I'd like to start a thread and get some feedback from other Signal Express users regarding improvement ideas and suggestions for features that either should be included or need to be improved on for future releases.
I have tons of ideas (for my applications) that would make Signal Express a much more functional piece of Data Acquisition software.
These ideas are not original, they are features found in almost every DAQ software I've ever been exposed to, but for whatever reason SigEx either does not support these functionalities or greatly needs to improve on them. I don't think it's appropriate to turn this into a BUG BASH thread but rather a consolidated list of suggestions from users all across the board.
My hope is that with these suggestions Signal Express will develop a fair bit more momentum on the development end of things and target specific user needs for future versions of SigEx.
I enjoy working with Signal Express but it is in my opinion that it does not get the development priority that most other NI software gets. This puts a lot of users in a frustrating position because Signal Express is not cheap and once our businesses have purchased the license it's not realistic to drop the software and 'try' something else.
Also, I have not noticed the presence of any Moderators on these forums but perhaps if this thread gains any traction it could be "stickied"?
I'll go ahead and throw a few out there:
There may be CAR's out there already but the point is to gather user feedback and suggestions. I think it's also important if other users share similar improvement ideas, they need to post that as well.
Multiple identical suggestions= greater global need!
There have been a few requests for a Waveform Strip Chart so that you don't have to convert the data to a scalar.
Also some saving to text options, which although there are suggestions already mentioned above, this Convert Multiple Runs post highlights some worthwhile suggestions.
As it is if I want to temporarily bypass a step I need to delete it entirely and rebuild it again when I need it. This would be especially useful for the Save to ASCII step where I don't always want to save a file but don't want to delete the step either.
I've had your thread "stickyed" to help promote it. Thanks for taking the initiative to collect feedback. We'll make sure our R&D group reads through this thread.
Suggested Improvement- Improve the Next Available File Name option so SigEx will log all data points to one file and increment the file name automatically when another data plot is taken.
Improve Overwrite Once then Append to File, such that it warns you when you're about to overwrite your own file. Once that is addressed examples 1-3 will fix themselves.
Caveat being; if the Next Available File Name does what it "should" then leave the Overwrite Once... option alone, because that's exactly what you're asking it to do by checking that box; Overwrite...
I use the Overwrite option as a workaround to the Next Available File Name issues.
This is a very good initiative, and I will just add that I'm also missing zeroing of trandsucers. This is a very common feature in other data data acquisition softwares, and I was a bit baffled when I realized this feature was missing. At work we are in a phase were we are planning on moving from the HBM spider and catman SW to National Instruments and Signal Express, but the lack of simple zeroing is a real show stopper.
While acquiring a signal from a Custom Voltage with Excitation source (i.e. load cells, pressure x-ducer, string pots, etc) It would be really nice if there was a box in the Settings tab where you can enter the mV/V sensitivity and have Signal Express create the curve for you.
As of now I need to calculate a y=mx+b slope in a totally seperate environment (custom scaling in Measurement & Automation Explorer). In every case, these slopes are specific to the device and change each time the device gets calibrated (we calibrate before or after every project). After a while I've got an unwieldy list of custom scales that cannot be deleted except from within MAX.
If acquiring strain signals we always measure in MICROstrain. When I export strain data to ascii the engineers get columns of numbers with far too many zeros.
0.00001962514 "strain" should read 19.625 uE.
In order to convert the strain into microstrain I need to create a Custom Linear Scale where m=1000000 then apply this scale to all my strain channels.
SigEx is the only DAQ software I know of that does not measure micro strain natively.
Thanks for starting this - from what I can tell the user base isn't large, but with some improvements I think this can be a great product with more exposure. I feel like I know what I'm doing with SE, but if any of my ideas are already possible, I'd appreciate a heads up!
Here are some of my ideas:
Prompt for log location: I've been burned more than once when someone else logs data and by default it goes to their My Documents folder, where I can't access it. I know there are places to change this, but I would like a reminder of this. When the popup box for naming the log file comes up, I would like to see the log file save location listed - and an option to change it from that popup. That way, even if your default or project-specific save location isn't set correctly, you can change it when you start your log.
Simultaneous log display: I often take consecutive data in separate logs that I'd like to compare, but I can't do that from within SE. Instead, I have been using DIAdem, which is great...but not always necessary.
Default control: there are so many things I do every time I log something. The most annoying to me is checking the "play entire interval" box within Playback Settings. I really wish that was able to be checked by default instead of unchecked by default.
Sensor/Transducer setup wizard: We have a lot of people who are DAQ newbies (I'm not much better...) who don't understand anything related to setting up a new step. Some of the expanded input options (Force-Bridge, LVDT, etc) are getting better, but I would like to have the OPTION to have a "wizard" for setting up the sensor - something that prompts input instead of expecting someone to change the default if it isn't right (guess how often that happens?). I likely wouldn't use it, but others might until they get the hang of what things they need to worry about. I know NI doesn't make the sensors, but something simple like the Force(Bridge) Configure Scale... is incredibly valuable. Basically, what I'm saying, is try to make the process more foolproof than it is right now.
Events improvement: I really like the option for Events, but getting usable information from them so far has proven difficult. I'd like to see the signal value for every channel at that event time. Right now, I'm using it in a Force-Deflection setup, and I'd like to be able to display the deflection at a Force-triggered event.
Stability: Am I the only one who gets crashes/lockups with this software?
More to come I'm sure, but I'll stop here for now...