Which Data Acquisition System is Right for You?

In today’s world of high technology, microprocessors, semiconductors and digital technology, data acquisition system (DAQ) components have become quite sophisticated and sometimes complicated. Some methods and systems are designed for a wide range of applications while others are very specific and specialized. When you choose DAQ technology you have several options to consider, according to your needs.

Typical Data Acquisition System Components

A typical DAQ process usually involves these things:

* Sensor – use to take measurements. For example, an air pressure sensor lets people know how much pressure is within a given system. This allows one to monitor conditions and is very important for vacuum oven operations and some kinds of HVAC environments. Other things like fluid pressure and temperatures may also be monitored.

* Transducer – data from sensors is taken in an analog fashion and must be converted to numbers (digital) so computer technology can understand it.

* Hardware – physical components of a system

* Software – computer programs designed to take in data, process, store and transfer data for usage. They operate using a number of different computer languages like C++, Java, Pascal and BASIC.

DAQ Options

There are many options when it comes to choosing a data acquisition system. However, some of the most common ones include:

* PC data

* System data

* Nuclear

Let’s take a closer look at each option.

PC Data

When choosing DAQ for a computer, you can go with a PCI or USB interface. Each one has specific benefits and limitations. For example:

PCI – made on a special card designed to fit into the chassis of a computer. For instance, if you use a PCI card on a server or desktop computer, it becomes part of the unit. A good example is a sound or Ethernet card and you can access these features from the back of the unit, easily.

USB – this technology allows for the convenience of portable “plug and play” operations. USB allows for easy access and transfer of data.

System Data

This includes vehicle data acquisition system applications which can operate and monitor a wide range of vehicle features. For instance, a typical system can monitor and control temperature and oil pressure. In addition, thanks to modern computerized systems, there is no longer a need for manual components like spark distributors. An entire DAQ is very compact and can easily fit within a small designated space.

Nuclear Data

Because nuclear power facilities have special needs, these systems are specifically designed for high speed operations to fit within the parameters of nuclear power needs.

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