Measure J2X

Last Updated: 20-February-2017


1. General Information

2. Hardware Requirements

2.1. PC/Windows requirements
2.1.2 PC/Linux requirements
2.2. Mac requirements
2.3. Measuring System requirements

3. Installation

3.1. Installation Overview
3.2. Pre Installation
3.3. Installation

3.3.1. Run the Installer
3.3.2. Setup the Measuring System

4. Measuring System Setup

4.1. Cabling
4.2. Digital Readout Configuration

4.2.1. Velmex Readout (VRO) Setup

4.2.2 Metronics Digital Readout Setup Metronics QC-10V Digital Readout Metronics QC-1000 or QC-1100 Digital Readout

4.2.3. Boeckler Digital Readout Setup
4.2.4. Acu-Rite/MasterG Digital Readout Setup
4.2.5. Measucron Digital Readout Setup

4.3. MeasureJ2X Program Setup

5. Post Setup

6. Installation problems

Appendix 1. Metronics Cable Construction

Appendix 2. Testing the Measuring System Setup

1. General Information

The MeasureJ2X program is a software program for measuring tree rings. The program enables capture of measurements from a variety of measuring stage/encoder/digital readout units and has features for creating measurements of new series or editing existing series. The editing capabilities include being able to append, insert or delete measurements from a series and shift a series forwards or backwards in time. The program reads and writes files of series in the "decadal" format, allowing its output to be used with analysis programs available from the Dendrochronology Program Library (DPL) and in the "csv" (comma separated values) format, allowing the output to be read directly into spreadsheet programs for quick review and graphing.

The name, MeasureJ2X, reflects some of the underlying features of the software. The ‘J’ represents the fact that the program is written in the Java programming language. Because it is written in Java, it is able to run on any operating system that can run a Java runtime environment. The '2X' part of the name reflects the fact that the program was initially tested, packaged and released for the PC and Mac platforms, but has since been packaged and released for generic Unix/Linux platforms (ie Debian, RedHat, etc).

2. Hardware Requirements

The program runs on a PC, Mac or Unix/Linux computer with a connected measuring stage/linear encoder/digital readout unit connected to the computer via a serial or USB port. To run on other platforms or for questions about a specific hardware configuration, contact us directly at

2.1. PC/Windows requirements

The program requires a PC running any of the Windows versions beginning with Win98, including WinME, WinNT, Win2000, WinXP, Windows 7, or Windows 8.

A minimum of 48 Mb of memory is required under Win98 and WinME, and 64Mb or more is recommended. To run under WinNT, 128Mb or more is recommended. To run under WinXP or higher, there are no additional memory requirements beyond those required to run the operating system.

The PC must have a communications port of one of the following types:

Approximately 75Mb of disk space is needed for the installation.

To run the program on other versions of the Windows operating system (earlier versions or later versions), please contact us at

2.1.2. PC/Linux requirements

The program will run on any of a variety of Linux/Unix distributions with Java 1.5 or 1.6 already installed (typically available through the distribution's native software packaging and distribution system). The computer must meet the same requirements for a communication port as those listed above in PC/Windows requirements (ie have a serial port or a USB port with a USB-serial converter).

2.2. Mac requirements

The program requires a Macintosh running OS X V10.4 or later with Java updates installed. To get the latest Java updates, run Software Update on the Mac (System Preferences, Software Update) and install any Java updates that are available for your version of OS X.

The Mac must have a serial communications port of one of the following types:

Minimal disk space is needed for the installation (approximately 2Mb).

To run the program on previous versions of the Mac OS (System 7,8 or 9 or OS X V 10.3 or earlier) please contact us at

2.3. Measuring system requirements

A supported measuring system consists of a measuring stage, a linear encoder and a digital readout  (DRO) or similar device. The MeasureJ2X software interacts with the digital readout, which is connected between the measuring stage/linear encoder and the serial/USB port of computer using proper cabling. Please note that the cabling is not a standard serial cable. See Section 4.1. for full details. The following digital readouts are currently supported:

Other digital readout units can be supported by plug in modules. Please contact us at to inquire about support for a particular digital readout.

There are various suppliers of measuring systems, but a system such as those supplied by Velmex, Inc. include the above components and are supported by the software as they include a supported digital readout.

3. Installation

3.1. Installation Overview

The MeasureJ2X installation package is either a downloaded compressed (ie zip, gzip) file or contained on a CD. The package contains the installer, the required supporting Java components and the MeasureJ2X documentation.  

The downloaded version is a compressed file which must be first uncompressed (typically zip/unzip or gzip/gunzip).

The CD contains the components in the appropriate platform directory (/pc, /mac,/linux).

3.2. Pre Installation

Review the hardware requirements in Section 2. of the Installation Guide (web site version) or (local version - on CD or after uncompressing distribution file).

Electronic distributions (only) - download and uncompress the distribution file (typically something like '' or '') using the instructions you were given.

3.3. Installation

3.3.1. Run the installer

Run the installer 'install.exe' (PC) or 'install.pkg' (Mac) or '' (Linux) found in the directory that you uncompressed the files to or on the CD in the directory for your platform (\pc or \mac or \linux).

3.3.2. Setup the Measuring System

Complete the procedures in Section 4. for setting up and configuring the Measuring System.


4. Measuring System Setup

There are 3 steps to setting up the measuring system and having it properly communicate with the MeasureJ2X program:

  1. Installing the proper cable between the digital readout (DRO) unit portion of the measuring system and the computer.
  2. Configuring the digital readout unit.
  3. Configuring the MeasureJ2X program to communicate with the digital readout unit.


4.1. Cabling

Put in place the cabling between the communications (serial or USB) port of the computer and the digital readout (DRO) box.

The DRO cable is not a standard serial cable. New measuring systems from Velmex, are supplied with the proper DRO cabling or a cable can be made using the pinouts described in Appendix 1.

There are 2 cabling scenarios, depending on whether you are using a serial or USB port on your computer. If using a serial port, your cabling will look like the following:

digital readout (DRO) <---(specialized digital readout (DRO) cable) ---> computer serial port

When using a USB port a USB-serial converter is also required. In this case, you will need to connect the USB-serial converter between the specialized DRO cable and the computer. Some USB-serial converters are a combined converter/USB cable, some are a converter connected with any standard USB cable:

digital readout (DRO) <---(specialized digital readout (DRO) cable) ---> USB-serial converter -----USB cable ---> computer USB port

4.2. Digital Readout Configuration

Set up your digital readout unit according to the configurations given below (settings not listed are not relevant to the MeasureJ2X program).

Please note that some distributors of new systems (i.e. Velmex, Inc.) ship the digital readout with the settings preconfigured as below so nothing needs to be changed to work with MeasureJ2X . Users of these systems may wish to skip this configuration step and return to this section to check and/or change the settings only if there are problems with receiving measurements.

4.2.1. Velmex Readout (VRO) Setup

The Velmex Readout is configured using the front panel buttons.

The setup mode is typically entered into by pressing the 'S' and 'U' buttons down for 1 second. Setup mode is fully described in the "VRO Users Manual".

Setup Function Setting
Enc Type: Linear
Ln Res: set to match encoder, typically:
0.001 mm
Disply, Res: High
Prim Unit: Std
EMU/Emulate: VRO
SER/Baud: 9600 8N1

4.2.2. Metronics Digital Readout Setup Metronics QC-10V/Heidenhain ND1001 Digital Readout

The QC-10V is configured using the setup menu which is accessible from the front panel softkeys. The operation of the front panel and how to access the Setup menu is given in the "Quadra-Chek 10 User's Guide".

Setup Function Setting
Display, Startup Linear MM
Display, MM Disp Res 0.001
Encoder, Res 0.001
Encoder, Units MM
Encoder, Label X
Hot Keys, Keys, Foot, Key 1 Zero Key
Hot Keys, Keys, Foot, Key 2 Print Key
Port, Baud 9600
Port, Word Len 8
Port, Stop Bits 2
Port, Parity None
Port, Handshake Hard. (hardware)
Port, Line Terminator CR/LF
Port, Send Label Yes
Port, Send Units Yes Metronics QC-1000 or QC-1100 Digital Readout

The QC1100 is configured by using sequence of pressing the display panel buttons as outlined in the operation manual 'Quick-Chek QC-1100 Digital Readout Operation Manual' that comes with the display. Using the instructions in the manual in the 'Setup' section, change the following (all other setup parameters should be set to their default values):

Baud -> 9600
Encoder Linear Res (i.e. resolution or scale) -> 0.001 mm
Encoder Linear Disp MM (i.e. display units) -> 0.001 mm

4.2.3. Acu-Rite/MasterG Digital Readout Setup

The Acu-Rite/Master G is configured using an internal configuration program. Refer to the manual pages 3-5, 3-6, 3-7 and 3-9 of the Acu-Rite III RS232 computer/printer interface option manual for the procedure for invoking the configuration program and make the following changes to the factory’s default settings:

Baud -> 9600
StopBits -> 1
DataBits -> 7
Parity -> even

Acu-Rite Code Value
11 0
21 3
22 82
23 71
24 00
26 02
27 10
28 30
29  12
31 0
42 1
43 0


All other settings should be set to their default.

4.2.4. Boeckler Digital Readout Setup

The Boeckler encoder is configured by setting the banks of dip switches inside the unit. They are accessed by opening the rear panel (screw driver required). Inside there are two 8 position dip-switches, one top and one bottom. Set them as follows:

Top bank: all positions OFF except pins 3 and 5 set ON.

Bottom bank: all positions OFF except pins 2, 6 and 8 set ON *.

*The bottom bank setting differs from the PJK program.

4.2.5 Measucron Digital Readout Setup

There is no configuration for the Measucron digital readout.

4.3. MeasureJ2X Program Setup

The last part of the setup is done by from within the MeasureJ2X program. Start the program up by double clicking on the MeasureJ2X icon on the Desktop created by the installer.

First use the Setup, Measuring System menu item and select the 'Digital Readout Type' and 'Precision' to match the equipment you have.

Next, use the Setup, Connection menu item and set the 'Port' to the port that you have connected the digital readout to in Step 4.1 and set the remaining communications parameters using the table below for your digital readout type.

If you are unsure about which port you have connected the digital readout to, and depending on your disposition, you can use trial and error to determine the port or you can use the testing technique described in Appendix 2. The program will list all the ports found on the computer in the 'Port' dropdown box. To use trial and error, you can select each port on the list and attempt to measure a series with that port selected as described in the Scenario 1. Measuring a new series. If you receive an error message about the port being in use, an incorrect format, or you receive no measurements, the wrong port is selected and the next port on the list can be tried.

The testing technique described in Appendix 2. is more thorough than using trial and error and in that sense is recommended over trial and error. In all cases, the testing procedure given in Appendix 2. should be used if the port is not discovered through trial and error.

If you are using a serial/USB converter the converter must be working properly with the appropriate drivers installed. Many converters are plug and play (ie you plug them in and they are automatically setup and work properly), but not all are. The Tripplite/Keyspan converter is recommended as drivers for new operating systems are released in a timely fashion and once installed, it has a diagnostic program which will report the status of the converter and the serial port it is mapped to. If you have a converter that has a diagnostic program, you can use it to confirm the serial port and select that port in MeasureJ2X. There are also other methods to determining the port, depending on your computer/operating system such as using the Device Manager under Windows and looking for the converter under 'Ports'. In all cases, plug the serial/USB converter in before starting MeasureJ2X so that the USB/serial converter is initialized and mapped to a serial port before the MeasureJ2X program starts up.

Once you have a working setup, save the configuration settings using the Setup, Save Configuration menu item. This will cause the program to use the same settings the next time the program is run.

 4.3.1. Velmex VRO Connection Settings

Baud 9600
Data Bits 8
Stop Bits 1
Parity none

 4.3.2. Metronics/Heidenhain ND1001 Connection Settings

Baud 9600
Data Bits 8
Stop Bits 2
Parity none


4.3.3. Acu-Rite/MasterG Connection Settings

Baud 9600
Data Bits 7
Stop Bits 1
Parity even


4.3.4. Boeckler Precision Connection Settings

Baud 9600
Data Bits 7
Stop Bits 2
Parity none


4.3.5 Measucron Connection Settings

Baud 1200
Data Bits 7
Stop Bits 2
Parity even


5. Post Setup

Test the installation by following the instructions in User's Guide - Scenario 1. Measuring a new series.


6. Installation problems


Appendix 1. Metronics Cable Construction

You may construct a cable for a Metronics digital readout unit using the following chart:

QC1000 or QC1100 PC DB25 serial port PC DB9 serial port Mac MiniDin8 Function
pin # pin # pin # pin#  
1 7 5 4 GND
4 3 2 3 TXD
5&7 6,8,20 1,4,6 2 RTS/CTS
8 2 3 5 RXD

A remote print switch may be added by using the RJ-45 "REMOTE" jack on the back panel. The print function is initiated by momentarily closing lines 4&5. The remote switch may also provide the function to zero the display. This is performed by momentarily closing lines 1&6 on the same jack.

The above cabling information is from the document 'Program PJK6 and PJK5 February, 1998 /AcuRite/Metronics/Boeckeler/Measuchron Installation Notes' written by Paul Krusic of Columbia University. The full text of the document can be found at:

Appendix 2. Testing the Measuring System Setup

The following procedures will test the connections between your measuring system and the computer, independently from the MeasureJ2X program and should be followed if you are not receiving measurements in the MeasureJ2X program.

The testing procedures below are detailed for the specific programs (PuTTY - PC and VersaTerm - Mac) which are known as 'terminal emulation' programs. You do not need to have these specific programs to test with, although the detailed instructions below will read more easily if you do. Any terminal emulation program will work for testing so if you aren't able to obtain the ones listed below, you can download and install alternatives of your choosing. Suggested programs that will work are:  CoolTerm , ZTerm or RealTerm. If you have an alternative program, follow these basic steps for testing adapting the detailed descriptions below to your program:

  1. setup the port with the configuration settings that correspond with your digital readout
  2. send a measurement from the digital readout
  3. confirm a readable measurement is shown in the terminal emulation software window

Testing the Measuring System Setup using PuTTY (PC)

PuTTY is an open source program that is often used as an SSH or telnet client, but also works as a terminal emulation program.  It can be downloaded from

Once installed, start the program and in the 'PuTTY Configuration' window, configure a serial connection by clicking on the 'Serial' option for the Session.  In the 'Serial line' box, enter the serial port that you have your DRO connected to (ie COM 3) and in the 'Speed' box enter the baud rate from the table in section 4.3 that corresponds to your DRO (see below for more information about determining the port).  Enter a new name in the 'Saved Sessions' box such as 'Serial-COM3' and click on 'Save' to save the session settings so you can recall them next time you run PuTTY:

Next, under 'Category:" on the left hand side, click on 'Serial' and set the 'Data bits', 'Stop bits' and 'Parity' to the match those in the table in Section 4.3 corresponding to your DRO.  The 'Serial line to connect to' and the 'Speed (baud)'  should be prefilled with the correct values that were entered in the 'Session' category, but if they are incorrect, adjust them. Flow control can be left at the default of 'None':

Return to the 'Session' Category by clicking on 'Session' again, confirm the name in the 'Saved Sessions' box and click on 'Save' one more time to save all the settings.

To test, click on 'Open' which will open a window titled with the serial port (ie 'COM3 - PuTTY).  With that window open, send a measurement from the DRO as you would if you were measuring (ie either by pressing 'Print' on the front panel or by triggering with a remote).  The measurement should show up in the window as a readable string of letters and numbers (usually 'X 0.002 mm')in the window looking something like this:

If all you something but it is gibberish, it usually means the port settings (ie baud, parity, stop bits) are not correct so you will want to recheck your settings to confirm they are set to the appropriate values for your DRO as in Section 4.3.  The most efficient way to recheck them is to use the right-mouse button while pointing in the title bar of the PuTTY connection window (ie titled COM3 - PuTTY) and select 'Change Settings' then return to the 'Serial' Category and adjust the settings. Click on 'Apply' to save the settings and return to the PuTTY connection window to try sending a measurement again. You can also exit from PuTTY ('x' in the right hand corner).  Restart PuTTY, click on your previously saved session name and click on 'Load' to reload the session and then go to the 'Serial' Category to recheck the settings and adjust if necessary.

If nothing at all shows up when you try to send a measurement, you are either plugged into a different port than you have specified, your cabling is bad, or your remote plunger is not working properly (if you are trying send a measurement using the remote plunger).

For trouble shooting a remote plunger, use the front panel to determine if there is different behavior between the front panel button and your remote plunger. If you get a measurement when sending a measurement when using the front panel button, but you don't when sending it using the remote plunger, then the problem is in your remote plunger.

For trouble shooting that you have correct port, recheck the port set in the 'Serial' Category and confirm that is the port you have the cable from the DRO plugged into where you have plugged the cable in. If you are unsure of what port you are plugged in to, you will need to double check the ports that Windows has as available.  To do so, open the 'Device Manager' (Start Menu, Administrative Tools, Device Manager or right-click 'My Computer' and select 'Manage' (Note: this procedure will vary for different versions of Windows but getting to a place where you can see the ports identified on the system is the goal.  You may also need additional privileges to run these commands).   Once in the Device Manager, open the category 'Ports (COM & LPT)'. If you are using a USB-Serial adapter it should be identified by manufacturer such as the Keyspan adapter shown in the below screenshot.  If you are not using a USB-Serial adapter, you can note the ports listed by Device Manager and try each of them in PuTTY to determine by trial and error which port you are connected to:

If the port is correct and the settings are correct, the most likely problem is  the cabling.  See Section 4.1 to confirm your cabling.  Note that there is a specialized cable required that is compatible with the DRO that is used between the DRO and the computer, possibly in conjunction with other cables. You should have received the proper cabling with your DRO.

Once you gotten a readable string to show up in the window, you may wish to note the settings and make sure they are saved in PuTTY.  To save them, start PuTTY, use 'Load Session' to load your previously saved settings, go to 'Serial' to adjust the settings to ones that are correct and work, then go to 'Session' and use 'Save Session' to save them so you can use them again if you ever need to.

Testing the Measuring System Setup using VersaTerm (Mac)

The VersaTerm software has the ability to run both telnet sessions and sessions that run via the serial ports.

Once in VersaTerm, use the Sessions, Edit Sessions menu item to setup a connection to the serial port. Select ‘Simple Serial’ for the 'Connection Type:' and select either the Modem Port or the Printer Port. Leave the 'Initialization String:' and the 'Hangup String:' fields blank. Click on the Okay button to open the session window.

Use the Settings menu to set the port settings to those listed in the 'MeasureJ2X Program Setup' for your encoder unit.

Once the communication parameters are set, try sending a measurement from your encoder as if you were measuring. As described in the HyperTerminal section, you should see the measurement sent from the encoder in the window as readable letters and numbers like this:

X 0.002 mm

If all you get is gibberish, recheck the settings by using the Settings menu items.

If nothing at all shows up when you try to send a measurement, you are either plugged into a different port than you have specified or your cabling is bad. Recheck both your port setting in VersaTerm and and where the cable is plugged in. If you have those correct, then your cable is probably wired incorrectly.  See the above section on PuTTY testing for more details on troubleshooting.

MeasureJ2X has been developed under ProjectJ2X, through support from the dendroecological community. It is software that will exist only through continued support from the community.  Please feel a part of the process and make comments and suggestions on any aspect of the MeasureJ2X program or ProjectJ2X.  We want to hear from you!

Enjoy the measuring program.

VoorTech Consulting