What is Data Acquisition?

Data Acquisition is a system that measures a physical or an electrical phenomenon like current, voltage, pressure, sound, or temperature. This system converts the analog waveforms into the digital values. A computer based Data Acquisition uses an integration of application software, a computer, and modular hardware for measurements. It also uses sensors, actuators, data acquisition devices, and signal conditioning.

The applications of data acquisition are controlled and maintained by the software programs which are developed with the use of different programming languages like C, FORTRAN, BASIC, LISP, JAVA, and PASCAL. An Application Program Interface (API) called COMEDI is controlled by applications for accessing and maintaining the data acquisition hardware.

Components of Data Acquisition:

The data acquisition system includes some components like:

  • Sensors: It is used to convert the physical parameters into electrical signals.
  • Analog to Digital Convertors: It converts the conditioned sensor signals into digital values.
  • Signal Conditioning Circuitry: It helps to convert sensor signals to a form which will be converted into digital values.

Data Acquisition Hardware:

The interface between the signals and a computer are usually called as data acquisition hardware. It is designed in module form for connecting it in the computer’s ports like Serial, USB, Parallel, etc. or some cards that are connected to slots of motherboard like AppleBus, PCI-E, PCI, ISA, S-100 Bus, MCA, etc. Data Acquisition cards contain many components like ADC, Multiplexer, TTL – IO, RAM, DAC, and High Speed Timers. These data acquisition cards are operated through a bus with the help of a microcontroller.

Data Acquisition Software:

Data Acquisition software combines with data acquisition hardware for performing in a computer. The driver in this device performs writing and reading of low level registers in the hardware. The COMEDI lets the user applications for running on various OS. For example: an user application which is operated on Windows can also be operated on BSD and Linux.

Applications of Data Acquisition and Usage

The applications of data acquisition include:

  • Strain,
  • Temperature,
  • Pressure,
  • Data Logging and more.

Overall, the data acquisition system is used for measurements of various electrical phenomenon and as well as used for conversion of signals.