How to Enhance Your Data-Acquisition Capabilities

by Michael Adams | Updated: 06/18/2024 | Comments: 0

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CR6 Automated Monitoring Platform and measurement devices

Imagine upgrading your car with the latest technology—all without needing to purchase a brand-new vehicle! At Campbell Scientific, we’re doing just that for data acquisition. Our innovative controller area network peripheral interface (CPI) protocol is like a high-tech upgrade for your automated monitoring platform, enhancing its capabilities without a complete system overhaul. In this blog article, I’ll share with you the many aspects of how this works.

Embracing Flexibility and Adaptability

Our CR6 Automated Monitoring Platform is the epitome of flexibility and adaptability. It functions brilliantly as a stand-alone device or in conjunction with external modules. With the CR6, you get more measurement channels, faster measurement speeds, and a broader range of capabilities—all while maintaining the reliability you expect from Campbell Scientific devices.

Ensuring Ease of Use While Enhancing Your Experience

With eight or sixteen differential channels respectively, the Granite™ Volt 108 and Volt 116 5V analog input modules are designed to elevate your measurement capabilities. They feature an analog-to-digital (A/D) converter to provide top-tier measurement accuracy and resolution. Programming the Volt modules is intuitive and mirrors the process used for our automated monitoring platforms, making it easy to set measurement speeds, assign engineering units, and apply data storage triggers.

Handling Challenging Measurement Environments

The CPI protocol is changing the game in data acquisition. This robust, two-way communications system lets your automated monitoring platform control the rate and type of measurements while synchronizing perfectly with the CPI communications bus. This ensures seamless and accurate data collection, even in the most challenging environments.

Unlike traditional relay multiplexers, our Volt modules perform measurements onboard, digitize the data, and transmit the data in checksum-protected packets. This results in higher-quality measurements with reduced noise interference and eliminates the occasional risk of incorrect indexing—an issue that can occur with relay multiplexers, long cables, and electrical transients.

Pushing the Limits with High-Performance Measurements

Volt modules excel in applications requiring high continuous measurement rates, more channels, or extended measurement distances. However, it's important to note that the CPI protocol, based on CAN bus, has a maximum speed of 1 Mbit/second. This speed can be influenced by the total length of Ethernet cables and the number of measurements being taken. For example, 853.44 m (2,800 ft) of Ethernet cable can reduce the CPI speed from 1 Mbit/second to 50 Kbit/second.

To optimize your setup, we offer a CPI Calculator on our website. This tool helps you design an efficient measurement system, ensuring maximum accuracy and efficiency.

Enhancing Usability Even Without an Automated Monitoring Platform

To make things even easier, we developed SURVEYOR, a free tool that lets you set up, measure, and stream data directly to your PC or laptop without an automated monitoring platform. Surveyor is well suited for developing advanced programs or testing sensors before deployment, streamlining your workflow and boosting efficiency.

Extending Capabilities with Data Packets

For even greater flexibility, consider our XD (extended duty) version of the Volt modules. These modules not only offer an extended temperature range (-55°C to +85°C), but they also support CANOut 2.0b, allowing them to output measurements in CAN bus data packets. This makes them ideal for integration with other CAN bus data-acquisition systems, including our Granite™10, which features four independent CAN channels.

By supporting CANOut 2.0b, Campbell Scientific measurement accuracy and reliability can now enhance other CAN bus systems, extending our trusted performance to a wider range of applications.

Simplifying Setup for Real-World Applications

Globally, CR6 automated monitoring platforms paired with Volt 108 and Volt 116 modules are trusted for various applications—from monitoring structures with hundreds of strain gauges to single-module temperature measurements. The setup is straightforward: connect to a power supply, run an Ethernet cable, assign unique addresses, and start measuring. It’s that simple!

A Quick Recap of Volt Modules

The following are some key points I just want to emphasize one more time when it comes to what the Volt 108 and 116 can offer you:

  • Flexibility: Easily expand your measurement capabilities, including more channels and faster speeds, without needing to replace your entire system.
  • Precision: Get accurate and reliable measurements with our high-quality A/D converter, meeting Campbell Scientific’s rigorous standards.
  • Performance: Enjoy higher continuous measurement rates than traditional automated monitoring platforms, boosting your efficiency and productivity.
  • Ease of Setup: Set up quickly and effortlessly with our straightforward, error-free wiring procedures.
  • Compatibility: Benefit from extended temperature ranges and CANOut 2.0b support, ensuring smooth integration with other data-acquisition systems.

Transforming Your Projects with Volt Modules

Whether you're managing a large-scale monitoring system or a straightforward measurement setup, our Volt modules deliver reliable, high-quality data with ease. Embrace the future of data acquisition with Campbell Scientific and experience unparalleled flexibility and accuracy in your measurements. Visit our website to learn more about these modules and how they can transform your projects today.

If you're eager to enhance your data-acquisition capabilities, don't hesitate to reach out to our application engineers or sales team today. They'll guide you through how our Volt modules can amplify your CR6's performance. Let's embark on this journey in data acquisition together!

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About the Author

michael adams Michael Adams is a Senior Applications Engineer at Campbell Scientific, Inc. He has a degree in Electronic Systems, which he has applied for more than 30 years in system design, field deployment, and system longevity/reliability—with a strong focus on instrumentation and field troubleshooting. When he's not working, Michael can be found cycling, skiing, or flyfishing.

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