Tonne Software

The Windows ® programs for
drawing analog meter scales

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 the purchase of Meter

Meter draws up to TEN 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 allows you to design a single linear scale. It won't do any of those complex scale types.

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 font size
MeterBasic allows the font SIZE 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 added 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 10 up to 250 mm, plate heights from 10 up to 180 mm
Maximum plate size is 180 by 180 mm

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

A grid showing millimeters is shown (optionally) 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: $55
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.

An informative and very practical video by W2AEW on the subject of analog meter movements is here.

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 browser's BACK button to return.

Plate design page:
Plate design page
Scale design page:
Scale design page
Special scale menu:
Special scales menu
Color selection:
Exponent help:
Linearity exponent help
Linearity entry page:
Movement linearity correction entry
Two scales on a plate:
Two scales on a plate
Circular scale:
circular scale
Ohmmeter scale:
Ohmmeter scale
wattmeter with VSWR scale
S-meter as seen on the screen
Arbitrary scale:
Totally-arbitrary scale
Modulation monitor:
Modulation monitor scale
Log scale:
logarithmic scale
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