. Error codes list
  9. The UFC function
    1. UFC program commands
    2. Examples of creating UFC program commands
  10. Internal settings
    1. How to set
    2. List of items (communication entries only)
  11. Key lock function
    1. Locking all key switches
    2. Locking specified key switches
  12. Checking the software version of the balance

Examples

One of my favorite things about this manual are the examples, which clearly presented and easy to follow:

GX-A balance: example of measuring using a container
Example of measuring using a container

Is something still missing?

In my opinion, this is the best communication manual I’ve seen from any weighing instrument manufacturer so far.

My only suggestion for improvement as far as the manual itself is concerned is to add a warning symbol next to the footnote on page 6, which mentions the 12 V voltage on pin 9. When connecting the balance to a device which also uses pin 9 in this way (such as Zebra printers), both devices could malfunction and possibly be damaged. To prevent this from happening, a custom cable must be used instead of a standard cable that connects all pins.

Tare weight and gross weight

When the tare weight is set by the operator by pressing the RE-ZERO button on the balance, it is not returned when using the “?PT” or “?T” commands. This is mentioned in the manual, but no explanation is given. It is also not possible to request the gross weight. Therefore, applications which require this data have to be designed so that the tare operation is triggered by the connected device (see example above).

Note: The UFC template language available on the GX-A/AE and GF-A balances allows the tare weight and gross weight (and of course net weight) to be sent to a connected device.

Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth

An Ethernet interface is optionally available, but it costs several times more than an external converter (such as Moxa’s NPort 5110A). If it was more affordable, it would attract more customers planning to connect multiple balances to a single PC for data acquisition purposes.

No wireless LAN option exists (so far). The Bluetooth adapter for the RS-232 interface is unfortunately not available in Europe. This makes it somewhat difficult to use the balances under a fume hood and transferring the weight to a computer outside.

MT-SICS

A&D could make the balances more compatible with existing systems by adding support for the MT-SICS protocol. While MT-SICS is not the holy grail of all protocols, it is widely used and supported in the weighing industry and by software developers. With companies such as Sartorius, Radwag, Kern (KCP) and Ohaus (on some models) offering support for what is effectively MT-SICS, I see no compelling reason why A&D could not do the same.

The balances already understand the “S”, “SI” and “SIR” commands also used by MT-SICS. When set to the “MT” data format, they come very close to sending the same replies as MT-SICS-compatible weighing instruments:

First line: character/byte number
Second line: A&D’s MT format (stable weight)
Third line: MT-SICS format (stable weight)
 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9101112131415161718
S123.45gCRLF
SS123.45gCRLF

Very close, however, is sometimes not close enough (see this blog post where communication failed because of one additional “space” character).

Reading and changing settings through commands

Finally, while these balances support many commands covering a lot of functionality,  it’s not possible to read and change most of the settings by using commands. If this were an option, a connected computer with a configuration software could change the balances’ settings in a quick and user-friendly way.  With new technologies such as WebUSB, it may eventually be possible to change the configuration of the balance directly from a web browser.

Just before publishing this article, I took another look at A&D’s global website and noticed that they have released a program called “WinCT-ParamSet” that does exactly what I suggested above. I will take a closer look at it in a separate article. I hope that the communication manual will be updated to include the commands used by WinCT-ParamSet.

Further information on GX-A, GF-A and GX-AE precision balances

A&D global website: A&D Apollo GX-AE/A & GF-A Series
A&D Europe: A&D Apollo Series GF-A/GX-A
A&D US: A&D Apollo GX-A/GF-A Series Precision Balances
Our shop (in German): Präzisionswaage A&D GX-A

Using Ohaus Defender 5000 scales with BarTender

BarTender from Seagull Scientific is “the world’s leading design and print software for labels, barcodes, cards and RFID tags.” In this article, I’ll show you how to capture the net weight and tare weight from an Ohaus Defender 5000 scale with BarTender.

Notes:

  • This guide applies to the new generation of Ohaus Defender 5000 scales (2018 or later).
  • It was created using BarTender 2019 R8 and version 1.05 of the Ohaus Defender 5000 firmware. It may not apply to future versions.
  • I’m not a BarTender expert, if you think that you have a better solution, please let me know in the comments.

BarTender communicates with a scale by requesting the weight and – if supported – the tare weight in short intervals (every 250 ms by default). The received data is then parsed using regular expressions.

Unfortunately, the “Ohaus” protocols defined in BarTender do not work with the default settings of the current Defender 5000 scales. They also don’t support requesting the tare weight. Therefore, we’ll use the MT-SICS protocol instead. As you’ll see below, this is a very straightforward solution. However, for a limited number of multi-interval Defender 5000 scales, we’ll need to modify the regular expressions used by BarTender.

Note for legal-for-trade applications (verified scales): If you’re planning to use the alibi memory (SD card) installed in the Defender 5000 indicator, please note that the solution proposed here does not create alibi records. To do so, you would have to use the Ohaus “P” (print) command instead of the MT-SICS command to request the weight. However, this would create an alibi entry every 250 ms, which is probably not what you want either. In my opinion, the communication method used by BarTender is not well suited for use with verified scales and alibi records.

Configuring your Ohaus Defender 5000 scale

Note: This guide assumes that you’ve already connected your scale to your PC. I used the standard RS-232 port found on all current Defender 5000 models. Using the optionally available USB or Bluetooth interface (SPP) would be almost identical.

Apparently, you do not need to change the configuration of the scale, as it already supports MT-SICS commands in its default “Demand” mode. However, if you want to explicitly set it to the MT-SICS protocol, press and hold the Menu button, then press 7 to enter the Communication menu, select the interface you’re using, press 2 for Setup and then change the Assignment from “Demand” to “SICS”:
Ohaus Defender 5000 scale SICS

The other settings on this screen should not matter, as they’re irrelevant for the selected protocol.

Configuring BarTender

Add Scale Wizard Step 1

Start Bartender Designer, select Administer>Weighing Scale Setup and Add Scale. This will launch the Add Scale Wizard. Click on Next.

BarTender Add Scale Wizard 1

As mentioned, simply selecting “Ohaus 5000 Series” (or any other Ohaus model) will not work with the current Defender 5000 scales. Instead, select Define a model not listed above and click on Next.

Add Scale Wizard Step 2

BarTender Add Scale Wizard 2Select “Ohaus” as the manufacturer and enter a model name (e.g. “Defender 5000 SICS”).

If your scale is a single interval scale (which means that the readability does not change over the entire weighing range), select the “Mettler Toledo (MT-SICS Level 1)” protocol and click on Next. Then skip to step 3 of this guide far below.

If your scale is a multi-interval scale, things may get a bit more complicated. It all depends on the readability (aka “graduation”, “d” or “e”) of your scale. If it has the same number of decimal places over all intervals when using the default unit (kg), you can also go to step 3. If the number of decimal places is not the same, continue reading here.

Example:

Ohaus Defender 5000 scale dual interval
0.005 kg = 3 decimals, 0.01 kg = 2 decimals

Creating a new protocol

For multi-interval scales that don’t have a constant number of decimal places, we have to make a tiny change to the regular expressions defined in BarTender’s MT-SICS Level 1 protocol. Since we can’t modify existing protocols, click on New to create a new one.

BarTender Add Scale Wizard 3

Give the new protocol a name (e.g. “SICS”) and click on Copy existing Protocol.

BarTender Add Scale Wizard 4Select “Mettler Toledo (MT-SICS Level 1)” and confirm with OK. All fields for the commands and response patterns should now be filled in.

BarTender Add Scale Wizard 5

In every single response pattern except for the last one, locate the following string:

\x20(?<Units>

Change it to:

\x20+(?<Units>

By adding a plus sign, the regular expression now matches strings which contain one or more spaces (\x20) in between the weight (or tare) value and the unit. This is necessary because some multi-interval Defender 5000 scales use two spaces after switching to the second interval:

RegexBuddy weight values with defaul MT-SICS regex

Note how the second line contains two spaces after “22.25”. With the default regular expression defined in BarTender, this weight value (and all others in the same interval) would not be captured.

I don’t know if BarTender was too strict or if Ohaus was too lax in implementing the MT-SICS protocol. I believe it’s better if I don’t comment on this any further. According to the MT-SICS protocol documents I’ve reviewed, the weight should be right-aligned and separated from the unit with one space character. However, the descriptions of MT “DeltaRange” multi-interval balances mention that the last digit is replaced by a space when the number of decimal places changes:

mt-sics
Source (PDF)

Therefore, it seems that Ohaus did nothing wrong and the regular expression in BarTender did not account for this scenario.

Note: If you’re regularly dealing with regular expression, I highly recommend the wonderful RegexBuddy software.

Your user-defined protocol should now look like this:
BarTender: Add scale wizard 6Click on OK.

BarTender Add Scale Wizard 7

Select the protocol we’ve just defined and click on Next.

BarTender Add Scale Wizard 8Everything in this dialog should be correctly configured for the use of a serial port (RS-232, USB or Bluetooth SPP). Click on Next.

Add Scale Wizard Step 3

BarTender Add Scale Wizard 9

Welcome back, my lucky readers who did not have to deal with protocols and regular expressions. Change the name of the scale if you feel like it and then click on Next.

BarTender Add Scale Wizard 10

In this dialog, you must specify the COM port on your computer that is used to connect to your Ohaus Defender 5000 scale.

BarTender Add Scale Wizard 11

This is it! We’re done! Click on Finish, but don’t bring out the champagne just yet.

Testing your Ohaus Defender 5000 scale

Bartender weigh scale setup

Back in the Weighing Scale Setup, select the scale you’ve just added and click on Properties.

BarTender weighing scale setup properties

Click on Test Connection. If everything is correct, BarTender should show the Net Weight and Tare Weight received from your scale:

BarTender Weighing Scale Connection TestIn that case, congratulations, you succeeded. You can now use the values from your scale in BarTender.

Should you not see any weight values, you’ll find some troubleshooting information below.

Troubleshooting a scale connection

Unfortunately, communication problems with scales can have many causes and are often difficult to solve. I can’t give you extensive troubleshooting instructions here, but I’ll tell you the same thing I also tell our software users: Download HTerm, a simple terminal program. Then try to communicate with your scale using HTerm instead of BarTender:

HTERM used for scale troubleshooting (MT-SICS protocol)

Change the following settings in HTerm:

  • COM port,
  • Baud to 9600,
  • Newline at to “CR+LF” (optional, looks nicer),
  • Send on enter to “CR-LF” (required).

Click on the Connect button at the top (shown as Disconnect in the screenshot as I had already clicked on it). Then type the “SI” (send immediately) command manually into the input field (lower red arrow) and press enter.

You should see the command you just sent under Transmitted data and the reply from the scale under Received Data (marked green on the screenshot).

If communication is successful with HTerm but not with BarTender, the problem is with BarTender. If you’ve changed the regular expression as described above, double-check that you’ve not made any mistakes. Contact Seagull Scientific for further support. Please don’t ask me for help in the comments.

If you can’t communicate with your Defender 5000 scale using HTerm, something is wrong with your setup. In my experience, the most likely culprits are:

  • Wrong COM port.
  • Wrong interface parameters (baud rate, etc.).
  • Wrong type of serial cable.

Please understand that I cannot diagnose these problems for you remotely. You may want to contact your Ohaus dealer or pay a specialist to help you.


Did this article save you a lot of time? Please consider supporting my work by buying a PDF version for US$2/copy (contains no additional information).


Last updated on August 14, 2020: Added information concerning the MT-SICS response format.

How to record the weight from an A&D scale or balance using A&D’s free RsWeight software

0. Don’t let the terminology confuse you

For the purpose of this article, “serial”, “RS-232” (with and without hyphen), “RS232C” and “COM” can be treated as synonyms. Therefore, a “serial port”, “RS-232C interface” and “COM port” are the same thing.

“Scale”, “balance” and “weighing instrument” are used interchangeably.

1. Connect your A&D scale or balance to your PC

In most cases, your A&D scale will be equipped with an RS-232 interface:

RS-232 interface on A&D FX-300i balance

You will need an RS-232 cable (serial cable) which is compatible with your scale and – if your PC does not have an RS-232 port – a converter from USB to RS-232 such as FTDI’s Chipi-X or US232R.

This converter will create a virtual COM port on your PC. A&D also offers a set consisting of a converter and a cable.

There are other kinds of converters such as RS-232 to Ethernet, though they are not covered in detail here. As long as they can create virtual COM ports, they can be used with RsWeight.

The configuration used is in this tutorial is shown below:

A&D FX-300i balance with RS-232 cable, USB to RS-232 converter and PC running RsWeight software

Not all scales require a converter to USB: The recently released Apollo GX-AE/A & GF-A balances have a USB port which can be configured to work in virtual COM port mode, so all you’ll need is a USB cable. A&D may have released further balances with this functionality by the time you read this article.

Many weighing instruments from A&D can be equipped with a “Quick USB” port. This type of port is recognized as a keyboard and not as a virtual COM port and is therefore not suitable for use with RsWeight (see A&D’s Communication Methods FAQ for further information).

If you know what you’re doing, you can also find USB to RS-232 converters that can be plugged directly into the RS-232 port of your scale (no separate serial cable required). We offer such a solution for A&D scales with a round DIN8 connector such as the HC-i counting scales or FG-KAL/KBM scales (currently only available in our German scales shop):

USB to RS-232 (DIN8) cable

2. Install the driver for the USB to RS-232 converter (or for your balance)

On Windows 10, driver installation will usually happen automatically when you plug in the converter (on your PC). If this is not the case, you can download the driver from the manufacturer’s website, e.g.:

For other converters, please check with your supplier.

3. Download and install RsWeight

RsWeight is available for free from A&D as part of the WinCT suite. Installation is straight forward and should not pose any challenges: Download the Zip file, unzip it, start setup.exe and follow the prompts on the screen.

4. Configure RsWeight

You’ll find RsWeight under the “A&D WinCT” group in the start menu. On Windows 10, you can also open the start menu and start typing “RsWeight”.

In the “RS-232C” menu, select the COM port to which your scale is connected on your system. By clicking on the combo box, you can see the full names (requires RsWeight 5.40 or later):

COM port selection in RsWeight

If you’re using a USB to RS-232 converter with FTDI’s chipset, it will show up as a “USB serial port” (as shown above). Converters made by other manufacturers may have slightly different names, but usually they contain the words “serial” and “port”.

The new Apollo GX-AE/A and GF-A balances will be shown as an “AND USB Port for Balance”.

If you’re in doubt, open the Windows Device Manager (under Windows 10, press Ctrl + X, then select Device Manager) and navigate to Ports (COM & LPT):
Ports in Windows Device Manager

You can then simply unplug the converter (or balance) from your PC and watch which device disappears (and hopefully reappears when you plug it in again). If you cannot find a suitable device, you must resolve this issue before continuing (most likely you don’t have the correct driver installed, see section 2 above).

All other interface parameters are already set to the default values required by (nearly) all A&D scales and balances:

  • Baud Rate: 2400
  • Parity: Even
  • Length: 7
  • Stop Bit: 1
  • Terminator: CR/LF

RsWeight baud rate is set to 2400

If you’ve changed these settings in the menu of your scale, you need to make exactly the same changes in RsWeight. If you didn’t modify the default settings of your scale, all you have to do in RsWeight at this stage is set the COM port.

5. Start data logging

Press Start in RsWeight, put an object on your balance, wait for the stability indicator to show up in the display and press the PRINT button. The weight will appear in RsWeight:

Weigh received in RsWeight

Note: If you do not want to manually press the PRINT button on your balance, you can either change its data transmission mode or instruct RsWeight to request the weight by checking the Repeat checkbox and setting an interval in seconds. Further information can be found in the manual of your balance and in the RsWeight Operation manual (PDF).

We do not recommend using “stream mode” with RsWeight as the software will eventually become too slow to record all values. You can see this in this screenshot where the balance was sending 20 values/s, but RsWeight slowed down to 4 values/s after a few minutes. If you want to continuously record rates of 10 weight values/s (or more) over several minutes, hours or even days, consider using our inexpensive Simple Data Logger software.

6. Export to CSV

In the Option menu, make sure that the Decimal Point is set correctly for your region (e.g. USA->Dot, Germany->Comma). Then, go to File / Save / Data Save and enter a file name and location:

Save recorded weight as CSV

You will be able to open this file in Excel (and other applications) and the data will be neatly arranged in columns (if not, then you probably picked the wrong decimal separator):

CSV file from RsWeigh opened in Excel

What if no weight is received from the scale?

This problem can be difficult to solve because there are many components involved in recording the weight from your scale:

  • The scale or balance,
  • the RS-232 cable,
  • the USB to RS-232 converter (if required),
  • and the RsWeight software.

If there’s something wrong with just one of these items, data transmission will fail. From our experience, the most common issues are:

    • Wrong COM port. The COM port number will be assigned by your PC, so you can’t just copy it from this article. Note that there may be other COM ports present on your system even if you’ve never connected a converter to your PC before. It is absolutely necessary that you choose the right port. RsWeight cannot do this for you, though it does make it easy by showing the full COM port name (since version 5.40).
    • No driver, wrong driver or outdated driver installed for your USB to RS-232 converter or balance. This a particularly common problem on Windows 7. Confirm that the manufacturer’s name and not “Microsoft” is shown under Driver Provider when you open the Device Manager, right-click on the converter, select Properties and switch to the Driver tab:
      USB Serial port driver propertiesIf you suspect that you don’t have the correct driver installed, download it from the manufacturer (see section 2).
    • The scale has not yet stabilized. If you press the PRINT button and the weight is not stable, no data will be transmitted. Depending on the model of your scale, you may be able to change this setting (please consult the manual). Otherwise, just wait until the stability symbol appears.
    • Balance settings have been modified. If the settings of your balance no longer correspond to their default values, data transfer may fail. This applies in particular to settings of the serial interface, such as the baud rate and the data format. Please consult the manual of your balance to ensure that each setting corresponds to the factory setting.
    • Wrong serial cable. A&D scales generally require a straight 1:1 cable, not a crossed (null modem) cable. If you happen to find a cable that “looks like it may work”, check that it is wired correctly (using a continuity tester, you cannot tell how a cable is wired by looking at it from the outside unless you have superpowers).

It’s extremely rare for the RS-232 port on an A&D scale to be defective. We’ve only seen this happen once so far. Before you assume that your scale is defective, please make sure that you’ve excluded all other possible causes.

Additional information is also available from A&D:

If you are unable to record any data from your scale with RsWeight even after carefully following the instructions in this article and in the linked documents, please contact your weighing instruments dealer or A&D.

Please understand that we cannot offer free support if you have not bought your A&D scale or balance from us.