Data Acquisition for Laboratory / Test Cells

StrainSense provide Laboratory Data Acquisition systems for Laboratory or Test Cell, Test Rigs applications. The complete product range of data acquisition equipment is ideal for applications including aerospace, automotive, defence and rail testing. The product range is ideal where multiple dynamic signal types need to be recorded in synchronisation.

There are several acquisition chassis models to choose depending on channel count required, however all are modular and expandable. Systems can either be portable for use in a multi-function test lab or permanently installed in cabinets, as well as channel extensions.

System configuration is straight forward by selecting the acquisition chassis first, adding the input module types required to match the sensor outputs and any additional external sensor inputs or components such as low speed temperature modules.

Many input modules for analogue signals are specified with isolated, differential inputs, configurable filters and high sample rate and resolution. All have a separate A to D converter on each channel for truly synchronised measurements. These provide the highest level of accuracy, resolution and safety for test and measurement applications. Isolated input modules are also available for digital and data bus traffic to record mixed signals in a single system.

For more information don’t hesitate to contact StrainSense today and we are happy to discuss your requirements.

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Choosing the right type of Laboratory Data Acquisition system (DAQ)

As you can imagine with a large proportion of engineering activities, choosing the incorrect tool may have serious implications on the results of your measurements. The information contained below is to help visitors make a more informed decision on a Laboratory Data Acquisition system which is most appropriate for their requirements.

What type of input module do I require?

The data acquisition system input modules needs to match the output type of the sensors being used in the measurement application. Sensor output types commonly used are voltage, current, Wheatstone bridge (full/half/quarter), IEPE, resistance, potentiometer, counter, digital, thermocouple, CAN bus.

Our TRION input modules are compatible with the signal types described. The TRION-MULTI is the most flexible as it allows the user to switch between input types in software.

All modules have 4, 6 or 8 channels. Multiple modules can be installed in acquisition chassis to provide higher channel counts.

What sample rate should be used?

For accurate waveform reproduction of a sinusoid with frequency y Hz, a sample rate above Nyquist's 2*y Hz is required, 10x or more is recommended. This will ensure the avoidance of aliasing in the stored data.

Input modules have an anti-aliasing filter before analogue to digital conversion. Its cut-off filter is automatically set based on sample rate. In addition a low pass filter with configurable frequency and filter type and order is available.

Our TRION modules have configurable sample rate for each channel.

Can a DAQ system also provide sensor excitation?

All sensors require an external power supply, except battery powered ones. Data acquisition input modules are available with multi-pin connectors that provide continuous excitation to sensors, both voltage and current. This simplifies DAQ system installation as a single connector is required at the DAQ end of the sensor cable and a separate external power supply is not required.

Our TRION acquisition modules feature configurable voltage and current excitation for maximum flexibility.

Can analogue data be stored in sync with bus data, e.g. CAN?

Many test and measurement applications require recording of both analogue signals, e.g. force, position, pressure, vibration, torque, from dedicated sensors and digital bus data, e.g. CAN, ARINC-429, MIL-STD 1553, MODBUS, at the same time. Doing this allows comparison of both a control system output and a vehicle or system response.

Our laboratory data acquisition systems have capability to store both analogue signals and digital bus traffic in synchronisation in a single data file. This simplifies the acquisition and analysis process. Digital bus traffic can be decoded in real time so that channels are stored with engineering unit values.

How long will I be able to store data for?

This depends on the number of channels and sample rate used, the resolution of the input module(s), as well as mainframe storage drive size. For our laboratory data acquisition systems, storage space ranges from 256GB to 1TB.

As an example, 16 channels stored continuously at 50 kS/s per channel stored to a 1TB drive, has a storage time of 168 hours (7 days). As sample rate increases for a fixed number of channels, recording time is reduced.

Event triggered recording can also be used to only record in the event of event conditions, e.g. peak exceedance.