If a 16-bit resolution, a scalable data acquisition system or some real-time processing under Windows is needed, then Scitech now has made available the Microstar Laboratories' new mid-range DAP board - DAP 5016a/527, powered by an Intel Pentium 233MHz CPU to make this possible.
The DAP 5016a/527 includes 16 analogue inputs, 2 analogue outputs, 16 digital inputs, and 16 digital outputs.
External rack-mounted hardware can extend these channel counts to 512, 66, 128, and 1024 respectively, with 16-bit resolution on all analogue inputs and outputs. Signal conditioning may affect the maximum number of sensors supported by a single board.
Some products may use multiple channels for each sensor: to read excitation voltages, for example. The board can acquire 16-bit data at up to 500k samples per second and can convert 833k values per second with 16-bit resolution on each of the two onboard analogue outputs.
The maximum digital input and output rates are both 1.67M samples per second on all sixteen channels. The onboard Pentium processor allows real-time processing. Low latency – 0.1 ms task time quantum – delivers fast response.
Each DAP board gives the system an additional processor running a real-time operating system – DAPL – that is controlled from a Windows application. This extra resource gives room to make the application even better and sets it free from system delays.
It lets computing power be applied when and where needed. It means data can be sampled and process can be controlled anywhere, anytime. Spectra can be analysed in real time. The application responds reliably in time.
All DAP boards include built-in synchronisation hardware and support software that work together to let a PC-based building block be created for a synchronised data acquisition system with any number of DAPs.
Additional DAPs in a single PC can take their timing from a designated master DAP in that PC. With optional PC software – DAP cell – and additional hardware, two or more PCs each containing one or more DAPs can support a synchronised network of DAPs free from conventional network or PC delays.
In other words, when data acquisition is based on DAP boards, the application is inherently scalable. Add more channels whenever they are needed and address each additional channel in software simply by channel number.
A single DAP board or a synchronised network of DAPs forms a platform for a potentially large number of channels.
Microstar Laboratories bases all hardware and software design on a consistent channel architecture to handle the signal all the way from an analogue waveform at the sensor to a stream of digital values on the PC – from signal connectors on various rack-mounted 3U Eurocard B external boards, through circuits on the DAP, through conceptual pipes in software running on the onboard processor, and on to the PC.
Some of the rack-mounted external boards reduce the maximum number of sensors supported by a single DAP. For instance, fifteen MSXB 067 boards can connect to a single DAP for resistive sensor inputs from up to 120 strain gauges.
The MSXB 067 board uses differential channels for signal quality, and additional channels to sample simultaneously and to read excitation voltages – more than four channels per sensor. For more than 120 strain gauges, just add another DAP.