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Data acquisition is the process of sampling signals that measure real world physical conditions and converting the

resulting samples into digital numeric values that can be manipulated by a computer and the process of measuring an electrical or physical phenomenon such as voltage, current, temperature, pressure, or
sound can be performed .Data acquisition systems (abbreviated with the acronym DAS or DAQ) typically

convert analog waveforms into digital values for processing. The components of data acquisition systems include: Sensors that convert physical parameters to electrical signals. Signal conditioning circuitry to convert sensor signals into a form that can be converted to digital values. Analog-to-digital converters, which convert conditioned sensor signals to digital values.

Data acquisition applications are controlled by software programs developed using various general purpose programming languages such as BASIC, C, Fortran, Java, Lisp, Pascal. Specialized software tools used for building large-scale data acquisition systems include EPICS. Graphical programming environments include ladder logic, Visual C++, Visual Basic, and LabVIEW.
PC-based data acquisition uses a combination of modular hardware and flexible software to transform your standard laptop or desktop computer into a user- defined measurement or control system. Learn more about each of these components in the sections below.

While each data acquisition system has unique functionality to serve application- specific requirements, all systems share common components that include signals, sensors, signal conditioning, DAQ hardware, and a computer with software.

Data acquisition begins with the physical phenomenon or physical property to be measured. Examples of this include temperature, light intensity, gas pressure, fluid flow, and force. Regardless of the type of physical property to be measured, the physical state that is to be measured must first be transformed into

a unified form that can be sampled by a data acquisition system. The task of performing such transformations falls on devices called sensors. A sensor, which is a type of transducer, is a device that converts a physical property into a corresponding electrical signal (e.g., a voltage or current) or, in many cases, into a corresponding electrical characteristic (e.g., resistance or capacitance) that can easily be converted to electrical signal. The ability of a data acquisition system to measure differing properties depends on having sensors that are suited to detect the various properties to be measured. There are specific sensors for many different applications. DAQ systems also employ various signal conditioning techniques to adequately modify various different electrical signals into voltage that can then be digitized using an Analog-to-digital converter (ADC).

A sensor (or transducer) is a device that converts a physical phenomenon into a measurable electrical signal, such as voltage or current. The following table shows a short list of some common phenomena and the transducers used to measure them. Phenomenon Temperature Light Sound Force and Pressure Position and Displacement Acceleration pH Transducer Thermocouple, RTD, Thermistor Photo Sensor Microphone Strain Gage, Piezoelectric Transducer Potentiometer, LVDT, Optical Encoder Accelerometer pH Electrode Table 1. Phenomena and Existing Transducers Transducers convert physical phenomena into measurable signals, however, different signals need to be measured in different ways. For this reason, it is important to understand the different types of signals and their corresponding attributes. Signals can be categorized into two groups: analog and digital.

Analog Signals

An analog signal can exist at any value with respect to time. A few examples of analog signals include voltage, temperature, pressure, sound, and load. The three primary characteristics of an analog signal are level, shape, and frequency.




Because analog signals can take on any value, the level gives vital information about the measured analog signal. Some signals are named after The intensity of a light source, their specific shapes - sine, the temperature in a room, and square, sawtooth, and triangle. the pressure inside a chamber The shape of an analog signal are all examples that can be as important as the demonstrate the importance of level because you can further the level of a signal. analyze the signal, including

All analog signals can be categorized by their frequencies. Unlike the level or shape of the signal, you cannot directly measure frequency. You must analyze the signal using software to determine the peak values, DC values, and frequency information. This analysis is usually done using slope. The analysis of an algorithm known as heartbeats, video signals, sounds, vibrations, and circuit the Fourier transform. responses are some applications involving shape measurements.

Digital Signals

A digital signal cannot take on any value with respect to time. Instead, a digital signal has two possible levels: high and low. The useful information that you can measure from a digital signal includes the state and the rate.



The state of a digital signal is essentially the level of the signal - on or off, high or low. Monitoring the state of a switch - open or closed - is a common application showing the importance of knowing the state of a digital signal.

The rate of a digital signal defines how the digital signal changes state with respect to time. An example of measuring the rate of a digital signal includes determining how fast a motor shaft spins. Unlike frequency, the rate of a digital signal measures how often a portion of a signal occurs.

Refer the How-To Guide for Most Common Measurements for more information on measuring different sensor types.

Software Development
The design of the DAQ software is determined by the experimental necessity.

Thus, all the algorithms and processing techniques have been developed in collaboration with the Nuclear Physicists of the centre and other Institutes. Earlier DAQ software was developed for PDP15 and NorskData super-mini computer with proprietary operating system. From 1995, we have shifted to Personal Computer based system with Windows and Linux operating system. The basic readout system has been CAMAC since 1985 with the addition of VME readout since 2001. Now we are moving towards the embedded systems. The basic software structure of a DAQ application is depicted in the attached figure. Apart from the acquisition some development took place for experiment control also. The various versions of the currently available DAQ software is given in the attached table. The device driver development is also a major area of work. The ISA or PCI based hardware interface cards are designed and developed in-house. The device drivers for Linux are developed by the section for these interfacing cards.

Hardware Development
The hardware development was primarily focused towards DAQ related digital hardware and at an early stage various CAMAC modules e.g. crate controller with ISA interface, 4-ch multiplexed ADC, NIM ADC interfaces etc were developed using discrete ICs. In recent years the hardware design facility has been upgraded to cater to

CPLD/FPGA based design with procurement of EDA tools like FPGA Advantage designentry, ModleSim (PE) simulator, Leonardo Spectrum Level2 synthesis tool, Xilinx ISE place & route and CADSTAR PCB design tool. The hardware development team has gained expertise in designing with VHDL and designed and implemented various FPGA based modules e.g. CAMAC trigger module, programmable pulser, CAMAC scaler, statistical pulser. Apart from DAQ related hardware various micro-controller based devices e.g. Ethernet to RS-232 converter, ADC-DAC interface have been fabricated. The figures display two of the products developed. The facility is also equipped with the state of the art soldering station and has the necessary technical skill of soldering surface mount devices of various form factors.


Temperature Measurements Use Data Acquisition Processor boards with a variety of temperature sensors this section discusses measuring temperatures in multichannel applications, surveying sensor types, calibration, and applications. Timing for Rotating Equipment Use the MSXB 036 Timer/Counter to monitor elapsed time while rotating machinery is measured using an optical encoder. Intelligent Data Selection A 6-part article on DAP software triggering shows how intelligent data selection delivers just the data you need. PDF

Effective Data Reduction Reducing bulk data to essential information uses resources wisely and simplifies data acquisition applications. PDF Benchmarking Throughput Capacity Measure tradeoffs between the number of channels, data rates, and on-board processing when capacity requirements conflict. PDF

Benchmarking Response Latency Measure the time delays you can expect between event detection and the delivery of results. PDF