The drawbacks? Since you're not using fancy software, your data is just raw numbers. You'll have to analyze or graph them yourself.
What else is needed? You can hook up one digital gage (which has SPC output) at a time but you'll need to get an SPC connecting cable (see below). The sequence is as follows: the caliper, micrometer, or indicator plugs into the SPC connecting cable which plugs into the Input Tool which plugs into the PC's USB port.
If you use a USB hub (available at computer supply stores everywhere) then you can connect as many input tools to the computer as you like; but, you will only be able to send data from one gage at a time.
There are two kinds of SPC cables: those designed for waterproof (coolant proof) gages and those designed for all the rest. Two small screws are used to fasten the plug into the waterproof instrument. These screws tighten the plug into place and help to create the seal. You can not interchange cables from one style to the other. The far end of all the cables are the same and will fit into the Input Tool.
Furthermore, the cables are available with or without a data send button. This button is built into the plug and allows you to send the data directly from your gage, rather than having to go back to the keyboard. It would seem that having the data button under your finger, as it were, would be a desirable feature. The data is entered into your spreadsheet cell which then advances to the next cell. Detailed instructions on how to set up your spreadsheet are included.
The Input Tool unit is a couple of inches square and weighs 2.6 oz. It's PC compatible, including laptops, which have USB type A, USB 2.0 or 1.1 ports. It will work with Windows 98 and above, but will not work with Windows NT. Detailed installation and usage instructions are included. Manufactured in Japan for Mitutoyo. (Caution! Do not attempt to use it with a Mac running OSX.)
Remember: order one cable from the lists below AND one input tool for USB. If you're not sure which cable to get, send us the model number of your gage with an e-mail request.
A side-note: might you be interested in wireless data collection? See page 229.
Model 264-012-10 was replaced by new version 264-016 in mid 2015.
Sabrent 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub with Individual Power Switches and LEDs (HB-UM43)