databot™ Basic Training
Microsoft invented some remarkable tools for students to work with real world data, one of them is “Data Streamer” – an Excel spreadsheet Add-In that enables live streaming of data into Excel. databot™ made friends with Excel and Data Streamer and now they talk all the time. Here’s how.
Microsoft Excel, Data Streamer, and databot™!
Microsoft has an awesome team, the Hacking STEM group, working on engaging STEM experiences for students using tools like Excel. databot™ is simple to connect to Microsoft Excel using the Hacking STEM Data Streamer Add-In. The following steps will enable you to quickly and easily connect Excel to databot™.
Important: Data Streamer for Excel is only available on Windows 10 with Office 365. If you have an older version of Excel or are using Excel on a different operating system use the SD card to capture data and open the data file in the software of your choice. Instructions for use of the SD card can be found here.
Step 1: Preparing for Data Streamer - Install the Arduino IDE
Install the Arduino IDE and databot™ Drivers: databot™ has the ability to communicate a stream of live serial data that can be read by many programs including Microsoft Excel.
Communicating with Excel first requires you to have completed the Arduino IDE basic setup as you will be loading a pre-built program from the databot™ library and flashing it to databot™. If you have not done this step, please do so now!
Step 2: Set Up a Live Serial Data Feed for Excel
Once you have successfully set up your Arduino IDE in Step 1 you are ready to load and flash databot with a Sketch that will output a stream of serial data from the sensors you select. Follow the instructions in the Serial Data help section to prepare your Sketch and start the data stream. When you are ready, proceed to Step 3 and connect Excel and databot™ using Data Streamer!
Step 3: Activate the Data Streamer Add-In For Excel
When successfully installed, Data Streamer will display on your Excel ribbon as shown in the animated Gif (courtesy of Microsoft) to the right. If it is not displayed, follow these simple instructions:
- Go to File > Options > Add-Ins.
- Make sure COM Add-ins is selected in the Manage box and click Go.
- In the COM add-Ins dialog box, make sure to select the box next to Microsoft Data Streamer for Excel add-in, then click OK.
Upon completion, you should now see Data Streamer displayed on your Excel ribbon! Your next step is to connect databot™ !
Step 4: Connect to databot™ with Data Streamer
Connect databot™ & Flash Master Serial Sketch
As you did in Step 2 above, load the Arduino IDE and connect and flash databot™ with the Master_Serial_CSV sketch located in the IDE folder in your Arduino IDE.
Once flashed with the default Master sketch databot™ will be streaming data values from all of its onboard sensors.
Leaving databot™ connected to your Windows computer with the provided USB cable, go on to the next step where you will use Data Streamer to begin receiving the data stream.
Open a Blank Excel Worksheet
You should see your Data Streamer tab displayed on your Excel ribbon as shown to the right.
Select the Data Streamer Option
Note the various functions displayed when you select Data Streamer.
Select “Connect Device” Option
When you select the Connect Device option it should display your connected databot™ as shown here. The Silicon Labs driver displayed here is a databot™ on COM port 3.
Excel Creates a Data Streamer Workbook
When you connect your databot™ device Data Streamer and Excel will recognize a controller with data is attached and create a Workbook as shown to the right.
Select the “Start Data” option from your Data Streamer menu.
Behold Your Live Data!
Once you have connected to the device and started your data stream you should see the columns populating with data in real time. Excel and Data Streamer automatically create as many “channels” as necessary to display your data values. By default, when you flash databot™ with the Master CSV file it will stream all values from all sensors so you should be seeing many values
Now you are ready to begin experimenting with Excel and databot™. Disconnect your device and go back to your Arduino IDE. Look in the IDE folder of example programs and try another example – Lux. Flash the sketch to your databot™ and once again connect to Excel using Data Streamer. You should now only see the Lux value and the timestamp streaming! Great job – go forth and experiment!
You have successfully completed your exploration of how to connect Microsoft Excel and databot™ using Data Streamer. Now that you are empowered, come up with some exciting ways to use databot™ and Excel to study the world around you and explore data. Have fun!