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Windows-based synchronizer correlates data-acq signals

Posted: 26 May 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:data translation? software correlation? align and resample? dt measure foundry? windows?

Test-and-measurement and data acquisition vendor Data Translation is now debuting a software correlation feature for synchronizing signals. Called Align and Resample, it's one of many new features added to the company's latest DT Measure Foundry. The 4.0.7 version is a Windows engineering environment that works with all of the company's USB and PCI bus data acquisition boards, including its latest ECONseries mini-instruments.

DT Measure Foundry is graphical-based software for building test-and-measurement applications, as well as control and analysis applications. It lets you use your mouse to drag and drop instrument-like components, called panels, onto an on-screen so-called worksheet. It also lets you configure property pages so you can develop powerful applications rather quickly.

Minimize latencies

Unlike many Windows-based applications, DT Measure Foundry's design (it's patent-pending) uses multiple threads to minimize Windows latencies that can affect time-sensitive measurements.

In use, data-acq devices are regarded as data sources in DT Measure Foundry. To set up a data source, you use your mouse to drag-and-drop one or more data acquisition panels onto a worksheet, and then configure property pages. When you configure the property pages of a data-acq panel, you set the parameters of an I/O operation, such as the number of channels you want to acquire and the number of values to save in data buffers.

It's often the case in modular systems that time interaction problems can't be detected easily. That's where the new Align and Resample feature comes in. It synchronizes high-speed signals with signals from different timebases, correlating all the data in your system.

For example, say you had a system with a thermocouple sensor and an accelerometer sensor, and that each requires different sample rates.

Using the Align and Resample panel, you can synchronize and correlate the two signals to the same timebase. You can therefore determine what happened at a specific time in a system under test. For example you can determine what occurs in the accelerometer when temperature rises.

Additional features

In addition to the new Align and Resample, DT Measure Foundry 4.0.7 provides a number of other new features and capabilities for configuring a data acquisition system. For example, it now has D/A streaming support that lets you stream high-speed (up to 500-kHz) analog signals from your device to your PC.

You then process the data using formulas in DT Measure Foundry, and then stream the resultant signals directly to the analog output channels of your device. This can be a useful feature for stimulus/control applications.

Motor control niceties

The latest version of DT Measure Foundry also has D/A phase shift support. Using it, you can control phase shift, in degrees, from one analog output channel to the next. That can be very useful for things such as multiple phase motor testing, for example.

The new executables also pack up/down counting. In addition to being useful for motor control, up/down counting permits you to determine the x/y position and rotation of a motor by incrementing or decrementing a counter/timer based on the state of a gate signal.

There's also a new period measurement panel in DT Measure Foundry 4.0.7. It lets you measure the period or pulse width of a signal connected to the gate or clock input of a counter/timer channel on your device. You can select the edge (rising or falling) that starts and stops your measurement.

A new channel collector panel combines data from several data sources into one data source, without synchronizing them. Using that, you can display multiple measurements in one graph. Similarly, a new channel selector panel can improve system performance by letting you select individual channels from a data source with multiple channels and displaying only that data.

Finally, a new load/save settings panel lets you change properties in an application that you created by saving the control channels settings to a file.

Pricing

DT Measure Foundry 4.0.7 is priced at about $1,300. However, you can save 25 percent on a hardware and software bundle of DT Measure Foundry and one of Data Translation's DT9834 data acquisition boards, with combo pricing starting at about $2,700.

- Alex Mendelsohn

eeProductCenter




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