Changing Perception makes paper redundant

The latest modern high-speed data acquisition products from HBM Genesis HighSpeed overcome the need to refer to paper chart recorders.

Many test engineers using high-speed data acquisition tools believe that it is often easier to use a paper chart recorder to quickly evaluate test data rather than trying to examine the PC’s DAQ results.

But HBM Genesis HighSpeed has consigned that era to history with the introduction of its latest GEN series of DAQ products intended for a wide range of applications.

Many basic PC data acquisition systems are limited because the data throughput to the hard disk is precisely the same as the data output from the hard disk. This means that a 10-minute measurement made at full hard disk bandwidth requires 10 minutes to replay.

However, the GEN DAQ products have a patented feature called StatStream that solves this throughput problem. Using StatStream, several parallel, reduced data streams are produced in real-time during measurement and saved with the raw data.

If a 10 Gigabyte data set is displayed on the screen, this display is generated from a reduced data set. All statistical parameters, such as minimum and maximum values, are saved with the data to ensure that every interference spike, even if it is only one sample wide, is always displayed. By zooming in on the data, sub-data sets of increasing size are used until the raw data sets are finally displayed at the sample level.

During acquisition, the additional StatStream information is generated without performance degradation using special Digital Signal Processors (DSPs). The additional information increases the size of the data set by only 3 to 4% but replay is up to 1,000 times faster than with conventional PC systems; an 8 Gigabyte data set is displayed in only 3 secs.

The HBM Genesis HighSpeed GEN DAQ series also feature a ‘Review while Recording’ function that allows the products to simulate the functionality of a paper-based system. This enables evaluation and analysis of acquired data during the measurement and simulates an electronic version of the paper output.

A question of Perception

To further improve functionality, HBM Genesis HighSpeed includes the modular Perception software that precisely matches the hardware and the application to form a true electronic chart recorder. Perception, which currently is sold for more than a thousand licensees, is a customized solution that enables measured data to be exported in 23 different formats, either manually for selected areas or automatically for a complete measurement series.

Alternatively users can prepare a test report using standard Microsoft Office software since all displays, indications, cursor tables, and calculated results can be transferred to Word or Excel. For more complex layout features, a complete report can be generated by Perception and the report can then be saved with the data. Perception also enhances dynamic report preparation so that, for example, a test or specimen number can be entered automatically in a header or footer and updated if the test is repeated.

Alternative storage

There are a number of alternatives to traditional paper output with the HBM Genesis HighSpeed GEN DAQ products. For extremely fast signals, the complete measurement of up to 32 GBytes can be saved in RAM either locally on a hard disk or directly on the server. For example, 64 channels with 1 MS/s per channel recording for one minute can be stored in RAM.

There are also two options for storage on a hard disk using reduced sampling rates.

Data sets of any size can be saved with up to a 50 MB/s sampling rate (24 channels with 1 MS/s each) on the internal hard disk in a PC.
Alternatively an external SCSI hard disk can be connected to the GEN series base unit for safety-related applications. With a 20 MB/s aggregate rate, this configuration provides reliable acquisition independent of any Windows or PC problems, as it is completely controlled by the GEN series real-time operating system.

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