USB Data Acquisition System from National Instruments

14th June 2006
Posted By : ES Admin
National Instruments has announced a new USB-based modular data acquisition system – NI CompactDAQ – a new platform ideal for sensor and electrical measurements on the benchtop, in the field and on the production line.
The NI CompactDAQ system offers an eight-slot chassis that accepts I/O modules capable of measuring up to 256 channels of electrical, physical, mechanical and acoustic signals in a single system. By combining the plug-and-play simplicity of USB with the performance and flexibility of modular instrumentation, NI CompactDAQ provides fast and accurate measurements in a small, simple and affordable system.

“USB has gained tremendous popularity as a result of its ease of use and ubiquity in modern electronics. We designed NI CompactDAQ to take full advantage of the bandwidth now available with Hi-Speed USB and minimised both size and power consumption for laptop users and portable requirements,” said Dr. James Truchard, NI President, CEO and Cofounder. “Expert test engineers as well as novice users will benefit from the combination of powerful, high-speed data acquisition and the familiar, user-friendly experience of USB.”

The new system delivers connectivity and signal conditioning for measurements including voltage, temperature, strain, sound and vibration, as well as digital I/O and switching. All modules are hot-swappable and autodetectable for simplified setup, and offer up to 2,300 Vrms of isolation to ensure PC and user safety. The system delivers four dedicated USB signal streams for synchronous analogue and digital I/O for data-intensive applications including sound and vibration, mixed-signal automated test and high-speed data logging. In addition, the small size (25 by 9 by 9 cm) and flexible power options (AC or 11 to 30 VDC) make NI CompactDAQ ideal for a wide range of test settings, such as in-vehicle, benchtop and automated test applications.

“We selected NI CompactDAQ to provide the required I/O in our ultrasonics cement analyser used on oil rigs for monitoring the curing rate of cement at high temperatures and pressures. The small size of NI CompactDAQ helped us minimise the footprint of the analyser, and the modularity of the platform gives us the ability to incorporate additional measurement types for special deployment requirements,” said Rick Bradshaw, Halliburton Technical Professional Leader, R&D. “In addition, National Instruments continues to be a technology leader for data acquisition, and it was important for us to select a vendor with a proven reputation for quality and performance.”

Every NI CompactDAQ system is shipped with NI-DAQmx driver software and additional measurement services, a collection of powerful tools and interfaces that make system setup even faster and simpler. For example, an interactive configuration and test panel utility minimises setup time, while the included configuration-based data-logging software makes it possible to record data without programming. NI-DAQmx measurement services software also includes an open API for NI LabVIEW, C/C++, Visual Basic 6 and Microsoft Visual Studio .NET languages, as well as the DAQ Assistant, a step-by-step wizard utility from NI that automatically generates LabVIEW code.

By integrating commercially available silicon and bus technologies with innovative designs, NI data acquisition (DAQ) products continue to improve measurement speed and accuracy while reducing cost for engineers and scientists. NI data acquisition devices are available on the most widely used buses, including PCI, PXI, PCI Express and USB, and work with the industry’s most popular operating systems such as Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Readers can learn more about the latest NI data acquisition hardware and software products and technologies at

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