[MATLAB] Real Time Serial Data Logger

Data acquisition is a very important part of test engineering. By plotting the data acquired in real time, we can analyze how the design behave and to determine whether it meet specs or not. Some examples of application are logging aircraft altitude and LiPo battery cells temperature. In my previous project of designing an aircraft altitude controller, the real  time data logger is a key part of the project in determining how the system perform. In that project, I used Java to program a real time data plotter and it was such a pain. The code became so messy that I do not want to look at it ever again. It took such a long time too.

So this time, I turned to MATLAB. As a 4th generation programming language, this is so much easier since it got a Serial interface and plotting function built in. In the end of this post, we should get sometime like this:

Serial Data Log Continue reading

[MATLAB] Dot Operation – No More For Loop!

MATLAB is a matrix based software that is widely used in engineering. Since the software is matrix based, it is actually a lot faster to do matrix operations rather than looping.

The following is an example of how to create a filter to eliminate all non-positive numbers from an array using the dot operation instead of a for loop.

function y = negative_filter( x )
% function y = negative_filter( x )
% plugging in a matrix will return only the positive numbers in a vector

%Create a zero matrix same size as the incoming matrix for comparison
z = zeros( size(x));

%Create a "filter" matrix that return 1 if the condition is true
%It will return 0 if the condition is false
filter = (x > z);

%This function multply the "filter matrix" with the incoming matrix
%elements by elements, note the '.' in front of '*'. This line will set all
%number less than 0, or false to the earlier stated condition to 0.
y = filter .* x;

%This remove all zero terms from the matrix
y(y==0) = [];