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The Windows ® programs for drawing analog meter scales




Current revision of Meter is 2.65;
revision history is at the bottom of this page


  • These programs - Meter and MeterBasic - are designed to have a computer do the hard work in making a precision scale for a d'Arsonval analog meter. The resulting scales can appear as nice (or nicer!) as those found on commercial meters.

  • Meter is a nice meterscale drawing program with no time or usage limitations. It requires a text-based key to operate. It is updated frequently.

  • MeterBasic is a fine program for the hobbyist who wants to generate a simple scale occasionally. MeterBasic is based on a subset of the features found in Meter and there are no plans to update it regularly. It requires no key and has no time or usage limitations. To provide an incentive to upgrade from MeterBasic to Meter, many of the features found in Meter are absent.

  • Upgrade from MeterBasic to Meter: simply download Meter and install it (it is a separate program from MeterBasic), purchase the key for it and then take advantage of Meter's many wonderful features.



Meter is a full-featured program requiring a purchased key to operate

 

MeterBasic requires no key and has no time or usage limitations but has limited capabilities to encourage purchase of Meter.
Meter draws up to six scales on a single plate.

 

MeterBasic draws one scale on the plate.
The program does dB, vu, VSWR, S-meter and ohmmeter scales; each of those routines has appropriate options for customization. Ohmmeter scales can have zero ohms at either zero deflection or fullscale deflection. All of those are in addition to totally-arbitrary scales.

 

MeterBasic does not draw those special scales. A single simple linear scale can be drawn.

 

Each scale can have a specified linearity; specify a power (wattmeter) scale or a slightly nonlinear AC voltmeter scale with a few key strokes.

 

MeterBasic draws only linear scales.
The meter movement nonlinearity can be accommodated; this is especially useful when inexpensive meters are involved.

 

MeterBasic assumes an ideal (linear) movement.
Each scale can have its own font, selectable from most of those on the computer.

 

MeterBasic uses "Arial" (sans-serif) font for the single scale.
Each scale can have its own fontsize.

 

MeterBasic allows the fontsize for the single scale to be selected.
Each scale can have its deflection - its length - adjusted to allow matching of, for example, percent or voltage scales to dB or vu scales. [See "vu meter with percent" below]

 

MeterBasic does not have this feature (it is not needed when only one scale is present).
In addition to each scale's label, eight text strings can be placed on the plate. Each of these can be placed in arbitrary locations with its own font size and color; they are printed horizontally.

 

MeterBasic allows no added text strings.
A graphic may be imported and placed on the scale. Graphic types .BMP, .GIF, .ICO and .JPG are accepted. Width, height and placement can be freely adjusted.

 

MeterBasic allows no graphics.
Up to ten Highlights may be added to a plate. These may be used to indicate warning, overload, or target areas. Each has independently assignable size, position and color.

 

MeterBasic allows no highlights.
The plate (background) color may be freely specified.

 

MeterBasic allows only a white background.
Each scale can have its own number of tic marks, how many of these ticmarks are made bold, how many are labeled, the color of each, etc.

 

MeterBasic prints only one scale on the plate. Ticmarks may be adjusted as in Meter but the scale foreground color must be black.
Each tic mark and its associated label can be printed (default) or not (by using the "Select Tics" routine).

 

All ticmarks and their labels must be printed.
Text may be printed or omitted; most of the fonts available on your computer can be selected.

 

MeterBasic uses only "Arial" (sans-serif) font.
A design Wizard is available at program startup to assist in the design of a new scale from scratch.

 

MeterBasic has no Wizard.
This program has the uncommon ability to "flatten" the arc a user-selectable amount to make a more modern-appearing scale. This is most usable with the thin "tubular" or "spadeless" style of pointer.

 

Same as for Meter
The length and width of both the minor and major tic marks are each adjustable.

 

Same as for Meter
The arcs may be printed or omitted; their width (thickness) can be specified. 360 degree arcs are supported.

 

Same as for Meter
The program delivers output to any graphics-capable printer, color or black-and-white, which has been installed on the Windows system. Just prior to printout the printer-selection panel appears to allow a last-minute change of printer or redirection to a file or PDF writer.

 

Same as for Meter, bearing in mind that the output must be black printing on a white background.
The scale is written directly to the printer for maximum fidelity; the output is not a "screen dump." The fidelity of the printed output will be much better than even a high-end monitor.

 

Same as for Meter
The scaleplate width and height, the mounting hole positions, positioning of scales on the plate, and other items are all accommodated.

 

Same as for Meter
A calibration routine allows correction of printed output width and height errors, regardless of the cause.

 

Same as for Meter
Presentation on-screen is autoscaled to always make a full-sized image regardless of scale size. The printer printout is auto-centered appropriately on the paper.

 

Same as for Meter
The program handles plate widths from 20 up to 180 mm, plate heights from 10 up to 180 mm.

 

Same as for Meter
Extensive entry checking reduces probability of ridiculous results.

 

Same as for Meter
In addition to that Help system, most of the input text boxes to specify items are supported by a graphic illustrating the item being changed. Just click on the button immediately-adjacent to the entry box to see the explanatory graphic.

 

Same as for Meter
A stand-alone manual ( PDF, 6.5 MB ) is available for free download.

 

That manual applies to both Meter and also MeterBasic but many of the features discussed are available only in Meter
Updates and enhancements are added regularly to Meter; these are available at no cost to the purchaser.

 

No updates are planned for MeterBasic
The various dimensional entries are all metric (mm). A ruler in millimeters is printed out along with the scale.

 

Same as for Meter
To support the ruler, a grid showing millimeters is printed on the screen.

 

Same as for Meter
All of the design data is written automatically to a "LastSession" file at program exit time, allowing a simplified program restart. Start the program, click on the "Last Session" button and continue where you left off.

 

Same as for Meter
The supplied file as downloaded is a self-extracting installation routine. The program itself is installed in a standard manner. Its icon is placed on the desktop by default to enable a shortcut.

 

Same as for Meter

Price of unlocking key for Meter: $34.95

 


No key is required for MeterBasic

These programs are not general-purpose drafting tools, and they won't duplicate the appearance of all existing scales. They will, however, do a very nice job of making modern-appearing meter scales in a vast majority of cases.

Using the text-based key system (no "dongle"), upgrades for Meter are free: just download any later version, uninstall the old, install the new and get on with your tasks! No upgrades are planned for MeterBasic.

Meterscale drawing methods involving pen and ink, erasers, compasses, transfer letters, scanners and graphics editors and so on are now history.



Here are screen dumps from Meter illustrating some of the outputs to the screen. Screens on MeterBasic are somewhat simplified because some of the options are not available. Click on any of these screen dumps to see larger versions; use your brower's BACK button to return.

Plate design page:
Plate design page
Scale design page:
Scale design page
Text entry page:
Text entry page
Graphic entry page:
Graphic entry page
Highlight entry page:
Highlight entry page
Help:
Help
Color selection:
Color-selection
Exponent help:
Linearity exponent help
Linearity entry page:
Movement linearity correction entry
Two scales on a plate:
Two scales on a plate
Special scale menu:
Special scales menu
Ohmmeter scale:
Ohmmeter scale
Wattmeter:
wattmeter with VSWR scale
S-meter:
S-meter as seen on the screen
Arbitrary scale:
Totally-arbitrary scale
Modulation monitor:
Modulation monitor scale
vu meter:
vu meter as seen on the screen
vu meter with percent:
vu meter as seen on the screen
Wizard part 1:
Wizard page 1
Wizard part 2:
Wizard page 2
White on black:
White printing on black background

Want to have a third-party monitor this page for any changes? Easy!
Just go here or here to have a robot monitor this page for you.
This allows you to be assured of knowing about the latest revisions to the program.



Updated to 2.65 - Remove millimeter scale on printout (it is not necessarily correct)

Updated to 2.64 - Complete rewrite of printer width and height calibration routine

Updated to 2.63 - Upgrade to key handler

Updated to 2.62 - Significant upgrade to error handling for missing graphic file.

Updated to 2.61 - Allow Special scale to go back to Standard scale; found and corrected error in summary filewriter; remove troublesome entry method for text-to-bottom input.

Updated to 2.60 - Found and corrected error in graphics-importing routine.

Updated to 2.59 - Updated to allow ohmmeter scale to have zero ohms at either zero deflection or fullscale deflection.

Updated to 2.58 - Updated to allow scale titles to be placed below the plate bottom (for documentation purposes).

Updated to 2.57 - Updated to allow negative ticmark lengths so ticmarks can point inward on a scale.

Updated to 2.56 - Updated Highlights entry page to simplify and clarify the entries and minimize the possibility of problematic entries; other small changes.

Updated to 2.55 - Updated Scales design page to allow each scale to have adjustable degree of deflection to fullscale to allow matching dB (or vu) scales to linear (percent) scale. Slight revision to Special Scales page; rewrite of ticmark and label-selection page; remove HPGL-to-printer routine.

Updated to 2.54 - Updated Highlights page to show ticmark info right on the page

Updated to 2.53 - Added ability to write HPGL data to file, HPGL directly to PCL-capable printer and design summary to printer; cosmetic upgrade to menubar

Updated to 2.52 - Significant upgrade to Plate design page; refined as far as possible the horizontal positioning of texts on pages; removed "Center horizontally" button on text-entry page (problematic).

Updated to 2.51 - Added "Center horizontally" button to the text-entry page; refined horizontal positioning of texts on printer.

Updated to 2.50 - A MAJOR rewrite of nearly the entire program. Six scales, ten texts, ten highlights, "up/down" buttons to make changes with instant visual feedback on that same page.

Updated to 2.49 - A major upgrade involving the additon of a Wizard to assist in the design of a file from scratch.

Updated to 2.48 - File-reading and Preview screen error handlers changed to have separate routines for font errors and all other errors.

Updated to 2.47 - added Ohmmeter design routine

Updated to 2.46 - corrected problems in special scales routines

Updated to 2.45 - added ability to not print ticmarks and arc for each scale (one set of tics, multiple set of labels)

Updated to 2.44 - increase number of scales on a plate up to six; increase number of highlights up to eight; increase number of arbitrary text strings up to eight; miscellaneous upgrades

Updated to 2.43 - added movement nonlinearity correction capability; updated Help system

Updated to 2.42 - added aspect-ratio adjustment capability to accommodate modern "wide screen" moniors; updated Help system

Updated to 2.41 - cosmetic improvements (switch to Arial font for program texts)

Updated to 2.40 - added circle on Preview page to assist in designing scales using round plates; found/corrected deleted-tics file-saving error

Updated to 2.39 - remove useage counter

Updated to 2.38 - cosmetic improvements

Updated to 2.37 - major revision to toolbars (navigation); Help system accordingly updated

Updated to 2.36 - added "Quadrant" plate style

Updated to 2.35 - allow each of the four scales to have their own specifiable font sizes; associated ticmarks have their lengths adjusted accordingly, along with the spacing from ticmark labels to the ticmarks; Help system updated.

Updated to 2.34 - use fiducials on plate corners instead of lines around plate to show size

Updated to 2.33 - allow changing Special scale back to Standard scale; corrected inability of virtual/actual offset and bottom-to-bearing to be equal

Updated to 2.32 - rewrite of graphic-import and highlight routines.

Updated to 2.31 - added totally-arbitrary scale design capability to the other special scale designs.

Updated to 2.30 - now use a font-selecting routine to select from most of those fonts that are loaded onto your computer (was formerly only serif or sans-serif).

Updated to 2.29 - major update to add routines to design db, vu, VSWR and S-meter scales with appropriate options.

Updated to 2.28 - add routine to delete (and restore) individual ticmarks and their labels

Updated to 2.27 - miscellaneous interface upgrades

Updated to 2.26 - allow specification of plate background color (was white only)

Updated to 2.25 - fixed incorrect colors

Updated to 2.24 - corrected inability of some menubar items to function correctly

Updated to 2.21 - corrected problem involving saving texts

Updated to 2.20 corrected error prohibiting entry of highlights

Updated to 2.19 - Separate printer-driver routines for the "rotated" and "horizontal" ticmark labels. This generally but not always sidesteps printer idiosyncrasies encountered in some printers when they print text on an angle. (Horizontal and vertical text prints correctly.)

Updated to 2.18 - font-size error in 2.17 fixed.

Updated to 2.17 - a major re-write to allow the ticmark labels to "rotate" about the pointer bearing. Numerous other minor items were upgraded as well.

Updated to 2.16 - corrected text-position and text on/off errors

Updated to 2.15 - input error-checking refinement, prohibition of excess printout size which jammed some printers.

Updated to 2.14 - corrected graphic size and position error, now toggle grid and pointer lines, near total rewrite of Help system.

Updated to 2.13 - corrected ticmark label vertical position error, "X" exit error.

Updated to 2.12 - added "toolbar" for quick visually-logical access to common items; corrected printer-cancellation error.

Updated to 2.11 - added "Highlights"; made Help system resolution-independent.

Updated to 2.10 - clarified menu item "Print"; fixed error in HPGL file.

Updated to 2.09 - changed internal items to allow commas for decimal-point specification of text size in those regions affected.

Updated to 2.08 - output to the printer now uses only half of a sheet of paper. Design data is printed separately (done from the Scales Design page or the Plate Design page).

Updated to 2.07 - significant upgrade to allow up to five independent text items to be placed on the plate. Each of these has location, color and size separately specifiable. Application Note now part of the upgraded Help system

Updated to 2.06 - make key system Windows-version independent

Updated to 2.05 - use key file to convert trial version to full version. This conversion method simplifies upgrades from trial to full.

Updated to 2.04 - save-file (an internal operation) modified for operation in global regions which use a comma for decimal

Updated to 2.03 - added printer selection box

Updated to 2.02 - added separate X- and Y-axis printer calibration

Released - 2.01 2 September 2004