Although there are so many devices for data acquisition system available in the market, picking out which will best serve its purpose is a difficult task. There are several factors that to really be considered before making a decision. Many of these factors are often overlooked especially by those who are new to the data logging world. Still, these important considerations must be taken into account even for those who are already experienced in choosing and using DAQs.
What are the factors to consider?
- Accuracy – When choosing a DAQ, accuracy of the data it can acquire is very important. Therefore, noise elimination should also be considered. Noise will definitely disturb the accuracy of the gathered information.
- Resolution – Going hand in hand with accuracy, resolution should also be able to provide high accuracy. For instance, depending on your needs, determine if a 12-bit system is better for your needs compared to a 32-bit.
- Repeatability – If you are one of the users interested mainly on the repeatability of the measurement, then you must look into the design of the converter. Try seeing if it is noise-inherent or not.
- Portability – In many situations, perhaps researches or studies, some data acquisition systems demand to be portable. For these projects, therefore, smaller, external box DAQs are recommended more compared to bringing a personal computer around.
- Price – Long ago, it was established that the most inexpensive DAQs were those which were plug-in board based systems. Unfortunately, this does not hold true anymore today. A lot of data acquisition systems offering USB and Ethernet interfaces are some of the lowest cost DAQ interfaces.
- Distance – The distance between the personal computer and the sensor is also important. It would be very expensive if you will run long wires for your test systems and sensors. However, using a single communication cable, on the other hand, is much cheaper.
- Interfaces – Today, most computers, if not all, are equipped with USB, Ethernet and Firewire (for Apple/Mac). Knowing the preferred computer host should be beneficial for the DAQ system user.
- Obsolescence – Another important factor is your personal computer’s obsolescence. As users of data acquisition system, especially the plug-in board based ones, we certainly do not want personal computers which are almost outdated or will be outdated fast. Try choosing a PC that is able to handle or is at least flexible to the present as well the changes which the future will bring. This should not really be a problem when dealing with USB and Ethernet, however.
Why consider these factors?
Although DAQs are not devices which are meant to be with you forever, the quality of the data logger chosen for temporary use still matters a lot. These considerations will not only determine the quality of data acquired but also the difficulty of its retrieval methods and other essential processes. Therefore, if the users want to maximize their data loggers and if they want to avoid wasting their time and data acquisition efforts, these considerations should be on their table.
If you are now ready to look into actual good quality options for data loggers, there is a wide variety of products available all over the World Wide Web. Or you can opt to find out more about data acquisition systems.