Display User Manual

Display showing a day's activity logged from a solar panel controller. 

Display shows the contents of the temp.log file in c:\hotbox by default. The log file is continuously updated by either the Hotbox application or the NT temperature service. Either an "PIC Arbiter" or Solar Heated Water Controller connect to the PC.

Display can be used for any time varying data - the log file must be formatted correctly.


Thick red - panel manifold

Thin Red - heat exchanger coil feed

Blue - heat exchanger coil return

The green shaded area shows when the pump was running.

All the above trace colours are configurable.

The lower black trace is calculated from the temperature difference across the heat exchanger when the pump is running.


Click "Conf..."

The drop down lists all the probes (maximum of 64). Each probe trace can be renamed, hidden, coloured. To hide all traces click "All Off". To show all traces click "All On". 

The temperature scale can be switched between Celsius and Fahrenheit. (This state persists - see hotbox.ini)

The traces run from the first log entry to the last when in "linear" mode. Several days or weeks can be displayed sequentially. Setting "Day On Day" wraps all log entries into the first 24 hours.

The hotbox.ini contains the unique address of each temperature probes. Hotbox will fake and address of "Controller" when logging controller activity. A probe with an address of "Controller" has a pump icon displayed in place of a probe icon. When the pump runs it is displayed as a filled area.

New features 

Track - Real time update of changes to log file. Time axis scrolls with latest data from log file. when you check the track checkbox in the configuration dialog.

Borders. Plot now have adjustable width and an adjustable black border.

Energy and Temperature difference analysis

Click on "Delta".

To calculate the difference between any 2 probes, check "Calculate Delta". The difference between Hot and Cold will be shown. "Pump Intersection" will mask in pump activity, and, with the pump flow rate, enable the solar energy to be calculated.   

Specific Heat of water 4184, methyl alcohol 2510, glycerine 2427. I use 3300 as an estimate for my solar panel.

The calculated power, in Watt Hours, is displayed on the dialog e.g. 1713 Wh. Scrolling the time axis will clip the calculation period - so energy obtained for a few minutes can be easily calculated.

Scrolling through several weeks worth of daily power reading to build up a report can be tedious. Instead, use the system menu, "Copy Power" feature. 

The clipboard will now contain a daily power report. This can be directly pasted to a spreadsheet for further analysis. 

This is what gets pasted to notepad:

The first field is the date, the second the power in Watt hours. A tab character is used to delimit fields. (As you can see, the solar panel has struggled to receive any power over the last few days!)

Zoom In

Markee select the area to zoom in to.

Move the mouse cursor to the start top left of the rectangle. Left click and hold, dragging down and to the right. Release. The display will zoom in to the new selection. The operation can be aborted by attempting to create a rectangle in any other quadrant.

The temperature graticule will rescale.

Zoom Out

Click "Restore" to zoom out  - this will reveal all logged traces.

Click "Out" to zoom out by a factor of 2.


Vertical Scroll Arrow Scroll up, or down, one temperature graticule
Vertical Thumb Scroll
Vertical Shaft Scroll up, or down, one complete window height
Horizontal Scroll Arrow Scroll left, right in hour intervals
Horizontal Scroll Arrow <SHIFT> Scroll left, right in day intervals
Horizontal Thumb Scroll
Horizontal Shaft Scroll up, or down, one complete window width


The entire window can be resized by grabbing the lower right frame. 


Four text  items are displayed under the dialog buttons. 

1,  temperature under the mouse cursor.

2, Time under the mouse cursor. (And day of week <version 2.20>)

3,  Slope of diagonal between lower left and top right. Zoom in to a trace so it lies on these points. This slope in degrees per hour is reported.

4, Power transferred in heat exchanger.  This is dynamically updated. If a week 's logging is displayed, the week energy will be shown. Zoom in to a day, or even a couple of minutes, and the corresponding energy will be shown.

File Operations

The log file "c:\hotbox\temp.log" is opened by default. Click "File..." to open a different log. "Reload" re-reads the entire log. Useful as Hotbox, or the NT Service Temperature, will be continuously updating the log. (The file is opened with read share attributes. The act of opening a file will not affect real time logging.

File Formats

The temperature log consists of a series of comma separated records:


The fields are: time, probe ID, temperature. (Probe ID refers to the device in the hotbox.ini file)

SETI file format

records with 4 fields will be parsed as


xxx means "ignore"

This is used by a SETI application. Data is assigned to probe ID 1.

Diagnostic Report

A diagnostic report can be obtained from the About Box on the System Menu. Please cut and paste the report into any bug report email!


What's SETI got to do with Thermo probes? Nothing, other than Display lets you see time varying data really easily.

Load in a SETI file. This has 4 or more CSV columns, as shown in SETI file format

The day on day mode in Configuration displays successive days in different colours. The colour sequence is defined by the probe colours.

Sidereal days of 23hr, 56min, 4 seconds are displayed in Fahrenheit mode; Solar days in Centigrade. 

Sidereal overlay

Solar overlay

Above shows power at 1420 MHz from a dish pointing to sun at transit on 19th June. 9 successive days data overlaid. Cygnus A at 2:00, Crab and sun at 12:00. (Times are approximate. To Do: add a time graticule!) 

Follow this distraction at www.jsquared.co.uk/seti/index.html

This page was last updated on the 17th January 2002

Back to Therm Home Page