Data Acquisition (DAQ) and Control from Microstar Laboratories

Analog Output Isolation: No Ground Loops

Simultaneous Updates: No Phase Errors

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isolated analog output expansion board

Bellevue, WA, June 25, 2008 -- With even a few analog outputs, your application may come up against two serious problems: ground currents and phase errors. You now can eliminate these possibilities – at relatively low cost. Microstar Laboratories, Inc., maker of Data Acquisition Processor (DAP) boards and network-ready DAPservers, today announced a new board that lets you do this. The board – part number MSXB 075 – includes four single-ended analog outputs, with an isolated ground for each output. And it updates all channels simultaneously.

Channel Architecture

MSXB 075 boards fit into a backplane in a standard industrial enclosure, as do related signal-conditioning products that conform to the external 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. MSXB 075 outputs connect through a DB37 male connector. 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 receives digitized waveforms from a DAP board controlled by a PC or DAPserver.

Isolated System Package

MSXB 075 boards also fit directly into a DAPserver to form a network-ready isolated package. Add MSXB 084 and MSXB 078 boards for isolated analog inputs and isolated digital inputs and outputs. You can order a DAPserver already populated with the boards you need. DAPservers leave the factory with software preloaded and ready to run.

DAP Boards and DAPservers

PCs and rack-mountable DAPserver system packages each can contain – and control – more than one DAP board. Every DAP board includes an onboard processor running a real-time operating system. Windows applications that support DLL calls can control a DAP board by communicating with this onboard operating system. You can control a DAP board from DAPstudio – a Windows application from Microstar Laboratories – as well as from third-party (or your own) software.

DAP boards – even those directly controlled by different PCs or DAPservers – can communicate among themselves independently of Windows to synchronize their clocks. They then all work together as a networked data acquisition and control system that you can operate even from a laptop. If your application has a number of analog outputs on MSXB 075 boards distributed over a network, these output channels can update simultaneously, as a single synchronized system. And none of these channels introduce noise from ground currents.

For smaller systems, you can hook up a single DAPserver to any PC with an Ethernet connection. Or attach a keyboard and screen to the DAPserver and control it directly – using software preloaded at the factory. And, of course, a DAPserver does not have to be installed in a rack.

Conclusion and Next Step

When each output needs an isolated ground, and when eliminating phase differences matters, check out the latest product from Microstar Laboratories. The new MSXB 075 four-channel analog output expansion board provides channel-to-channel and channel-to-PC isolation – and lets your application update all channels simultaneously, even when the channels are on separate boards. MSXB 075 boards connect to DAP boards controlled by Windows applications like DAPstudio. The company will supply evaluation hardware and software at no charge. You can download a full version of the latest DAPstudio software to evaluate it. You do not need DAP hardware to try out some of the features of DAPstudio. To try out all of its features, you will need demo hardware. Call Microstar Laboratories for this. The MSXB 075 board is available now.

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Editorial Overview:

You now can avoid two serious problems that may affect analog outputs: ground currents and phase errors. A new board from Microstar Laboratories lets you do this at a reasonable cost per channel, even for a few outputs. The board offers isolated analog expansion for Data Acquisition Processor (DAP) boards for PC-based systems. The new board – part number MSXB 075 – includes four single-ended analog outputs, provides an isolated ground for each output, and updates all channels simultaneously. MSXB 075 boards fit into a backplane in a standard industrial enclosure or in a DAPserver. The DAPserver also contains one or more DAP boards and can contain other expansion boards for isolated analog input and isolated digital input and output. It then forms a ready-to-run package for applications that require complete protection from ground currents and phase errors. An included cable lets you run a DAPserver from any PC with an Ethernet connector. The MSXB 075 board is available now.

Note to the Editor:

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

When you need to protect your application from ground currents and phase errors, specify the MSXB 075 for isolated analog outputs and simultaneous updates.

Microstar Laboratories, Inc. claims Microstar Laboratories, Data Acquisition Processor, DAP, DAPL, DAPserver, and DAPstudio as trademarks. Microsoft has registered Windows as a trademark. 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.