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Design & Build of Data Acquisition Systems

Test and measurement is a core competency within PrimeTest® Automation. Being an automation company, we understand that most test and measurement systems require data acquisition components, and the best partner for those has always been National Instruments.

As a National Instruments Alliance Member and VAR+, PrimeTest Automation is recognized as a world-class supplier in the industry. With architect-level certification in LabVIEW, PrimeTest Automation engineers consistently and rapidly create innovative software solutions for even the most sophisticated test and measurement challenges.

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Automotive System DAQ
Automotive System DAQ
  Automated Electrical Component End of Line Tester with DAQ
Automated Electrical Component End of Line Tester with DAQ
  OG Vertical Two Data
OG Vertical Two Data
  DAQ with Custom PCB Board
DAQ with Custom PCB Board
Hurricane Wind Data Acquisition
Hurricane Wind Data Acquisition
  Small Electrical Device Leak Test Data Acquisition System
Small Electrical Device Leak Test Data Acquisition System
  End of Line Test of Automotive Device IO
End of Line Test of Automotive Device IO

Here are just a few examples of DAQ solutions developed by PrimeTest Automation:

DAQ & Control System for Hurricane Research

Ruggedized distributed DAQ systems were built for a major government funded hurricane research group. Working in conjunction with the College of Engineering and Computing at a Florida University, this system was designed to monitor and control their large scale hurricane environmental testing facility. Wind generation for this system came from a fan system and we wrote the Human Machine Interface (HMI) software that was responsible for generating fan speed profiles and model rotation commands to a Siemens PLC. The system acts as a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) via Ethernet to the PLC, and retrieves log voltage, frequency, total current, temperature, and vibration data. The experimental measurements, pressure, temperature, strain, load, and wind velocity transducers are wired to four separate stainless steel cabinets. Each cabinet houses a National Instruments Compact RIO system populated with analog input modules. One cabinet is dedicated to 64 channels of strain gauge inputs, one for up to 8 high speed wind velocity instruments, and two for pressure and other general purpose analog input measurements. Overall the system is capable of sampling about 500 channels of data at 200 samples per second. All of the cabinets connect to a host PC where the live data is aggregated, displayed on plots, and logged to disk. All software provided by PrimeTest Automation was developed with LabVIEW. The system is located in Miami, Florida.

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Medical Device DAQ & Testing System

A medical device company completing FDA life cycle testing on critical implants needed a system to reliably capture performance data and operating events during long term testing of their products. After building a custom designed prototype system, PrimeTest Automation designed and deployed a series of systems to recreate the environment of the human circulatory system. Monitoring dozens of sensors, controlling pumps, heaters, and valves, a sophisticated LabVIEW program governs uninterrupted life cycle testing for multiple medical devices.

The following NI specialized hardware components were integrated into this system:

Modular Data Acquisition

PrimeTest Automation is a worldwide value added reseller for National Instruments and carries the designation of Certified Alliance Member. A National Instruments FPGA module controlling hot-swappable I/O modules shall form the data acquisition system.

FPGA Module

NI 9157 MXI-Express RIO Chassis
NI 9157 MXI-Express RIO Chassis

PrimeTest Automation supplied a National Instruments MXI-Express RIO chassis.

The NI 9157 MXI-Express RIO chassis is a cabled, reconfigurable, I/O (RIO) target that works with all NI CompactRIO I/O modules. A high-bandwidth, cabled link based on a x1 PCI Express bus; the MXI-Express interface is transparent to software applications and drivers. You can use ExpressCard or PCI Express to MXI-Express adapters to add up to four daisy-chained MXI-Express RIO chassis to industrial PCs such as NI industrial controllers, laptops, or PXI embedded controllers.

Virtex-5 FPGA

The NI 9157 includes a user-programmable Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA core, giving you high processing power and capacity and the ability to design custom hardware using LabVIEW FPGA Module software. The FPGA software provides low-level hardware access to the hot-swappable I/O modules, so you can create unprecedented timing, triggering, control, and synchronization schemes for industrial, hardware-in-the-loop, and real-time test applications.

Digital I/O Modules

Prime Test Automation provided one digital input and one digital output module for each system. Each module offers up to 32 channels. Modules are available in both sinking and sourcing configurations.

TEDs Analog Input Module

NI 9237 Module
NI 9237 Module

PrimeTest Automation provided three NI 9237 modules per system. Each module accommodated up to four transducer inputs that are TEDs enabled.

The system was utilized as the National Instruments 9237 simultaneous bridges module for use with NI CompactDAQ and CompactRIO, contains all the signal conditioning required to power and measure up to four bridge-based sensors simultaneously. The high sampling rate and bandwidth of the NI 9237 offered a high-quality, high-speed strain or load measurement system with zero interchannel phase delay. With 60 VDC isolation and 1,000 Vrms transient isolation, the NI 9237 has high common-mode noise rejection and increased safety for both the operator and test system.

General Purpose Analog Input Module

NI 9205 Analog Input Module
NI 9205 Analog Input Module

PrimeTest Automation provided an analog input module offering up to 16 channels of differential or 32 channels of single-ended measurement. The module will digitize signals from the customer supplied flow probes, the differential pressure transducers on the filters, power supply voltage monitors, and current flow monitor for the main supply pump. The D-Sub form factor of the module was provided with a cable and DIN-rail mounted screw terminal block for signal connection.

The National Instruments 9205 Analog Input Module that was utilized is a C Series module, for use with NI CompactDAQ and CompactRIO chassis. The NI 9205 features 32 single-ended or 16 differential analog inputs, 16-bit resolution, and a maximum sampling rate of 250 kS/s. Each channel has programmable input ranges of ±200 mV, ±1, ±5, and ±10 V. To protect against signal transients, the NI 9205 includes up to 60 V of overvoltage protection between input channels and common (COM). In addition, the NI 9205 also includes a channel-to-earth-ground double isolation barrier for safety, noise immunity, and high common-mode voltage range. It is rated for 1,000 Vrms transient overvoltage protection.

Analog Output Module

NI 9264 Analog Output Module
NI 9264 Analog Output Module

PrimeTest Automation provided an analog output module for each system that offered up to 16 channels of 25kS/sec simultaneous output from -10V to +10V. The module provided control signals for the linear motors and the proportional control valves. The D-Sub form factor of the module was provided with a cable and DIN-rail mounted screw terminal block for signal connection.

The National Instruments 9264 is a C Series module for NI CompactDAQ and CompactRIO that accommodates higher-channel-count systems in either chassis type. Higher density modules will conserve chassis space leaving room for other measurement types. Each channel can update at up to 25 kS/s because each channel has its own digital to analog converter.

Thermocouple Input Module

NI 9213 Thermocouple Input Module
NI 9213 Thermocouple Input Module

PrimeTest Automation provided a thermocouple input module for each system that offered up to 16 channels of temperature measurement.

  • Built-in CJC (cold-junction compensation)
  • High-speed mode for up to 1,200 S/s (aggregate)
  • 250 Vrms channel-to-earth ground safety isolation
  • Autozero channel for offset error compensation
  • 24-bit ADC for up to 0.02 °C measurement sensitivity
  • J, K, T, E, N, B, R, and S types supported

Control Software

PrimeTest Automation supplied a custom LabVIEW program to provide a user interface for the operator, control the Prime Mover linear motor, and properly sequence the system according to the test protocol. The control software complied with the SRS supplied by the customer. Data recording software sends measurement and system health data to a central database server. In the event that the database server is unreachable, the data shall be archived locally on the system PC. Due to nature of the project, multiple backup measures are built directly into the system.

Systems located in South Florida for company based outside of Boston Massachusetts.

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Power Generation DAQ Systems Development for South American Country

In coordination with a Mid-Atlantic University and a South American power company, multiple data acquisition systems for air flow, ejector, cascade, and combustion rigs were specified with the components listed below.

LabVIEW was utilized to develop a platform coordinating the data acquisition functions of the instrumentation including multiple Scanivalve systems for pressure measurements, and National Instruments cDAQ and PXI chassis for thermocouple, barometer, and valve position measurements. The system programming also allows for standard calculations of flow parameter and pressure ratio. In addition, the software provides the capability for user defined calculations with variables selectable from the list of available measurements. The software allows single-sample data logging as well as transient streaming capability and user-defined plots of all measurement data.

Hardware Components:

Scanivalve DSAENCL4000

The DSAENCL4000 pressure acquisition system with Digital Signal Processor (DSP) is a programmable device capable of extremely fast math functions that operate on the data stream in real time. All measurements are converted into engineering units.

Scanivalve DSA3218 Pressure Scanner

The ejector rig had a requirement for only 3 channels at 5 psig. A single Scanivalve module provides 16 channels of pressure input, so there is no need to go to the expense of having a multi-slot chassis. Scanivalve offers the DSA3218 as a standalone module with its own Ethernet interface. PrimeTest Automation will provide one DSA3218 module for the ejector rig.

Scanivalve DSA3016 Modules

PrimeTest Automation designed in a total of twenty (20) DSA3016 modules including three 100 psig modules, nine 50 psig modules, three ±5 psig modules, and five 5 psid modules.




Data Acquisition Chassis

PrimeTest Automation incorporated into these systems National Instruments signal conditioning chassis with twelve slots to accommodate thermocouple, digital I/O, and transducer inputs. The chassis is cabled to a digitizer installed in the host PC. We included ten signal conditioning modules leaving two slots open to future expansion.


Thermocouple Input Module

PrimeTest Automation specified nine (9) thermocouple input modules with 32 channels each. The modules shall be installed in the SCXI-1001 chassis and cabled to patch panels on the rear of the rack mount enclosure.


Sensor Inputs

6 sensor input modules with 4 channels each for a total of 12 isolated inputs for sensors also incorporated in this design. The modules offer a range of voltage input from ±2.5mV to ±5V. Resistor packs will be provided that, when installed, allow the module to measure current (0-20mA).



Digital I/O

PrimeTest Automation specified 2 digital input and 2 digital output module. Each module offers 32 channels broken down into 8 banks of 4 channels each. The digital input module will sense stop button signals, pressure switches (if the customer incorporates them), and can trigger data sampling. The digital output module will enable the shut-off valves when an overpressure or over temperature condition is detected.


Compact DAQ System

For part of the system that required far fewer thermocouple inputs than the other it was more economical to use a Compact DAQ chassis rather than an SCXI chassis.

cDAQ

Compact DAQ chassis with 16 TC inputs, 8 Digital Inputs, and 8 digital outputs shall be provided. An example of the chassis is shown to the right.


cDAQ

Compact DAQ chassis with 16 TC inputs, 8 digital inputs, 8 digital outputs, 4 4-20mA outputs, and 8 4-20mA inputs shall be provided. An example of the chassis is shown to the right.




Barometer

All rigs require a barometric pressure reading. While the software will support manual entry of barometric pressure, an automated measurement is always preferable. As such, PrimeTest Automation specified a Druck DPI 740 precision barometer with ±0.02% FS accuracy for each of the four rigs. The barometer measurement is read through an RS-232 port on the host PC.

Automated Pressure Controller

For each of the four rigs, PrimeTest Automation will provide one Tescom ER3000SI-1 pressure controller. It is the responsibility of the customer to mate the controller with a suitable backpressure regulator and a 4-20 mA feedback transducer.

Scanivalve DSA Enclosure 4000
Scanivalve DSA Enclosure 4000

Scanivalve DSA3218 Module
Scanivalve DSA3218 Module

Scanivalve DSA3016 Module
Scanivalve DSA3016 Module

National Instruments SCXI 1001
National Instruments SCXI 1001

National Instruments SCXI 1102
National Instruments SCXI 1102

National Instruments SCXI 1121
National Instruments SCXI 1121

National Instruments SCXI-1162HV and SCXI-1163
National Instruments SCXI-1162HV and SCXI-1163

NI Compact DAQ Chassis with-3 Modules
NI Compact DAQ Chassis with-3 Modules

NI Compact DAQ Chassis with-5 Modules
NI Compact DAQ Chassis with-5 Modules

Absolute Pressure Transducer (Barometer)
Absolute Pressure Transducer (Barometer)

Tescom ER3000
Tescom ER3000
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Electric Utility Portable Environmental DAQ System

PrimeTest Automation developed a portable DAQ system used by a utility company to measure the emissions from smoke stacks in accordance to EPA standards. The source emissions testing systems rely heavily on National Instruments hardware and LabVIEW programming to calibrate and run the data acquisition routines. Multiple systems are deployed in the state of Florida.

Marine DAQ System & Control HMI for Underwater Remotely Operated Scientific Instrument

PrimeTest Automation in coordination with the University of Miami developed an HMI with a data acquisition and control system for ISIIS (In Situ Ichthyoplankton Imaging System). The technology was developed in collaboration with the University of Miami at the Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS).

The system included charts and graphs of acquired measurements, and control signals that are updated by a live feed from the NI CompactRIO system. A configuration dialog for specifying data storage location, header information, active sensor channels, calibration files, and other set-up parameters is provided. On screen controls for the undulating parameters were developed. An altimeter display is also provided with a gauge, digital readout, alarm indicator, and historical chart.

The following National Instruments Hardware was integrated into system:

  • 780919-01 CRio-9116 - 8 Slot Virtex-5 LX 85 Chassis
  • 779564-01 CRio-9014 - Real-Time PowerPC Embedded Controller
  • 779006-01 NI 9481 - 4 Ch Relay Module
  • 779012-01 NI 9263 - 4 Ch, 16 Bit Analog Output Module
  • 779781-01 NI 9219 - 4 Ch, 24 Bit Analog Input Module
  • 779891-01 NI 9870 - 4 Port RS232 Serial Module
  • 196917-01 NI 9977 - C Series Filter Module
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Aerospace DAQ System Software & Hardware Upgrades on High Pressure Flow Bench

PrimeTest Automation worked with a large aerospace organization in conjunction with their Florida and Connecticut based facilities, to provide the hardware and technical services required to upgrade an existing airflow measurement bench. We replaced all broken and/or obsolete or unserviceable components including the regulator, pressure controller, valves, digital pressure gauges, PID controllers, control computer, and all associated data acquisition and control components with new, serviceable hardware. In addition, PrimeTest Automation provided custom flow bench software with next generation capability to perform the required testing with limited operator intervention.

This flow bench instrumentation included four Heise Digital Pressure Indicators, a Druck DPI 141 Resonant Sensor Barometer and two thermocouples. Data acquisition and control was provided via a PC running MS Windows NT with custom programming. Important calculated parameters (specifically pressure ratio and flow parameter) are also displayed. Steady state data points can be saved to text file for subsequent review. The control system also facilitates bench diagnostic tests such as internal leak checks.

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Gas Turbine Portable DAQ System

These portable systems are comprised of a compact chassis with signal conditioning modules that are attached to a laptop via gigabit Ethernet. Previous generation systems use large industrial PCs with PCI-4472 and PCI-4474 modules. The latest systems are based on the National Instruments Compact DAQ platform. Extensive custom LabVIEW programming and National Instruments components were utilized in the build of the systems.

Utilizing the Ethernet chassis with 8 slots, and driver architecture that is compatible with PCI-4472 and PCI-4474 modules, this system was built for a Florida based company. The systems are deployed around the world to test and monitor operational gas turbine systems. Components utilized include:

Compact DAQ Chassis

The chassis houses the signal conditioning modules and provides communication with the host laptop over gigabit Ethernet.

The NI cDAQ-9188 is an 8-slot NI CompactDAQ Ethernet chassis designed for remote or distributed sensor and electrical measurements. A single NI CompactDAQ chassis can measure up to 256 channels of electrical, physical, mechanical, or acoustic signals. By combining more than 50 sensor-specific NI C Series I/O modules with patented NI Signal Streaming technology, the NI CompactDAQ platform delivers high-speed data and ease of use in a flexible, mixed-measurement system.

Dynamic Data Acquisition Module

In order to acquire data from 20 channels of dynamic pressure transducers, a quantity of five (5) NI 9234 4-channel modules were utilized.

The NI 9234 is a four-channel C Series dynamic signal acquisition module for making high-accuracy audio frequency measurements from integrated electronic piezoelectric (IEPE) and non-IEPE sensors with NI CompactDAQ or CompactRIO systems. The NI 9234 delivers 102 dB of dynamic range and incorporates software-selectable AC/DC coupling and IEPE signal conditioning for accelerometers and microphones. The four input channels simultaneously digitize signals at rates up to 51.2 kHz per channel with built-in antialiasing filters that automatically adjust to your sampling rate.

DAQ Software

The software application that is designed to work with PCI-4472 and PCI-4474 acquisition devices shall be further expanded to support the CompactDAQ chassis with NI 9234 modules.

NI Compact DAQ Ethernet Chassis
NI Compact DAQ Ethernet Chassis



4-channel Dynamic Acquisition Module
4-channel Dynamic Acquisition Module


20-channel Portable DDAQ System
20-channel Portable DDAQ System
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