Signal Interface Modules
New Products: 2008-2009
Bellevue, WA, January 13, 2008 -- In the last year, Microstar Laboratories, Inc. has introduced a new family of products described by the company as signal interface (SI) modules. Plans for 2009 include significant extensions to this product family, involving both new hardware and additional software for hardware now in production.
Microstar Laboratories is already well known for the Data Acquisition Processor (DAP) boards and network-ready DAPservers that it manufactures for PC-based data acquisition and control systems. Every DAP includes onboard intelligence implemented as a real-time operating system running on an embedded processor. This onboard intelligence communicates with and is controlled by a PC application. Your PC application can configure a DAP for specific runtime behavior.
Each new signal interface module includes onboard intelligence implemented in FPGA code. This onboard intelligence communicates with and is controlled by a DAP connected to the signal interface module. On startup, a DAP polls all SI modules connected to it and configures them as required by the application. Your PC application can communicate with and control – through a DAP – every SI module in your system.
SI modules all include signal isolation 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.
For applications that require voltage inputs or outputs, you can choose from SI modules for analog input, analog output, analog input and output, and digital input and output. A module for 4-20 mA current inputs is already in production, and one for current outputs will be available early in 2009.
SI modules 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 a 3U (100mm high) Eurocard B (220mm deep) platform. A backplane connector on each module connects it to a digital backplane factory-fitted into the industrial enclosure. An interface that also plugs into the backplane sends digitized waveforms to a DAP controlled from a PC or DAPserver.
Every DAPserver includes a 10-slot Eurocard cage with a preinstalled digital backplane for SI modules. Separate industrial enclosures are required only when this 10-slot limit is exceeded.
Any PC or DAPserver can control more than one DAP. And a DAPserver can contain a number of DAPs. 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.
Looking Ahead: 2009
You can expect SI modules with an ADC on every channel for simultaneous sampling as well as channel-to-channel isolation on new products planned for early in 2009. New hardware for 4-20 mA current outputs will complement the SI module for current inputs mentioned above. And just as onboard intelligence on a DAP allows new uses for existing hardware by adding new software, so onboard intelligence on SI modules allows new features to be added to existing hardware designs by adding new FPGA code. Current plans for 2009 include these additions: a counter/timer option, a quadrature-decoder feature, various filters, and other signal conditioning.
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A new family of products described as signal interface (SI) modules was introduced in 2008 by Microstar Laboratories, Inc., maker of Data Acquisition Processor (DAP) boards and network-ready DAPservers for PC-based data acquisition and control systems. SI modules are intelligent: they communicate with and can be configured and controlled by the onboard intelligence embedded in DAP products. The company plans significant extensions to the new product family for 2009. All SI modules all include signal isolation to prevent ground loops. This saves you the time and expense of taking special steps to avoid this issue. SI modules currently in production provide analog input, analog output, analog input and output, and digital input and output. The company also offers SI modules for 4-20mA current loop operation. Planned extensions to the product family for 2009 include simultaneous sampling modules, channel-to-channel signal isolation, a counter/timer option, a quadrature-decoder feature, various filters, and other signal conditioning.
Note to the Editor:
Microstar Laboratories suggests this text as a caption for the available image:
New for 2008 from Microstar Laboratories, this range of signal interface (SI) modules prevents ground loops and protects your application against noise with signal isolation included in each module. You save time and money not having to take these steps yourself. The company plans to introduce several new SI modules in 2009.
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.