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NI boosts its data acquisition hardware offering

02 September 2010

National Instruments (NI) has launched a new Ethernet-based CompactDAQ modular data acquisition system, along with new multifunction data acquisition devices for USB

NI describes its new Ethernet-based CompactDAQ modular data acquisition system as one that combines the ease of use and low cost of a data logger with the performance and flexibility of modular instrumentation. The cDAQ-9188 chassis holds eight I/O modules for measuring up to 256 channels of electrical, physical, mechanical or acoustic signals in a small (25 x 9 x 9cm), rugged form factor.

With more than 50 different I/O modules to choose from, you can build remote or distributed, high-speed measurement systems based on a standard Gigabit Ethernet infrastructure. An early adopter of the new system - Randy Recob, a senior test engineer at Sub-Zero, Inc – is certainly sold on this new Ethernet offering. “We choose NI CompactDAQ because of the flexibility offered by a diverse set of I/O modules and the scalability of Ethernet infrastructure,” he says. “The flexibility of Ethernet allows us to more easily standardise our test systems by eliminating many of the physical constraints required by more traditional PC interfaces.”

CompactDAQ uses NI’s Signal Streaming technology to deliver high-bandwidth data over Ethernet to a host computer. Signal Streaming enables bi-directional analogue and digital waveforms to be continuously maintained over a TCP/IP connection. With NI-STC3 timing and synchronisation technology, each chassis can also manage up to seven separate hardware-timed I/O tasks at different sample rates, including analogue I/O, digital I/O and counter/timer operations.
 
In addition to the Ethernet chassis, the NI CompactDAQ platform includes a four- and an eight-slot USB chassis and NI C Series I/O modules. NI offers more than 50 C Series modules to use interchangeably in NI CompactDAQ systems, each of which is hot-swappable and auto-detectable for simplified set-up. C Series modules offer integrated signal conditioning and multiple connectivity options allowing the easy creation of customised, mixed-measurement systems.

USB devices
Also new are the NI X Series multifunction data acquisition devices for USB. USB X integrates high-performance analogue measurement and control channels, digital I/O and counters/timers within a single plug-and-play device that can be used for a wide variety of portable test, measurement and data-logging applications. USB X Series DAQ devices include up to 32 analogue inputs, four analogue outputs, 48 digital I/O lines and four counters. The eight new devices range from 500kS/s multiplexed AI to 2MS/s/channel simultaneous sampling AI.

At the core of all USB, PCI Express and PXI Express X Series devices is NI-STC3 timing and synchronisation technology, which co-ordinates the timing and triggering of the analogue, digital and counter subsystems. NI-STC3 technology provides X Series devices with independent timing engines for the onboard analogue and digital I/O subsystems, making it possible for analogue and digital I/O to execute independently at different rates, or together with synchronisation. X Series devices include four enhanced 32-bit counters for frequency, pulse-width modulation (PWM) and encoder operations, as well as a new 100 MHz timebase that can generate analogue and digital sampling rates with five times better resolution than previous devices.

Like the new Ethernet platform, the USB X Series devices include NI’s Signal Streaming technology, which enables simultaneous sampling on two new devices, sampling at 1.25MS/s and 2MS/s on each of their eight analogue inputs. These devices are available with 32 or 64 MS onboard memory to guarantee finite acquisitions even with heavy USB traffic.

The USB devices are housed in a redesigned, extruded aluminum enclosure, which provides an easy-access lid to keep signal wiring secure and shielded. The enclosure also includes a lockable USB port to prevent accidental removal during operation.


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