Data Acquisition

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In essence, the objective of our data acquisition and recording systems is to reliably and accurately acquire and record data from a variety of sensors and external devices. The data acquisition system constitutes the central point in complex systems in which numerous signals must be sampled, monitored and recorded, in real-time, with accurate correlation to an absolute time and position reference provided by GPS receivers.

The systems are designed to offer a balance of flexibility and ease of use. Configuration is through a simple, intuitive user interface. From the operator's perspective, only a few mouse clicks are required to run the system.

Support is provided to handle the outputs of virtually any device used in airborne/mobile geophysical exploration, and other environmental/monitoring systems. The user can define the sampling rates for the different inputs, as well as recording formats. Signals can be monitored in real-time graphically, as waveforms, in high-resolution displays and/or a chart recorder.
The analog interfaces have high resolution (at least 16 bits), and a variety of configurations (32 single-ended channels, 16 differential channels, etc.). They are self-calibrating, and designed with careful attention to anti-aliasing filters, noise immunity, crosstalk minimization, performance and reliability.

Multiple digital I/O interfaces are supported. They typically include electrically-isolated asynchronous serial (RS232/422) ports, still very common in many instruments, as well as high-speed interfaces (such as 10/100/1000Base-TX Ethernet) found in more modern devices. A comprehensive collection of flexible protocols is supported, with practically unlimited buffering space.

Unlike the data collection systems typically used in "mainstream" applications, the data acquisition and recording systems made by RMS Instruments are designed for real-time applications with strict timing constraints, and very demanding requirements for reliability under extreme environmental conditions. The systems are designed to provide accurate synchronization of all data sources to GPS time and position.

Typically at the core of complex installations with numerous instruments, our systems offer flexible means to synchronize to external devices. These include trigger output signals, output data packets to issue commands to request data, etc. The emphasis is on performance and reliability. The hardware is state-of-the-art, industrial-grade. At the core of the software lies a powerful and reliable RTOS (real-time operating system). Data acquisition, graphical monitoring of signals and system performance, synchronization/output to external devices, and data recording, all work concurrently, seamlessly, and within the real-time framework of the applications.

The systems support a rich variety of recording media based on Flash memory technology. This may be embedded within the system, or external, accessed through a fast interface (e.g., USB 2.0). Flash memory is extremely reliable in demanding environmental, high-vibration conditions. The devices used are carefully selected to ensure optimum performance in terms of speed and endurance.

Hard disk drives are also supported. They are usually in a rugged 2.5" form factor, and are shock-mounted within the chassis. As with Flash memory, the devices used are carefully selected for their environmental and mechanical specifications. With the very large recording capacities available, hard disks offer a good complement to Flash media.
Data files are recorded in an efficient format, under the very reliable file system structure provided by the RTOS. When transferring data to removable media, the ubiquitous FAT (Windows) format is used.

Our most recent systems have powerful architectures that comprise a host subsystem that implements, among other tasks, the data acquisition and recording functions, and a front end subsystem. The front end provides functionality for a specific class of devices. For example, the front end in the DAARC500 DAS & Adaptive Aeromagnetic Real-Time Compensator offers the ultimate in real-time aeromagnetic compensation for up to eight magnetometers.

DAARC500 Data Acquisition/Adaptive Aeromagnetic Real-Time Compensator Data Sheet and Specifications PDF

DAS500 Data Acquisition System Data Sheet and Specifications PDF