Electronic Design

Multifunction Data-Acquisition System Takes Advantage Of USB 2.0

USB refers to Universal Serial Bus, of course. But it could just as easily stand for Ubiquitous Serial Bus. It has become that popular.

Manufacturers of all kinds of T&M equipment— standalone or computer-based—have taken advantage of it. The latest is National Instruments' CompactDAQ, a modular data-acquisition system that offers up to 256 channels of electrical, physical, mechanical, or acoustic measurements in a 10-in. wide chassis (see the figure).

Besides the eight-slot chassis, the NI CompactDAQ system features an array of 13 C-series modules, each 2.75 by 0.875 by 3.44 in., that perform analog or digital input or output, relay, or counter/pulse generator functions. Resolutions to 24 bits are available, as are digital I/O rates to 10 Msamples/s, analog inputs to 250 ksamples/s, and analog outputs to 100 ksamples/s.

The modules include sensor-specific signal conditioning. All are hotswappable and auto-detectable for simplified setup and offer 2300 V of isolation. The chassis includes an 11- to 30-V power supply and connects to a host computer via high-speed USB 2.0.

The system comes with NI-DAQmx driver software and additional measurement services, which are a collection of tools and interfaces that make system setup faster and simpler. An interactive configuration and test panel utility minimizes setup time, while configuration-based data-logging software makes it possible to record data without programming.

The measurement services software also includes an open application programming interface for NI LabView, C/C++, Visual Basic 6, and Microsoft Visual Studio .NET languages. In addition, the DAQ Assistant step-by-step wizard utility automatically generates Lab-View code.

Module prices range from $95 to $1295.

National Instruments
www.ni.com

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