catmanAP is the measurement and analysis software suite for HBM’s range of Data Acquisition hardware (DAQ), such as the QuantumX, SomatXR, and the PMX, among others. In its simplest form, catmanAP enables the user to perform quick and accurate measurements in almost any industry or environment, without having to rely on cumbersome programming. By utilising TEDS (Transducer Electronic Data Sheet) technology, in conjunction with catmanAP, sensors are automatically configured when connected to a DAQ. This further reduces the time a test engineer needs to spend on setting up the measurement chain and limits the opportunity for user-error when manually setting up sensors. The purpose of this blog is to highlight specific functionality within catmanAP that, when used correctly, can make the test engineer’s measurement tasks even simpler.
The Transducer Electronic Data Sheet (TEDS) is a chip that is used to store and recall sensor data. Information such as calibration value, model number, serial number, and other specifications, which are useful for input configuration of the data acquisition equipment, is typically stored on TEDS. The information stored on the chip is applied between catmanAP and the DAQ during a Sensor Scan i.e., when the DAQ device is powered on, or when a sensor scan is performed manually.
Following the Sensor Scan operation, the parameters of the corresponding DAQ channels will be adjusted in the software, and the information stored on the TEDS chips will be applied.
If TEDS are not built into your sensor by the manufacturer, a TEDS chips should be connected to the sensor at the plug. The sensor data can then be transferred to them by using the Sensor Database within catmanAP or through the Legacy TEDS editor while the sensor is connected to the DAQ.
Once this has been completed operators can plug any sensor, into any channel, on any DAQ, before a measurement, without having to worry about whether the channel is set up correctly for that specific sensor.
This will allow test engineers to set up a measurement chain more efficiently, while simultaneously reducing the chance of user-error when assigning sensors.
Multiple Sample Rates and an Additional Output File
Multiple Sample Rates
As a general guideline, the sample rate used per channel should be at least 10 times the value of the maximum frequency the operator would like to observe while measuring.
Naturally, the test engineer may use a variety of sensors to measure different events in a single measurement task. For instance, the test engineer may use a PT100 sensor to measure temperature where changes happen relatively slowly, an LVDT to measure deflection, which may require more moderate sampling, and finally, an accelerometer to measure vibration events which take place relatively quickly.
In the multiple sensor scenario above, having multiple sampling rates available provides a twofold benefit. Firstly, the most appropriate sampling rate can be chosen per channel so that the test engineer does not have to over-sample or under-sample on any channel out of necessity. This reduces the chance of sampling-induced errors such as aliasing. Secondly, there is the benefit of reducing the physical memory required for testing, as all the data does not have to be sampled at the fastest rate required by the measurement chain.
catmanAP allows the operator to define a Fast, Default and Slow sampling rate. These can then be applied on a per channel basis before proceeding with the measurement task.
Additional Output File
It is always recommended to save data in the native catmanAP format for any measurement task, as this data can then be used within the Analysis Mode of catman to create computations or to export to an alternative format.
catmanAP also allows the test engineer to save the measurement data in an additional file format (such as Excel, NI DIAdem, nSoft DAC, MATLAB, HBM nCode s3t or UFF58) for further data analysis, reporting and post-processing.
The ability to save the measurement data in two formats concurrently is set by toggling the ‘Additional data saving in second format’ option on in the Storage page of the DAQ Jobs tab.
Integrating cameras into measurement tasks has become commonplace, and catmanAP has a capable video module to assist with this. The video module allows access to three camera types that can utilise the codecs and file formats stored on the test engineer’s PC.
The cameras can be set up to record automatically with the start/stop of the DAQ jobs, manually through user input, or by defining start and stop triggers to capture specific events.
If a user does not have access to an external camera, then the built-in webcam can be used to record a video. For all cameras used in a measurement task, the user can define compression, file format, resolution, frame rate and audio parameters.
catmanAP supports most USB Cameras. In order for a USB Camera to be used with catmanAP it must support Windows DirectShow, which means that suitable drivers must be installed. A comprehensive list of supported hardware can be found in the catman Datasheet.
From version 5.3.2 of catmanAP, the video module also supports RTP streams i.e., ethernet cameras. To use these cameras, the IP address of the camera must be specified, as it cannot be automatically detected. The advantage of using an RTP stream is that the compression is handled by the camera and not by catman, so the CPU load of the test PC is reduced.
Powerful hardware solutions require equally matched software solutions to make them shine. catmanAP empowers the test engineer with a plethora of tools to turn proverbial measurement ‘mountains’ into measurement task ‘molehills’.
This blog focused on the basics of making measurements simpler and more efficient by utilizing commonly used functionality within catmanAP. There were three focus areas in this discussion.
Firstly, the test engineer can reduce the time spent and errors made when setting up the measurement chain by using TEDS technology.
Secondly, by setting the DAQ Job options effectively the user can:
- maintain data integrity.
- use memory resources efficiently.
- improve the ease-of-use of recorded data for other tasks seamlessly.
Finally, consolidation of test systems and vision systems is offered by the video module in catmanAP, which allows the operator to conduct more comprehensive measurements.
In future blogs, additional benefits of catmanAP will be explored by focusing on the extended functionality of catmanAP such as Calculated Channels, Playback Files, Auto Sequences and EasyScript.