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'[EE] Cheap and cheerful data aquisition?'
2006\10\24@054014 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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Does anyone know of a *cheap* data aquisistion unit, either serial or USB with 4 or more (idealy 8) analog inputs?  Doesn't have to be particulary fast or high resoltuion (100ms sampling, 10bit would be fine). Digital inputs/outputs useful but not mandatory.  Don't mind a kit or unhoused PCB etc. as long as there is host sofwtare available.  I know I could knock up something with a PIC etc. but I just don't really have to time to do that right know, though I might have to if I can't find anything suitable.

Thanks

Mike

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2006\10\24@061951 by Tamas Rudnai

face picon face
These are mostly for one channel only, but works much faster than you would
expected, so you may can modify the code to get a multichannel thing:

USB, you can buy it as a kit, but I am not sure it's status whenever he's
still selling it:
http://www.scopedem.com/

This one is based on SX chip (very fast, but you would need an external
A/D):
http://www.piclist.com/techref/scenix/sxoscope/index.htm

This is an RS232 one:
http://semifluid.com/PIC12F675_Oscilloscope.php<http://semifluid.com/PIC18F2550_usb_hid_oscilloscope.php>

...and a USB version from the same guy:
http://semifluid.com/PIC18F2550_usb_hid_oscilloscope.php


Tamas



On 24/10/06, Michael Rigby-Jones <spam_OUTMichael.Rigby-JonesTakeThisOuTspambookham.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -

2006\10\24@062007 by Tamas Rudnai

face picon face
These are mostly for one channel only, but works much faster than you would
expected, so you may can modify the code to get a multichannel thing:

USB, you can buy it as a kit, but I am not sure it's status whenever he's
still selling it:
http://www.scopedem.com/

This one is based on SX chip (very fast, but you would need an external
A/D):
http://www.piclist.com/techref/scenix/sxoscope/index.htm

This is an RS232 one:
http://semifluid.com/PIC12F675_Oscilloscope.php<http://semifluid.com/PIC18F2550_usb_hid_oscilloscope.php>

...and a USB version from the same guy:
http://semifluid.com/PIC18F2550_usb_hid_oscilloscope.php


Tamas



On 24/10/06, Michael Rigby-Jones <.....Michael.Rigby-JonesKILLspamspam@spam@bookham.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -

2006\10\24@062535 by Pearce, AB (Alan)

face picon face
>Does anyone know of a *cheap* data aquisistion unit,

How cheap are the Pico units that get advertised in the UK electronics
mags? I suppose they fall into "expensive" ...


2006\10\24@090117 by Mark Scoville

flavicon
face
How about... http://www.dataq.com/products/startkit/di148.htm

No experience at all with these guys - but they may have something suitable.

-- Mark

> {Original Message removed}

2006\10\24@092303 by Michael Rigby-Jones

picon face


>-----Original Message-----
>From: piclist-bouncesspamKILLspammit.edu [.....piclist-bouncesKILLspamspam.....mit.edu]
>Sent: 24 October 2006 14:02
>To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
>Subject: RE: [EE] Cheap and cheerful data aquisition?
>
>
>How about... http://www.dataq.com/products/startkit/di148.htm
>
>No experience at all with these guys - but they may have
>something suitable.
>
>-- Mark

That looks perfect.  Now to see if they are happy to ship to UK without me needed to re-mortagage!

Thanks!

Mike

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2006\10\24@092442 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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{Quote hidden}

Tamas,

Thanks for the link, some really interesting stuff on there!  Now I have to resist getting diverted by the other projects on that site!

Mark has posted what looks to be an ideal unit, but could fall back to this if I have problems.

Regards

Mike

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2006\10\24@092951 by Michael Rigby-Jones

picon face


>-----Original Message-----
>From: @spam@piclist-bouncesKILLspamspammit.edu [KILLspampiclist-bouncesKILLspamspammit.edu]
>Sent: 24 October 2006 11:26
>To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
>Subject: RE: [EE] Cheap and cheerful data aquisition?
>
>
>>Does anyone know of a *cheap* data aquisistion unit,
>
>How cheap are the Pico units that get advertised in the UK
>electronics mags? I suppose they fall into "expensive" ...
>

The ADC-11 looks like the unit I would want at £123.38.  Not extortionate perhaps but not value for money, especialy as this is my own money!  If it was for work the backup of a larger company would be very worthwhile, but then again we would probably pay 5x that much to get something from National Instruments etc.

Regards

Mike

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2006\10\24@094154 by Denny Esterline

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You beat me to it. :-) I was going to recommend the http://www.dataq.com/products/startkit/di194.htm at $25 US I think they're selling it at cost or below as a way to get people interested in their products. (they give them away for free for kids science fair projects.) It's pretty limited but it may do what you need - 4 analog inputs and 3 digital and sample 240 times per second, serial interface. A few years ago they were selling a slightly different version for like $10 (no housing, supply your own cable) and I picked one up. Surprisingly capable little device, but I never used it on anything significant.

-Denny

> How about... www.dataq.com/products/startkit/di148.htm
>
> No experience at all with these guys - but they may have something suitable.
>
> -- Mark
>
> > {Original Message removed}

2006\10\24@103030 by Michael Rigby-Jones

picon face


>-----Original Message-----
>From: RemoveMEpiclist-bouncesTakeThisOuTspammit.edu [spamBeGonepiclist-bouncesspamBeGonespammit.edu]
>Sent: 24 October 2006 14:42
>To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
>Subject: Re: [EE] Cheap and cheerful data aquisition?
>
>
>You beat me to it. :-) I was going to recommend the
>http://www.dataq.com/products/startkit/di194.htm at $25 US I
>think they're selling it at cost or below as a way to get
>people interested in their products. (they give them away for
>free for kids science fair projects.) It's pretty limited but
>it may do what you need - 4 analog inputs and 3 digital and
>sample 240 times per second, serial interface. A few years ago
>they were selling a slightly different version for like $10
>(no housing, supply your own cable) and I picked one up.
>Surprisingly capable little device, but I never used it on
>anything significant.

Well, having started to buy one I find that the only shipping option is $40.98 to the UK.  I found a UK distributor who clearly belives in the pound for dollar ethos, charging £50 for the 8 channel DI-148 ($50 from Dataq), and then have the cheek to charge another £25 for delivery.  It would actualy be somewhat cheaper to order from the US if it didn't get caught by customs, but I have a history of being stung when it comes to US purchases.


Regards

Mike

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2006\10\24@105429 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Oct 24, 2006, at 2:40 AM, Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:

> Does anyone know of a *cheap* data aquisistion unit,
> either serial or USB with 4 or more (idealy 8) analog inputs?

Try http://www.dataq.com
IIRC, at one time they were offering some free hardware to show
off software, and they still have $50 8-channel USB units and
$25 4-channel serial units...

BillW

2006\10\24@115041 by Marcel duchamp

picon face
William Chops Westfield wrote:
> On Oct 24, 2006, at 2:40 AM, Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:
>
>> Does anyone know of a *cheap* data aquisistion unit,
>> either serial or USB with 4 or more (idealy 8) analog inputs?
>
> Try http://www.dataq.com
> IIRC, at one time they were offering some free hardware to show
> off software, and they still have $50 8-channel USB units and
> $25 4-channel serial units...
>
> BillW

This may affect some users...

On this page:
http://www.dataq.com/products/startkit/di194.htm

is this note:
Note: These starter kits are not CE approved and, therefore, are not
available for shipment to European Union countries.

2006\10\24@121722 by Jamibri

flavicon
face


> Does anyone know of a *cheap* data aquisistion unit, either serial or USB
with 4 or more (idealy 8) analog inputs?  Doesn't have to be particulary
fast or high resoltuion (100ms sampling, 10bit would be fine). Digital
inputs/outputs useful but not mandatory.  Don't mind a kit or unhoused PCB
etc. as long as there is host sofwtare available.  I know I could knock up
something with a PIC etc. but I just don't really have to time to do that
right know, though I might have to if I can't find anything suitable.
>

Do you need 8 digital channels or 8 analog channels?

btw, 10 bits __is__ high resolution, anything above
or equal to 6 bits is quite good resolution.

> Thanks
>
> Mike

2006\10\24@121748 by David VanHorn

picon face
I've used the USB-1208LS from measurement computing for a while.
Very versatile, and easy to use.

2006\10\24@130919 by Michael Rigby-Jones

picon face


{Quote hidden}

4 analog inputs required, 8 would be useful.  Digital I/O not required.

>
>btw, 10 bits __is__ high resolution, anything above
>or equal to 6 bits is quite good resolution.

Not in my language!  12 bit ADC/DACs is the minimum I use in my job, and 16bits is more common.  Even the humble PIC has a 10bit ADC built into many variants.  If you want 100's of megasamples/second then 6 bit converters are widely used, but for slow speed stuff it's hard to find much under 8 bit these days.

Found a few yucky parallel port modules using a bit-bashed SPI ADC, but need serial or USB as a laptop will be used to do the logging, and bit-bashing over a USB/Parallel adapter is most unlikely to work.

Regards

Mike


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2006\10\24@145149 by Martin Klingensmith

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face
Labjack

Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:
{Quote hidden}

--
Martin Klingensmith
http://wwia.org/
http://nnytech.net/

2006\10\24@164307 by Tamas Rudnai

face picon face
> 4 analog inputs required, 8 would be useful.  Digital I/O not required.

Erm, just in a very low voice whispering: an 5.1 sound card has 6x16bit
input, right?

Tamas


On 24/10/06, Michael Rigby-Jones <Michael.Rigby-JonesEraseMEspam.....bookham.com> wrote:
>
>
>
> >{Original Message removed}

2006\10\24@170618 by Rolf

face picon face
I don't believe so.  I believe it has  just the 2 inputs (stereo mic).
It has numerous outputs though, but I believe 5.1 sound requires 5
outputs, with the base channel (the .1 part) being a low-pass output of
the center channel). i.e. There are 5 output channels, not input.

Rolf

Tamas Rudnai wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2006\10\24@172437 by Herbert Graf

flavicon
face
On Tue, 2006-10-24 at 17:06 -0400, Rolf wrote:
> I don't believe so.  I believe it has  just the 2 inputs (stereo mic).
> It has numerous outputs though, but I believe 5.1 sound requires 5
> outputs, with the base channel (the .1 part) being a low-pass output of
> the center channel). i.e. There are 5 output channels, not input.

The .1 channel is it's own channel, it is not the low pass output of the
centre channel.

The only reason it's called .1 is because the LFE channel isn't full
bandwidth.

As a trial, get a DVD movie that has the THX tests on it. From those
tests it is clear that the .1 channel is completely separate from all
the other channels.

TTYL

2006\10\24@175350 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Rolf wrote:

>> Erm, just in a very low voice whispering: an 5.1 sound card has 6x16bit
>> input, right?

> I don't believe so.  I believe it has  just the 2 inputs (stereo mic).

And line in, sometimes, but they may or may not be separate ADCs.

Anyway, the inputs are AC coupled. For most things you'd have to change
that and probably add some kind of input buffer. Maybe possible in a
standard PC, but not the thing you want to do to a notebook. Probably.

Gerhard

2006\10\25@034422 by Pearce, AB (Alan)

face picon face
>>btw, 10 bits __is__ high resolution, anything above
>>or equal to 6 bits is quite good resolution.
>
>Not in my language!  12 bit ADC/DACs is the minimum
>I use in my job, and 16bits is more common.

I would agree. 10 bit is low resolution, 12 & 14 bit is easily the
common resolutions now, and 16 bit when the extra accuracy is needed.

2006\10\25@041821 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Oct 25, 2006, at 12:44 AM, Pearce, AB (Alan) wrote:

>>> btw, 10 bits __is__ high resolution, anything above
>>> or equal to 6 bits is quite good resolution.
>>
>> Not in my language!  12 bit ADC/DACs is the minimum
>> I use in my job, and 16bits is more common.
>
> I would agree. 10 bit is low resolution, 12 & 14 bit is easily the
> common resolutions now, and 16 bit when the extra accuracy is needed.
>
10 bits means 1 bit is about 0.1% of full scale.  Are you using
precision components elsewhere in your circuit, or the usual 5%
resistors and 20% caps? :-)  Designing "the rest of the circuit"
to surround a a 12 or 14bit A2D is a task I find rather mind
boggling...

(Of course, one excuse for lots of bits is that the range of the
input isn't anywhere near full scale, and indeed adding the components
to scale the input would introduce larger errors than you get by using
only a fraction of the range of the A2D...)

BillW

2006\10\25@062533 by Michael Rigby-Jones

picon face


{Quote hidden}

We use ultra-precision components where needed, but generaly the tempco is far more important than the tolerance as gains/offsets can almost always be calibrated out in software.  Very often it's not absolute accuracy we require anyway, but wide dynamic range.  

Regards

Mike

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2006\10\25@063832 by Tamas Rudnai

face picon face
> 10 bits means 1 bit is about 0.1% of full scale.  Are you using
> precision components elsewhere in your circuit, or the usual 5%
> resistors and 20% caps? :-)

What calibration is for? :-)

Tamas



On 25/10/06, William Chops Westfield <RemoveMEwestfwTakeThisOuTspamspammac.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -

2006\10\25@063832 by Tamas Rudnai

face picon face
> 10 bits means 1 bit is about 0.1% of full scale.  Are you using
> precision components elsewhere in your circuit, or the usual 5%
> resistors and 20% caps? :-)

What calibration is for? :-)

Tamas



On 25/10/06, William Chops Westfield <EraseMEwestfwspamspamspamBeGonemac.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -

2006\10\25@090929 by Michael Rigby-Jones

picon face


>-----Original Message-----
>From: RemoveMEpiclist-bouncesKILLspamspammit.edu [piclist-bouncesSTOPspamspamspam_OUTmit.edu]
>Sent: 24 October 2006 21:43
>To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
>Subject: Re: [EE] Cheap and cheerful data aquisition?
>
>
>> 4 analog inputs required, 8 would be useful.  Digital I/O not
>> required.
>
>Erm, just in a very low voice whispering: an 5.1 sound card
>has 6x16bit input, right?
>

Maybe, but sound card inputs are AC coupled, not much use for measuring DC values directly.  I like your thinking though!


Thanks for all the suggestions guys. The originaly suggested Dataq devices are absolutely perfect and very well priced, apart from shipping and customs whch would roughly tripple it for me I suspect.

One of the original links that Tamas posted was http://www.scopedem.com/ which isn't an overly informative page, but I found that the devices are occaisionaly sold on Ebay under the username scopedem.  From the pictures I suspect it has a USB PIC.  Quite basic but comes with host program (and source code) so would seem to suit my limited needs ok for a reasonable £15.

Regards

Mike

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2006\10\25@215734 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
On 10/25/06, Pearce, AB (Alan) <spamBeGoneA.B.PearceSTOPspamspamEraseMErl.ac.uk> wrote:
> >>btw, 10 bits __is__ high resolution, anything above
> >>or equal to 6 bits is quite good resolution.
> >
> >Not in my language!  12 bit ADC/DACs is the minimum
> >I use in my job, and 16bits is more common.
>
> I would agree. 10 bit is low resolution, 12 & 14 bit is easily the
> common resolutions now, and 16 bit when the extra accuracy is needed.
>

16bit is quite common in the high performance analog 4-20mA
interface application. Speed does varies a lot. I am now using
24bit sigma-delta ADC and 16bit DAC for the project. 12bit seems
to be the minimum here.

2006\10\26@005318 by Denny Esterline

picon face
> Thanks for all the suggestions guys. The originaly suggested Dataq devices are absolutely perfect and
> very well priced, apart from shipping and customs whch would roughly tripple it for me I suspect.
>
<snip>

Hmm... Well I have, upon occasion, acted as a re-shipper for some of my colleagues across the pond -- mostly to avoid some of the unpleasant stuff UPS does. UPS ground shipping to get it to me is only about $8, I suspect it would fit in a global priority envelope and that runs less than $10.

-Denny




2006\10\26@045007 by Howard Winter

face
flavicon
picon face
Denny,

On Tue, 24 Oct 2006 09:41:48 -0400, Denny Esterline wrote:

> You beat me to it. :-) I was going to recommend the http://www.dataq.com/products/startkit/di194.htm at $25 US I think they're selling it at cost or
below as a way to get people interested in their products. (they give them away for free for kids science fair projects.) It's pretty limited but it may
do what you need - 4 analog inputs and 3 digital and sample 240 times per second, serial interface. A few years ago they were selling a slightly
different version for like $10 (no housing, supply your own cable) and I picked one up. Surprisingly capable little device, but I never used it on
anything significant.

The only problem for Alan with that one is:

"Note: These starter kits are not CE approved and, therefore, are not available for shipment to European Union countries."

It seems to be the only one in their range with this note, so hopefully the others are CE marked.

Cheers,





Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


2006\10\26@051759 by Howard Winter

face
flavicon
picon face
Mike,

(Apologies: I got you confused with Alan Pearce in my reply to Denny! :-)

On Tue, 24 Oct 2006 15:24:58 +0100, Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:
>...
>
> Well, having started to buy one I find that the only shipping option is $40.98 to the UK.  I found a UK distributor who clearly belives in the pound for
dollar ethos, charging £50 for the 8 channel DI-148 ($50 from Dataq),

I often wonder how firms like this justify it - surely they aren't paying the retail price and then adding their cut on top?  If so, then I'm in the wrong
business :-)

>and then have the cheek to charge another £25 for delivery.  

Stone me!  For twenty five quid I'd hope they drive to you and hand it over in person!  :-#  If they went mad and used before-09:00 Special Delivery it
wouldn't cost half this.  I suppose there's VAT on top, so you'd end up paying $146 for a $50 item...

>It would actualy be somewhat cheaper to order from the US if it didn't get caught by customs, but I have a history of being stung when it comes to
US purchases.

You are usually "safe" at $50, but even if not you are still on the right side if you can get them to ship it via Global Priority (the $9 fixed rate
envelope should do it) - they do say you can contact them about alternatives to UPS.  Incidentally there's no possibility of escaping VAT with
anything other than the US Post Office - the £18 free rule doesn't apply to independant shipping firms, so if they do insist on UPS you're in for an
expensive ride.

I'm actually going over the pond in a month's time, but I suppose that's a bit too long for you to wait?  I may buy a couple of their cheaper units
myself while I'm there, just so I have them available should the need arise.

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


2006\10\26@062951 by Michael Rigby-Jones

picon face
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Denney Esterline [KILLspampiclist-bouncesspamBeGonespammit.edu]
>Sent: 26 October 2006 05:53
>To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
>Subject: Re: [EE] Cheap and cheerful data aquisition?
>
>
>Hmm... Well I have, upon occasion, acted as a re-shipper for
>some of my colleagues across the pond -- mostly to avoid some
>of the unpleasant stuff UPS does. UPS ground shipping to get
>it to me is only about $8, I suspect it would fit in a global
>priority envelope and that runs less than $10.
>

Denny,

Thank you for that generous offer, I really appreciate that.  However I have managed to find a PICO data acquistion unit here at work which I can borrow for a weekend, so I seem to be fixed for my immediate needs.



{Quote hidden}

Howard,

If you are going to buy a couple then I would definately like to get one for future use, but please don't go out of your way.  Drop me an email if you manage to get some and we can sort out beer tokens.

Strikes me that a USB data aquisition/logger unit would make a great project.  Hmm, perhaps something to think about for the next Circuit Cellar competition, or maybe even a magazine project submission?

Thanks to everyone for your help.

Mike

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2006\10\26@071303 by Pearce, AB (Alan)

face picon face
>Mike,
>
>(Apologies: I got you confused with Alan Pearce in my reply to Denny! :-)

Don't worry, I could see where you went AWOL ... ;)

>>
>> Well, having started to buy one I find that the only shipping option is
>> $40.98 to the UK.  I found a UK distributor who clearly belives in the pound
>> for dollar ethos, charging £50 for the 8 channel DI-148 ($50 from Dataq),
>
>I often wonder how firms like this justify it - surely they aren't paying the
>retail price and then adding their cut on top?  If so, then I'm in the wrong
>business :-)

I get the same sort of thing ordering model train items from Germany. The UK distributor takes the Euro price and calls it GBP. With special models they charge even more. It used to be that the UK retail price for items they handled was twice the exchange rate adjusted German retail price.

>>and then have the cheek to charge another £25 for delivery.  
>
>Stone me!  

Rip Off Britain is still doing well ... ;)

>For twenty five quid I'd hope they drive to you and hand it over in person!

That is probably what they claim the courier is doing ... ;)

2006\10\26@072610 by Pearce, AB (Alan)

face picon face
>However I have managed to find a PICO data acquistion unit here at work

>which I can borrow for a weekend, so I seem to be fixed for my
immediate needs.

Mike
You might like to look at the issue of Elecktor just hitting the shops.
It has an item on doing USB data collection.

I guess a long term solution is to set up an 18F4550 and an I2C ADC if
one wants more than the 10 bits it has internally.

2006\10\26@155345 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Pearce, AB (Alan) wrote:

> I get the same sort of thing ordering model train items from Germany. The
> UK distributor takes the Euro price and calls it GBP.

With that practice, you must have been glad when they switched from DM to
Euro in Germany :)

You surely can order directly from Germany without any big hassle, can't
you?

Gerhard

2006\10\27@042815 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>> I get the same sort of thing ordering model train items from Germany. The
>> UK distributor takes the Euro price and calls it GBP.
>
>With that practice, you must have been glad when they switched from DM to
>Euro in Germany :)

<VBG>

>You surely can order directly from Germany without any big hassle, can't
>you?

Oh, yes I do. Nearly ?1500 on backorder at the moment, so it is worth it.

2006\10\27@051103 by Howard Winter

face
flavicon
picon face
Alan,

On Fri, 27 Oct 2006 09:28:01 +0100, Alan B. Pearce wrote:

> >> I get the same sort of thing ordering model train items from Germany. The
> >> UK distributor takes the Euro price and calls it GBP.
>...
> >You surely can order directly from Germany without any big hassle, can't
> >you?
>
> Oh, yes I do. Nearly ?1500 on backorder at the moment, so it is worth it.

Wow, you must have quite a trainset there!  :-)

I see the other electric toy from my childhood, Scalextric, has had a major change in its functionality - you can now change lanes, overtake, and so
on!  Good to see they've finally got some electronics in there, rather than just the variable resistor in the controller back when I was a kid.

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


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