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Chapter 9 - Software Operation: Menus (general) and Main Menu.

This chapter describes the software by reference to the menu entries by which the software features may be accessed. It is prescribed reading for a new user of the software, so that he may grasp the range of its capability, but need not be learnt, as it is referenced in the index.

Menus (general)

All features are accessed by means of menus. The feature accessed is determined by the position of a selector bar. If the feature legend is shown dimmed, then that feature is temporarily unobtainable. Features may be selected by moving the selector bar using , keys, or if identified by a digit they can be selected by typing that digit. The , keys wrap between the first and last selections. There are two categories of items that may be selected - Actions and Edit Items. Menus containing Edit Items do not have digit selection.

All menus have in common a first one or more selections which cause the program to advance to the next action, and a last selection which will allow escape from the menu back to the previous menu or main menu.

Instructions

At the foot of each menu is a simple instruction line. This indicates from left to right the result of using the key, the key, and the , keys.

Actions

An action is started by pressing the indicated key, which may be or . The latter is associated with retreating back to a higher level menu; in the main menu it terminates the program. When these keys are pressed on an inappropriate action, the selector bar will automatically move to an appropriate action, and will respond to the next press of the same key.

Edit Items

When the selector bar is moved to an editable item, then the value of the item may be changed. The item may be one of the following three types:

The values of editable items when the program starts (or when a setup file is loaded, see setup files) are collectively known as the default values. When one or more have been changed, the new or current values of these items appear when menus are entered, but as described below it is easy to cancel any changes which may be regretted and / or restore the default values.

Options are presented with flashing arrow heads at one or both ends of the name, and are changed by pressing , keys appropriately.

e.g. in this example press to get the next available data drive. If neither arrow appears, then it means that there is only one option available!

Numbers and Text Strings are initially presented with all characters flashing to indicate that the editing mode is replace-all, i.e. any character typed at the cursor deletes all existing characters.

If you wish to edit the existing string instead of replacing it, then use any of the following keys:

, : to move the cursor as to the point to be edited, one character at a time.

+,

+: to move the cursor one word at a time.

, : to move the cursor to the start or the end of the item.

: to delete the digit / character at the cursor.

: (backspace) to delete the character to the left of the cursor, in particular the character just typed.

: to toggle the edit mode into insert mode, and between insert and overtype mode. In overtype mode the cursor is a flashing full block, and the character at the cursor is replaced by the character typed; in insert mode, the cursor is an underline, and all characters from the cursor to the end are moved right to accommodate the next character typed.

Any of the above keys will cause the mode to change from replace-all to one of the other two editing modes described above.

Finally, the , , or keys may be used to confirm the edited value, and move to the next selection above or below. The key will be found the most convenient.

Erroneous entries

If there is an error in the entry, then the value will not confirm, and the selector bar will remain on the entry. If the entry is not comprehensible or badly formed in some way, the cursor will move to the character in question, which should be changed. Numbers out of range give rise to an audible beep when confirmation is attempted.

Restoring defaults and cancelling changes.

If the value of a selected item is different from the default value, or has been changed since the menu was entered, any change may be cancelled, or the default value restored by using the key. The left most entry of the instruction line at the bottom of the menu will indicate what the effect of the key will be. This may change as ap propriate when the key is pressed. This feature makes it easy to restore t he default values, and cancel changes, and makes it quite clear what is happening to the selected item.

Menus with editable items also offer a Default / Cancel selection allowing all default values to be restored, or all changes made since the menu was entered to be cancelled. To use this option place the selector bar on the selection and use the key to progressively cancel any changes, then restore all defaults. Typically this selection is not available when all values are in the default state.

The main menu

This menu appears at program startup. It comprises a status panel, four selections, and quit. It is shown below as figure 9.1.

Figure 9.1 - Main Menu Screen

The status panel

Shows important information critical to the success of the data logging process:-

Disc Drive Status

The disc drive status affects the storage of charge decay data. One of the computer's disc drives is allocated to store this data, and is identified by its drive letter, and the free space in kBytes indicated. This should be at least several tens of kBytes. If this is not the case, use selection 2, Access to data directories to select a different drive or directory, or use selection 3, Disc drives and drive lists to rectify the problem. See also Chapter 13 ("Trouble shooting", §Disc Drive Problems).

Serial Port Status

This affects the transmission of data between the JCI155v4 and the computer. A computer may have up to 4 serial ports numbered 1...4. The port designated for the JCI155v4 is shown, and must correspond with the serial port socket chosen for connection to the JCI155v4. If a message such as "Bad Link" is displayed, then there is no transmission, and Charge Decay Data cannot be logged. This may be rectified by selecting another port, using selection 3, Port / Calendar / Setup, and / or changing the serial port socket. This message will also appear if the connection is damaged, absent or the JCI155v4 is not turned on. See also Chapter 13 ("Trouble shooting", §Serial Link Problems).

Directory

The name of the data storage directory on the current disc is shown. This may be changed through selection 2, Access to Data Directories. See that section for a brief description of the hierarchical directory concept and how it can simplify the categorization and subsequent retrieval of charge decay data. The name shown may vary from a simple "\" indicating the root directory, to up to 6 directory names separated by "\" characters.

Selection 1.
Run under manual / computer control

The legend for this selection indicates which form of control has been selected by the JCI155v4 control mode switch. This selection is used when it is desired to perform a charge decay run. It leads to a sub menu Run Parameters, described in Chapter 10 ("Software Operation for Data Collection").

Selection 2.
Access to data directories

This selection allows access to data directories on the disc specified on the status panel. If this disc is unavailable, then use selection 3 to change the disc specified. Use this selection for:-

This selection leads initially to a directory / file picker which allows any directory / file on the disc to be selected. If the main menu status shows that the disc cannot be read, a menu offering the available disc selection appears instead.

Selection 3.
Disc drives and drive lists

This selection allows the current data disc to be selected from those available, new discs to be formatted and checked, and lists of disc drives for data storage to be created and edited. The use of drive lists allows longer unattended running of the JCI155v4 on repeated or sequenced runs, and i s discussed fully in the section on the Drive List Menu. Use this section when:-

This selection leads to a sub menu for Drive Setting.

Selection 4.
Port / Calendar / Setup directory

This selection leads to a sub menu with editable items for the time, date and serial port, and a menu selection for setup files / directories. Use this selection when:-

Selection 5. Quit

This section brings up a further screen where the user is instructed to press + to leave the program, thus avoiding accidental exit through pressing once too often! Pressing any other key returns to the main menu.


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