11 Replies Latest reply: Dec 17, 2011 2:09 PM by mrklein RSS

Job possibility; Need a DAQ HMI

Cabe Atwell

I have a 3 sensors that output 0-10V or 4-20mA signal directly. Data is sent constantly.

I want to take that data into a Windows application and display the incoming data on a graph in real time among other options: see Design requirements below.

The software does not have to be flashy with lots of eye candy. Practicality is key. The software will end up on a Windows XP or 7 system. Although the specs a laid out, new features may be added.

 

Design requirements:

- Read DAQ data via USB

- Handle 1-10 inputs

- Real time graph on the data on set scales

- Speadsheet stored data in real time

- On screen values shown prominently

- A control interface for handling the system (On/Off, record, stop, etc..)

- I would like the data to be sent via email from the same interface

- Full graphs of all the data collected from the 3 sensors printed from within the interface

 

I already use some free software, Picologger, that can handle most of this, but I do not like the interface, it crashes, and some of the options I want are not there. I am using a ADC-24 Data Acquisition module from Pico Technologies. However, I am open to other options.

 

Let me know if you can help.

 

Cabe

http://twitter.com/Cabe_e14

  • 1. Re: Job possibility; Need a DAQ HMI
    michaelkellett

    Hello Cabe,

     

    Are you sure that the crashes are not due to Pico's driver ?

    If they are then you need a new driver which might be more of a task than the pretty interface.

    There is a Lavbview driver for this ADC - have your tried that - I don't like Labview much myself but it has its supporters and you can do most of the stuff you list quite easily. Even if you have to buy a license it will cost a lot less than a well written app. of the type you describe.

     

    Michael Kellett

  • 2. Re: Job possibility; Need a DAQ HMI
    Cabe Atwell

    Michael,

     

    Thanks for the heads up. Labview looks easier to make for easy software development.

     

    However, I still want a specific looking application. I would still be willing to contract out this job to someone who wants a little side work.

     

     

     

    Also, when I say crash, it is is reference to all the errors I have with Picolog. I talked to Picotech, they said the software is no longer being supported.

    I think it is time to move on to something more current.

     

    Cabe

    http://twitter.com/Cabe_e14

  • 3. Re: Job possibility; Need a DAQ HMI
    mrklein

    Hi Cabe,

     

    This sounds like the perfect task for LabVIEW (but, fair warning, I'm a huge LabVIEW fan).  As a graduate RA, one of my tasks was to redesign a monitoring and control interface for a PEM fuel cell test stand.  I used LabVIEW 2009 to do this.  My new program contained literally every function you mentioned above and then some (although the DAQ we used was not from Pico).  The post-doc I was assisting was probably most pleased with the ability of the stand to automatically email her the results of a test at the end of a cycle.  And this was the easiest part of the whole project.  (But isn't that always how it goes?)  These days I use LabVIEW for my work at Deere.  This involves a lot of CAN interface work as well as some HIL testing.

     

    Anyway, I'd be happy to assist, just for the fun of it.  You can download a free, full-featured 30-day trial of LabVIEW 2011 here.  If you'd like to see a few of my LabVIEW programs (we call them VIs, or virtual instruments), just search my blog for the tag labview (although if you'd like to go directly to some of my better GUIs, this wind tunnel control VI and this fuel cell demo VI are pretty neat).  Unfortunately I don't have any posts about the main test stand VI I mentioned, only because some of that stuff was proprietary.

     

    -Mike

  • 4. Re: Job possibility; Need a DAQ HMI
    Cabe Atwell

    Mike,

     

    Your helps will go a long way. Glad to have you backing me up on this.

     

    Can you recommend a better DAQ? The Pico ADC24 is not pico at all, it is huge. In the enclosure it has to be the biggest component.

     

    Will talk with you soon.

     

    Cabe

    http://twitter.com/Cabe_e14

  • 5. Re: Job possibility; Need a DAQ HMI
    michaelkellett

    Hello Cabe,

     

    I can't resist the invitation to recommend a DAQ - look at www.hgl-dynamics.co.uk and the Dragonfly parts. Amazingly good and brilliantly designed - especially some the really cool stuff in the FPGA (which I worked on !!!). As you will guess from the picture on the website - it costs a bit more than the Pico (and is much bigger) - but you do get 8 channels, 24 bits, 200kHz.

    If you want small then it's harder:

    do you want more than one, how small would you like, USB or Ethernet, ideal spec - can I design one for you  ?

     

    (Oh dear I'm getting carried away again - I'l have a cup of tea !)

  • 6. Re: Job possibility; Need a DAQ HMI
    mrklein

    So do you have any hard requirements for resolution, accuracy, etc?  Do you need all 24-bits that the Pico device offers?  How about price?  Something comparable to the ADC-24 at ~$700?  And sampling rate?  I'm guessing you want point-by-point sampling as opposed to burst captures of high-speed data?

     

    Most of what I've used in the past has been NI hardware, and I've had good experiences with their USB DAQ products.  For instance, the NI-6008 is a very small, $169 device with 8 channels, 12-bit, 10ksps.  They also offer a 14-bit, 48ksps version for $279.  The NI-6210 is a slightly larger USB device which costs $629, provides 16 channels at 16-bit, 250ksps.Only thing to be careful of is the sampling rates they quote are for burst captures.  If you're doing point-by-point sampling you may only achieve a couple hundred Hz.

     

    I've also used a low-cost DAQ device from Measurement Computing which is essentially identical to the NI product, only cheaper.  The one I've used was more susceptible to noise, however.  They work with LabVIEW fairly easily, but not quite as easily as an NI product.

  • 7. Re: Job possibility; Need a DAQ HMI
    Cabe Atwell

    Mike,

     

    I took a look at the Labview software. This application I would make with it would require a copy of Labview per device I make. At $1,200 USD for the cheapest one, it would an impossible feature to add price-wise. Eventually, I want to sell this device, and Labview would over double the cost.

     

    This is why I am going from a "made from the ground up" approach, and still need an app developer's help.

     

    Do you think you can still help?

     

    Cabe

  • 8. Re: Job possibility; Need a DAQ HMI
    mrklein

    Yes, sadly, LabVIEW is not cheap.  However, do you really need to include the entire LabVIEW development system with each device?  You can actually compile your LabVIEW programs into EXEs which do not require licenses.  For instance, I am the only person in my group here at work with LabVIEW installed and licensed.  Everyone else received EXE copies of the programs I write and can run them without limitation.  You can even make installers for your EXEs which include the core LabVIEW runtime engine.  Note that not all versions of LabVIEW include this ability however; look for ones with a check under "Executables and Distribution"

     

    I should also note that the free trial they offer DOES include the ability to make EXEs which require no further licensing.  The only catch is that when you build them, they'll be watermarked with the NI/LabVIEW logo in the bottom right corner.

     

    But yes, I admit, if you're trying to minimize software costs, LabVIEW may be overkill.  But then again, if it takes a programmer more than a week or two to code a C# app, you may just about break even.

     

    -Mike

  • 9. Re: Job possibility; Need a DAQ HMI
    kaz911

    A lot of "engineers" are using http://processing.org/ - to present data from serial/usb data logging devices. I have not tried myself but a lot of Arduino and MCS430 sensors have been visualised with Processing. Im just waiting for my MCS430 dev kit before I start looking at it myself :-)

     

    Example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQEDuQWeo64&feature=g-user-u

  • 10. Re: Job possibility; Need a DAQ HMI
    Cabe Atwell

    Mike,

     

    Where is a good place to start with LabView? Seeing as though I will only have a short trial version run at development.

     

    Cabe

    http://twitter.com/Cabe_e14

  • 11. Re: Job possibility; Need a DAQ HMI
    mrklein

    Hi Cabe,

     

    Well if you're a fan of tutorials, NI has put together quite a list of videos and written tutorials here: http://zone.ni.com/devzone/cda/tut/p/id/7466

     

    That's probably a good place to start, just to get you the basics.  Then I'd suggest looking at some of the built-in examples.  From the LabVIEW "Getting Started" screen, just go to "Help" -> "Find Examples" and just start looking around.  There are tons of well-documented VIs you can look through and perhaps even use in your application.

     

    I also see that Pico has some LabVIEW drivers available in their Software Development Kit.  I've taken a look at them and they're not exactly well-documented, but they might still be of some use.

     

    If you have specific questions or tasks that you're trying to accomplish just let me know.  I can whip up some example VIs for you that may be useful.