Multifunction DAQ

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buying a new DAQ

My lab is looking for some good data acquisition for an experiment, and I'm finding the array of options bewildering. I never was much for shopping 🙂 If you don't mind, I'll just lay out what I'm looking for and maybe someone can help.

My lab is building an x-ray detector.  We're trying to test it, that is,  hook it up to an x-ray sample and measure it with a SQUID or equally complicated device.   We need to continuously monitor the output and send the data to the computer when we get a pulse.

 My boss envisions some sort of data acquisiton device plugging along, monitoring the sample continuously at intervals on the order of microseconds.  When there's a pulse from the detector,  he plans to have a third device (the detector itself, maybe?) send a digital signal to the DAQ to be used for triggering.  The system's fairly complex, but it might be sufficient to have the DAQ trigger itself on a rising voltage, so I think we need that. In any case, when a rising voltage is detected, the DAQ actually has to take some data. We need a baseline, so it'll have to have a buffer that is included in the data it sends off to the computer.  We expect pulses at random intervals, but at approximately 3-4 times a second.  The DAQ will have to pretty much all the work itself, because the computer won't be able to work at those speeds. Basically, I need to be able to assume no intervention from the computer until the data acquisition is complete.

So, I need a DAQ that can acquire at intervals of 1-100 microseconds and has at least a 14-bit resolution. It needs to play well with triggering and have a decent buffer. Finally, it has to be very programmable and almost-independent of the computer.  I think this is a fairly common set of requirements, but, like I said, I'm bad at shopping.


On a slightly related note- I'm currently running LabWindows 6, which has no built-in support for DAQmx. Will I need to upgrade that too? Is it possible to get DAQmx to play with earlier versions of LabWindows?
-Jason Espinosa

LabWindows 6.0
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It sounds like our M Series devices may work best for you. They offer up to 1.25MS/s sampling and 18 bits of accuracy. Depending on the duration of each acquisition, they can certainly handle several software-initiated, hardware-triggered and timed acquisitons each second. This sould require fairly minimal load on your computer. Our M Series also have a large analog input buffer, and extensive timing and triggering options. Please let me know if you would like more details.

Hope this helps,
Ryan Verret
Product Marketing Engineer
Signal Generators
National Instruments
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