A blog about weighing scales and weighing industry news
Here you will find all of our articles about software for scales and balances (weighing software). We mostly focus on software for data acquisition (recording the weight on a PC) as well as scale management and configuration software.
Two versions of Kern’s BalanceConnection software are now available: the standard version (SCD-4.0) and the Pro version (SCD-4.0-PRO).
The following table shows the features of the standard version on the left and the additional features of the Pro version on the right (according to Kern’s 2019 catalog):
· For operating systems Windows XP, Vista, 7,
8, 8.1, 10
· Supports balances measuring devices with
RS 232, RS 485, Bluetooth, LAN or WLAN
· Highly flexible formatting of the output (any
order, formatting and rounding), particularly
recording of date and time for every value
transferred, if required
· Any number of devices/interfaces can be
connected, as well as simultaneous and
synchronised recording of several balances
· Key-activated or time-controlled interro-
gation of measurements or trigger of device
functions, also for continuous recording
· The interface protocols for KERN balances are
already predefined (standard configuration)
· Compatible interface cable included when
you order a KERN balance at the same time
· Many different transfer and recording
– Microsoft ® Excel/Access/Word in the
fore ground or background
– Other Windows applications (through key
simulation), e.g. shipping software or ERP
system (SAP, Sage, etc.)
– File recording (e.g. as text or CSV file)
– Print out on text or label printer
– Screen output such as large display, line
chart (drying curve for moisture analyzer),
· ODBC/SQL databases such as SQL Server
· Transfer to HTTP Webservices/Web forms
· Enables the connection of medical balances
to practice EDP systems using the device
data transfer protocol (GDT) and also the
· Implementation of programs/scrips using
freely-definable command lines
· Command sequences
· Defining the conditions for specific events
and the reaction to these events
· Filter for stability recognition (configurable
· Central configuration repository, e.g. on the
· On-screen displays with configurable user
interface for flexible balance operation
If you do not need the features listed on the right, the standard version is the right choice. However, this version has also become a bit more expensive compared to the single version available so far.
If you don’t need the extensive functionality of BalanceConnection and only want to connect a single scale to your PC, we offer two very inexpensive alternatives. Each of these programs has a single purpose and is therefore easy to set up and use:
232key: Transfers the weight to any application (e.g. Excel, shipping software, etc.) using a key simulation (virtual keyboard wedge).
Simple Data Logger: Stores the weight in a CSV file (if desired with date and time), the weight can also be retrieved from the scale using a timer (Plus version only).
Many scales and balances are equipped with an RS-232 interface. Moxa’s NPort series and similar serial device servers allow you to connect such scales to a network (Ethernet). In this article, I’ll show you how to connect a Moxa NPort 5110A to an Ohaus scale and how to configure and test it.
1. Physical connection
The Moxa Nport 5110A has an RS-232 port (DE9M) on one side and an Ethernet port on the other side:
To communicate with your scale, you’ll need a matching RS-232 cable. The Ohaus Defender 3000 scale used in this example requires a DE9M to DE9F straight (1:1) cable:
Once the physical connection to the scale has been established, the Moxa NPort has to be configured. There are several ways to do so. I prefer the following method:
Connect the NPort directly to a single computer (not a LAN) with an Ethernet cable.
Start the NPort Administrator and locate your NPort by clicking on the Search button:
It should be found at the default IP address (192.168.127.254).
Note: It’s not always necessary to change your PC’s IP address if you’re running the NPort Administrator software. However, if you receive error messages during the following steps, try to temporarily set your computer’s IP address to an address on the same subnet (such as 192.168.127.1).
Select the Ethernet connection under Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network connections, right-click on it and choose Properties, then select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click on Properties. Make a note of your current settings so that you can restore them later, then enter the temporary IP address:
If the NPort is shown as locked, right-click on it and select Unlock: The default password is “moxa”.
Right-click again and select Configure, then select the Network tab: Enter a static IP address, subnet mask and gateway that work on your network (or select DHCP or BOOTP for automatic address assignment, though this is not recommended for most operating modes).
To make the NPort accessible on our network, I set its IP address to 192.168.0.253:
With the network configuration complete, you can disconnect the NPort 5110A from your computer and connect it to your network (LAN).
3. RS-232 configuration
It is essential that both the NPort and the scale use the same settings for the serial port (RS-232). In the Serial tab, select the port (the NPort 5110A only has one, but you still have to select it), check Modify and click on Settings:
Enter the RS-232 settings found in your scale’s menu or user manual. The default settings of our Ohaus Defender 3000 scale are shown in the screenshot below:
Important: By default, the NPort is set to CTS/RTS flow control! You cannot change this setting when using the Setup Wizard through the web console. As mentioned before, I recommend using the NPort Administrator software instead.
4. Set an operating mode
To change the mode, go to the Operating Mode tab, check Modify, select the port and click on Settings:
The NPort 5110A supports several operating modes, I will only discuss the following two here:
Real COM mode: This mode allows you to create a virtual COM port on a PC and use the scale as if it were connected directly to that PC. This is very useful when you’re using software which only supports connections to COM ports and cannot communicate over TCP/IP (such as our 232key virtual keyboard wedge software).
Please note that you’ll have to install a virtual COM port driver on the PC that communicates with the scale. In my tests on Windows 10, setting up the COM port through NPort Administrator did not create a new virtual COM port on the system. However, using the NPort Windows Driver Manager worked.
TCP Server: The NPort acts as a server, waiting for incoming connections from TCP clients on port 4001 (or on another user-defined port). The maximum number of concurrent connections can be changed from 1 (default) to up to 8. This mode works with software like our Simple Data Logger and many others.
Note: It is not necessary to set the data packing options unless you want to optimize either for minimal latency or maximum throughput. By default, the device will try to find a reasonable compromise (this is likely achieved by observing the delay between the data received over RS-232 to determine when a “line” of data is complete).
When I set the scale to continuous transmission mode (wich has no delay between the weight values), the NPort packed 104 bytes in each Ethernet frame, corresponding to almost 6 weight values (the scale sends 80 values/s):
Depending on the operating mode chosen above, you’ll have to use different programs to test the NPort 5110A. In addition to the software I’ve already mentioned above, you could use the following:
Real COM mode
A terminal program like Termite or HTerm can connect to the virtual COM port. Make sure that the connection parameters correspond to the settings of your scale.
You can use PuTTY set to “Raw” TCP mode to act as a TCP client: The following screenshot shows commands sent to the scale and the replies:Another option is our free TCPTester software. It repeatedly sends a user-defined command to the scale (e.g. to request the weight). Once a reply has been received, the command is repeated:
During testing, it can be useful to observe the LEDs on the NPort:
The “Ready” LED should be green.
The “Link” LED is green when the NPort has established a 100 Mbs Ethernet connection and orange on a 10 Mbps connection.
The Tx/Rx LED flashes orange when the NPort receives data from the scale and flashes green when the NPort is sends data to the scale over the serial port. Therefore, If you’re sending commands to a scale, you should be able to see it flash green. A reply from the scale would cause the LED to flash orange. If this is too difficult to see, consider using the web console to diagnose connection issues (I found it worked best in Firefox):
I hope this article has been useful. What are your experiences with Moxa’s NPort serial device servers? Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment! For support, please contact Moxa or your vendor.
Connecting your scale to a PC and recording the weight should not be a difficult task. However, data logging software available from scale manufacturers or third parties is often expensive, difficult to use or frustratingly unreliable. We developed Simple Data Logger (SDL) to address these issues.
SDL writes the weight received from a scale or balance to a file, optionally adding the date and time. The CSV files generated by SDL can easily be opened in Excel and other spreadsheet applications for further processing and visualization.
SDL currently supports the following connections:
COM port: RS-232, USB virtual COM port, Bluetooth SPP, etc.
TCP/IP: Ethernet, WLAN (raw TCP format only).
Note: Your scale has to send data in ASCII format.
Get started recording weight values with Simple Data Logger
Connect your scale to your computer, download and install SDL, then follow these steps to configure the software ():
Input tab: If your scale or balance is listed in SDL, simply select it and press the set default parameters for device button. Otherwise, select “generic measuring instrument” and enter the interface parameters manually. Set the radio button to match your connection: COM port (RS232, USB VCP, Bluetooth SPP) or TCP/IP.Make sure that you’ve specified a terminator (a.k.a. delimiter, the last character your scale sends in each line of data) or a timeout (e.g. 100ms, SDL will process received data if no additional data is received during this time).
Output tab: Choose a file for the recorded data. SDL will create if for you if it does not exist (otherwise, data will be appended). Choose (or enter) a date and time format or select “None” from the list if you do not want SDL to add the date or time. Pick a decimal separator (for numeric values) and value separator (used to separate values from each other). The correct settings for your locale can be made automatically by clicking on the set values button.
Start tab: Press the start button to start recording data. Press the “PRINT” button on your scale or balance to send the weight to SDL. Depending on you scale, this button might have a different name (e.g. “DATA”). Some scales like the A&D FX-300i used in this example also have to ability to automatically transfer each (stable) weight. Data received will be shown in the event log (with the captured weight value shown in blue) and the weight will be written to the chosen file. Press stop to stop data logging and to close the file.
Note: SDL can also handle continuous streams of weight data if this is what your application calls for (we’ve tested it with a scale which sends 100 values per second). The total number of recorded values is only limited by your disk space (but please keep in mind that Excel cannot open files containing more than 1,048,576 rows).
Process the weight values in Excel (or other spreadsheet applications)
Provided that you’ve made the right format settings in the output tab, you can easily open the CSV file in Excel (or other spreadsheet applications like Google Docs, OpenOffice/LibreOffice Calc). The weight will be recognized as a number, allowing you to make further calculations (i.e. calculating the total weight as shown below): Everything shown here can be done with the “Basic” version of SDL (which is free for personal, non-commercial use). The “Plus” version has additional features including a timer to request the weight from the scale in user-defined intervals.