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Digital Instrumentation 101

Digital instrumentation used for test and measurement provides faster data input and output, and more robust analytics. Interface offers several types of digital instrumentation devices that transform load cell and strain bridge input into digital data output in numerous protocols and bus formats.

Instrumentation that utilizes analog output has long been the standard in the industry. As new requirements for use cases and applications grow, test and measurement engineers and professionals find digital instrumentation advantageous because of the lower cost, easy integration and scalability. They also like the advantage of daisy-chaining multiple sensors together on a single cable run.

Advancements in sensor technologies coincide with growing demands to gather more testing data. This is seen through the use of multi-axis sensors, along with requirements for multi-channel instrumentation that can integrate into existing systems already designed with specific digital connections and protocols, as highlighted in using Interfaces BX8 with our 6-Axis sensors. Change is also coming with a strong desire to utilize instrumentation that can easily work within cable free environments or in remote locations.

In addition to improving speed of data output, digital instrumentation offers an abundance of benefits. This is primarily due to the digital signal, as they are less susceptible to noise and are more secure. Digital instrumentation typically has built in error detection. Digital signals are best for transmitting signals across longer distances or when you need to allow for simultaneous multi-directional transmissions. Many people like the ease of integration, both into existing networks as well as with other testing devices.

Types of Interface Digital Instrumentation

  • Indicators and Bidirectional Indicators
  • Portable and Programmable Indicators
  • Battery Powered Indicators and Bidirectional Indicators
  • Single and Multi-Channel Transmitters
  • Controllers and Programmable Controllers
  • USB Output Modules
  • PC Interface Modules
  • Sensor to USB Output Converters
  • Data Acquisition Systems
  • Wireless Instrumentation

Connection options available for Interface Digital Instrumentation include, RS232, RS485, RS422, Wi-Fi, USB, Bluetooth, and Ethernet Protocols. The types of data output protocols available include ASCII, Modbus, CANopen, DeviceNet, Profibus DP Modbus/TCP, Ethernet TCP/IP, Ethernet/IP, EtherCAT and several others. See the complete list of connections and protocols in our Digital Instrumentation Overview.

Top selling digital instrumentation models from Interface, with many available in various protocols:

Do you have questions about the type of instrumentation that will support your application?  You can see more of the solutions by visiting our instrumentation selection guide.  Here are six questions begin evaluating your instrumentation options:

  • Where are you going to connect your sensor technology and how?
  • Do you need to store your data?
  • Do you prefer an analog or digital output device?
  • Are you going to plug-in your instrumentation or use hand-held, wireless or Bluetooth connectivity?
  • How will your data output be displayed?
  • How many channels do you need for your project or program?

For additional help with instrumentation, please contact our application engineers.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Digital Instrumentation for Force Measurement

Ultimate BlueDAQ Software Guide for Interface Instrumentation

Interface Instrumentation Definitions

Instrumentation Selection Guide

Advancements in Instrumentation Webinar

Interface Instructional on Instrumentation Event

Instrumentation

Advanced Testing with Telemetry Systems from Interface

In product development, flexibility is a crucial facet of creating efficient workflows. Having a diverse set of flexible tools and testing instruments allows engineers and manufacturers to approach their work from a wide variety of angles and environments.

Interface is keenly aware of the growing demand for manufacturers and integrators to have advanced systems that easily replace hard-wired systems, reducing installation and maintenance costs. Based on these needs, Interface offers a variety of off-the-shelf and custom force measurement wireless solutions, in multiple capacities, capabilities, ranges, and dimensions for all types of applications.

Case in point is Interface’s two advanced telemetry systems, the Interface Wireless Telemetry System (WTS) and the new Interface Bluetooth® Telemetry System (BTS). These telemetry systems transmit high-quality data from load cells to single and multiple devices. Both the WTS and the BTS offer a wide variety of benefits, including high accuracy, high resolution, IP-rated enclosures, and multiple configuration options. The quality of Interface load cell performance is fully realized utilizing the convenience of these systems, which are acting as a data bridge between the load cell and a display device.

The WTS and BTS products are designed to provide OEMs, labs, and engineers with flexibility in where and how they conduct product testing using load cells. The WTS was designed for a controlled lab environment or engineering facility with access to Wi-Fi® or ethernet data. The BTS solution was created to allow for field testing in areas with little to no access to the internet. Included below is a more in-depth breakdown of the features of Interface’s industry-leading telemetry systems.

WTS-BS-4 Wireless Base Station with USBWireless Telemetry System (WTS)

The WTS is a high-speed, modular system that allows for data collection from long ranges. It is powerful and easily expandable for measuring multiple sensor types and can connect with up to 100 sensors within a half-mile range. The device is supported by powerful configuration software with data logging and visualization for local or remote access. It comes in a wide variety of different model types, including integrated transmitter models, repeater models, output models, display models and antenna models. It can connect with up to 100 sensors up-to a half a mile range.

To see the range of wireless WTS products, go to /product-category/wireless-telemetry-system.

Bluetooth® Telemetry System (BTS)

The BTS features high measurement resolution, which produces a noise-free resolution of 1 in 92,000 counts (16.5 bit) when used with a 3mV/V sensor and 1 in 184,000 counts (17.5 bit) when used with a 6mV/V sensor. The system also allows for advert format and encoding as well as details on connected services to facilitate simple integration of the device within custom apps for OEM applications. BTS can connect up to 12 sensors to a single mobile device or to multiple mobile devices.

The premium advantage of the BTS, above the long battery life, low cost and mobile apps visualization resources, is its ability to connect directly to mobile devices to collect data on-the-go without an internet connection. This allows engineers to complete field testing in remote locations or hard to access areas. Free iOS and Android apps are available for download and enable users to create dashboards with varying degrees of detail based on application requirements. The BTS output can be visualized on phones and tablets by using digital displays, gages, tanks, and charts.

To learn more about the new Bluetooth Telemetry System (BTS) offered by Interface, go to /products/instrumentation/bts-bluetooth-telemetry-system.

For more information on Interface’s WTS and BTS products read below.  You can access a detailed spec sheet comparing the products along with individual datasheets online by registering online at Interface.com.

WTS BTS Brochure