9 Engineering Applications for Your LabJack Data Acquisition Hardware | LabJack
 

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9 Engineering Applications for Your LabJack Data Acquisition Hardware

LabJack devices are powerful, flexible tools, designed to increase the efficiency of your work by placing data quickly and easily at your fingertips. Since 2001, professionals of many disciplines have used LabJack data acquisition hardware for countless applications, such as CNC integration, water cooling your PC or automating tedious testing protocols. Here are 9 of the most common applications, with links to detailed application-specific guides and examples.

LabJacks are powerful because they integrate with software and act as the bridge between your I/O (sensors, transducers, relays, motors) and your computer.

 

 

LabJack's T7-Pro can log temperatures from multiple channels and sensor types simultaneously including thermocouples
LabJack's T7-Pro can log temperatures from multiple channels and sensor types simultaneously including thermocouples

1. Recording and Logging Temperature

Applications include thermocouples, resistance temperature detectors (RTDs), thermistors and silicon analog sensors.

Temperature measurement is among the most common and important functions of data acquisition and control systems. Through many years of industry experience, LabJack has been able to consider the wide variety of applications for LabJack products. As a result:

  • LabJack engineers provide a complete library of application notes for temperature sensors, including a specific Thermocouple App Note. These instructions provide an easy-to-follow setup and troubleshooting guide for each device in our line up.
  • Select LabJack models can amplify the tiny voltages generated by thermocouples to immediately display the most accurate temperature reading.

2. Controlling relays

Being able to control relays offers an easy way to add safety shut-offs in high voltage/power applications. Each LabJack device offers 5 relay control options:

  • LJ-Tick RelayDriver Accessory
  • PS12DC Power Switching Board
  • RB12 Relay Board for controlling up to 12 G4 series relays
  • Directly with Analog Outputs (DAC lines)
  • Directly with Digital I/O (example setup below)
    • Using a LabJack USB/Ethernet/WiFi Multifunction DAQ device to control Solid-State Relays with digital I/O channels
LabJack Relay Boards are perfect for controlling relays and connect directly to a LabJack
LabJack Relay Boards are perfect for controlling relays and connect directly to any LabJack including the T7

3. Controlling Motors

LabJack devices can be used to control various types of motors, including stepper motors and PID controllers. In addition, LabJack devices can output PWM signals for accurate duty cycle control, voltage regulation and motor speed control for maximum torque at low speeds.

Stepper motors, like these from Pololu can be controlled with a LabJack
Stepper motors, like these from Pololu can be controlled with a LabJack

4. Controlling actuators

LabJack devices can control actuators, values and motors with analog outputs.

  • LabJack devices include two analog outputs (DACs) capable of pushing up to 20mA of current 0-5V.
  • For applications requiring up to 10v or more than 2 outputs, LabJack offers the LJTick-DAC. This allows for the expansion of up to 20 analog outputs on your LabJack.
    LabJack Data Acquisition Control Cabinet
    With numerous Analog I/O and Digital I/O channels, a single LabJack can connect to dozens of sensors, relays, inputs and outputs. In this photo two LabJack T-Series devices are monitoring and recording data during a liquid rocket motor test conducted by the University of British Columbia rocket team.

     

5. Reading and controlling Digital I/O

LabJack devices have up to 23 Digital I/O (DIO) lines that can control relays, driven signals, LEDs, switches and more. LabJack devices:

  • Support I2C communication along with SPI, UART and other serial protocols.
  • Operate on 3.3V logic.
  • Offer accessories for those applications needing 5v, 2.5v or 1.8v logic levels.
  • Read the complete LabJack serial protocols app note.

6. Reading encoders

LabJack will read all major types of encoders including absolute, incremental and rotary. Our encoder app note features a general overview on different types of encoders, how to properly wire them to a LabJack, and different ways to read and record data from encoders.

As always, our experienced team of hardware and software engineers is always available to help select the correct encoder for your application.

7. Reading analog inputs with precision

LabJack produces affordable, high-quality USB/Ethernet and WiFi capable data acquisition (DAQ) and control devices. We offer 12- 16- and 24-bit analog-to-digital (ADCs) converters for measuring voltage from nearly any analog sensor that outputs a voltage. This makes it very convenient to shop for sensors.

  • Does it output a voltage? If so, it will work with LabJack hardware.

LabJack hardware can be connected to nearly any analog sensor. It may then be used for measuring natural phenomena such as humidity, viscosity, pressure, flow, air quality/VOC, position, displacement, light, wind speed or many other things.

Take a look at our Analog Input app note.

A seismograph recording data
Seismograph at the Weston Observatory in Massachusetts. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

8. Measuring vibration

Since 2001, professionals have selected LabJack hardware as a tool to measure vibration using accelerometers. Accelerometers have many applications, including measuring the health of an industrial motor, movement inside an automotive test or harmonic movements of a dam or bridge. LabJack.com also has active forums monitored by our engineers such as this thread on the compatibility of a 3 axis accelerometer: https://labjack.com/forums/t7/measuring-vibration

9. Generating sine, square triangle and rectangular waves

All LabJack devices include two on-board analog outputs (expandable using LJTick-DAC) capable of generating these waveforms. This feature is useful for testing amplifiers, error testing in a control loop, semiconductor testing, and other common electrical engineering applications. Our engineering team has a complete waveform generation app note outlining this process.

A LabJack is a powerful and versatile tool to add to your toolbox
A LabJack is a powerful and versatile tool to add to your toolbox

Other Applications

LabJack hardware can be used for many other applications in a wide range of industries from Aerospace, Defense, Manufacturing/Industrial, Information Technology, Biotechnology, Medical Robotics and more. Engineers, researchers, technicians and scientists will find LabJack data acquisition hardware a flexible, versatile, multipurpose tool. Our free software, drivers and legendary support, combined with an industry leading 5-year warranty, should be put to the test. Consider partnering with us on your next data acquisition project or automation application.