NI CompactDAQ FAQs

Publish Date: Jan 10, 2013 | 4 Ratings | 4.00 out of 5 |  PDF


This document contains a growing list of frequently asked questions about NI CompactDAQ and their answers.

General Information

Q: I have other USB devices, like my mouse and keyboard, that sometimes don't respond to the PC or wake up with my laptop. Is USB really a reliable bus for data acquisition?

Absolutely. Though reliability is not a key concern for some peripherals such as joysticks or keyboards, NI CompactDAQ was designed for high-performance data acquisition and operates properly if connected to a compliant USB port and powered within the specified range. There are several NI technologies at work to make NI CompactDAQ the high-quality data acquisition platform it is. Read Three Technologies that Drive USB Performance to learn more about this topic.

Q: Where can I get technical specifications for the NI CompactDAQ carrier and modules?

You can find NI CompactDAQ carrier and module technical information in the products’ user manuals, which are linked from the model page of each product. In addition to the model pages, you can find all National Instruments manuals online at  For a complete list of modules available for use in the NI CompactDAQ chassis, see the C Series Module Compatibility Chart

Q: How do I configure and order an NI CompactDAQ system?

The NI CompactDAQ Advisor is an online tool that takes you step by step through your module, chassis, and accessory selection. You can then print an itemized list, e-mail your system configuration, get a quote, or visit the online store to purchase your customized system.

Q: Which applications can NI CompactDAQ handle?

NI CompactDAQ is a general-purpose data acquisition and control system that you can implement in a wide range of applications. It uses open software to run built-in data-logging programs for simple applications or to develop custom acquisition, analysis, control, and display programs for more demanding applications. NI CompactDAQ hardware and software are simple to use for quick benchtop measurements, small enough to take in the field with a laptop, and powerful enough to handle production line testing and light ATE. Customers are using NI CompactDAQ for applications ranging from in-vehicle test to environmental data logging to portable vibration monitoring.

Q: How do I use NI CompactDAQ for data logging?

NI CompactDAQ provides the acquisition and storage capabilities of traditional PC-based data loggers as well as a way to customize your data logger with modular I/O and powerful software options.

To use NI CompactDAQ for data logging, first customize your NI CompactDAQ system with I/O modules to meet your channel count and measurement type requirements. You may find it helpful to use the online NI CompactDAQ Advisor when configuring your system.

Next, select the software package that best meets your needs from the three levels of data-logging software offered with NI CompactDAQ.

  • LabVIEW SignalExpress LE – FREE, interactive data-logging software that is shipped with each NI CompactDAQ system
  • LabVIEW SignalExpress – full-featured, interactive data-logging software
  • LabVIEW – complete, graphical development environment for creating custom data-logging applications

Q: To use NI CompactDAQ, which software is required?

National Instruments ships NI CompactDAQ with an NI-DAQmx driver kit for Windows operating systems. NI-DAQmx offers application programming interfaces (APIs) for development with LabVIEW, C/C++, Visual Basic 6.0, and Visual Studio .NET programming languages.

In addition to NI-DAQmx, National Instruments ships free measurement services software for configuring your system, testing your system, and completing basic data-logging tasks.

  • Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX) – software to save time configuring, testing, and calibrating your NI CompactDAQ system
  • LabVIEW SignalExpress LE – FREE data-logging software for acquiring, viewing, and logging data from any NI-DAQmx device

National Instruments also offers the following software options, each of which is designed for optimized integration with NI-DAQmx and NI CompactDAQ.

  • LabVIEW SignalExpress – full-featured, interactive data-logging software
  • LabVIEW – graphical development environment for data acquisition, analysis, and presentation
  • LabWindows™/CVI – ANSI C application development environment for data acquisition
  • Measurement Studio – add-on development tools for Visual Studio .NET, Visual Basic, and Visual C++

Q: Does NI CompactDAQ come with a warranty?

The quality of NI CompactDAQ is ensured by a one-year warranty. Should the device fail due to a manufacturing defect within one year of purchase, you can return it to National Instruments for repair/replacement at no charge.

Q: How do I get technical support for NI CompactDAQ?

Visit for resources to aid in assembly and startup. For assistance and troubleshooting, visit NI applications engineers can assist you through Web forums and e-mail or by phone.

Q: Am I guaranteed to achieve the acquisition rates that are specified?

All rates specified are for National Instruments C Series modules and the NI CompactDAQ chassis. These rates do not take into account program architecture or PC processing speed. Using computers with older processors or a non-Hi-Speed USB port limits your ability to use NI CompactDAQ to its design specifications. Buffer overflow errors are a common indication that the data acquisition hardware is supplying data at a rate faster than the PC can process it.  Internal benchmarks have achieved analog rates of over 5MS/s.  If you have questions about the potential performance of your NI CompactDAQ system, please call the NI sales department.

Q: Where can I get more NI CompactDAQ information?

The main NI CompactDAQ home page at features technical white papers such as the following:

NI CompactDAQ Under the Hood - Three Technologies that Drive USB Performance


The mark LabWindows is used under a license from Microsoft Corporation.


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