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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Chassis | I/O Modules | Software

Application Software and Development Environments

The software required for any PC-based DAQ system consists of a hardware driver and 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 API that give 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 CompactDAQ and nearly all NI DAQ devices is NI-DAQmx, which uses the same API for LabVIEW software, LabWindows™/CVI software, 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

DAQ software gives you instant access to your hardware. With LabVIEW NXG, DAQExpress, or Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX), you can immediately ensure that your CompactDAQ chassis and modules are installed and working properly. MAX also gives you the ability to simulate devices for use in development, manage network settings, and configure measurement tasks.

Step-by-Step Measurement Setup

NI-DAQmx with LabVIEW NXG or DAQExpress provides immediate configuration of measurements, no programming required. You can interactively change acquisition settings and view data in real time while building measurement configurations that can be implemented directly in LabVIEW NXG code when needed.

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, you can quickly move from concept to deployment when synchronizing a high-channel-count system, creating a decision-based logger, or automating laboratory experiments.

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.

LabVIEW Graphical Programming Environment

LabVIEW is a comprehensive, graphical development environment that helps you quickly build powerful test and measurement systems. With LabVIEW and 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.

See how LabVIEW can help you measure physical systems with sensors or actuators

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.

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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

DAQExpress for USB-Based CompactDAQ

DAQExpress is companion application software designed for quick hardware configuration, data visualization, and interactive analysis when using USB CompactDAQ chassis. It is ideal for getting started with basic measurements without programming and provides a seamless transition to LabVIEW NXG as your application’s requirements grow.

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Read about real-world applications using CompactDAQ

Chassis | I/O Modules | Software