Jon, there are lots of data acquisition cards are available in market. We have to just plug these cards to our system using a GPIB card or any other parallel data connecting mechanisms like RS 232 link. Based on functionality and application NI had a set of data acquisition cards, which all are in plug and play mode. If we want to connect more devices, then we have to create a UI with lab view software.
I think that it is very useful to have the information fed into a PC type device. This lets you play it back. During playback you can also alter sampling periods and other parameters so that you can refine what and how you measure. You could also have the PC generate alerts.
Nice opening to the series, Jon. Would the device that acquires the data also analyze the data, or would that necessarily be done by a different device that connects to the data acquistion tool? Would it then also be connected to a reporting mechanism that would send alerts when the data indicates things are out of whack or trending in a negative direction?
I think this is spot on advice and a great reminder for those of us who have been at it for awhile too! As a test engineer for many years, one thing I learned is that while it is tempting to jump in and start designing a system without doing the homework it takes to understand the complete system requirements, that approach will hurt you down the road. Nothing is more painful than getting P.O.s approved and equipment purchased only to find out that the equipment you selected is inadequate to the task, and you have to inform your boss... Ouch!
My husband likes to say that enthusiasm is the first stage of a project and I think that is true. We need to capitalize on the enthusiasm by taking that time to define the needs of the system so we don't find out during stage three that the test equipment we ordered because it is so cool can't measure the parameters we need at the resolution and accuracy the customer spec requires...
This is great stuff - I can't wait to read future columns!
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