• Building "double-click" Desktop Icons (or Shortcuts) for Simplifying Your Test Setup

IST DynaMax Suite Tech Tips 

October 1999 
Daniel Burk 
IST Applications Enginering

Greetings from IST Applications Engineering! The IST Development group has been very busy designing the next version of DynaMax Suite. I expect it to be ready for shipment by the first part of November. Version 1.2.0 has a bunch of new features as well as several bug fixes. Some of the most useful enhancements are found in the communications packages for both the EDR3 and the EDR3C platform-specific recorders. The most obvious enhancements are the inclusion of a remote-mode change dialog for the EDR3, and memory gages for optimizing your memory when using overwrite and sliding-window overwrite modes.

One of the least known enhancements include a whole new set of command-line switches. These switches enable you to automate your test setup in ways that have never before been available. With command-line switches, you can build double-click icons for your desktop that send pre-configured RCP files to the recorder. Thus, setup of the recorder becomes (almost!) foolproof. You can essentially hand a laptop computer to a technician, tell them to plug in, and double-click the icon in the middle of your screen. Field setups will be just that easy!

Other command-line switches that are being implented include the ability to launch "hook programs", which are customized applications that perform specific functions. An example of a hook application might be a document template that enables you to poke a customized menu of information into the user-memory of the recorder. This template might consist of mission-critical information such as the carrier serial number, technician name, or shipping destination.

Of course, IST will be offering the version 1.2.0 software updates free to you via our website. This service is available to registered DynaMax Suite users.

You may have noticed that the DynaMax Suite users manual 2nd edition dates back to April, 1999. Even though it is only six months old, it is already obsolete. There have simply been too many enhancements to DynaMax. That is why IST has committed to the purchase of Adobe Framemaker version 5.5.6 in order to enhance the written and on-line documentation required by our products. The software has been ordered along with a new machine. We intend on making available the highest quality documentation in our industry, both printed and online.

If you have not purchased or used IST products previously, and are currently shopping, go ahead and look beyond the "glitz" of the competitor advertising. IST products offer not only higher quality of engineering, but higher quality software, technical support, and documentation as well. Instrumented Sensor Technology has a very high ratio of knowledgeable engineers on staff to meet your application needs. We stand behind our products and services, as well. If you call us for technical support, you will speak to an engineer with several years of experience in shock and vibration. If we do not have your answer handy, we will generally get it for you within a day. Feel free to call with any applications specific questions, even if it is just to have us help you review your recorder settings before the test. 

Automating Your Setup with Desktop Icons

DynaMax Suite already provides you the means to create a highly automated setup for your recorder. Command-line switches are built into the applications programs EDR3CCOM (for the EDR3C platform) and EDR3COM(for the older EDR3 platform). These switches enable you to setup, download, or re-start the recording process with minimal interation on the part of the user. The easiest way to use these command-line switches is by embedding them into a shortcut. Every Windows-capable machine has shortcuts peppered all over the desk top: A shortcut exists for your trash can, another exists to open up your briefcase. Yet another shortcut exists to launch your web browser, and you may even have one for the DynaMax analysis program. By creating a new shortcut that includes an EDR3CCOM command-line switch, you can essentially reduce the setup process of your recorder to just two clicks of  a mouse button.

As an example, let us assume that you have created a setup for your recorder called "deepimpact.rcp". You use it regularly for monitoring the shocks experienced by military vehicles that are air dropped from aircraft. (Yes, this is a real application example) Since your setup does not change much, you use the same RCPs for each test. In all cases, you program your recorder to start up and begin recording 30 minutes after setup. This gives you time to bolt the system into the vehicle before it is loaded into the cargo bay of the transport aircraft. Here is a way that you reduce the setup process to just two clicks of your mouse button: 

Step # 1: Establish the path to the setup file.  In our case, the setup file is located in our data directory: d:\edr3data\deepimpact.rcp 
Step # 2: Establish the delay time required in seconds: 30 minutes equals 1800 seconds. Delay equals 1800 seconds. 
Step # 3: Establish the length of the test. Let us assume a window of one day. 1 day equals 86400 seconds.
This gives our military aircraft a whole day to get around to dropping the vehicle for the test.

Next, we need to build a shortcut that uses this information. This shortcut will use the following command line switches: 
-sendrcps: Send some RCPs found at this site. 
-ontime: The ontime delay in seconds 
-offtime: The test duration in seconds

Step # 4: Right-click on your desktop, click on: new>Shortcut 
Step # 5: Find the path to the EDR3CCOM.EXE executable. Generally, this is the path for the standard installation: 
                            "C:\Program Files\IST\DynaMax\edr3com" 
Step # 6: Enter this path into the shortcut, then type in the remaining command-line switches such that the line reads thus: 
"C:\Program Files\IST\DynaMax\edr3com" -sendrcps d:\edr3data\deepimpact.rcp -ontime 1800 -offtime 86400

Step # 7: Enter a unique name for your shortcut. (Such as SEND DEEPIMPACT SETUP) 
Step # 8: Click the FINISH button, and you are done! 

You can now send the DEEPIMPACT setup to your recorder by simply double-clicking on the new shortcut. 
For more information, consult your users manual.
The command line switch documentation is found on pages 57, and 92 of DynaMax users manual, 2nd edition.

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