By Anthony J. Lockwood
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
Conceptually, the idea of deploying PC-based data acquisition (DAQ) systems has become a no-brainer. For one, even your run-of-the-mill workstation has more processing oomph, bandwidth, and storage to it than top-shelf engineering workstations offered just a few years ago. For two, there’s a ton of DAQ hardware you can choose from. Three, today’s data-acquisition hardware is fast, powerful, and so flexible you can adapt it to take on pretty much any job that’s tossed your way. PC-based DAQ is, at its core, the definition of raw potential right in your hands.
In practice, however, deploying a PC-based DAQ system can be a brain-teaser. That same cornucopia of potentiality that makes PC-based DAQ so right for your job can also pose a daunting array of questions that might challenge your confidence in answering: What types of signals do I need to generate? How about signal conditioning? What’s the right sampling speed for me? How do I know the resolution I need?
Today’s Check It Out can help you make sense out of questions like these. Created by National Instruments, “How to Choose the Right DAQ Hardware for Your Measurement System” is a brief combination checklist and guide that address these and other considerations you confront when choosing components for a PC-based DAQ system. Using a question and answer format, this document steps through five prime considerations to address when setting up a PC-based data acquisition system. Each question is discussed in a straightforward, non-advertorial manner.
Although this white paper is small, it’s big with details. For example, it offers a table with a summary of signal conditioning for various sensors and measurements that is sure to become a handy reference for a long time to come. When you’re finished reading this paper, the net effect is that you can make a much more informed decision.
“How to Choose the Right DAQ Hardware for Your Measurement System” is a gem. It’s available here. The web page you land on is the paper itself, and the page has a link to download the paper as a 3-page PDF. No registration either way you choose to go.
One final note, at the bottom of the web page and the PDF, you’ll see a section called “Next Steps.” The first link, “Download the Complete Guide to Building a Measurement System,” is well worth registering to get. What you actually download is a 1.4MB ZIP file containing 10 small PDFs. These papers discuss how to choose things like the right bus, sensors, and even the right visualization technique for your measurement system. It’s good stuff.
Thanks, pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering