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Sophisticated computer based data acquisition and interpretation systems are potentially very powerful diagnostic tools for many condition monitoring applications. However, an automated system has to be able to cope with occasional bad data due to a variety of causes and still provide reliable results. This problem has been tackled by developing an expert shell driven system that incorporates the specialised engineering expertise needed to interpret both the validity of the data and to provide expert fault diagnosis. The system makes use of a proprietary expert shell and a number of graphical software tools that can be tuned to incorporate less definitive experience such as: does it `look' right?