Data Acquisition Systems

Data acquisition is the process of sampling signals that measure real world physical conditions and converting the resulting samples into digital numeric values that can be manipulated by a computer. Data acquisition systems (abbreviated with the acronym DAS or DAQ) typically convert analog variables into digital values for processing.

The components of data acquisition systems include:

  • Sensors that convert physical parameters to electrical signals.
  • Signal conditioning circuitry to convert sensor signals into a form convertible to digital values.
  • Analog-to-digital converters, which convert conditioned sensor signals into digital values.

Data acquisition applications are controlled by software programs developed using various general purpose computer programming languages, such as BASIC, C, Fortran, Java, Lisp, & Pascal.

Specialized software tools used for building large-scale data acquisition systems include EPICS. Graphical programming environments include ladder logic, function block, Visual C++, Visual BASIC.