What Is CompactDAQ?

CompactDAQ Systems

CompactDAQ is a portable, rugged data acquisition platform that integrates connectivity and signal conditioning into modular I/O for directly interfacing to any sensor or signal. Use CompactDAQ with LabVIEW software to customize how you acquire, analyze, present, and manage your measurement data. From research to development to validation, NI provides programmable software, high-accuracy measurements, and local technical support to ensure you meet your exact measurement application requirements.

Understanding the Components of a CompactDAQ System

CompactDAQ Chassis and Controllers

CompactDAQ chassis and controllers control the timing, synchronization, and data transfer between up to 14  C Series I/O modules and an external or integrated computer. A single NI CompactDAQ chassis or controller can manage multiple timing engines to run up to seven separate hardware-timed I/O tasks at different sample rates in the same system. For example, you can install a 75 S/s thermocouple module next to a 51.2 kS/s accelerometer module and acquire from both simultaneously.

USB Chassis

CompactDAQ USB chassis provide the plug-and-play simplicity of USB to sensor and electrical measurements. Available with one, four, eight, and fourteen slots, CompactDAQ USB chassis are designed for small, portable, mixed-measurement systems on the benchtop or in the field.

Shop now

Ethernet Chassis

CompactDAQ Ethernet chassis extend the reach of high-speed data acquisition to remote sensor and electrical measurements. Available with one, four, and eight slots and ultra-rugged options, CompactDAQ Ethernet chassis are ideal for distributed measurement systems on the bench or in the field, using standard Ethernet infrastructure.

Shop now

Wireless Chassis

CompactDAQ wireless chassis provide the ultimate solution for remote and distributed measurements. With a simple, zero configuration setup over 802.11 WiFi and support for over 50 measurement-specific modules, the cDAQ-9191 can read data from any sensor, regardless of the location.

Shop now

Integrated Controllers

CompactDAQ controllers offer a high-performance platform for embedded measurements and data logging. The 4- or 8-slot controllers combine an integrated computer, removable storage, and data acquisition with built-in signal conditioning into a single rugged platform that saves cost and complexity in your DAQ system.

Shop now

Chassis | I/O Modules | Software

I/O Modules

NI C Series

C Series modules provide high-accuracy measurements for advanced data acquisition applications. Each module contains measurement-specific signal conditioning to connect to an array of sensors and signals, bank and channel-to-channel isolation options, and support for wide temperature ranges to meet a variety of application and environmental needs—all in a single rugged package. With over 50 I/O modules for measurement and communication, connect your applications to any sensor on any bus.

Shop for C Series modules | Configure your complete NI CompactDAQ system

Browse I/O Modules

Chassis | I/O Modules | Software

Application Software

The software required for any PC-based DAQ system consists of a hardware driver and a development environment. Hardware drivers provide communication between the PC and the DAQ device, allowing software control of the hardware. The driver contains a built-in set of rules called an application programming interface (API) that gives you the ability to control the hardware from within a programming environment. From the programming environment, you can visualize and log data, automate tests, send alarms, and create output waveforms. The hardware driver for NI CompactDAQ and nearly all National Instruments DAQ devices is NI-DAQmx, which uses the same API for NI LabVIEW software, NI LabWindows™/CVI, Visual Studio .NET languages, and ANSI C development.

Powerful, Full-Featured NI-DAQmx Driver

NI-DAQmx is more than a basic hardware driver. It delivers increased productivity and performance with included configuration and troubleshooting tools, step-by-step configuration utilities, and a powerful, intuitive API for advanced control.

Configuration and Troubleshooting Tools

Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX) gives you instant access to your hardware. With MAX, you can immediately ensure that your NI CompactDAQ chassis and modules are installed and working properly, simulate devices for use in development, manage network settings, configure measurement tasks, and even take simple measurements.

Step-by-Step Measurement Setup

The DAQ Assistant, a step-by-step configuration wizard, guides you through the process to quickly create measurement programs. After you select your device, channel, and measurement type, the DAQ Assistant automatically builds the code for acquiring your data.

Powerful NI-DAQmx API

The NI-DAQmx API gives you the ability to create custom scales, exposes powerful timing and synchronization capabilities, and allows advanced task control and monitoring. With hundreds of examples, a vibrant community, and world-class, local support, synchronizing a high-channel-count system, creating a decision-based logger, or automating laboratory experiments quickly moves from concept to deployment.

Read an in-depth tutorial about NI-DAQmx features

One Driver, Many Languages

While LabVIEW has emerged as a standard for developing test, measurement, and control applications, NI-DAQmx provides the same interface for many popular programming languages, including Visual Studio .NET languages, ANSI C, and C++. The functions and properties, as well as the order of the functions you use, are the same across all languages so, regardless of programming expertise, you can develop powerful DAQ applications with NI-DAQmx.

NI LabVIEW Graphical Programming Environment

LabVIEW is a comprehensive, graphical development environment that helps you quickly build powerful test and measurement systems. With LabVIEW and NI CompactDAQ, you can automate measurements from many sensor and electrical channels, analyze data in parallel with acquisition, and create custom reports all in a matter of minutes. From simple, 1-channel measurement to capturing data from a complex 10,000-channel system, LabVIEW can help you acquire, analyze, and log data in less time.

Learn more about LabVIEW for DAQ

NI Measurement Studio

Measurement Studio provides a collection of managed .NET controls tightly integrated within the Visual Studio .NET environment that are designed specifically for engineers and scientists building virtual instrumentation systems. With Measurement Studio, you can configure plug-in DAQ devices, GPIB instruments, and serial devices from interactive wizards that also generate Visual Basic .NET or Visual C# source code.

Learn more about Measurement Studio


NI-DAQmx offers more than 80 example programs for ANSI C while providing the same high-performance multithreaded driver features. If you prefer ANSI C, consider LabWindows/CVI for a proven, integrated development environment that provides a comprehensive set of programming tools for creating test and control applications.

Learn more about LabWindows/CVI

Chameleon Software for NI CompactDAQ

With Chameleon, a software product built by an NI Partner, PVI Systems, and powered by NI LabVIEW system design software, you can get data acquisition and logging systems up and running in minutes. Acquire and log static and dynamic signals from microphone arrays, accelerometers, bridge sensors, thermocouples, and other sensors without programming. The combination of Chameleon and the NI CompactDAQ platform is ideal for a variety of structural test and monitoring applications and creates turnkey systems for NI data acquisition hardware that is simple and intuitive to operate.

Learn more about Chameleon software

Read about real-world applications using NI CompactDAQ

Chassis | I/O Modules | Software

All Products and Services