How do you connect a ColorFlex EZ directly to a LIMs system?

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FAQ: “Do you know of anyone that has used the ColorFlex EZ with the Infinity QS LIMs system?… I get the ColorFlex EZ hooked up and I can see that it is connected to my computer through USB but I don’t see any data that can be pulled from the equipment. Do you have any other resources about how the data is sent, like the format and how I can see that data on the computer?”

HunterLab does not support specific third-party LIMs systems but does provide multiple ways to output human-readable data records in ASCII format to different output devices.

Output

Form

Output Format

Port Out Location

USB Flash Disk 8-bit ASCII CSV file for import into Excel Standard USB on side
USB Printer 8-bit ASCII Formatted for USB printer Standard USB on side
Personal Computer or LIMs 8-bit ASCII Fixed column width Mini A/B USB at back

When the Print function is selected by the operator after a measurement, what is sent out to all USB ports is human-readable, 8-bit ASCII record of the color information (English only) on the ColorFlex EZ display screen, plus the spectral data record for the measurement.

Production Tip: Pressing the "PRINT" function on the CFEZ does a manual output of the data record. You can further optimize sending out the data record by setting the AutoSave feature to ON under Main Menu/Global Options such that every time a measurement is taken, the data is automatically sent to all USB ports including the back USB to be collected by the LIMs system.

Typical output of a USB data record.

What is needed for LIMs Connection and Configuration

  • HunterLab ColorFlex EZ sensor
  • A21-1013-859 Mini-A to Standard A USB cable (supplied as standard)
  • Capture program for viewing USB data record output for LIMs integration

If an IT professional integrates the ColorFlex EZ into LIMs system, they typically would have a utility program for viewing the data record output being sent out the back USB port of the ColorFlex EZ.

If you do not have this USB communications program, contact HunterLab for a CFEZ MSEZ USB Data Capture program to allow viewing of the data record output.

An operator makes a color measurement on the ColorFlex EZ. The data record is sent out the USB port at the back of the instrument.

It is carried by the 1 meter long A21-1012-995 Standard USB Cable connected with the Mini-B plug attached to the back of the CFEZ and a Standard-A plug connected to the PC.

 The USB Data Capture program will collect and display the data allowing the LIMs integrator to see the form of the output data record.

Once the data record leaves the USB port, the LIMs integrator can parse out what the color information from the record that needs to be collected and stored in the LIMs.

FAQ: “Can the data output of the CFEZ be modified have any way to save what is coming to it – automatically or manually? (I don’t see a file menu option in your screen cap).”

No. This data capture program allows you to see what is coming out after the “Print” button is pressed or AutoSave (better) is turned on. The LIMs integrator has to write a program, typically in the LIMs,  to parse the captured data for what you need and save then save it.

FAQ: “I was able to contact our LIMs supplier and they gave me the information we need from your company, in order to set up communication with the equipment. This consists of baud rate, parity, data bits, stop bits, flow control, and buffer size.”

Definition of these parameters is important with Serial communication protocols, but with USB communication where the ColorFlex EZ acts as a device to the PC host, all of these data parameters set by the USB protocol. All the LIMs integrator has to do is capture the data record coming out of the back CFEZ USB port and parse out the color values they want to collect.

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