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Choosing a DAQ for my project

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Hi everyone, 


My origional plan was to use Arduino interfaced with Labview for my project but after discovering the potentional of was DAQ's could do I quickly jumped on board with the idea. I am having trouble choosing a DAQ that would be best for my project, I listed the components to my project below.


Brief overview of my project;

I am building a shock dynonameter which tests shock performance. In short, the control system is to start the motor and run a warm up cycle to heat up the shock being tested untill it reaches a desired temperature. Then, the motor is to be ran untill it reaches a final velocity of 16 inch/sec (I figure this linear value can be converted from the hall effect sensor finding the motor RPM). In the "testing phase", Force (from a load cell in between the shock dyno frame and the shock) vs Velocity is to be plotted so that the shock can be analyzed and tuned. I have attached an image of a shock dyno in case it helps with visualization.



-Varaible Frequency Drive (VFD)-This will be used to drive a large three phase motor. I would like to connect the VFD to a DAQ and then control the motor frequency through Labview. **Question: Can I output motor RPM to Labview using the frequency feedback from the VFD?** 

-Load cell sensor: This will be used to form a plot of Force (lbs) vs Speed (inch/sec). The force is the force exerted by the shock and the linear speed is to be converted to by using RPM and stroke length.

-Temperature sensor: The control system is to have two "phases" if you will. A warm up phase, and a testing phase. The temperature sensor is to be attached to the shock being tested and once a desired temperature is met, the warm up phase will be completed and the motor will turn off. After the warm up phase, the motor turns on again and the testing phase begins (this time outputing the force vs speed graph).

-Encoder: I only plan on using this if I cannot find RPM using the VFD. I figure I will need a DAQ with a counter in order to find speed.


I was thinking of using the NI USB-6001. It has 8 analog inputs, 2 analog outputs, 13 digital I/O pins, and a 32 bit counter. Any thoughts?

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1. Please keep all these closely related questions about the same project in one thread. It makes it much easier for anyone following the thread to have all the information in one place.

2. You are still working this backwards. Until you have selected the VFD, PLC, and sensors, it is premature to select the interface to the computer. For example if the VFD communicates via RS-232, then you cannot use a DAQ device for that communication. (Well, technically, you might be able to do so, but it would be way too complicated to be practical.) If the sensors have SPI interfaces, then you need specialty digital devices to communicate with them. Not all counters will work with encoders. And so on...



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Accepted by topic author belae1ka

Hello belae1ka!


It's good to hear you're looking into the potential of using DAQ hardware to do your project. You seem to know what you'd like to do, but implementing it with the appropriate hardware is producing some great questions. We have company representatives who are trained to discuss your setup and give you recommendations on hardware.


If you go to this link you can call or email product advisors directly. They'll be able to help you talk through next steps. 


I hope this was helpful!




Zoe Bohnen

Applications Engineer

National Instruments

Account Manager - Pacific Northwest
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How do I determine if a sensor has a SPI interface?

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From the datasheet? Just google the part number.

SPI is usually used for communication on a circuit board on short distances.

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