RS232 Datalogger

For my final year mechanical project, I will be using my college's tensile test machine. The machine has a digital load meter that displays the load that the machine applies onto the specimen.

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At the the back of the load meter is RS 232 port. I was planning on connecting an Arduino to this port through a MAX232 in order to read the load values and save them to a SD card.The machine is a TecQuipment SM100-E102.

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How would I go about getting the data from the load meter, will it be continuously outputting the data, or will it have to be requested.There is a system from the manufacturer of the machine that allows the data to be viewed on a PC, but it is very expensive :money_mouth_face: .

Any help would be appreciated as I am only a hobbyist and have no experience in serial communication.

It shouldn't be too difficult, but it all comes down to trial and error.

To get started here is a link to information on the RS232 standard: Link

Here is a shield that will convert UART to RS232 and vice versa: Link

Have you seen Jack's serial data logger? http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=281091.0