Data Acquisition (DAQ) and Control from Microstar Laboratories

New Receiver for 4-20 mA Current Loop Monitoring

Signal Interface (SI) Module for Data Acquisition

For more information, contact
marketing@mstarlabs.com

isolated analog input signal interface module

Bellevue, WA, November 20, 2008 -- A new signal interface (SI) module lets you acquire data from a number of 4-20 mA current loops for real-time processing or later analysis. Microstar Laboratories, Inc., maker of Data Acquisition Processor (DAP) boards and network-ready DAPservers, today announced an SI module, part number MSXB 086, that can monitor up to 16 current loops.

Each DAPserver contains up to four DAPs, and each DAP communicates with, configures, and controls each of up to eight SI modules connected to it. A system consists of any number of networked DAPservers, and includes as many SI modules as your application requires.

Signal Interfacing

SI modules like MSXB 086 fit into a backplane in a standard industrial enclosure as do other products that conform to the hardware specifications of the Microstar Laboratories channel architecture: signal connectors on 3U (100mm high) Eurocard B (220mm deep) boards – Eurocards – that often pre-process a signal. Signals connect to a DB37 male connector or to Wago connectors. A backplane connector on each board connects it to a digital backplane factory-fitted into the industrial enclosure. An interface board that also plugs into the backplane sends digitized waveforms to a DAP board controlled from a PC or DAPserver. Each DAPserver includes a 10-slot Eurocard cage with a preinstalled digital backplane for SI modules like MSXB 086. Separate industrial enclosures are required only when this 10-slot limit is exceeded.

Other SI Modules

If your application requires voltage inputs and outputs as well as 4-20 mA current inputs, you can choose from SI modules for analog input, analog output, analog input and output, and digital input and output. The SI designation is reserved for MSXB products that are intelligent: those that a DAP can communicate with and configure. All new MSXB products are SI modules. The full range of SI modules and earlier MSXB products is described on the company Web site, arranged in these eight function groups:

  • simple termination
  • simple multiplexing
  • anti-alias filtering
  • simultaneous sampling
  • isolation
  • counter/timer
  • quadrature-decoder
  • signal conditioning

The bullet point above on isolation refers to isolation from high voltage and power. SI modules all include the level of isolation required to prevent ground loops. Using these boards saves you from having to take other steps against this common nuisance. If spurious currents are corrupting your signals, your application is not doing the job you want it to do.

To find out more, go to the Web site.
http://www.mstarlabs.com/access/isolated-signals.html

DAP Boards and DAPservers

DAP boards make a robust platform for high-performance data acquisition and control systems. PCs and rack-mountable DAPservers each can contain – and control – more than one DAP. Every DAP includes an onboard processor running a real-time operating system. Windows applications that support DLL calls can control a DAP by communicating with this onboard operating system. You can control a DAP from DAPstudio – a Windows application from Microstar Laboratories – as well as from third-party (or your own) software, and you can do this from any PC on a network. For smaller systems, you can hook up a single DAPserver to any PC with an Ethernet connection. You also can work directly on the DAPserver: add a screen, and connect a keyboard and mouse to the front-panel USB ports.

Conclusion and Next Step

If you need to monitor any number of 4-20 mA current loops and you want the convenience of a network-ready Windows solution, check out the new signal interface (SI) module, part number MSXB 086, from Microstar Laboratories. This 16-channel SI module is designed to scale up to however many current loops you may need to monitor. It lets you take advantage of the field-proven data acquisition and control systems that the company has manufactured since 1982... with continuous improvement over more than a quarter-century.

You can install MSXB 086 SI modules in an industrial enclosure and connect them to a DAP board you control from a PC, or you can install them directly into a DAPserver that contains one or more DAPs. You control DAP boards by using DAPstudio – or other Windows software – on any PC or DAPserver on a network. You can download a full version of DAPstudio to try it out. To try out all its features, you will need a DAP board. The company provides evaluation hardware at no charge. You can order MSXB 086 SI modules for immediate delivery.

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Editorial Overview:

If you are looking for a receiver for 4-20 mA current loops in an application that you want to control from a PC, check out a new signal interface (SI) module that lets you do just that. Microstar Laboratories, Inc., maker of Data Acquisition Processor (DAP) boards and network-ready DAPservers, today announced an SI module, part number MSXB 086, that can monitor up to 16 current loops. You can acquire data from as many of them as you need by connecting them to DAP boards in networked DAPservers. You then control the system from any PC on the network, using DAPstudio or third-party (or your own) Windows software. You can download a full version of DAPstudio to try it out. To try out all its features, you will need a DAP board. The company provides evaluation hardware at no charge. MSXB 086 SI modules are available now.

Note to the Editor:

Microstar Laboratories suggests this text as a caption for the available image:

This new signal interface (SI) module acts as a 16-channel receiver for 4-20 mA current loops. You can acquire data from as many of them as you need by connecting them to Data Acquisition Processor (DAP) boards in networked DAPservers. You then control the system from any PC on the network.

Microstar Laboratories, Inc. claims Microstar Laboratories, Data Acquisition Processor, DAP, and DAPserver as trademarks. Microsoft has registered Microsoft and Windows as trademarks. Other organizations may claim – or may have registered – as trademarks any trade names, logos, and service marks that appear in this document but not in the list above.

Microstar Laboratories makes it a practice to use an appropriate symbol at the first occurrence of a trademark or registered trademark name in a document, or to include trademark statements like this with the document.