One of the many new benefits added to the 280 series digital multimeters is a feature called Trend Capture. Trend Capture is a feature that was born from doing customer research for the 287/289's multimeter's predecessor, the Fluke 189 logging Multimeter. The 189's logging function allowed the user to log data over time then download to a pc to review the logged results. This process, while beneficial to the troubleshooter mandated that only one session could be logged at a time, then a pc was required to analyze the results. If in the field traveling to multiple sites for maintenance work, many of our customers told us this was a cumbersome solution.
Dot Matrix display, more memory and Trend Capture is born!
What is "TrendCapture"?
TrendCapture is a trend plot style graphical representation of a logged session which has been recorded by the meter. This display can be viewed right on the meter as soon as the recording session has been completed.
What are the benefits?
For the troubleshooter on the go the benefits can be huge.
Now, not only can the user immediately view recorded results from a logging session which could have been up to 200 hours long, allowing for an instant analysis of any unusual events without the need of a pc, multiple recording sessions can be completed and viewed right on the meter without the need for a download first.
In addition to being able to view the trend information right on the screen, a cursor is also available to highlight a specific event (including event detail), you can also ZOOM in for a closer look at the data.
Having this type of information available on the spot can make for faster troubleshooting and quicker decision making which translates to more problem solving power in your digital multimeter than ever before.
It's easy. Once the recording session is complete, first and foremost save the session. You can either select the generic save button to "auto" save the recording to the next available empty memory or you can give it a specific pre-selected name by choosing +Name. Once saved, now select "Trend". The graphical trend plot display will now be drawn on the screen for a quick visual analysis of the recording session. If there are multiple events displayed in the session, the ZOOM function can be utilized to look at the specific event of interest.
Sample view from a well pump circuit
A x6 zoom view of a single highlighted event
How do I zoom?
First, Use the left/right arrow keys on the keypad to move the cursor in the display directly over the event of interest. Once the cursor is aligned over the event, now use the up arrow key to increase the resolution of the event in the display. The magnification will continue until the x-axis time period is 1 second.
The zoom level is indicated in the upper right hand corner of the display.
Why doesn't TrendCapture do real time trending?
Logging and Trend Capture were designed to be a troubleshooter's assistant. While logging takes place real time, the intent of logging is to monitor a process, system, circuit for performance while you are elsewhere tending to other issues in the plant. Logging is like having a helper. Logging watches while you can't. It improves efficiency and helps with time management. It helps you find problems when you can't be there.
TrendCapture now offers the troubleshooter the added ability to immediately view the result of a recording session while in the field, without having to leave the field or find a pc for download of results. Many times the events, interruptions, drop outs or anomalies when viewed immediately can speed up the troubleshooting process. Since the information displayed and viewed is time correlated, in many instances it helps the troubleshooter quickly establish and determine the root cause.
Having this capability can enhance the troubleshooting experience by spotting problems faster, which leads to quicker solutions and less downtime. TrendCapture adds great front line functionality to the troubleshooter's toolbox, but depending upon the situation and the circumstances may not have enough resolution to view all events which may have occurred, especially over a long period of recording. In these cases a download to Flukeview Forms may be necessary for a more in depth analysis. Real time trending, if desired, can be done using Flukeview Forms software.
When would I need to use the Flukeview Forms software?
Flukeview Forms offers the troubleshooter additional flexibility. In cases where there may be so much event data captured that it won't be displayed clearly in the 280 series Trend Capture screen, downloading this data to Flukeview Forms will allow you to see all the data points captured. It is here that you can see everything. Some data from situations like multiple simultaneous events or events which may be stacked on top of each other will be clearly more viewable in the software due to the resolution constraints of the meter display.
Flukeview Forms also includes a custom form designer program for building your own custom reports, importing data sets from multiple meters for comparison, export as .csv data for use in Excel. Another new function just added is the ability to save meter "screenshots", another option to use when documentation may be required to track anomalies or system performance.
TrendCapture - Wrapping it up
The new Trend Capture capability added to the 280 series digital multimeters takes the logging Multimeter to the next level. The power of immediately viewing the results of a recorded session gives the troubleshooter the ability to instantly analyze the results over time and spot anomalies or events which may have occurred or even verified that the process or system is working as prescribed. This capability improves efficiencies, saves time and ultimately saves money, both for the troubleshooter and the customer. Letting the meter do the work for you and show you the results is the ultimate assistant, adding a new enhanced level of performance in the 280 series digital multimeters.
Author's note: I wanted to see how many times my well pumped turned on/off over a several day period and how long the pump was actually on each time. Why you say? Because if my well is low on water, or runs low on water, the pump runs longer. If the well runs dry, the pump motor burns up. Trend Capture/logging allowed me to see what happened, how often and how long the pump ran. I have run low on water and out of water before, so I'm sensitive to burning up my pump and running out of water.