NI CompactDAQ 101

Publish Date: Jul 10, 2014 | 3 Ratings | 4.67 out of 5 |  PDF

Overview

Learn the benefits of NI CompactDAQ data acquisition systems and examine the product features that make those benefits possible.

Table of Contents

  1. Mixed-Measurement Systems
  2. Ease of Use
  3. Rugged Design
  4. Accuracy/NIST-Traceable
  5. Included Data-Logging Software
  6. C Series Platform
  7. C Series Modules
  8. Automatic Synchronization of Modules and Channels
  9. Buy Now

Figure 1. NI CompactDAQ is an easy-to-use, complete data acquisition system for mixed-signal and sensor measurement.

 

1. Mixed-Measurement Systems

 

Whether you are testing a kitchen appliance, game controller, hybrid electric vehicle, or even a simple flashlight, you most likely need multiple types of sensors. The vast majority of test systems, even simple ones, are composed of more than one type of I/O. Many devices can measure temperature, voltage, or bridge-based sensors, but NI CompactDAQ can integrate all of these measurements and more into a single device that outputs the data through USB or Ethernet. An NI CompactDAQ system can mix multiplexed voltage input signals, simultaneously sampled accelerometers, low-speed thermocouples, and TTL digital I/O all in the same 4- or 8-slot chassis using the same driver, NI-DAQmx. NI CompactDAQ makes programming easier because the same driver is used for all measurements. This solution saves space and simplifies service and support. With NI CompactDAQ, there is only one box on your lab bench, and if there are problems with any of the measurements or equipment, award-winning NI support is the only contact for all of your instrumentation needs.

 

Watch a Mixed Sensor Appliance Test with an NI CompactDAQ USB chassis

 

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2. Ease of Use

 

NI CompactDAQ was designed with ease of use in mind from both the hardware and software perspectives. All of the modules are automatically detected when installed in the chassis, which means the system knows exactly which module is installed and which measurements the module can make. Modules are hot-swappable—you can insert or remove them with the chassis powered on. Even if NI CompactDAQ is up and running another test, new modules that you insert are automatically detected and configured without interruption to ongoing tasks. This is a feature not only of convenience but of sturdy design as well because the hot-swapping feature eliminates possible hardware failure from improper installation or power-up procedures.

 

Programming NI CompactDAQ with NI LabVIEW software and the DAQ Assistant provides one of the easiest ways to deliver data from external hardware into the PC. The DAQ Assistant is a quick wizard-style setup that configures your measurement and even shows you how to connect your sensor to the module.

 

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Figure 2. The NI DAQ Assistant walks you through PC-based sensor measurement.

 

For other programming languages, NI-DAQmx features an API and hundreds of examples for use in ANSI C/C++, C#, and Visual Basic .NET. Whichever programming language or interface you choose, NI CompactDAQ provides an easy programming experience.

 

Watch a video demonstration of the NI CompactDAQ out-of-box experience

 

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3. Rugged Design

 

NI CompactDAQ and all NI C Series modules are constructed from A380 cast aluminum for a rugged system that can withstand operating temperatures from -20 °C to 55 °C and up to 30 g of shock. The rugged version of the Ethernet NI CompactDAQ chassis, NI cDAQ-9188XT, can withstand operating temperatures from -40 °C to 70°C and up to 50 g of shock. NI CompactDAQ was built to be used in the lab but not to necessarily stay there. With a rugged, flexible system such as NI CompactDAQ, you can reconfigure and move a single test system from place to place without having to purchase different equipment for every lab or test stand. The C Series modules are equally rugged and designed with spring-loaded latches to lock into place when installed in the chassis. The shock and vibration specifications are all tested on an NI CompactDAQ system with modules installed, so there is no worry of a module falling out or coming undocked under the specified conditions. For cable strain relief on the USB chassis, a locking USB cable with thumbscrew is included to prevent accidental disconnections during use. The rugged features of NI CompactDAQ help you quickly begin testing because less time is needed to prepare the instrumentation for the rigors of field testing.

 

Figure 3. cDAQ-9188XT brings a temperature range of -40 °C to 70 °C, 50 g shock, and 5 g vibration to the NI CompactDAQ family so you to take any measurement, anywhere.

 

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4. Accuracy/NIST-Traceable

 

All C Series modules for NI CompactDAQ are NIST-traceable and available for factory calibration and verification. In addition to the standardized testing, accuracy specifications for NI CompactDAQ are reported over a 10 °C temperature window, helping to ensure that the reported accuracy you see in the data sheets and manuals is the accuracy you can expect when you actually put the system to use. Maximum specifications are also noted for guaranteed results anywhere within the operational envelope.

 

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5. Included Data-Logging Software

 

NI ships NI CompactDAQ, and more than 200 other data acquisition (DAQ) devices, with a driver kit that includes the following:

 

  • Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX)—This configuration utility is for quick measurement debugging or system diagnostic test via the device self-test.
  • NI-DAQmx—As the driver and API for all NI DAQ devices, this installer includes interfaces to LabVIEW, ANSI C/C++, C#, and Visual Basic .NET and hundreds of example programs for LabVIEW and text-based languages.
  • SignalExpress—With configuration-based data logging, you can get up and running out of the box without programming. With LabVIEW SignalExpress LE, you can acquire data from the hardware, build a custom user interface, and log data to Technical Data Management Streaming (TDMS) files or to Microsoft Excel for graphing and post-processing. LabVIEW SignalExpress is available for purchase and includes analysis and processing blocks for use within the data-logging environment.

 

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6. C Series Platform

 

The C Series platform consists of more than 50 measurement modules and several different chassis for deployment. Configurations can range in size and complexity from simple 4-channel temperature loggers to high-channel-count, ultrahigh-speed control systems. NI CompactDAQ chassis are available in Ethernet, USB, and 802.11 WiFi options. For a list of chassis, carriers, and modules, see the C Series Module Compatibility Chart.

 

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Figure 4. These C Series modules are shown in a variety of chassis and carriers for USB, Ethernet, and 802.11 WiFi.

 

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7. C Series Modules

 

You can choose from more than 50 C Series modules for different measurements including thermocouple, voltage, resistance temperature detector (RTD), current, resistance, strain, digital (TTL and other), accelerometers, and microphones. Channel counts on the individual modules range from three to 32 channels to accommodate a wide range of system requirements. C Series modules combine signal conditioning, connectivity, and data acquisition into a small module for each specific measurement type. You can insert these modules into any C Series chassis to create a variety of systems. You can create a mix of channel counts and measurement types within one system by selecting the desired modules and installing them into one of several C Series systems. For this reason, systems built on the C Series platform are highly customizable. 

 

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Figure 5. Choose from more than 50 C Series measurement modules.

 

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8. Automatic Synchronization of Modules and Channels

 

Because NI CompactDAQ is a modular system, you can add more measurement types and channels to the system by simply plugging in additional modules. All modules are hot-swappable and autodetect once you insert them into an NI CompactDAQ chassis. All modules are also automatically synchronized, and a single NI CompactDAQ system can simultaneously stream high-speed analog input, analog output, digital input, and digital output over a single USB connection.

 

See NI CompactDAQ Technology for more information on how NI CompactDAQ works under the hood.

 

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9. Buy Now

Configure your own NI CompactDAQ system with the NI CompactDAQ System Advisor.

View pricing and purchasing information for NI CompactDAQ.

 

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