An entire industry has grown up over the last two decades to serve the PC platform for low-cost test and measurement functions—in the form of plug-in PC cards. Many companies make a variety of hardware digitizer, data-acquisition, digital-voltmeter, and other T&M functions.
Space limitations preclude mentioning most of these products in this article. But a couple of examples illustrate how advanced these products have become:
Low-cost modular high-resolution and high-speed data-acquisition solutions are now available. An example is the Cougar series of multichannel PXI cards from Acqiris with 12-bit data-acquisition rates of hundreds of Msamples/s up to 1 Gsample/s. Even higher sampling rates of 4 Gsamples/s are available from Acqiris' DC200 series PXI cards.
If higher resolution is required, then the CompuScope cards from Gage Applied Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Tektronix) may provide an answer. The 6-bit CompuScope PXI digitizer cards can sample at 10 Msamples/s. CompuScope 1610C cards provide simultaneous dual-channel data acquisition.
Many other companies supply similar products. These include Advanced Linear Devices, Data Translation, Iotech, Ixthos (now part of Force Computers), Measurement Computing, and Sealevel Systems.