Rocket City LabVIEW

Slides from "Solving the Data Acquisition 'Last-Mile' problem using the Modular Data Acquisition and Control System (M-DACS)"

Here are slides from my presentation to the Rocket City (Huntsville) LabVIEW User Group on Mar 13 2019.  A summary of the presentation is provided below.

John Bergmans

Huntsville Data Systems / Bergmans Mechatronics LLC

jbergmans <at> bergmans <dot> com


Solving the Data Acquisition “Last-Mile” Problem using the Modular Data Acquisition System (M-DACS) 

Test and measurement systems consist of two sets of physical components.  The first is data processing hardware, consisting of the I/O hardware and controllers, such as National Instruments’ CompactRIO.  The second is the field components such as instrumentation and actuators.


Components in both of these sets are well-developed and can be readily sourced from a wide variety of vendors.  Development of a complete functional system can be a challenge however due to the additional components necessary to form the critical interface between the two component sets.  For example, to use a simple 4-20 mA instrument with a cRIO NI 9208 current input module requires the use of an external power supply.  This single component adds a notable amount of extra effort to the development process: sourcing of the supply; physical mounting of the supply; installation of fuses; and, wiring to AC power, cRIO module and instrument. 


A solution to this “Last Mile” problem is the Modular Data Acquisition and Control System (M-DACS) offered by Huntsville Data Systems.  M-DACS features modular enclosures for standard functions such as analog input and power output.  The enclosures include all necessary hardware (i.e.. connectors, fuses, and power supplies) for many popular instrumentation and actuator hardware components.  Each M-DACS also includes a CompactRIO chassis that performs data processing and I/O functions.


M-DACS is designed for use with National Instruments' VeriStand software development environment.  This software environment enables developers to quickly configure a working system. 


This presentation provides an overview of the key hardware components of M-DACS as well as an introduction to VeriStand.  A preview of a new “Mini DACS” currently in development will also be presented.


Further information about M-DACS is available at:


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Re: Slides from "Solving the Data Acquisition 'Last-Mile' problem using the Modular Data Acquisition and Control System (M-DACS)"

An update on the Huntsville Data Systems Mini-DACS units mentioned briefly in this presentation:  The two units are complete and are now being used for rocket motor testing. 


This video shows a test of a novel Air Turbo Rocket (ATR) engine that was performed using the Mini-DACS ( and the attached picture illustrates the internal components of the system.  Also attached are other pictures related to the Mini-DACS and an ATR test picture.


Features of the ATR Mini-DACS include:

- 8x 4-20 mA inputs

- 4x TC inputs

- 8x 3A, 24 VDC outputs

- 2x 3A, 110 VAC outputs

- 1x 10 A, 110 VAC output

- 4x high speed DIO

- Local and remote e-stop switches

- 2 PTZ web cams

- 1 kHz data recording rate


The CompactRIO 9030 in the Mini-DACS is programmed using VeriStand, but is also programmable using LabVIEW.  Other cRIO or cDAQ chassis could alternatively be integrated into a Mini-DACS.


Huntsville Data Systems is a division of Bergmans Mechatronics, LLC that specializes in turn-key data acquisition and control systems. The division develops systems in collaboration with Streamline Automation, LLC.


Mini-DACS.pngComponents within Mini-DACS Enclosure

Stand and Cart - Separate.JPGMini-DACS Mounted on Transportation Cart and Air Turbo Rocket on Test StandStand on Cart.JPGTest Stand Mounted on Transportation Cart in Preparation for Return to Shop

Test Firing.pngAir Turbo Rocket Hot Firing Using Mini-DACS

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