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Getting Started

Thing's you'll need:

You'll need a few different pieces of equipment in order to use Talking Balance:

  • A computer running Windows 7 or newer with an available USB port.
  • A set of compatible scales:
    • Option 1 is the least expensive way of getting started.
    • Option 2 is more expensive but offers greater levels of accuracy.
  • Some cabling:
  • A screen reader on the computer you are using (if you wish the program to talk). If you don't have one, you can download NVDA for free from this link

Connecting everything up:

  • Connect the male end (the one with pins sticking out) of the null modem cable to the scales and hand-tighten the two side screws.
  • Connect the other end of the null modem cable to the non-USB end of the USB to RS-232 adaptor and hand-tighten the two side screws.
  • If at this stage you wish to use the scales, connect the power adaptor and plug the USB cable into a spare USB port.
  • NB: you can save time setting up the scales by leaving the cables connected between uses and simply disconnecting power from the scales and the USB cable from your computer once done.

Using the software:

Having followed the above steps, you're now ready to use Talking Balance to start making some measurements! Getting started is relatively simple:

  1. With the USB cable connected, open the Talking Balance application.
  2. You will be presented with a screen asking you to confirm which serial port to use. Whilst the available ports may have slightly cryptic names, often only one option will be available. If multiple options are presented try each option until you've found the one that works. Note that the name of the correct port should never change, so you should only have to determine the correct port's name once.
  3. Once a port has been selected, Talking Balance will start listening for messages from your scales.
  4. If not already powered on, power the scales on. At this point Talking Balance may start to print some small readings despite nothing being placed on the scales - this is due to the sensitivity of the scales and can be safely ignored.
  5. Place an item on the scales. Talking Balance should print the new reading to the screen which should in turn be read out loud if a screen reader is running. Then, remove the item and observe that a new reading has been printed.

Congratulations. Talking Balance is now functioning correctly and is ready to be used.

Program hotkeys:

Several hotkeys have been implemented within Talking Balance to make controlling the scales even easier:

  • Press o to power the scales on / off and or to exit the program.
  • Press t to tare (reset) the scales.
  • Press u to switch between different measurement units. Supported units are grams, ounces, troy ounces, pennyweights, pounds and carats.
  • Press f to switch between different modes.
  • Press m to show the number of items in the balance, if applicable.
  • Press p to show the percentage, if applicable.
  • Press c to start the calibration process for the scales. NB: this should only be attempted if the scales are showing incorrect readings and you are comfortable with the processes required to calibrate lab-grade equipment.