catman Data Acquisition Software: Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find all FAQs from catman software ranging from DAQ setup and visualization and recording to data handling and analysis

Setup of DAQ Project

FAQs regarding channels, sensors, filters and sample rates, and the user interface.

Visualization and Recording

FAQs regarding data acquistion, video cameras, online visualization, and panels.

Data Handling and Analysis

FAQs regarding the analysis mode, data view, printing, video panel, graphs, and auto sequences

Setup of DAQ Project

This section provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding the general settingschannels and filters, sensors, the user interface, and working with QuantumX modules.


1. How can I change the start mode for catman Easy/AP?

You can specify the start mode when you start catman Easy/AP using one of the following methods (Options/Program start):

  • Default start (startup screen): catman Easy/AP starts with the normal start screen.
  • Automatic device scan: catman Easy/AP starts directly with a new device scan. In this case, the start window will be skipped and the device scan dialog shows up instead. If you cancel the device scan dialog, no further action will be taken, catman Easy/AP will terminate immediately.
  • Empty DAQ project: catman Easy/AP starts with an empty DAQ project. In this case, no devices are available in the project, but from here you can load an existing DAQ project, or just operate the computation channels only.
  • Empty analysis project: catman Easy/AP starts with an empty analysis project. From here you can create a new or load an existing analysis project.
  • Load existing DAQ project: catman Easy/AP starts with an existing DAQ project. You must specify the DAQ project file to be loaded before. Otherwise, the default start mode will be used.
  • Load existing analysis project: catman Easy/AP starts with an existing analysis project. You must specify the analysis project file to be loaded before. Otherwise, the default start mode will be used.
  • Device scan with import of DAQ settings from a project: catman Easy/AP starts a device scan followed by the import of all settings from an existing DAQ project. You have to specify the DAQ project file with predefined settings (DAQ job settings/visualization) to be imported before. Otherwise, catman Easy/AP starts directly with a new device scan with the most recently used scan mask.

 


2. What does EasyScript mean and where do I find help?

EasyScript is the VBA scripting language integrated in catman AP (you need a separate license to use that feature). You will find help regarding EasyScript in the EasyScript Development Environment (EasyScript editor). If you just want to have a glance at the features and possibilities of the scripting language you may display the help file in a web browser: just open the file ApplicationHelp.htmresiding in the subfolder \ScriptWebHelp of your catman Easy/AP installation.

 


3. What shall I do when some of my windows are suddenly invisible?

Please reset the window via the Window/Reset component windows menu. A restart of catman Easy/AP is not necessary.

 


4. What is the maximum number of devices and channels supported by catmanEasy/AP?

catman Easy/AP supports a maximum number of up to 4,000 channels. These comprise all the DAQ channels found during the device scan as well as all the computation channels created by the user. DAQ channels may be distributed across a maximum number of 128 devices.

 


5. I don't use HBM DAQ hardware - How do I speed up the start of catman?

Deactivate the Scan-Server required for these devices only (delays startup by about 6 s). For this purpose, create a registry key in HKEY_CURREN_USER\SOFTWARE\VB and VBA PROGRAM SETTINGS\CATMAN_BASE_SERVICES\STARTUP named 'NOSCANLISTENER' with the value '1'. Alternatively, you may also specify the command line argument /NoScan.

 


6. How can I accelerate the allocation of temporary storage?

The time required by catman Easy/AP initialization operations (e.g. allocation of the temporary storage space) depends upon the maximum number of channels supported. By default this number is 512 channels. If, however, you always use considerably fewer channels (e.g. a single Spider8 with 8 channels) you can significantly speed up initialization by reducing the maximum number of channels supported.

This can be achieved via the 'Options' dialog on the 'Data storage' register tab.

 


7. What to do when the program doesn't start/shows strange behavior?

Typically the following behavior can be observed:

  • Error message immediately after the start, the program shuts down immediately
  • The window layout is strange after the start, window not visible, empty or moved
  • Device scan does not work properly
  • DAQ job cannot be started
  • Sensor assignment does not work properly

Several actions can be taken to solve these problems:

  • If catman still starts up and you can access the main window (e.g. with 'Start a new DAQ project', or in case no hardware is connected, with 'Start a new analysis project'), execute 'Restore defaults' in the 'Special functions' category from the 'File' drop-down main menu and then restart catman. This function is also accessible from the start screen Options/General Options/Reset to default settings.
  • Start catman with the command line arguments /RecoveryStartup and /reg
  • Under Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8, start catman with full admin rights ('Run as administrator' in the context menu of the program link).

1. Are digital filter considered as default settings?

No, filter settings are not considered.

 


2. Can I disconnect TEDS sensors from a channel?

TEDS sensors can be disconnected like ordinary sensors via 'Disconnect' in the ribbon bar or the context menu of the 'Sensor/Function' column. For QuantumX this has the same effect as switching the channel to 'Deactivate TEDS usage' (see channel configuration ribbon, group 'Sensor' or the context menu of the 'Sensor/Function' column of the channel).

 


3. Why do channels deliver measured values after loading a DAQ project?

When the option 'Activate live update automatically' (Options/Channel List) is set, catman will update the measured values automatically and continuously after creating a new DAQ project or loading an existing one, in case the project comprises a QuantumX, MGCplus or PMX module. Normally this is required to check whether all channels are working properly.

You can also enable the live update of computation channels together with DAQ channels. However, this will slow down the live update process. For QuantumX/SomatXR systems, automatic TEDS detection can be executed additionally. However, this will slow down the live update process.

 


4. How can I enlarge the displayed channel readings?

Select a channel and press the "+" or "-" keys. To permanently set a larger font for all channels see Options/Channel List. The context menu "Reset font size" of the title row of the channel list provides a function to reset the font size of all channels to default again.

Alternatively, you may create a separate window for the readings of a channel. Select "Large display" from the context menu of the "Reading" column.

 


5. How can I configure limit values or event monitoring?

Go to 'File/Options' and activate 'Limit value/event monitoring' on the 'Program functions' register tab. Go to the configuration control group 'Limit values/events' under 'DAQ channels'. The channel list now displays the additional column "Limit value monitoring" for assigning limit values to measurement channels. Double click this column to access the limit value assignment/configuration dialog.

 


6. What shall I do when a QuantumX channel shows an overflow?

Check if the sensor contains an erroneous or empty TEDS (see 'Channel info' window of the channel configuration tab). If so, switch OFF the TEDS usage by clicking the 'Deactivate TEDS usage' menu (see channel configuration ribbon, group 'Sensor' or the context menu of the 'Sensor/Function' column of the channel).

 


7. How can I manually set the digital filter for a channel?

Usually catman Easy/AP applies an automatic anti-aliasing filter to all channels. In this case, the frequency is determined to best fit the sample rate. In some cases, it may however be desirable to manually set the characteristic and the frequency of the filter. To set filters manually proceed as follows:

  • Activate the option 'Allow manual filter settings' (File/Options/DAQ channels/Filter)
  • In 'DAQ jobs' navigate to the register tab 'Channel parameters'. In the column 'Filter' double-click a channel or select a channel (or a range of channels) and select 'Select filter...' from the context menu

Observe the following notes when setting filters:

  • The list of available frequencies is determined by the hardware type.
  • If the hardware does not support the desired frequency, the closest approximation of the desired frequency will be selected. catman Easy/AP immediately informs you about this adjustment and lists the implemented frequency.
  • Setting the filter for an MGCplus multichannel board or a Spider channel will set the filter for all channels of the board.

 


8. Can channel names contain special characters?

Channel names containing brackets are truncated (to bracket position) after saving data. Double quote ("), comma (,), colon (:), tilde (~) must not be used in channel names. The following rules shall also apply to the channel name:

  • It must contain at least one letter, numbers only is not allowed
  • It must not consist of 'c' and a number (e.g. 'c1', 'C2', etc.)
  • It cannot be identical to the name of an internal mathematical function, i.e. 'deriv', 'mod', 'integral' etc. are not permitted

In principle, a channel name may contain an arbitrary number of spaces. However, we do not recommend using spaces - use a '_' character instead. Channel names containing spaces may cause problems if used in computations. In case of problems with computation channels, there will be a notification about potential problems with channel names.

Additionally, the following rules shall apply to the channel name of eDAQ/eDAQ-lite devices:

  • It must not contain spaces
  • It may have a maximum of 11 characters
  • Channel names of eDAQ devices must not contain special characters (ASCII characters with character number greater than 128 included)

catman Easy/AP will prevent you from entering special characters when changing channel names manually. Be, however, aware that names may also originate from TEDS sensors or reside within the amplifier and will be read in during a device scan. In these cases, catmanEasy/AP does not automatically change the name. It is up to you to check the names and, if necessary, remove the special characters.

 


9. Is there any way to quickly rename the DAQ channels by default?

When you change the name of a device, you will be prompted whether its DAQ channels should be renamed automatically according to the new device name. Alternatively, you can easily rename multiple selected channels by using the built-in Auto-naming template (channel configuration ribbon menu 'Rename', or the context menu 'Rename' of the 'Channel name' column of the selected channels). Specify a base name for the selected channels and choose a desired Auto-naming mode (e.g. '_001, _002, _003, ...'), catman will rename the channels using the combination of the base name and the consecutive numeration or letter (with or without separator) that you choose.

 


10. What to do in case of a name conflict when renaming DAQ channels?

There are four different possibilities to handle the situation if a name conflict is encountered:

  • Replace the existing name with a default name
  • Expand the existing name with _1, _2, _3....
  • Replace the existing name with another one
  • Return to editing of a new name

 


11. Why does zero balancing of a channel not work?

Check if zero balancing for the channel is locked. The respective field in the column 'Zero value' of the channel configuration table on the register tab 'DAQ channels' is displaying a lock symbol next to the zero-balance value. To unlock a channel, choose 'Unlock' in the dropdown menu of the toolbar group 'Zero balance'. If the column is invisible, you can make it visible via the main menu Options/Channel list/Columns visible/Zerobalance values.

 


12. How can I undo zero balancing of a channel?

Select the channel in the channel configuration table and choose 'Undo' in the dropdown menu of toolbar group 'Zero balance'.

 


13. How can I manually enter a zero-balance value?

Enter the new zero balance value in the respective field of the column 'Zero value' in the channel configuration dialog. If the column is invisible, you can make it visible via the main menu Options/Channel list/Columns visible/Zerobalance values.

Note: It is not possible to zero balance a channel during a running DAQ job!

 


14. How can I determine an averaged zero balance value?

Open the Zero-balance options dialog (channel configuration ribbon, Zero balance/Options...) and select the zero-balance method 'Use synchronous high-precision zero balancing with averaging'. Then specify the average time in seconds. All following zero balance operations will now use this method.

 


15. Is it possible to change a channel's position in the channel list?

It is not possible to change a DAQ channel's ranking, since its position in the channel list determined by the hardware configuration. However, to change the ranking of a computation channel by click and hold down the mouse on the channel row header cell, then drag it to the desired position in the channel list and drop it there.

 


16. How can I configure the channel list to show more/fewer properties?

You can configure the channel list via the main menu Options/Channel List. You can show or hide the following columns: Hardware position, Hardware type, Sensor, Status/Reading, Zero-balance values, Channel comment, Limit value monitoring, Sample rate, and Filter. Furthermore, you can specify text properties and table colors to make the channel list table more concise.

Select the context menu 'Show all columns' in the header column of the channel list table to display all columns again. You can rearrange the header columns of the channel list table by dragging them to the position you want.

 


17. How can I deactivate the channels?

You can deactivate the selected channel(s) by clicking the channel configuration ribbon menu 'Active'. Click it again to activate the channel(s). With more deactivation criteria in the dropdown menu of the 'Active' ribbon menu, you can even deactivate channels without sensor assignment, channels with initialization failure, or channels in overflow state.

Channels can also be activated/deactivated in the channel parameters table (ribbon tab 'DAQ jobs', group 'Channel parameters'). Channel activation is set individually for each DAQ job. If you want to apply the setting to the first DAQ job only, make sure the option 'Apply to first DAQ job only' (Options/Channel List) is selected.

Note: A measurement is not possible if there is no active channel available in the DAQ project.

 


18. The measured values in the channel list have too few/many decimal places.

Use the context menu of the 'Reading' column or the 'Sample' ribbon control to select the numerical precision. This precision is then also used for indicators on panels. Alternatively, you can preset the precision for all channels via the main menu Options/Channel List/Signal Reading.

 


19. How can I hide the inactive channels in the channel list?

You can restrict the channels to be displayed in the channel list table via the 'Display Filter' feature (ribbon tab 'DAQ channels', group 'Channel'). You can set your own display filter combination, for example, to display active channels only, to display channels with valid measurement values or sensor assignment only, or even channels with a specified filter expression that is applied to a channel name or sensor name. An active channel that is hidden in the channel list table will still be stored and saved for the measurement.

By default, the time channels are not displayed in the channel list table. Disable the option 'Hide time channels in channel tables' (Options/Channel List) to show them again.

 


20. What is the purpose of 'predefined formulas' in computation channels?

It is possible to create all formulas in this group inside the editor; however, the predefined formulas are computed significantly faster, increasing the performance of your system.

 


21. How to edit an existing computation channel?

To edit a computation channel, select the channel you want to modify and then click the 'Edit' button in the 'Computation channels' group in the ribbon bar. Alternatively, you can simply open the computation channel dialog by double-clicking the '​​​​​​​Sensor/Function' column of the selected computation channel.


1. Why does the sensor have a different adaptation although the desired sensor type does exist in the sensor database?

This can be solved in two different ways:

  1. In the sensor database, create a new sensor and specify the adaptation data printed on your sensor.
  2. Modify the adaptation for your DAQ project only. In this case, the sensor data stored in the sensor database remains unchanged. Open the channel configuration tab of the ribbon bar and click the button 'Sensor adaptation' of the sensor group. A dialog will appear where you can manually enter the four points of the sensor adaptation. The data for the values in electrical units can also be obtained via a measurement by clicking the lightning symbol.

 


2. Can I change sensor settings of an already configured device?

Yes, it is possible to adapt the sensor without doing a new sensor assignment with version 5.2 and higher.

 


3. How can I create my own sensor?

New sensors can only be created in 'My sensors' group. This serves to protect the sensors created by yourself if the groups of HBM standard sensors are updated after the installation of a new version.

Open the sensor database editor (tab sensor database of the ribbon bar) in your DAQ project. Select 'New sensor' from the '​​​​​​​Edit' group. You must first click on the 'DAQ Channel' tab to display the sensor database tab.

 


4. What happened when catman reports 'Sensor ID not found in database'?

In this case, a transducer with a TID chip is connected to the channel. Unlike a TEDS (Transducer Electronic Data Sheet) this chip only contains an identification number. catman Easy/AP tries to locate this ID in its sensor database. If successful, the sensor will be assigned to the channel. If no corresponding ID can be found the above message is displayed.

You may add a new sensor with this ID to the sensor database. Copy the ID into the clipboard (context menu 'Sensor/Copy sensor ID') and open the sensor database (register tab 'Sensor database'). Create a new sensor in a group of your choice and paste the clipboard contents into the field labeled 'Sensor-ID'.

In case you are not interested in the ID stored in the chip simply double-click on the status column again and the error message will disappear. In this case, you should assign a sensor manually.

 


5. What shall I do when catman complains about non-matching sensor IDs?

In this case, catman Easy/AP performed a sensor scan after loading the project and encountered one or more sensors with ID chips (TEDS or TID). Since your project does not contain these sensor IDs, catman Easy/AP reports non-matching sensor IDs.

Disable the option 'Execute sensor scan' (search for connected TEDS sensors) in group 'After loading a DAQ project' (OPTIONS/SENSORS) if you are not interested in hardware sensor IDs and work with sensors from the sensor database only.

 


6. Is it possible to record raw electrical values in addition to scaled ones?

Yes, just use 'Create computation channel from sensor' in the context menu of the sensor column of the channel table. A computation channel will be created for each selected hardware channel with the source channel as an argument channel which is replicating the scaling of the assigned sensor. The sensor assignment of the source channel is removed, and the channel is set to a 1:1 scaling to retrieve the unscaled electrical values.

Note: A sensor from the sensor database must be assigned to the source channel. This function is not supported by the sensor types CAN BUS, SSI, thermocouple, resistance thermometer (Pt100), and IRIGB.

 


7. I have an ML71 CAN bus card in my MGCplus - How can I assign CAN signals to channels and how can I load a CAN database into the card?

Assigning a CAN signal to a channel is very similar to assigning a sensor. The sensor group list contains a node labeled 'CAN databases' (only visible if there is at least one ML71). By expanding this node, you get access to the CAN databases stored on the ML71 card (one per CAN port). Assigning a signal works the same as with sensors: simply drag a signal to a channel or double-click on a signal to assign it to the channel currently highlighted.

To load a CAN database into a car, please select SPECIAL/CAN CONFIGURATION from the '​​​​​​​DAQ channels' register tab or the context menu of the sensor list. A special CAN bus dialog will be opened. In this dialog, you can select a database file and load it into the ML71 card for either port 1 or port 2. The dialog shows all the available ML71 cards to enable you to load several databases at once without having to close the dialog.

Note: Only databases in the format defined by Vector (.DBC) are supported.

 


8. How can I assign CAN signals to several channels at once?

Select the range of channels you want to assign signals to. Then double-click on the signal that is to be assigned to the first channel of this range. catman Easy/AP will connect all subsequent channels with the signals following this first signal. If more channels are selected than signals are available in the message group, assignment will stop.


1. Where is the main menu?

In the 'File' menu(main menu) you will find the central functions to open/store projects, switch between DAQ and Analysis mode, print panels or pages, access the options dialog, and properly terminate catman.

 


2. How can I enlarge the main window and how can I show invisible sections?

Use the button on the far right of the ribbon to minimize or maximize it. Once you've minimized the ribbon, you have more space available for the main window. Click on the still visible section (the name) of a tab to show it temporarily so that you can select an action.

Click on 'Visualization' tab in the 'Panel/page' group and execute the command 'Full screen mode' to display the visualization area in full-screen mode. In full-screen mode, the ribbon and all component windows are hidden. Press the Esc key to switch back to the normal view. It is generally recommended to use a screen resolution of at least 1600x900 pixels (HD+ standard) to ensure optimal visibility.

 


3. Why are the tabs 'Sensor database' or 'Channel check' not displayed?

These tabs all belong to the function group 'DAQ channels'. They will only appear when you click this tab. If you click any other tab not related to this function group (e.g. 'Visualization'), they disappear again.

Please note, however, that visibility of these tabs may also have been deactivated in the 'Option/Program functions' settings.

 


4. How can I switch between the visualization panels?

At the top of the panel area, you will find tabs for each visualization panel or print page. Floating panels are also displayed as buttons in the Windows taskbar. Click any one of them to display the corresponding floating panel.

 


5. What is the function 'Cockpit'?

 The 'Cockpit' tab is only visible after you enable the EasyScript or AutoSequences option. On this tab, you will find the central control commands.

  • Start/Stop DAQ job
  • Start/Stop AutoSequence, load AutoSequence project
  • Start/Stop EasyScript, load EasyScript project

If the 'Cockpit' tab is selected, the visualization panels/print pages are visible - you may, however, not move or configure the objects. Also, the channel list is not visible. You must switch to the 'Visualization' tab to get full access to the object configuration and channel selection.

 


6. Where can I find the status information of a running DAQ job?

The status information of a running DAQ job is displayed in a status bar at the bottom of the main window. In the status bar, you will find the controls to access the 'Prevent RT lag' dialog and the On-Board Recording status window. Click the entry in the status bar when it is visible. To display the status bar above the panel area, enable the option 'Status bars position top' in the 'Style' category in 'Options' dialog.

The DAQ job message bar shows all the status messages of the measurement job (e.g. triggering events, the occurrence of an event, disconnection of a device etc.) during a running measurement job above the panel area. You can navigate through the messages at any time and click the 'Hide' button to hide the message bar. It can be displayed again by using the 'Window' menu on the right side of the ribbon.

The 'Job status' dialog shows information such as the camera status, size of available memory. Click the'Additional...'button in the status bar during a running measurement job to open the 'Job status' dialog.

 


7. How can I arrange windows as tabs?

Press and hold the window's title bar that you want to move, and then drag it to the title bar of the other. You can undock it by dragging the tab (the name) away from the arranged tabs.

 


8. I have closed a window. How can I open it again?

The closed windows can be reopened by using the 'Window' menu on the right side of the ribbon. Click the 'Reset component windows' from the 'Window' drop-down menu to reset the layout (visibility, size and position of the window) of all the component windows to the default settings.


1. What is the DeviceManager setting in the scan options?

catman Easy/AP provides a more powerful and easy-to-use scan method for QuantumX modules. In the dialog 'Scan options', simply activate the '​​​​​​​QuantumX - use device manager' option.

The DeviceManager will automatically find all modules available on the Ethernet segment visible to your PC. In addition, the scan will also find any modules connected to your PC via FireWire, modules connected to a QuantumX CX27 processor unit, or MGCplus devices with the CP52 communication processor.

Pressing '​​​​​​​New DAQ project' opens the DeviceManager dialog and starts scanning for modules. Select the modules you want to include in your DAQ project from the list of modules found and press '​​​​​​​Connect'.

Notes:

  • For the DeviceManager to find the devices ports 31416 and 31417 must be enabled for incoming traffic (multicast).
  • The DeviceManager will also list modules to which a connection will not be possible (i.e. cannot be included in the DAQ project) because their address subnet mask does not match your PC's subnet mask. In this case, you may change the module address from within the DeviceManager.
  • Modules connected to your PC via FireWire or modules connected to a CX27 processor module are always in total included in the DAQ project. In this case, you cannot select individual modules.
  • The register tab 'Module info' shows an XML view of the complete module settings.

 


2. How are the QuantumX modules sorted in the DAQ project?

When you create a new DAQ project, it consists of the QuantumX modules selected in the scan result list in HBM DeviceManager and sorted in ascending alphabetical order by module name. You can change the display order of the QuantumX modules in HBM DeviceManager simply by clicking the desired column header field (module name, module type, or UUID) in the module list table. However, the display order in HBM DeviceManager does not have any influence on the order of the QuantumX modules in DAQ project.

Notes:

  • Modules connected to a CX27 processor module are always in total included in the DAQ project and sorted by module name as default.
  • The EasyPlan module allows you to prepare a DAQ project OFFLINE without the devices to be connected. In this mode, you can define the order of the devices you wish to sjow in your DAQ project. You may also add or remove a module ONLINE into an already existing DAQ project by using the corresponding menu functions under the 'Special' ribbon menu. This enables you to reorganize the module list in your way. 

 


3. What shall I do when a module doesn't appear in the scan result list?

This may happen if, for some reason, the connection to the modules' scan ports 1200, 1201, and 1300 could not be established. Scanning requires these ports to be available for UDP protocol. If communication through these ports is blocked by safety policies on your PC (e.g. a firewall) the modules will not be found. Contact your network administrator to get these ports unlocked for UDP protocol.

If the module is not listed in HBM DeviceManager, a reason might be that the module is also connected to a CX27. In this case, the module is only listed under the CX27 regardless of whether it is additionally connected, for example, via Ethernet to prevent accidental double assignments of a module to a DAQ project.

 


4. A module is shown in the scan result list, however, attempting to connect fails.

This may happen if, for some reason, the connection to the command port 5001 and the data streaming ports of the module could not be established. Data streaming requires the ports 7411 and the HTTP port (80) to be available. If communication through these ports is blocked by safety policies on your PC (e.g. a firewall) no connection will be possible. Contact your network administrator to get these ports unlocked.

 


5. Why does scanning of a CX27 result in a 'Could not open port (-1)' error?

Connect the CX27 to your PC via Ethernet only. Make sure that no sub-module connected to the CX27 nor the CX27 itself or an active backplane is additionally connected to your PC via FireWire!

 


6. Ethernet connection to a module isn’t possible. What do I need to do?

For catman Easy/AP to be able to connect to a module, the IP address of the module must match the subnet mask of your PC. That means that the sections of the IP address belonging to a 255 section of the subnet mask must be the same on your PC and the module.

You may change a module's IP address using the DeviceManager located in the start menu (HBM/catman Easy/DeviceManager). After startup, the DeviceManager lists all modules physically visible from your PC - regardless of their IP addresses. You may then assign a new address (matching your PC's subnet mask) to every module. You must close catman Easy/AP before launching the DeviceManager and vice versa!

Note: catman Easy/AP will only connect to modules inside the address range specified in the 'Scan options'. Even if a module's address matches the PC subnet mask, it will not be visible in catman Easy/AP if the address is outside the scan range. 

 


7. How do I set a module to DHCP in the HBM DeviceManager?

In the HBM DeviceManager, you may specify 'Automatic address assignment (DHCP)' for every module instead of setting a fixed IP address. In this case, upon power on, the module will receive an IP address from your PC (or a DHCP server located in your LAN) which automatically matches your subnet mask. Connection to the module is then immediately possible. Make sure the TCP/IP settings of your PC are set to 'Automatically obtain IP address'.

Since an IP address obtained automatically is not known in advance (and may change with every new power-on of the module) the scan range specified in catman Easy/AP 'Scan options' must include the whole range from 1 to 255.

 


8. How do I operate QuantumX MX840 in CAN bus mode?

The connector No. 1 of an MX840 module can be alternatively operated in CAN bus mode. To switch the connector to this operating mode, simply drag a CAN sensor from the sensor database to the first channel of the MX840. For that purpose, the sensor database must contain CAN sensors (refer to the next item to learn how to include CAN sensors in the sensor database). During this process, you will be asked how many CAN subchannels (signals) shall be provided (default is 8, max. is 128). You may then assign more CAN sensors to these subchannels.

The connector retains CAN operating mode after power-down or shutting down catman Easy/AP. With the next device scan, catman Easy/AP will thus already display CAN channels. The number of CAN channels to be displayed can be set up in the 'Scan option/CAN bus options' (default is 8). This is to prevent catman Easy/AP from always including 128 CAN channels in your DAQ project (the number of signals the connector 1 internally always provides if switched to CAN mode) from which only a few may actually be connected to CAN sensors.

To switch back the connector to analog IN again, simply drag an analog sensor (e.g. DC 10V or a full bridge) to channel 1 of the MX840 module.

Note: Storage of Vector Informatik databases directly in the module (like in MGCplus ML71) is not supported. Instead, import these databases into the catman sensor database and then assign the CAN signals like any other sensor.

 


9. How to add CAN bus sensors to the database and configure the active supply?

In the sensor database edit mode (File/Sensor database...) you may either add CAN sensors manually (New CAN signal) or even import complete CAN databases in the format of the Vector Informatik GmbH (File/Import/Vector CAN database). The CAN signals contained in the Vector database will then become a permanent part of your sensor database. The original Vector database is no longer needed.

CAN sensors requiring an active supply voltage must be configured accordingly in the sensor database (property 'Active supply [V]'). 

 


10. How do I set a sample rate of CAN bus signals?

CAN signals usually arrive asynchronously and are not related to the sample rate of your catman Easy/AP DAQ job. To, nevertheless, ensure a synchronous data stream across all channels (important for y(t) or y(x) displays and online computations) the catman DAQ kernel 'expands' the CAN data to the catman Easy/AP sample rate by inserting duplicate values (repeating previous values) if necessary.

 


11. How do I set up the CAN bus baudrate and bus termination?

Use the context menu of the channel list ('Sensor/CAN configuration...'). Select the 'Baudrate' register tab. The baudrate can be specified individually for every MX840 or MX471 connector in your project. Simply select the MX840 module or the MX471 connector in the module list located in the upper part of the dialog.

Note: The baudrate will be set immediately before your DAQ job starts!

 


12. How do I add special CAN bus actions?

Several CAN sensors expect specific command messages sent over the bus to become active. Such messages can be defined using the channel list context menu 'Sensor/CAN configuration...'. Select the register tab 'Bus commands' and add as many messages as you like. For every message, you need to specify the identifier, the length (number of bytes), and the byte sequence.

Command messages may be specified individually for every MX840 or MX471 connector in your project. Simply select the MX840 module or the MX471 connector in the module list located in the upper part of the dialog.

Note: The command messages will be sent immediately before your DAQ job starts!

 


13. What are TEDS modes and how do I use them?

MX840 knows three different modes regarding TEDS (Transducer Electronic Data Sheet) operation:

  • Ignore TEDS: a TEDS connected will be ignored, contents will not be read.
  • Use TEDS if available: if a TEDS sensor is connected it will be read.
  • TEDS required: the channel will not produce valid signal readings unless a valid TEDS sensor is connected. This mode is not supported in catman Easy/AP.

Only the 'Activate TEDS' function will force the channel to 'Use TEDS'. If during a TEDS scan, catman detects that a channel is switched to 'Ignore TEDS' it will indicate this in the 'Status' column of the channel list. During channel initialization, the channel is set to 'Use TEDS if available'. Assigning a sensor from the sensor database will set the channel to 'Ignore TEDS'. Any subsequent TEDS scan will again switch the channel to 'Use TEDS if available' if a TEDS sensor is found.

 


14. How do I use sensors with a linearization table or polynomial scaling?

These types of scaling will be executed inside the hardware by default. In the case of modules not supporting these scaling types, scaling will be done automatically in the software.

 


15. What shall I do when a channel always shows an overflow?

Check whether the sensor contains an erroneous or empty TEDS (see 'Channel info' window of the channel configuration tab). If so, switch TEDS usage OFF (see channel configuration ribbon, 'Sensor' group or the context menu of thechannel's 'Sensor/Function' column).

 


16. How do I operate QuabtumX MX1609, MX590, MX840B/MX440B, MX410/MX411/MX403, MX471C modules?

QuantumX MX1609: The maximum sample rate of this module is 600 Hz. If you want to acquire channels from other modules (MX840) at higher rates simultaneously together with MX1609, all channels belonging to MX1609 must be put into the slow sample rate group. MX1609 only supports thermocouples of type K. The MX1609T supports thermocouples of type T instead of K.

QuantumX MX590: The MX590 is a specialized module for the direct connection of pressure. The modules are factory-calibrated to certain pressure ranges - it is not possible (and not necessary!) to assign a sensor to channels of such a module. The output unit of an MX590 module will always be 'bar'.

QuantumX MX840B/MX440B: In contrast to the MX840/MX840A/MX440A a maximum sample rate of 38400 Hz is supported but only on channels which are not configured for bridge sensors. On these channels, the maximum sample rate is still 19,200 Hz.

QuantumX MX410/MX411/MX403: The maximum sample rate for these modules is 96000 Hz in standard operating mode. They can be switched to Highspeed mode from version 5.3 and higher. In this mode, connectors 3 and 4 are deactivated but the maximum sample rate on connectors 1 and 2 is 192,000 Hz.

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Data Visualization and Recording

This section provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding data acquisition, online visualizationvideo cameras and scope/floating panels.


1. Why do I need a slow sample rate and how do I set it up?

In many cases, your DAQ project contains channels that should record highly dynamic signals (e.g. accelerations) together with channels recording signals which change slowly over time (e.g. temperatures). The bandwidth of the dynamic signals thus determines the sample rate (Nyquist theorem). Acquiring the slow signals with the same sample rate would lead to an unnecessarily large amount of data to be transferred for these channels. For that reason, catman provides a second, slow sample rate.

To specify the channels which should be acquired with slow rates use the context menu of column 'Sample rate/Filter' in the channel list on the  'DAQ channels' tab. You may set up multiple, selected channels simultaneously.

 


2. What is the difference in trigger operation between catman Easy/AP and Enterprise?

catman Enterprise uses the hardware triggers inside the devices. catman Easy/AP however monitors the trigger by software: data is first transferred to the PC and then monitored for trigger conditions. If a trigger is detected, data storage starts (start trigger) or stops (stop trigger). This method has several advantages:

  • you may observe your data on the screen even before the trigger event occurs
  • you can use computation channels for triggering
  • additional trigger functions not supported by hardware (stop trigger with Spider8, post-stop-trigger samples)

On the other hand, trigger monitoring in catman Easy/AP is somewhat slower than in catman Professional. In catman Easy/AP trigger monitoring typically occurs 10 to 20 times per second. This is however enough for data storage to start/stop.

 


3. What is the meaning of burst mode in triggered measurements?

If burst mode is active, the job will not terminate when the stop condition occurs. Instead, the job starts waiting for the next start trigger event again.

 


4. What is the re-trigger in triggered measurements?

Re-triggers are possible in DAQ jobs with both a start and a stop trigger. In the post-trigger phase after detection of the stop condition, the start condition is monitored again. If the start condition is met before the post-trigger time is over the post-trigger phase is reset and starts again.

 


5. What means ‘RT-Lag’ displayed in the status bar?

During a running DAQ job devices like MGCplus, PMX or Spider8 continuously fill sample data into an internal RAM buffer. For other device types (like QuantumX/SomatXR) not featuring an internal buffer, the catman device driver layer will buffer the incoming data. From this buffer, they are fetched by catman Easy/AP at a regular time interval (typically every 100 ms). This usually happens at the same rate as data coming in - i.e. the buffers do not fill up significantly.

If, however, for some reason catman Easy/AP cannot transfer the data fast enough, the buffers start filling up. In that case, the data you observe on the screen are no longer 'real-time': you see past data while the most recent data is still in the buffer. This time difference is denoted as 'Real-time lag' (RT-Lag) and will be displayed in the status bar of catman Easy/AP.

An RT-Lag of several seconds should be taken seriously! The RAM buffers are filled up significantly in that case and might overflow shortly. If that happens the DAQ job is aborted! The following device types feature internal RAM buffers:

  • 20,000 samples for Spider8
  • 6,000,000 samples for MGCplus CP42 with Standard-RAM (RAM-extensions optionally available)
  • 2,000,000 samples for MGCplus CP32 with Standard-RAM (RAM-extensions optionally available)
  • 1,000,000 samples for MGCplus CP22 (RAM-extensions not available)
  • 5 MB for PMX

The specified number of samples is the sum of all samples from all active channels! For instance, the RAM buffer of an 8-channel Spider8 may hold up to 2,500 samples/channel.

QuantumX/SomatXR don't feature an internal RAM buffer - buffering is done by the catman device driver layer: 5 s buffer, however, at least 30,000 samples.

 


6. How can I avoid a RT-Lag?

RT-Lag typically is an issue with sample rates > 1200 Hz. You may take several measures to reduce the risk:

  • Do not use too many graphics (two or three is ok).
  • Do not update real-time graphs too frequently (graph configuration dialog/Special/Update).
  • Especially the post-process graphs should be updated only very rarely.
  • Do not use auto-scaling in graphs (time consuming since axis scaling must be computed anew with every new block of data).
  • Only display those channels you are really interested in. For instance, a table indicator (spreadsheet) by default displays all active channels. In many cases however not all these channels must be observed during the DAQ job!
  • Avoid using too many digital indicators on a single visual panel - use the DAQ table instead.

You may even take interactive measures against a RT-Lag. This can be done even if a DAQ job is already running! If a DAQ job is running double click the "RT-Lag" field of the status bar. If no DAQ job is running select the ribbon "Visualization", group "Measurement", button "Performance". In the following dialog you may for instance reduce the refresh rate of indicators, restrict graph refreshes to the visible panel or totally block the refresh of graphs.

If these measures are insufficient to prevent a RT-Lag you can utilize a temporary measurement storage of fixed size (File/Options/Data storage). Compared to standard measurement storage with dynamically increasing size this optimizes data storage performance. In that case you must specify storage large enough to contain all measurement values of your DAQ job.

 


7. How can I view a whole channel dataset in a graph during measurement?

Configure a post-process graph with the desired channels. Contrary to a real-time graph a post-process graph always shows all samples of a channel acquired so far. It is updated automatically only after stop of DAQ or addition of a new channel to the graph. You are prompted to set the update interval at the creation of the post-process graph.

In addition, you can set up a post-process graph for automatic update at certain intervals (graph/configuration/dialog/Special/Update). Note that the update takes progressively longer with the increase of the dataset length, so you are running the risk of an RT-Lag if you are updating the graph too often at higher sample rates. 

 


8. What file formats are available for saving measurement data?

The file formats available include catman 5.0, ASCII with and without channel headers, MS Excel, NI Diadem, nCode S3T, nSoft DAC, Matlab, MTS RPC III, Vector MDF 3 and ASAM MDF 4.1 Format, Universal File Format Type 58, and TDMS.

Note: Only files in catman formats can be reloaded in catman Easy/AP Analysis mode!

 


9. Where can I change the settings of the MDF 4 export format?

In the DAQ job settings select 'Data storage/File format/ASAM MDF format' as export format. Click the 'Options...' button to open the settings dialog of the MDF 4 format. Here you can enable the MDF 4 file features 'Data compression' and 'Data reduction'.

 


10. What to do when Excel doesn’t create a file?

Please verify that the storage option in your Excel application is not set to 'Microsoft Excel 2003' or older. If so, please change this to the standard format Office 2007/2010 (XLSX).

 


11. How can I control the storage of samples during manual storage control?

After DAQ start, a small toolbar pops up which allows control of manual storage. There are buttons for storing and deleting a single sample and one for switching on/off continuous storage. The number of stored samples is shown on a display. The toolbar is only visible during measurement.

 


12. What does the storage mode 'Peak values per time interval' mean?

In this mode only a Min/Max pair is stored after the specified time interval elapses. This storage mode is especially useful for long-duration tests in material testing where load cycles are monitored for days or even weeks. Instead of storing all data only the 'trend' of the peak values is stored.

 


13. What happens with the data when I select 'No Data storage after DAQ job'?

All sample data of a DAQ job is still stored in the catman Easy/AP temporary database ('Keep all data' is selected by default as storage mode) and can still be saved to a file with the menu function 'File/Save as/Save last DAQ job'. Observe, however, that no new DAQ job must be started (this overwrites the data in the temporary database), and that catman Easy/AP must not be terminated.

 


14. How can I avoid loss of data in a mission-critical DAQ job?

In the DAQ job settings select 'Data saving/ Periodically during measurement' as the storage option. In this case, catman Easy/AP will store the data permanently to disk at a certain interval while the DAQ job is running.

Note: Due to performance reasons (the storage process consumes time during which the data transfer is halted) this storage mode is not available for high sample rates:

  • up to 100 Hz with Spider8
  • up to 1200 Hz with MGCplus and QuantumX (these devices have larger internal data buffers)

 


15. Can I recover my data without using the periodical storage mode?

catman Easy/AP will check upon startup if the data stored temporarily during the last session still exists (with regular program termination this store is deleted). In that case, the user will be prompted to recover and permanently store this data.

After a power failure or program crash, please restart catman Easy/AP immediately. Do by no means delete any files or directories before restarting catman Easy/AP.

 


16. Do deactivated channels increase the storage capacity in a static temporary data store?

No, the static temporary measurement data store is created based upon a maximum number of channels and a maximum number of samples per channel. Deactivation of some channels will not increase the available amount of storage space to the remaining active channels.

 


17. How to exceed the maximum number of channels in a temporary data store?

No, the number of hardware and computation channels cannot exceed the maximum number of channels in temporary data store regardless of activation state. Otherwise a measurement is not possible.

 


18. Why doesn’t a DAQ job with MGCplus over Ethernet run when using WLAN?

In a slow wireless network, the timeout catman uses to query the MGCplus devices for data might to be too low (by default this timeout is 500 ms). You may however adjust this value using a registry entry in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/HBM/CATMAN with the value 'MGCGetFifoTimeout' (of type TEXT). Observe that the value will usually not yet exist - you must create it.

 


19. Can I log the events that occurred during a running DAQ job?

Events that occurred during a running DAQ job are automatically logged and stored in a file with the file extension '. events'. With this file you can analyze the events later.

Also, events of various sources can be automatically stored in the system log. Go to Options/Safety/Safety prompts and logging and activate the checkbox for the desired log type. Select menu DAQ channels/Special/ Show system log to view the logged events directly in a text editor.


1. What is the purpose of the Channel Selection list?

You need this list to assign channels to indicators or graphs. Just drag a channel from this list to an indicator or graph. If the channel selection list is not visible, select the menu 'Channel list' in the 'Window' menu.

The channel selection window features two controls to remove all channels from all indicators and graphs and to automatically assign (in ascending order) channels to all objects on the panel. If you closed the channel list window by clicking the X-button you can show it again by using the menu Window/Channel list.

Moreover, the channels can also be assigned to the active object by double-clicking in the channel list. If the channel is already displayed in the object, it will be removed instead.

 


2. What happens if I drag a channel onto the empty panel area?

In this case catman Easy/AP will offer a popup menu allowing you to select a visualization object which should be used to display the channel. You may however change this behavior via the options settings for the panel (main menu Options/group Panels/Drop of channel onto panel creates): instead of displaying a popup menu catman can also create a specific object automatically.

 


3. How can I create visualization objects fur multiple channels in one step?

Simply select multiple channels and drag them to an empty area of the panel.

 


4. How many panels/pages and indicator objects can be created at maximum?

You may create up to 64 panels or pages (Analysis mode). You can set the maximum number of objects per class by yourself (main menu Options/group Panels/Max. number of objects per type in the project). The default settings are:   

  • Sum of Real-time and post-process graphs: 128
  • Cursor graphs: 128
  • Polar graphs: 128
  • 3D graphs: 64
  • Tables, digital indicators, LEDs, meters and bar indicators: 256 of each type
  • Sum of Texts and background pictures: 512
  • Sum of script objects (buttons, checkboxes, combo boxes, etc.): 256 of each type

 


5. How can I resize objects and move them around?

To move: Press the left mouse button while the mouse is over the object and move the mouse while still holding the mouse button pressed. Upon releasing the mouse button, the object moves to the new position.

To resize: Grab and drag the objects with the resizing grabbers at the sides and corners of the active object.

 


6. How can I control the 'align to grid' behavior of objects?

Under 'Options', register tab 'Panels' you will find options by which you may control whether objects are aligned to the grid (upon repositioning or resizing) as well as the grid size and appearance. The possible range of the grid size is 50 to 1,000. The default is 200. Alternatively, you may access these options using the panel configuration dialog.

 


7. How can I configure an object?

The configuration dialog of the selected object appears usually on the right side of the main window and shows the properties of the currently selected object. However, the Visualization tab on the ribbon must be selected at this moment - the dialog is not available in the Cockpit tab. 

If the configuration dialog is not visible, you can show it again by using the menu Window/Object properties, or the context menu 'Properties' of the selected object.

 


8. How can I select more than one object simultaneously?

Click on objects while simultaneously pressing the <CTRL> key. Objects selected are indicated by a small square with a check mark in the upper right corner. Click on an empty area of the panel removes multiple selections.

 


9. What kind of operations can be performed with multiple objects selected?

With multiple objects selected you may perform the following actions:

  • Move: Drag one of the objects selected - all other objects will be moved accordingly.
  • Copy, Paste, Delete (via context menu).
  • Font style (font name, bold, italic), font size and color: Digit indicator, LED, text object, button, textbox, checkbox, list box, knob, slider, slider switch, and on/off switch are supported.
  • Text color: Meter, bar and digit indicators, LED, text object, button, textbox, checkbox, list box, knob, slider, slider switch, and on/off switch are supported.
  • Text alignment: Digit indicator, text object, and textbox are supported.
  • Background color: Meter, bar and digit indicators LED, text object, button, textbox, checkbox, list box, knob, slider, slider switch, and on/off switch are supported.
  • Template: Meter, bar and digit indicators are supported.
  • Display mode (minimum, maximum, current value etc.): Meter, bar, and digit indicators are supported
  • Decay time: Meter, bar, and digit indicators are supported.
  • Gradient style and color: Meter, bar and digit indicators, LED, and text object are supported.
  • Transparency: Meter, bar and digit indicators, LED, and text object are supported.
  • Border style: Meter, bar and digit indicators, LED, and text object are supported.
  • Show or hide the physical unit: Meter, bar, and digit indicators are supported.
  • Number format: Meter, bar, and digit indicators are supported.
  • Image orientation: Button object is supported.
  • Picture position: Text object is supported
  • OK color: Digit indicator is supported.
  • Visual style: Button, textbox, checkbox, and list box is supported.

 


10. How can I use an object configuration as a template for new objects?

In the configuration dialog of an object click the template button. All new objects of this type will be created with the template configuration. Clicking the undo button in the configuration dialog will reset the object template to the default values.

 


11. How can I use an LED object to visualize limit value conditions?

First, define one or more limit value conditions (via the button 'Configure...' in the group 'Limit values and events' from the 'DAQ channels' register tab) and assign them to DAQ channels using the context menu of the DAQ channel table.

If the menu 'Limit values and events' is not visible, the option 'Limit value/event monitoring' is deactivated. Activate the option via menu 'File/Options', register tab 'Program functions'.

Now create an LED object and open the corresponding configuration dialog. Select 'Limit value monitoring channel (LV1)' as 'LED function' in the 'General' group. Finally select the channel to monitor. If you want to visualize the second or third limit value condition, select LV2 or LV3.

 


12. How can I display a limit value level inside a graph?

In the graph's configuration dialog under 'Special', you will find a list labeled 'Display limit values' (only visible if at least one limit value has been defined). From the list, select the limit value you want to be displayed in the graph. A limit value will be represented by two horizontal lines representing the alarm and warning levels. The color of these lines depends upon the colors you assigned when creating the limit value.

Note: Limit value display can be configured for every y-axis system individually.

 


13. How can I display limit values exceeding a digital indicator?

First, enable 'Limit value/event monitoring' in the 'Options' dialog under 'Program functions'. Then, within a new DAQ project, start the 'Configure limit value and event monitoring' dialog (button 'Configure...' in group 'Limit values and events' from the 'DAQ channels' register tab). Add one or more limit value conditions and assign corresponding colors.

Now select a channel (within the 'Channel settings' window) and assign one to three limit values to the channel using the context menu of table column 'Limit value monitoring'.

Finally, go to the digital indicator's configuration dialog to choose the limit values to be displayed.

 


14. What grid size is possible for visualization panels?

The possible range for the grid size is 50 to 1,000. The default is 200.

 


15. How can I save several prepared panels?

If you don’t want to save each panel separately, you can alternatively save the entire DAQ project under 'File/Save/Project'. Later, you may import the entire visualization (which means all panels) from this project under 'File/Import/Import visualization'.

 


16. Why are some objects on a panel no longer visible?

The entire panel with all its objects can be upsized or downsized in steps via the buttons'Decrease' and 'Increase' in the group 'Panel/page' of the ribbon bar to fit the panel to your screen.


1. How do I record a video?

Go to 'Main menu/Options' and activate the additional module 'EasyVideocam' on the register tab 'Program functions'. After that, a new tab labeled 'video cameras' appears in the Ribbon.

To activate EasyVideocam you need either a license of the optional module EasyVideocam or a full license of catman AP. Otherwise, you will be prompted for the EasyVideocam license every time you try to activate EasyVideocam. If you enter 'EVAL' as license number, you may operate EasyVideocam in evaluation mode up to 25 times.

 


2. Where do I find the EasyVideocam function in the analysis mode?

The EasyVideocam module is available only in DAQ project mode. However, you can replay the recorded video of a DAQ test in analysis mode.

 


3. How many cameras can I use, and which are supported?

You may use up to 8 cameras in a DAQ project. catman Easy/AP supports common USB webcams and network cameras which are connected directly via Ethernet or FireWire.

 


4. How are the camera configurations stored?

Camera configurations are automatically stored together with your DAQ project - Therefore you do not need to save the camera configurations separately.

 


5. How can I start/stop a video recording?

Video recording can be started/stopped in several different ways:

  • Automatically on DAQ job start/stop.
  • Automatically on start/stop trigger.
  • By event monitoring or script.
  • Select the start/stop mode of video recording via the 'Video' of the 'DAQ jobs' tab.

 


6. Can I have a live view of the camera during the recording?

Yes. Create a new visualization object of the type 'Video camera display' on a panel. In the configuration dialog, select the desired camera and make sure that the 'Live' option is enabled.

 


7. I have connected a camera, but it does not appear in the camera list.

Perform a rescan (function 'Rescan' in the tab 'Video cameras' in the Ribbon) to scan all the available cameras.

 


8. What is the purpose of the buttons in the function group 'Test recording'?

Use the buttons 'Record' and 'Stop' in the function group 'Test recording' to control the recording of a video sample. Press the 'Play' button to watch the video sample you have last recorded before you decide whether to continue a video recording with the current camera settings.

 


9. Where can I change the name of the video file?

Go to 'Video' of the 'DAQ jobs' tab. Enter a name for the video file directly into the text field 'File name', or in the file selection dialog 'Video recording file', select the folder and enter the desired file name in the 'File name' field. Also, you can use placeholders in the file name (e.g. date or time).

 


10. How to improve data acquisition performance while recording?

  • Reduce the resolution as far as acceptable (640 x 480 is usually sufficient)
  • Reduce the frame rate as far as acceptable (10 - 15 fps is usually enough for the applications catman is targeted for)
  • Record only the relevant video information for the measurement by starting/stopping the camera through Start-/Stoptrigger or event monitoring or script

 


11. What can I do to avoid filling up my hard disk with large video file?

To prevent the hard disk from filling up, you can set an appropriate limit on the size of video files (group 'Video' in the Ribbon tab 'DAQ jobs'). If the size limit is exceeded, video recording will stop automatically.

 


12. Is audio recording supported in the current catman version?

Yes, audio recording is supported in catman.


1. What is a scope panel?

A scope panel is a highly integrated visualization module which does not require to build up the visualization by dragging graphs and channels. Instead, one graph window is already there, and channels can be added by just clicking (checking) a channel in the channel list integrated into the scope panel.

It is not possible to add other objects from the visualization toolbox to the scope panel. You may, however, create sub-windows inside the scope panel (also denoted as layers or panes). The following types of sub-windows are supported:

  • Real-time y(t) graph
  • Review y(t) graph
  • Numerical table (spreadsheet)
  • Live FFT graph
  • Angle synchronous display
  • Digital indicator
  • Bar indicator
  • Pointer (Analog meter)
  • Button

Up to 8 scope panels can be created. The maximum number of sub-windows that can be created on each scope panel is limited to 64. These sub-windows can be moved to any docking position and can even be 'undocked'.

Graph refresh can be paused at any time to zoom into the graph or use cursor functionalities. After resuming of update all curves are repainted from the temporary data store.  

The scope display can operate in an oscilloscope like trigger mode. Scope provides a minimum time window of 0.01 ms in contrast to the 0.5 seconds in ordinary real-time graphs. This makes the scope useful in DAQ jobs with very high sample rates > 10 kHz.

 


2. How can I see which sub-window is currently the active one?

A sub-window is activated by clicking it and can be recognized by the red ball on the left side of its caption bar.

 


3. How do I assign curves to graph layers?

Curves are assigned or removed by checking or unchecking a channel located in the channel list on the left side of the scope window. The operation is performed on the currently active sub-window. A sub-window is activated by clicking it and can be recognized by the red ball on the left side of its caption bar.

 


4. What shall I do when I can't see any plots in the scope panel?

  1. Make sure the scope is not in 'Pause' mode.
  2. Just like any other visualization object the scope requires a running DAQ job. It is not possible to start a DAQ job from within the scope window.
  3. Data possibly lies outside of the current scale range. Activate 'Auto scale' for all axes and reset zoom mode.
  4. The trigger condition is not met (if operating the scope in trigger mode).

 


5. How can I activate zoom and cursor in a scope?

The user interfaces of zoom, x-axis shifting, and cursors are coupled to pausing of the graph update: relevant elements are enabled only when the update is stopped.

 


6. How can I set up colors in a scope?

You can set up curve colors individually by clicking on the channel in the channel list and then selecting the color with the color picker control located on top of the channel list. In the same manner, you may select the curve style.

 


7. How many layers can be in one scope and how many curves can be assigned to one layer?

A scope can have a maximum of 64 layers and each layer can hold a maximum of 16 curves.

 


8. What is the trigger mode (register tab 'Trigger')?

By default, the scope operates in 'chart mode', i.e. new data will appear at the right side of the time window while older data vanishes on the left side. Using the trigger modes, the time window will be filled exactly once. Filling begins when the trigger condition is met. This procedure (a 'shot') can be repeated automatically (continous mode) or exactly once. In the latter case, use the button 'Start' right to option 'Single shot' to trigger a new shot.

Note: Press <RETURN> to confirm the settings for level and pre-trigger.

 


9. What does the AutoRange scale mode mean?

AutoRange is a special autoscaling mode which forces the y-scale to a band around the newest data point in the graph. This is useful if the signal shows abrupt amplitude changes - in such a case 'older' data (i.e. data before the change) still visible in the time window will make ordinary autoscaling useless.

Enter the bandwidth in the text box 'Range' under the AutoRange checkbox and press <RETURN> to confirm the input.


1. What is a floating panel?

Use the floating panel (only available in the DAQ mode) to obtain a separate window that can be moved to a second monitor. You may create sub-windows inside the floating panel (also denoted as layers or panes). The following types of sub-windows are supported:

  • Real-time y(t) graph
  • Review y(t) graph
  • Numerical table (spreadsheet)
  • Digital indicator
  • Bar indicator
  • Pointer (Analog meter)
  • Live FFT graph
  • Angle synchronous display
  • Button
  • Video camera display
  • Picture
  • Website

Up to 32 floating panels can be created. The maximum number of sub-windows that can be created on each floating panel is limited to 64.

 


2. What's the difference between a floating panel and a scope panel?

The floating panel window can be moved freely on or to the screens (outside of the catman Easy/AP window). In comparison to the scope panel, you have more display objects available. Moreover, the floating panel has its own ribbon for configuration. 

 


3. Can I save a fully configured floating panel as a template?

Yes. Click on the Tool-symbol on the ribbon of the floating panel and select the menu 'Save panel' to export all the panel configurations to a file.

 


4. Can I easily duplicate a floating panel?

Yes, there are two possibilities to duplicate a floating panel:

  • Click on the Tool-symbol on the ribbon and select the menu 'Duplicate panel'. An exact duplicatie of the current panel will be created.
  • Create a new floating panel. Then click on the Tool-symbol on the ribbon and select the menu 'Load panel' to load the complete panel configuration from a template file.

 


5. How can I close a floating panel?

Click on the symbol on the ribbon to close the current floating panel. You will be prompted to confirm this action.

Clicking on the (X)-button in the title bar will only minimize the panel. All panel configurations made will be lost if you close the floating panel. Save the panel to a file before closing if you want to keep it.

Data Handling and Analysis

This section provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding the analysis modedata viewprinting, video panel, graphs, and auto sequences.


1. How do I start the mode for the preparation of DAQ projects without connected hardware?

Click on the button 'Offline: Prepare a new DAQ project without connected devices' in the group 'Measure' in the start window of catman Easy/AP.

 


2. What is not possible in this mode?

  • No measurement
  • No zeroing
  • No channel initialization and live update of measurement values
  • No sensor scan

 


3. How is the insertion of channels working?

To insert a channel or a block of channels mark the device or a created channel belonging to this device. Then choose 'New channel'. Channels are usually created as channel blocks. Only MGCplus, PMX, and Spider8 single-channel amplifiers can be created individually. Channels are inserted into a signal plan based on their slot position.

Sensors are rejected during the assignment to a channel even if they should be supported according to technical data of hardware. Under some circumstances, the checking routine may be too strict. In this case you can disable sensor checking 'Check validity of EasyPlan sensor assignment' (main menu OPTIONS/SENSORS). With sensor checking deactivated, an invalid sensor will not be detected unless the DAQ project works with the real hardware!

 


4. Why do I have a different IP-address than the one stored in the project?

If the specified address is not found while loading a project, a dialog will be displayed which allows you to change the address. The dialog shows IP addresses and hardware types (amplifiers and connector plates) as stored in the project. It allows also a TCP/IP scan showing available devices. You can then edit the address and repeat loading of the project. You can also change the connection type or remove a device altogether from the project.

This mechanism applies to all devices in the project. The dialog appears until all devices in the project have been found or the loading is canceled. The user has even more possibilities to handle the situation if the device(s) is/are not found on loading a DAQ project (see OPTIONS/PROGRAM START):

  • Interactive dialog to replace or temporarily remove devices or to change interface settings.
  • Temporarily remove unconnectable devices from the project. (In this case, no dialog will be shown)
  • Deactivate unconnectable devices. (In this case, no dialog will be shown)

 


5. Where can I see information about the hardware type?

It displays both. The column 'Type' shows amplifier and connector plates of the device, 'Type expected' displays contents of the project. If they are dissimilar both entries will be marked red. Both columns can shown or hidden via options for the channel list.

 


6. What to do when not all slots of my device are visible after loading a project?

Only slots stored in the project are visible. Amplifiers taht are not stored in the project are inactive.

 


7. What can I do if I have a project and I want to use my hardware with a different connection type?

You can create a new project and import settings from your existing project ('File' menu -> Import).

From catman Easy/AP version 2.1 and higher, the connection type can be changed if the device is not found while loading a project.

 


8. Can I automate the script execution after loading a DAQ project which contains an EasyScript project?

Yes. You can specify the behavior of script execution while loading a DAQ project which contains an EasyScript project, i.e. run script automatically on project load, or on DAQ job start. To enable this feature, go to 'File/Options' and select the corresponding option on the register tab 'EasyScript'.


1. How do I start the Analysis mode?

Analysis mode means the display and analysis (computation) of data already acquired and stored in files. This kind of data is often denoted as post-process data.

Before you can work with data you must include one or more existing tests (.TST files) in your Analysis project. For that purpose, you can use the Test Explorer which allows you to browse for existing test files. To include a test in your project, simply drag it from the file list to the left tree view of the Test Explorer or select 'Load test' from the file list context menu. To remove a test from your project, select 'Remove test' from the context menu of the project tree view.

Once a test is included in the project you can examine its contents (Test parameters, channels) by expanding the corresponding tree view nodes. To display a channel simply drag it to an empty region of the page (this creates a graph object) or directly onto an already existing graph.

 


2. Where can I see the test information (test parameters, channels)?

Once a test is added to the Analysis project, its contents (test parameters, channels) are represented in a tree view. You can view the content by opening the appropriate nodes. You can also see the test information directly, without having to add it to the Analysis project. Select the test file (.TST) in the 'File Selection' on the bottom right of the Test Explorer window, its contents will be displayed in the 'Test parameters' and 'Details' tables.

Moreover, additional test information (such as test file comment and test file path) can be shown in the 'File selection' tab, and all channels of the test are shown more clearly in the 'Channels' tab. Also, the file comments of all test files in the current directory can be displayed in 'File selection'. Note that this requires additional time and is not recommended if many files are present in your data directories.

 


3. How can I add/delete channels from a test to the current Analysis project?

You can add a single channel of a test to the Analysis project, without having to load the entire test. Double-click on one of the channels listed in the 'Channels' tab and drag it into the project list. It is possible to select multiple channels to add them to the project in one go. Nevertheless, you can’t remove a complete test. 

 


4. How can I plot a channel from the analysis project to a graph?

Simply drag the channel onto a graph on your panel/printer page. If you still have not created a graph, drop the channel onto an empty area of the panel/printer page. catman Easy/AP will then automatically create a graph for you and plot the channel. Moreover, you can assign a channel also to the selected graphic by double-clicking on the channel.

 


5. How can I analyze my data mathematically?

The mathematical functions are provided by the EasyMath module. This is an optional module that must be activated first ('File/Options', register tab 'Program functions'). After activation the register tab 'Computations' appears in the ribbon toolbar. Click on this tab to open den dialog for mathematical computations.

 


6. How can I analyze the data of my last DAQ job directly from my project?

Use the main menu function 'File/Analyze measurement data' or the button with the same caption on the right screen side of the register tab strip. In the following dialog you may choose to analyze your data with an empty Analysis project or an existing project.

Note: Directly changing from DAQ mode to Analysis mode will automatically load the data of your last DAQ job into the Test Explorer.

 


7. How can I analyze my data with a specific Analysis project?

Assign one or more analysis projects to your DAQ project. Use the menu function 'File/Analyze measurement data' or the button with the same caption on the right screen side of the register tab strip. In the following dialog, you may assign one or more Analysis projects to your current DAQ project.

 


8. What to do when I want to copy a test file (.TST) to another computer?

A DAQ test file (.TST) only contains references to the file containing the measurement data (.BIN). If you deploy the test file, you must thus deploy the .BIN file also. All file references contain a full path. If catman Easy/AP does not find the data file (.BIN) at the location specified by the path it looks for the file in the folder where the test file (.TST) resides.

 


9. What to consider when copying an Analysis project to another computer?

An Analysis project only contains references to the test files (.TST). If you deploy the project you need to deploy the test files as well. The test files themselves contain references to the data files containing your measurement data (.BIN). You must thus deploy these files as well.

All file references contain a full path. If catmanEasy/AP does not find the files at the location specified by the path it looks for the files in the folder where the project file (.OFP) resides.

 


10. What is the difference between a printer page and a panel?

  • Printer Page: Use a printer page if you want to create and print a report. All objects on the page will appear in the printout and you may define page margins as well as headers and footers. A printer page on the screen will be displayed according to the current printer format and aspect ratio (e.g. A4). A printer page can be displayed at different zoom levels for better manageability of objects.
  • Panel: A panel exclusively serves the purpose of displaying and analyzing data. It cannot be printed as a whole (only individual graphs can be printed) and does not consider the format and aspect ratio of the printer.

 


11. Why can't I change the page format for my printer pages?

To be able to change the page format, a printer has to be installed on your computer.

 


12. What is the maximum number of panels/printer pages I can create?

The maximum number of panels/printer pages you can create in a project is 64.

 


13. What kind of data can I display in a table and how does it work?

In a table (spreadsheet) you may display sample data of a channel, statistical data like minimum or maximum and the so-called 'traceability data' (like sample rate, amplifier type, sensor, etc.). First, create a table object, mark the desired channel in the analysis project, then select the menu 'Data sources for table drag and drop' from the drop-down menu 'Window' on the right side of the Ribbon. In the following dialog select the kind of data you want to display and drag it to a table cell. Data displayed comes from the channel which is currently selected in your Analysis project. The dialog will stay open so you can select a different channel and repeat the Drag&Drop action. In this manner, you can very quickly fill the table with data from different channels.

Note: If you display all samples of the channel the column to which the cell currently selected belongs will be filled. The column header will automatically be filled with the name and unit of the channel.

 


14. How can I insert a job parameter in a text box or a table cell?

In your Analysis project, select the Job parameter you want to insert. From the context menu select 'Copy text'. You may now insert this text into various objects:

  • Text object: Open the configuration dialog of the object and select 'Paste' from the context menu of the dialog's text box.
  • Table cell: Double-click the cell to put it into edit mode. Select 'Paste' from the context menu of the cell.
  • Graph title: Open the configuration dialog of the object and select 'Paste' from the context menu of the 'Title' text box.

 


15. What to consider when handling strain gauge rosette computations?

In contrast to other computations, strain gauge rosette computations can have several result channels. For this reason, one main node is created on the left side of the test explorer named after the strain gauge computation and one sub-node for each result channel. The main node is used only for managing purposes and cannot be used as a drag object for visualization. That is only possible with sub-nodes (results). However, a strain gauge computation can only be deleted or modified completely by its main node.

 


16. Why can’t I see MGCplus measurement value files in the Test Explorer?

The Test Explorer shows only files with known extensions. The default extension is '.TST' for catman Easy/AP test files. Additional extensions must be specified in 'Options', register tab 'Data storage', section 'File extension for Test Explorer'. Specify '.MEA' for MGCplus files and '.STO' for compressed files. Files measured with slow sample rates have the extensions '.ME1' and '.ST1' respectively.

 


17. How can I create additional rows, showing the same information for different channels?

First, select the row/column that should be used as a pattern. Select 'Clone data sources/Copy row/column' from the table context menu. Now select the channel within the Test Explorer whose channel information you want to visualize. Back in the table, select the row/column to insert the new channel information. Finally, select 'Clone data sources/Paste row/column' from the table context menu.

 


18. How does the spectrum computation in Analysis mode work?

The spectrum computation in catman Easy/AP is not performed on the entire dataset, but on recurring smaller sections whose length is determined by the sampling rate and frequency resolution. The size of a section is the next smaller power of two of 2*1/(dt*frequency resolution). All section spectra are eventually averaged.

This approach has several advantages compared to computing the spectrum over the entire dataset: Since spectrum computation is based on FFT, the computation is always used on the next smaller power of two of the number of values, which can lead to disregarding almost half of the dataset in the worst-case scenario. Also, large datasets would result in far too large computation channels with an unnecessarily high frequency resolution.

Note: Observe that this method used by catman Easy/AP is not suited to compute spectra from signals with a time-dependent frequency characteristic!

 


19. What do 'automatic frequency resolution' and 'Zero-Padding' mean?

With automatic frequency resolution, catman Easy/AP determines the resolution that the entire dataset will use for a single spectrum. Averaging of spectra will thus not occur. If the length of the dataset is not a power of 2, the so-called 'Zero Padding' takes effect. This depends on the length L of the dataset:

  • L is closer to the next lower power of 2: The option 'Always perform zero padding' decides if the dataset will be truncated or filled up with zeros up to the next higher power of 2.
  • L is closer to the next higher power of 2: The dataset will be filled up with zeros regardless of the option 'Always perform zero padding'.

 


20. How can I save computations?

The export function in the ribbon bar 'Export' in Analysis mode allows the saving of computations and channels from loaded tests into new files. You can add a whole test to the export list. The procedure is the same like as adding single channels. If some channels of the test are already present in the list those channels will not be added a second time.

 


21. What is the meaning of Alias names in an Analysis mode export?

The Analysis mode allows the saving of computations and channels from different tests into new files. This can lead to the saving of channels with the same name into a single file which can cause errors in functions identifying channels by their name (i.e. EasyMath). For this reason, you can give any channel in an export an alias name under which it is stored to the file so names are remaining consistent.

 


22. How can I format table cells?

There are three different cells types: static text (non-editable), editable text, and editable numeric (digits only).

Values and channel info from tests assigned via Drag&Drop set cells to type static text. Additionally, the number of decimal places can be set for cells of type numeric and static text. Both types of formatting can be set for single cells, ranges of cells or whole rows and columns depending on the selection state, except channel values displayed in an entire column. In that case, changing the number of decimal places always affects the entire column. The formatting configuration is found in section Cells in the configuration dialog.

 


23. How to create a dataset with custom values?

Like a computational channel, you may also create a dataset that contains tabular data provided by yourself. For that purpose, open the register tab 'Data series' of the computation module and enter the data in the table. Clicking 'Create computation' will add the new dataset to your project. Such a dataset can be plotted, used for other computations, or exported just like any other channel or computation.

Instead of typing in the data, you may fill the table with measurement data of a channel. Simply mark the channel and click to 'Copy from DAQ channel'. In contrast to the original channel data, which can never be modified, these tabular data may now be edited, for instance, to eliminate outliers.

As a third option you can generate the tabular data using a function f(x), e.g.  0.8+0.5*x-0.0032*x^2. In this case you may additionally create an x-dataset containing the x-abscissa values (0,dx,2*dx,3*dx....). This is useful if you want to plot your function vs. x.

 


24. How are custom datasets stored with my analysis project?

Usually, an analysis project only contains references (to test and data files) and computations (as a 'rule', not the actual data) but not the data themselves. With custom datasets there are, however, no 'computational rules' so catman Easy/AP provides the option to include these data directly in the project file. You may control this behavior individually for every dataset via the option 'Save data with project' under the register tab 'Data series'. Keep, however, in mind that this may result in very large project files, especially if your datasets consist of copies of original DAQ channels. Usually, you will thus include only smaller datasets that are required for automated analysis (like data for a tolerance band or similar).

 


25. How can I plot a dataset against its own set of x-values?

Usually, you will need an additional dataset providing the x (abscissa) values for your plot (Exception: if your dataset is a copy of a DAQ channel. Then the dt of the DAQ channel will be used). To plot a dataset against another dataset providing the x-values proceed as follows:

  1. Add the x dataset to the list of x datasources (context menu 'Add to x-datasources').
  2. Drag the dataset you want to plot into the graph.
  3. In the configuration dialog for curves (click to legend), select the x-data source for this curve.

 


26. How can I assign several channels to a graph simultaneously?

Several channels can be marked in the test list by using the Ctrl key together with selecting the channels. You can afterward perform different operations with the selected channels: Assign to a graph, assign to export list, delete in case of computation channels, create new computation channels.

 


27. How can I create several computation channels simultaneously?

Several computation channels can be created simultaneously if the computation type has only one argument channel. This includes all computations except algebraic and strain gauge computations and data series. Settings and name prefixes are used on all selected channels. Source channels of computations can also be assigned to the input boxes of the computations by clicking onto the assignment buttons next to the input boxes.

 


28. How can I see from which test the argument channel of a computation originates?

Computation channel names are assigned the test index of the argument channel in the form 'ChanName[Index]'. The index is formatted to two decimals.

Deleting tests shifts indices of remaining tests together. If a test is assigned a new index the change will be propagated to computation channel names. That is also the case for curve names and export lists. The index is assigned automatically so you should not use suffixes in the same form in your channel names, otherwise they could be overwritten.

 


29. What happens if computation channels point to deleted tests?

That depends on the position of the deleted test. If the deleted test is not the last one in the list all computations except algebraic ones and display channels pointing to this test will be deleted. If the last test is deleted only curve data and computation results will be deleted. Users will even be prompted whether computations and display sources pointing to the deleted test should be deleted as well. 

 


30. How can I quickly analyze tests with similar channel names?

Set the option in the test loading part of Test Explorer. Load the first test and create the desired computations and graphs. If you are loading additional tests new computations will be created and curves added to graphs if the argument channel names are found in the new test.

Only manually created computations are considered in creating new computations. If they are deleted there will be no new computations created by test load. You first need to provide the desired computations manually.

 


31. How to use channels with different sample rates in a computation or graph?

To compute channels with each other (e.g. C_Force * C_Way) or use them as x- and y-data sources of a graph they need to be sampled with the same rate. Since this is not always the case, catman Easy/AP provides the math function 'Interpolation'. With this function, you may create a new dataset originating from a 'slow' channel where additional data points are inserted using interpolation.

 


32. How can I synchronize the data display with video playback and cursors?

The synchronization can be carried out directly using the synchronized display objects (video, map, indicators, table) on the normal visualization panel.

 


33. How can I quickly find a specific test on my computer?

Besides the predefined file types (such as catman .TST and .BIN file), it is possible to specify a custom file type (e.g. use pattern '*.avi' to search files with the extension '.avi') to be searched for and to define a search pattern to search for files whose name match the pattern. You can select the option 'Search sub folders' if sub folders of the selected folder should also be searched for.

Examples of search pattern:

  • 'ABC*': all files starting with "ABC"
  • '*ABC*': all files with "ABC" in name
  • '*': all files

It is also possible to search for specific test parameter values. In that case, all tests are listed with test parameter values matching the search criteria. Example: 'Operator=Smith': all tests done by operator Smith.

 


34. Can I save my frequently used working directories for further use?

Yes. You can add your frequently used working directories to the favorites list 'My favorites' via the context menu 'Add to favorites' of the select directory. The favorites list enables you to quickly and easily access directories you work with. The favorites list 'My favorites' is shown on the top line of the folder list.


1. How can I add channels to the DataView?

You can do this in different ways:

  • Drag a channel from the Analysis project channel list to any location in the DataView window.
  • Double-click a channel in the Analysis project channel list to add it to DataView. Double-click again to remove the channel.
  • Select (highlight) a channel in the Analysis project channel list and use the function Add channel in the ribbon bar or the context menu (right mouse button).

Alternatively, you may define a shortcut key to add a channel to DataView (Main menu/Options/Shortcuts/register tab Visualization/Show or delete channel in DataView). Select a channel in the Analysis project channel list and press this shortcut. Pressing the shortcut again will remove the channel.

 


2. How can I add all channels of a test to the DataView at once?

You may do this in different ways:

  • Drag the node with the measurement file (.BIN) or the test file (.TST) to the DataView.
  • Select (highlight) the node with the measurement file (.BIN) or the test file (.TST) in the Analysis project channel list and use the function Add channel in the ribbon bar or the context menu.

Please note that the maximum number of channels that can be displayed in the preview graph depends on the total available area of the preview graph. Use the option 'Overlay plots' if you want to display a lot of channels with a similar scale, create additional DataView windows, or increase the screen space of the preview graph. 

 


3. How can I remove a channel?

You can do this in different ways:

  • Select a column in the DataView table (click anywhere inside the column) and use Remove channel in the ribbon bar or the context menu.
  • Double-click the channel in the Analysis project channel list.

To remove all channels of a DataView please use the button Remove All from the ribbon bar or in the context menu.

 


4. How can I control the automatic display of a channel in the preview graph?

Use the checkbox Auto preview from the ribbon bar. Otherwise, use the checkbox In preview in the header table, or Preview on/off in the context menu to add a channel manually to the preview graph.

 


5. Can I modify the values shown in the table?

To modify values the option 'Allow editing of saved data in DataViewer' must be enabled (Main menu/Options/Program functions). After that, all channels displayed in the DataView are unlocked for editing. By clicking on the button 'Edit' from the ribbon bar or 'Unlock/lock editing' in the context menu, you can activate the edit mode.

 


6. How can I redisplay the panels of the DataView?

Select the menu Channel info/Table/Preview from the drop-down menu "Window" from the ribbon bar.

 


7. How can I configure and zoom into the preview graph?

The preview graph has its own built-in configuration dialog which you access via the context menu 'Configure' of the graph. The configuration is, however, limited in comparison to a regular graph object on the visualization panel.

Zooming is always enabled - just hold the left mouse button down and span a zoom range. Zooming in the preview graph is restricted to a vertical (x-axis section) zoom - use a graph object on a visualization panel if you need rectangular zoom. Alternatively, use the menu 'Zoom out' and 'Reset zoom' menus of the preview graph to zoom back or undo zoom.

 


8. How can I print or copy the preview graph?

Print the preview graph or copy the graph in different formats to the clipboard via the 'Export/print' button in the ribbon bar or in the context menu.

 


9. Which data cannot be displayed in the DataView?

Matrix, class counting, CAN raw data, and peak valley computations cannot be displayed in the DataView.

 


10. How can I find a specific value in the data table?

Go to the ribbon group 'Table' to jump to values in the table that meet certain conditions like 'Value greater than', or 'Difference to preceding value absolutely greater than'. Browsing through the dataset is possible with 'Find next'.


1. Can I use one graph configuration as default?

Just click the 'Edit' button in the graph configuration dialog. The current settings will then be applied to all new graphs created. This setting will persist between catman sessions. Click on the button again to reset to standard configuration again.

 


2. How do I assign channels to the graphs?

You need the channel list to assign the channels to be displayed in a graph, or the channel for the x-axis of a graph. Use the mouse to drag the channels from the channel list into the graph. If the channel list is not visible, open it via the menu 'Window/Channel list'.

To assign a channel to the x-axis or a y-axis you must drag the channel onto the corresponding axis. The drag symbol changes to show which axis the channel will be assigned to in case of a drop: Plot with an arrow to the left or right axis for left or right y-axis respectively, only an x for the x-axis.

Note: If you assign a channel to the x-axis of a graph, all plots in that graph are plotted against the x-data of this channel.

 


3. How can I change the x-axis time of a y(t)-real-time chart?

Double-click the graph to open the configuration dialog. Open the group 'General'. There you will find a selection list for the Time window. The unit selection list determines how the x-axis labels are formatted - it does not influence on the time window. Alternatively, you can perform the same settings in the 'Axes' group, the x-axis is selected by default.

 


4. How can I use a fixed x-axis?

Double-click the graph to open the configuration dialog. Open the group 'Axes' and select the x-axis. Deactivate the option Auto (Scaling) and activate the option 'Manual'. You are now able to enter the min/max values for the axis manually. Make sure that the maximum is equal to or greater than the time window of the graph - otherwise, data will 'vanish' when reaching the axis maximum.

 


5. How can I display y(x) data, e.g. force vs. displacement?

catman can either assign a global x-dataset to all y-curves or an individual one to each y-curve.

Global x-dataset: From the channel selection list, drag the channel to be used for the x-axis in the area below the graph's x-axis (the cursor will change to an 'x' symbol).

Individual x-dataset: There are two ways to assign individual x-datasets:

  • First, add the x-channel to the list of 'x data sources' (context menu of the channel list). Then go to the 'Curve' configuration dialog of a y-curve (click to legend) and select the desired x-dataset in the 'X-dataset' dropdown list.
  • To arrive at the same result more quickly just drag the x-channel on top of the legend name of the y-channel.

In the case of individual x-datasets make sure that all the x-datasets used in the graph represent the same physical quantity and cover the same value range (e.g. a displacement between 0....100 mm). Since the graph has only a single x-axis, otherwise distortions of this axis could occur!

 


6. How can I switch back from a y(x) display to a y(t) display?

From the channel selection list, drag the first entry (labeled 'Time from sample rate') to be used for the x-axis in the area below the graph's x-axis (the cursor will then change to an 'x' symbol). For individual x-datasets, go to the 'Curve' configuration dialog of a y-curve (click to legend) and select 'Time' in the 'X-dataset' dropdown list.

 


7. How can I directly select an axis of a graph?

Just move the mouse over an axis in the graph (mouse cursor changes to a hand symbol) and click. The corresponding axis will be automatically selected in the configuration dialog. 

 


8. How do I change the settings of several graphs simultaneously?

The 'Apply to' selection of the graph configuration dialog lets you choose the target for the changes made:

  • the graph currently selected (default)
  • all graphs on the current panel
  • all graphs on all panels

The setting is available only for certain types of graphs (cursor graph and polar diagram).

 


9. How do I change the color or style of a curve (plot)?

Click the legend of that curve (the name - not the symbol). This will open the configuration dialog for curves. You can also click a data point of the curve (the mouse pointer will change to a hand symbol when over a data point). Please note that this method will not be available when the graph has been switched to cursor mode.

 


10. How do I zoom into a graph?

Select one of the zoom modes in the context menu of the graph or the ribbon bar group 'Graph tools'. Now you can repeatedly select areas within the graphic that will be magnified then. To view the whole graphic again click to 'Zoom reset'. 'Zoom out' is restoring the previous zoom level instead. Selecting a zoom mode switches all graphs to zoom mode. 'Zoom reset' and 'Zoom out' are working only on the selected graph.

Note: A graph cannot be moved while it is in zoom mode!

 


11. How does data compression work in a post-process graph?

If the number of samples contained in a dataset (curve) exceeds a certain threshold value catman will compress the graphics display automatically. This is to avoid unnecessary drawing operations all falling onto the same pixel. In this manner, even very large datasets consisting of millions of samples can be displayed quickly. While compressing, catman Easy/AP generates a min/max pair for every block of original data. The default value for the threshold value roughly corresponds to the number of pixels of the screen. It can be adjusted in the graph configuration dialog under 'Special' functions.

Note:

  • When zooming into a graph the size of every compression block shrinks - i.e. resolution increases with every zoom step.
  • Only the graph memory is compressed - the original sample data remain unchanged!
  • If the number of points to display in uncompressed form is bigger than 50,000 you should think about reducing the maximum number of plots per graph (OPTIONS/PANELS).
  • Applies only to version 3.2 and earlier: y(x) graphs will always use scatter plots (points only) if in compressed mode!

 


12. What to consider when changing the maximum number of plots per graph?

If you plan to use more than one y-axis layer the max. number of plots must be a multiple of the number of layers:

  • with 2 layers: max. plots = 2 * max plots per layer
  • with 3 layers: max. plots = 3 * max plots per layer

If you want to switch between all layer types the number must be a multiple of 6.

 


13. Why are the plots in a y(x) graph displayed as scatter plots?

catman Easy/AP compresses y(x) graphs if the number of points exceeds the (selectable) compression limit. In that case, the connection lines between points will not be drawn. Since the connection lines would connect the points according to their increasing timestamps this would completely distort the graph. Increase the compression limit to achieve a greater point density or to force connection lines to be drawn.

 


14. Why do I have to specify a time window for real-time y(x) and polar graphs?

Even if these graphs do not display y data vs. time, they require the time window to determine the chart's history buffer, i.e. the number of data points (depending on the sample rate) to keep in memory. Older data points are discarded.

 


15. How does data compression work in a real-time graph?

As with the post-process graph, catman Easy/AP also compresses data blocks to a min/max pair in real-time graphs. The size of the block in compressed form depends on the x-axis total time and the sample rate of the current DAQ job. The resulting compression factor is displayed in the lower, right corner of the graph. y(x) graphs will always use scatter plots (points only) if in compressed mode!

Note: In contrast to the post-process graph, you will not increase resolution when zooming into a real-time graph. This is because the zoom does not operate on the original sample data but the data already compressed. You may, however, increase the threshold value from which compression will start. It can be adjusted in the graph configuration dialog under 'Special' functions. Observe, however, that setting this threshold to a large number increases the amount of time required for the graph update and may lead to a real-time lag (RT Lag displayed in the status bar). If the number of points to display in uncompressed form is bigger than 50,000 you should think about reducing the maximum number of plots per graph (OPTIONS/PANELS).

 


16. How can I measure coordinates with a cursor and their difference?

Click the cursor and annotations button of the graph's context menu or the ribbon bar group 'Graph tools'. This will switch all graphs to cursor mode and the cursor window for coordinate display will be opened. Clicking the ribbon bar button 'Edit' will abort cursor mode and close the cursor window. Alternatively, you can abort cursor mode by closing the cursor window.

To measure the difference between two data points, select the point of the dataset that should be used as the reference point for the differences. Click the pin symbol. Now, if you select further points by mouse or cursor-keys, the difference between the current cursor position and the reference point will be displayed in the cursor window.

Note: A graph cannot be moved while it is in cursor mode!

 


17. How do I move the cursor?

The graph cursor in catman Easy/AP is a so-called 'snap to point' cursor. You cannot move it around freely - instead, it will always snap to the nearest data point of a curve. Click a data point on the curve to move the cursor at this position (the mouse pointer changes to a 'hand' symbol if it is located over or near a data point).

Once the cursor snapped to a point you can move it using the keyboard:

  • Arrow right/left: one data point right/left
  • Cursor up/down: moves cursor between data sets (curves)
  • Page up/down: as arrow right/left but in larger steps

 


18. How can I create, modify, and move an annotation inside a graph?

Open the cursor window for the graph by clicking the cursor and annotations button of the graph's configuration dialog or the ribbon bar group 'Graph tools'. Then point the cursor to the desired position (data point) in the graph and click the create button. Once created you can change the attributes of the annotation with the different format options provided in the cursor window. The coordinates are the default text of the annotation. To change attributes later click on the annotation.

Use the mouse to drag around an annotation. Nevertheless, the annotation type anchored text is restored to its original position if the graph is redrawn. A graph is redrawn, for example, when adding a new curve or adding/removing an axis layer. It is thus recommended to move anchored text annotations to their final positions immediately before printing or copying to the clipboard.

Note: Graphs in cursor mode cannot be dragged around!

 


19. How can I plot several channels with different scale layers into the same graph?

It is possible to configure a graph to have up to three different scale layers and an additional right y-axis. This can be done with the 'Axis' buttons of the graph configuration dialog. Each layer and y-axis can be scaled separately. If you want to arrange the different layers in overlapping form instead of one below the other, you can do this by clicking 'Overlapped axes'. In this case all y-layers fall together, and their axes will be plotted on the left side of the graph.

However, all plots are displayed over a single x-axis! If you want to display the channels over different x-axes you must use several graphs.

 


20. How many data points can be displayed in uncompressed form in a graph?

A maximum of 1,000,000 points per curve can be displayed in a post-process graph, and 128,000 points can be displayed in a real-time graph in uncompressed form. If you specify a higher value, it will be reset to the limit.

 


21. How can I display all samples acquired since the beginning of the DAQ job?

Create a Post-Process graph and assign the channels you want to be displayed. Post-Process graphs can be updated automatically during a DAQ job but also manually, using the 'Refresh graph' button of the configuration dialog. In any case, Post-Process graphs will be refreshed when you add or remove channels, after DAQ job termination, or if you move to another panel.

 


22. How to refresh a Post-Process graph automatically during a DAQ job?

Set the refresh interval in the configuration dialog of the graph (function group 'Special'), for example 'Every 5 seconds'.

 


23. How do I get a date-time scale on the x-axis?

In the configuration dialog, group 'General', select the time unit 'hh:mm:ss'.

 


24. What does the addition '(abs)' in some time units mean?

Usually, the x (i.e. time) values in a y(t) post-process graph start with zero. If you choose, however, one of the units marked with '(abs)' all datasets are plotted so that their x-coordinates reflect the difference in start time with respect to the first dataset plotted in the graph.

Note: This type of time unit is available for post-process graphs only.

 


25. What does the 'AutoRange' scale mode mean?

AutoRange is a special autoscaling mode which forces the y-scale to a band around the latest data point in the graph. This is useful if the signal shows abrupt amplitude changes - in such a case 'older' data (i.e. data before the change) still visible in the time window will make ordinary autoscaling useless. Enter the bandwidth in the text box right beneath the AutoRange checkbox and press <RETURN> to accept.

 


26. How can I control the placement of graph annotation text?

The following two-character prefix codes can be used to control the placement of text. If no prefix is supplied, the graph annotation text will be dynamically positioned around the graph annotation location to prevent overlapping text. Write those prefixes before the text in the textbox inside the cursor window to have the desired effect:

  • Ic: Centerd text
  • Il: Left justified text
  • Ir: Right justified text
  • Ie: Top, vertical, and centered text
  • IE: Bottom, vertical, and centered text
  • Im: Bottom, vertical, right-side
  • IM: Top, vertical, left-side
  • Is: Botton vertical, left-side
  • IS: Top, vertical, right-side
  • Id: Centered on theleft side and vertical
  • ID: Centered on the right side and vertical

 


27. How can I shift plots against each other?

For visual comparison purposes, it is sometimes useful to shift a plot in x- or y-direction. Click on the plot legend. The plot configuration dialog gives access to the function 'Shift plot'. 'Reset' reverts all shifting.

Note: The original data points are not changed by plot panning.


1. What is the purpose of the video panel?

This module allows the comparison of video recordings and actual measurement data. For this purpose, data channels are assigned to graph layers and tables. During the video playback, a data cursor on the graph is moving in parallel to the video, so the time coordinate of the data cursor corresponds to the current video frame. Vice versa, positioning the data cursor moves the video stream to the frame corresponding to the cursor time.

 


2. Can I have more than one video object per video panel?

Yes, you can create a second video object on a video panel.

 


3. How many graph layers and curves are supported in a video panel?

A video panel can have a maximum of 3 layers and each layer can contain up to 8 curves.

 


4. Where can I find the playing time of the video?

The playing time is displayed in a status bar together with the total running time of the clip and no longer inside the picture itself.

 


5. Can I synchronize the video and the cursors if the recording and measurement weren’t started at the same time?

Switch the module from 'Playback' mode to 'Offset determination' on the graph tab. In this mode, the video and data cursor are not coupled and can be moved independently of each other. The time difference between the positions is automatically retrieved. Position the video and cursor so that the recording matches the measurement value, then switch back to 'Playback' mode. The video and cursor are now running together again but taking into consideration the time offset determined.

 


6. Can I synchronize video and cursor if the video was recorded in slow motion?

Assign the applied slow-down factor in the 'Time factor' field. This factor is used for updating cursor positions. A time factor of less than 1 means a time-lapse.

Example: If the measurement and the actual video recording time was 300 ms, however, the replay time is 30 seconds, enter 100 as the time factor.


1. How can I print a complete panel of a DAQ project?

Unlike printer pages, the whole window area including all overlaying windows (i.e. channel list or Test explorer) is printed as well. They are also available in the DAQ project mode.

 


2. How can I print a single graph or copy it to the clipboard?

Single graphs can be printed in a DAQ project as well as in Analysis mode. Open the export dialog of the graph via the context menu 'Export/print...' and select 'Clipboard' or 'Printer' in the dialog. In the 'Export graph' dialog, you can select the output format and the output target. At this point, you can still redirect the output to a file.

 


3. Why aren't predefined styles of graphs visible in the printed output?

A single graph is usually printed as a vector graphics (metafile). In this mode, bitmap styles (like 'Light color, inset border') are ignored. In that case, use the 'export to clipboard' function and select 'BMP (Bitmap)' as output format.

 


4. What does the output format 'Text/Data' mean?

With this format, the plot data will be exported instead of the graph's image. Data will be in spreadsheet form, each column representing a curve. Columns are separated with a TAB character. You can immediately insert this format into an Excel worksheet.

 


5. Why is the font size of my printout larger than on screen?

In the export dialog use the option 'Use large fonts' to adjust the font size.

 


6. Why does the background image of a textbox differ from its printout?

If the dimension of the graphic is too large, the printing routine resizes the graphic to fit into the textbox. To prevent ugly printing effects do not use graphics that extend the size of the textbox.

 


7. How can I assign a background picture to a panel or page?

Create a textbox that occupies the whole panel/page. Then assign a background graphic to the textbox and set the textbox itself to the background (context menu 'To back'). To prevent ugly printing effects do not use graphics that extend the size of the textbox.

Alternatively, you may directly assign a background picture to the panel or the page (s. object property window). It is no longer recommended to use a textbox for this purpose!

 


8. Why are some of my objects not visible in the printed output?

You can upsize or downsize the entire panel with all its objects in steps via the buttons 'Decrease' and 'Increase' in the group 'Panel/page' of the ribbon bar to fit the panel to your screen.

 


9. What do I need to consider for my printout?

To avoid strange effects in your printout, please do the following:

  • Arrange all objects within the borders of the page.
  • Be sure that background pictures for textboxes do not exceed the area of the textbox.
  • Assign data (curves) to post-process graphs.
  • Try to print your document on another printer or convert the document into PDF format before you print it.

1. What are AutoSequences?

With AutoSequences you can easily automate your measurement tasks. In contrast to working with EasyScript (VBA) no code is required. Instead, a sequence of 'actions' is defined graphically (much like a movie sequence). The actions are then parameterized via interactive dialogs. AutoSequences thus address the user who is not familiar with VBA but wants to solve simple automation tasks. One possible field of application for AutoSequences is, for instance, the automation of smaller functional test rigs with channel counts < 50. A typical automation task could look like this:

  • Open an Excel workbook
  • Perform a measurement (DAQ job)
  • Retrieve the maximum of a channel
  • Retrieve the value of a different channel at the position of this maximum
  • Export results to Excel worksheet
  • Save an Excel workbook
  • Next measurement

 


2. Where can I find the AutoSequences in catman?

Go to 'Main menu/Options' and activate AutoSequences on the register tab 'Program functions'. After that, the main menu features a new entry called 'AutoSequence editor'.

Note: To activate AutoSequences you need either the optional module EasyMath or a full license. Otherwise, you will be prompted for the EasyMath license every time you try to activate AutoSequences. If you enter 'EVAL' as license number you may operate AutoSequences in evaluation mode. This can be repeated up to 25 times.

 


3. Are AutoSequences also available in the analysis mode?

AutoSequences are available only in DAQ project mode. Nevertheless, you can perform analysis operations based on the data of your last DAQ job. However, analysis of arbitrary tests (as in analysis mode) is not possible (Use EasyScripts to automate the analysis operations).

 


4. How many AutoSequences incl. actions can I create in a DAQ project?

You may create up to 64 AutoSequences in a single DAQ project. Select 'Add AutoSequence' from the 'Project' menu of the 'AutoSequence editor' register tab to create a new sequence.

An AutoSequence can contain up to 2,048 actions at maximum.

 


5. Can I call actions of one AutoSequence from another AutoSequence?

No, this is not possible. Only one AutoSequence can be executed at a time.

 


6. How are AutoSequences stored?

AutoSequences are automatically stored together with your DAQ project - Therefore you do not need to save the AutoSequences separately. If you plan to use an AutoSequence repeatedly in many projects, you may save the AutoSequence as an individual file (ribbon tab 'AutoSequence editor/Export as...') and later load this file in a different project (ribbon tab 'AutoSequence editor/Import').

Moreover, you may collect all you AutoSequences currently contained in your project into a single 'Autosequence workbook' (Main menu/Save/AutoSequence). These workbooks can later be loaded. In this manner, you may maintain AutoSequences independently from your DAQ project.

 


7. How do I start an AutoSequence?

You may start the AutoSequence directly from the AutoSequence editor (in the debugging and testing phase) or create a button object on the panel for that purpose. For a button object, assign an AutoSequence in the configuration dialog (Tab 'Action/Action stock/Start Autosequence/Current Autosequences'). After the assignment, every click on the button executes the AutoSequence.

You may even execute an AutoSequence automatically when your DAQ project loads. For that purpose, check the option 'Execute on project load' in the AutoSequence editor. 

 


8. Why do all menus become invisible after starting an AutoSequence?

This behavior is by design. It prevents unintended interaction between the catman Easy/AP user interface and your AutoSequence execution. After the termination of an AutoSequence, the menus and toolbars will become visible again. You may abort a running AutoSequence by clicking the button 'Terminate' in the ribbon tab 'Cockpit'.

 


9. How can I control a running AutoSequence?

Besides simply starting an AutoSequence, a button can also be used to control the execution flow of a running sequence. For this purpose, the button will modify the process variable which is monitored by the running sequence. In the configuration dialog of the button, assign the standard action 'Set process variable' (Tab 'Action/Action stock/Predefined actions'). Then click the 'Configure action...' button to assign a value to the process variable.

Note: Controlling the execution flow of a running AutoSequence, requires proper programming of the sequence (e.g. 'If <condition>...then...' action which will cyclically monitor the process variables and execute an action if necessary).

 


10. How can I execute an AutoSequence automatically at specific stages?

In some cases, you might not want an AutoSequence to take full control over your DAQ project but instead, you only want to 'insert' some custom actions at specific stages of normal catman Easy/AP operation. DAQ jobs in this case are started as usual. Via the 'Auto execution...' menu you open a dialog where you can assign AutoSequences to an execution stage (like 'After DAQ job', 'After channel init' etc.). Simply drag the action to the desired stage. You may even assign more than one AutoSequence to an execution stage.

 


11. How do I store data items across an AutoSequence?

'Process variables' are used to store data items. You may create as many of these process variables as needed. Many actions use process variables as inputs or provide results back to a process variable.

Process variables can be created directly in the AutoSequence editor (function 'Process variables' in the ribbon bar). Alternatively, you can create a new process variable in the configuration dialog by typing for some actions which could return results to process variables.

The name of the process variable must always be enclosed in %-characters (like %MinTemp%). However, you don't need to remember this when typing variable names. catman Easy/AP will automatically add the %-character if necessary.

 


12. Can I keep the content of process variables between AutoSequences?

Normally the content of a process variable will be cleared or initialized to its default value when the AutoSequence starts. To keep the content of a process variable you must mark it as 'Global' (in dialog 'Process variables' in the AutoSequence editor). Variables of this type will not be reset when AutoSequence starts. In this manner, you might exchange information between two different AutoSequences or keep counter variables that should not be reset with each start of AutoSequence.

 


13. How can I debug an AutoSequence, i.e. find errors?

In the AutoSequence editor, you can set a breakpoint on every action. Double-click the left border of the line containing the action to add a breakpoint and double-click again to remove it. If AutoSequence execution reaches a breakpoint, execution is stopped and the AutoSequence editor works in 'debug mode'. In debug mode, you can inspect the contents of your process variables or even modify it. Use the 'Execute', 'Terminate', and 'Next action' buttons in the ribbon bar to control the execution flow of an AutoSequence.

If an error occurs, execution stops at this action and the debug window will show up.

 


14. Can I configure DAQ jobs in an AutoSequence?

No. You may only execute existing jobs. DAQ jobs must be configured as usual.

 


15. Which kind of data is used for the Analysis functions?

These functions use data from exported measurement data files (test files). Consequently, they can be used only after a DAQ job is completed and the measurement values are permanently stored. If you use these functions at an earlier stage, you will receive the error 'Test not loaded'.

 


16. How can I permanently store process variable content on disk?

To permanently store process variable content on disk, catman Easy/AP provides the action groups 'MS Excel' and 'MS Access'. In both cases, you need a pre-configured template file (MS Excel workbook or MS Access database). Once you opened a file you can use actions like 'MS Excel/Set cell content' to save data to the Excel sheet.

With an MS Access database you will in general first open a table (action 'MS Access/New SQL query'), then add a new dataset, populate it with data (action 'MS Access/Write field content') and eventually update the dataset with (action 'MS Access/Refresh dataset').

Note: Advanced users can obtain full access to VBA-supported (Visual Basic for Applications) file operations by using the action 'Execute EasyScript Code'.

 


17. How can I read data from disk and write it into a process variable?

catman Easy/AP provides the action groups 'MS Excel' and 'MS Access' for that purpose. Once you opened the file you can use actions like 'MS Excel/Read cell content' to read data from an Excel sheet into process variables. With an MS Access database you will in general first open a table (action 'MS Access/New SQL query'), then move to a specific dataset and read data from one or more fields (action 'MS Access/Read field content').

Note: Advanced users can obtai full access to VBA-supported (Visual Basic for Applications) file operations by using the action 'Execute EasyScript Code'.

 


18. How can I access the process variables of an 'Execute EasyScript code' action?

You cannot use the name of the process variable directly in your script code. Instead you must access the process variables by using the VBA methods EA.SetProcessVariable resp. EA.GetProcessVariable:

  • EA.SetProcessVariable(Name,Value)
  • EA.GetProcessVariable(Name,Value)

 

Example:
Dim pn As String
Dim temp As Double

RetVal = EA.GetProcessVariable("Operator", pn)
RetVal = EA.SetProcessVariable("MaxTemp", temp)

 


19. How can I prevent that a new data file is created with every DAQ job?

With automatic data storage (see 'Configure DAQ jobs') catman Easy/AP usually creates a new data file for every job or job repetition. If necessary the file base name will be incremented with '_001', '_002' etc. You may however change this behavior by activating the option 'Overwrite storage file after measurement' in the configuration dialog of the action 'Execute DAQ job'. In this case, the data of every job are written into the same file, and data of the last job will be lost. This option is only available if you execute the DAQ job from an AutoSequence.

 


20. How do I execute an analysis sequence immediately after the measurement?

Assign your Autosequence to the execution stage 'After DAQ job', but not to the execution stage 'After DAQ stop' (in the latter execution stage the measurement data are not yet stored permanently).

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