Archived: Frequently Asked Questions for Emona ETT-202 DATEx: Part 3

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Why use hardware when software simulators are readily available?

Manipulating objects on-screen and viewing the results on-screen can seem like "magic" particularly to introductory students. There are real educational benefits when a student builds and studies an experiment with live signals in real 'hands-on' hardware. The directness of 'hands-on' adjustment of signals gives a solid and tangible understanding of the system being studied to the student.

In order to appreciate a simulation, a student needs to have pre-requisite knowledge of sampling theorem and fourier analysis. Once these fundamentals have been understood, simulations become a powerful adjunct alongside learning with a DATEx system. DATEx with NI ELVIS and LabVIEW provides the best of both worlds.

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Can external signals be connected to the DATEx?

As the DATEx uses real electrical signals, it is easy to bring signals into the DATEx environment or take them from the DATEx to other external equipment.

Signal parameters should be considered to ensure signals within the DATEx input/output specification are used.

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Isn't it easy for students to damage the circuits if they improperly wire a connection?

No, every input and output is fully protected against improper wiring of signals from the DATEx board itself.

In this way, students who improperly wire can take the opportunity to learn from their mistakes, safe in the knowledge that the equipment is tolerant to error.

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What does the DATEx Soft Front Panel do?

The DATEx Soft Front Panel instrument is an application built with NI LabVIEW that allows the student to control all the DATEx knobs and switches on-screen. This user interface for this application is designed to mimic the DATEx board.

The DATEx Soft Front Panel gives the student a hands-on experience of computer control of real hardware and real world signals.

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What is the difference between MANUAL mode and PC-CONTROL mode?

The DATEx "CONTROL MODE" switch has two positions: MANUAL and PC-CONTROL.

In the MANUAL position, the student controls all the DATEx knobs and switches with their fingers.

In the PC-CONTROL position, all DATEx knobs and switches are controlled by turning the knobs on the DATEx Soft Front Panel. The DATEx kit includes a CD-ROM with both the DATEx Soft Front Panel software as well as VIs to control each DATEx block within LabVIEW, for "hardware-in-the-loop" applications.

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How do you do the patching when the DATEx is in PC-CONTROL MODE?

All patching of the DATEx module blocks is done using real patch cords at the front panel of the DATEx board. No virtual patching is done via the PC.

PC-CONTROL is only used for controlling knobs and switches.

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Where do I find the DATEx VIs in LabVIEW for creating my own control code?

The main DATEx soft front panel VI is installed to your preferred target directory as an .exe file, which you can run.

The LabVIEW VIs for the DATEx are installed to the EMONA DATEx folder. You can simply drag and drop them onto your block diagram as with any LabVIEW function block and connect signals to input and output terminals.

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Additional Resources

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