Data Acquisition (DAQ) and Control from Microstar Laboratories

Data Acquisition Wave Tracking Module Released

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Wave Synchronization Module locks data streams to a reference time signal.

Bellevue, WA, February 18, 2016 -- Microstar Laboratories, Inc., maker of Data Acquisition Processor (DAP) systems for PC-based high-performance measurement applications, has released the Wave Synchronization Module (WSM) software for aligning measurements in real time to a reference time-base signal provided in the form of a precision sine wave. This complements the Time Base Synchronization module previously released, which required time base signals to be digital signals such as IRIG-B or GPS.

Synchronization, Localized or Distributed

Synchronization is about providing a common source for timing and aligning to it. Widely-distributed, network-intensive solutions can do this by embedding signal conditioning, converters, processor, and networked communication interface into every sensor. This can have some major advantages, but the costs and complexity should be obvious.

The Wave Synchronization Module (WSM) can be used when a centralized station derives an accurate sinusoidal time reference signal. This can be synchronized to an external master time base. The sine wave is then distributed to each of the local data acquisition nodes. Any data acquisition activity that aligns to this timing wave aligns to the master time base. Producing a stable, accurate reference wave requires some special instrumentation at the central station, but you will only need to purchase one such device to run your entire local system.

Timing information provided by a centralized station rarely is in a form usable for directly clocking high-performance digital sampling – a sine wave is an example of a signal that is incompatible with digital clocking devices. This presents no problems to the Wave Synchronization Module. It uses sampling of an xDAP system to observe both the sinusoidal time reference signal and the measured signal channels, simultaneously, as data. The xDAP sampling clock can operate at any arbitrary rate high enough for good signal representation and for satisfactory time resolution. By associating positions within the observed timing signal and measured channels, every point in observed reference time has a unique corresponding point in the measured data. Alignment to the time standard typically is better than 1/100000 of the timing cycle interval, with zero long-term phase drift.

Once the mathematical relationship between the timing signal and measured signals is known, a classic Shannon's Theorem reconstruction can evaluate signals at any locations you want, not limited to the sampler hardware restrictions, and not limited to the reference signal restrictions. The Wave Synchronization Module provides all of this. For example, if you want blocks of exactly 4096 equally-spaced samples aligned precisely to each 0.1 second timing reference wave, for each measured channel, just specify this in your configuration script.

Platform Support

The Wave Synchronization Module is available with the DAPtools Standard Version 6.2 software, purchased new with an xDAP data acquisition system from Microstar Laboratories, or as a software upgrade. The DAPtools Version 6.2 Software also includes the DAPL 3000 system, the processing engine that controls all of the real-time processing within the embedded xDAP environment. DAPtools Version 6.2 supports Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows XP, and Windows Server on the PC host system. Also included with the DAPtools Standard software are modules for advanced rotating machinery rate analysis, digital countermeasures to aliasing, and various data management, transform, and filtering operations.


The DAPtools Standard 6.2 software with the new Wave Synchronization Module is available now. Contact Microstar Laboratories to obtain a copy for your xDAP system. The one-time license fee for the DAPtools Standard package, including the Wave Synchronization Module, is $195.00 USD.


The Wave Synchronization Module from Microstar Laboratories provides a modern, DSP-based approach to accurate alignment of sampled data sets from multiple sensors, at one or more measurement stations, to a shared accurate sinusoidal timing reference signal. This fills the gap between powerful but complicated network synchronization methods, and synchronization of arrays of simple sensors that operate independently of timing-control issues.


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Editorial Overview:

Microstar Laboratories has released the Wave Synchronization Module software, now available with DAPtools Standard 6.2 software. This module provides a real-time software-oriented approach to the problem of aligning data streams from multiple sensors and multiple stations. Independent local clocking is used for sampling, simultaneously observing a sinusoidal time-base signal and measured data channels. The mathematical association between the timing and measurement streams is then used to obtain aligned samples at any desired rate. This software runs on xDAP data acquisition systems, and is hosted by the DAPL 3000 embedded operating system, also included with the DAPtools Software.

Note to the Editor:

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

Wave Synchronization Module locks data streams to a reference time signal.

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Microstar Laboratories, Inc. claims Microstar Laboratories, Data Acquisition Processor, DAP, xDAP, DAPtools, DAPL, and DAPL 3000 as trademarks. Microsoft claims Windows as a trademark. Other organizations may claim – or may have registered as trademarks – other trade names, logos, and service marks that appear in this document but not in the list above.

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