PC Data Acquisition

This is slightly OT for all the groups I'm posting to, but something many of you should have done.
I have a need to sample one channel of data at between 200 and 2000
samples per second, 12 bits or so, and store it away.
The signal happens to be on a 4-40mA line already, to make life easy for getting off-the-shelf hardware.
I need to store hours of guaranteed-uninterrupted data, or failing that, store data that's timestamped at the measuring device (not just in the PC software) so that I can see what's missing and deal with it. (dropouts of even a half second or so would be OK, as long as the timestamps are correct).
The mental model I'm carrying around is a laptop PC, connected to some little box via USB, quietly buzzing away in a corner making multi- megabyte files with the information I want.
I assume that this is a no-brainer with National Instruments hardware and software -- am I correct? If not, is there a solution that you can recommend? Do you have a favorite other than NI?
TIA.
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On 3/13/2013 11:44 AM, Tim Wescott wrote:

For one time deal: take your favorite micro eval board from the shelf; connect it to USB to RS232 dongle; put together simple application; record file from terminal program on PC. All preparation should take less then half an hour.
Vladimir Vassilevsky DSP and Mixed Signal Designs www.abvolt.com
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On Wed, 13 Mar 2013 12:05:05 -0500, Vladimir Vassilevsky wrote:

It's for a customer over 1000 miles away whose hand I cannot easily hold.
And it needs to deal with 4-40mA, for which I have no hardware.
But it's a tempting idea.
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Like a resistor? :)
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"John Devereux" wrote in message writes:

Like a resistor? :)
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John Devereux
This might do http://www.mccdaq.com/usb-data-acquisition/USB-200-Series.aspx
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you really mean 4-40mA not the usual 4-20mA ?
anyway it is just a resistor
if you can live with 10 bits, something like this won't even need a pc
https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10216
-Lasse
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snipped-for-privacy@fonz.dk wrote:

In America everything is a little bigger :-)

These are cool, but not enough memory for Tim's job:
http://www.lascarelectronics.com/temperaturedatalogger.php?datalogger 3
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;
ld.

;)

yeh and much too slow, maximum is 1Hz, he wants +200Hz
-Lasse
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On Wed, 13 Mar 2013 14:05:10 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@fonz.dk wrote:

datalogger...

But other than inadequate speed and inadequate memory, it looks great!
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Tim Wescott wrote:

[...]

They also make these nice small bench supplies, John Larkin has a few. And every time I called them some with a nice Bri'ish accent answered :-)
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On Wed, 13 Mar 2013 12:05:05 -0500, Vladimir Vassilevsky

Seconded.
?-)
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wrote:

I'd look at Measurement Computing http://www.mccdaq.com/index.aspx as well. They've been around since the Dark Ages (when Computer Shopper magazine gave the mailman a hernia). I keep one of their USB acquisition modules in the toolbag for ad-hoc setups. Easy to interface to custom software (DLL and docs are included) but they do have stand-alone data logger software available. A free version is included with most of their modules.
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Tim Wescott wrote:

I usually use this for such jobs:
http://labjack.com/u3
Plus a few resistors. It also comes in a version for LAN connection in case that's more practical.
It comes with a light version of Azeotech SCADA software which is really handy if you don't want to mess with computer programming or Excel-VBA too much. If you get stuck both Labjack and Azeotech have rather responsive forums where their respective support staff chimes in. And if someone screws up a PID you can become the expert and help them out :-)
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On Wed, 13 Mar 2013 10:54:17 -0700

Wow. I was actually just wondering about something like this the other day. And the fact that it comes complete with cross-platform drivers and Python bindings makes it pretty seriously nifty.
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Rob Gaddi, Highland Technology -- www.highlandtechnology.com
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On Wed, 13 Mar 2013 11:10:30 -0700, Rob Gaddi

And the fact that it comes complete with cross-platform drivers and Python bindings makes it pretty seriously nifty.
It should just enumerate as an FTDI serial port, so there would be no need for drivers and DLLs.
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John Larkin Highland Technology, Inc

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John Larkin wrote:

And the fact that it comes complete with cross-platform drivers and Python bindings makes it pretty seriously nifty.

Not quite. It has a whole slew of settings that are handled by the driver, AFAIK. It even has a simple set panel where you could goose a DAC, set a port or read an ADC value (they all show up in the window). Then there's things like streaming mode and so on. It also needs to know whether it has foreign device connected to it and whether they should be addressed with RS232, "Her Majesty" or SPI.
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wrote:

And the fact that it comes complete with cross-platform drivers and Python bindings makes it pretty seriously nifty.

These use the FTDI chip, which is the most common and most reliable USB-serial interface:
http://www.ftdichip.com/Support/Documents/DataSheets/DLP/dlp-io20-ds-v10.pdf
http://www.mouser.com/ds/2/117/DLP-IO14-188487.pdf
http://www.ftdichip.com/Support/Documents/DataSheets/DLP/dlp-io8-ds-v15.pdf
These generally have a control panel app, and maybe a data logger. But they are also easy to access from a programming language, as a COM port.
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John Larkin Highland Technology, Inc

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John Larkin wrote:

day. And the fact that it comes complete with cross-platform drivers and Python bindings makes it pretty seriously nifty.

I have used a larger FTDI chip with analog plus digital I/O in a design quite a while ago.
However, the Labjack is a very different class of device. It's not just a simple I/O pod, there is a uC on there with firmware and all. It can run some simple local stuff such as timers and timed acquisition. You can't do that with just an FTDI driver. Sometimes there are applications where a brief hiccup in the PC or USB link could cause a *KAPOOF* situation, where you need some local smarts on the control pod.
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Regards, Joerg

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On 3/13/2013 3:47 PM, John Larkin wrote:

day. And the fact that it comes complete with cross-platform drivers and Python bindings makes it pretty seriously nifty.

LabJack comes with C bindings as well as Python. I'm currently using a U6 Pro to run a prototype spectrometer.
Cheers
Phil Hobbs
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Phil Hobbs wrote:
[...]

But IIRC you have a son who can write the C code. I don't, so I have to use the pre-cooked SCADA stuff.
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