Data acquisition

Data acquisition systems are products used to collect information from physical, chemical or electrical phenomenon.
As technology has progressed, this type of process has been simplified and made more accurate, versatile, and reliable through electronic equipment. Equipment ranges from simple recorders to sophisticated systems.
Data acquisition products serve as a focal point in a system tied together to a wide variety of sensors as such as temperature, flow, level, or pressure type.

In the term Data Acquisition are included several functions as such ADC, DAC, DIO.

Analog-to-digital converter (ADC): An electronic device that converts analog signals to digital form. The analog-to-digital converter is the main element of data acquisition systems.

Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC): An electronic component found in many data acquisition devices that produce an analog output signal.

Digital Input/output (DIO): Refers to a type of data acquisition signal. Digital I/O are discrete signals which are either one of two states.

Communication buses: Data acquisitions systems can communicate to computer through various standard bus as such RS232, GPIB, PCI and PCI Express, cPCI/PXI, VPX, VME, LXI …

Resolution: The smallest signal increment that can be detected by a data acquisition system. Resolution are express in bits, 8 bits for a standard oscilloscope, up to 24 bits for the highest resolution available. 8-bit gives up to 256 steps to describe a signal.

Sampling rate: The speed at which a data acquisition system collects data. The speed is normally expressed in samples per second. For multi-channel data acquisition devices the sample rate is typically given as the speed of the analog-to-digital converter (A/D).