Ditching the PC: ADLINK Creates Stand-alone Data Acquisition System for IIOT

July 21, 2021 by Jake Hertz

Data acquisition is essential for ensuring IoT device's functionality, especially in industrial settings. ADLINK's new DAQs have possibly made them more simple by removing the host computer.

In all fields of electronics, testing is essential, but the stakes tend to be higher when dealing with IoT. Unlike many other applications, IoT is often designed to be deployed in remote locations, where humans cannot easily access them should they need to be serviced. 

For this reason, proper testing and verification of devices become paramount: it is crucial to fully understand and ensure proper functionality before deploying IoT into the field. To this end, one of the most critical classifications of tools is a data acquisition system (DAQ). 


An example of an analog DAQ. Image used courtesy of DeweSoft


Last week, ADLINK addressed this need with a new DAQ explicitly designed for IoT applications. This article will aim to discuss what generally makes up a DAQ and what ADLINK is offering.


What’s in a DAQ? 

On a basic level, a DAQ is a system that acquires data from various sensors to be analyzed for testing and verification purposes. 

From a lower-level perspective, a DAQ will sample the (mainly) analog outputs from various sensors (e.g., force sensors, torque sensors, temperature sensors, etc.) and convert them into digital signals that computers can manipulate. 

Naturally, a modern DAQ often consists of sensors (or connectivity to sensors), signal conditioning hardware and software, and an analog-to-digital converter. Importantly for this article, most DAQs require an external computer to do most storage and analysis.


Standard DAQ setup.

Standard DAQ setup. Image used courtesy of DeweSoft


A DAQ also needs to be easy to interface with, especially since it doesn't matter how advanced the hardware is if it's impossible to use. Most DAQs work with a Python API allowing engineers to easily communicate with the device to acquire and analyze data in real-time. 

Now that the importance of DAQs is better understood let's look at what ADLINK is offering.


New DAQs from ADLINK 

Last week, ADLINK made news when it announced a new DAQ solution meant specifically for IIoT applications. The MCM-216/218 DAQs are the latest addition to its MCM-210 series and come with some notable functionality.


MCM-210 DAQ family from ADLINK. Image used courtesy of ADLINK


The MCM-216/218 DAQs are Ethernet-based devices built on 1 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processors that feature built-in 16 or 8 channel, 16-bit resolution voltage, or current inputs. Notably, the company claims that the DAQs can provide 24-hour sensor measurement while acting as a standalone device. Unlike other DAQs on the market, the MCM-210 family does not need a host PC but instead acts as a standalone edge device. 

According to the company, this gives them the advantage of allowing for distributed and remote data acquisition without distance restrictions or reliance on extra hardware, decreasing complexity. 


Moving Forward 

Fields like IoT place high importance on testing and verification due to the general inability to service devices once they're deployed. For this reason, the development of new DAQ systems catering to these fields is always a good thing, and one would expect them to be well received by the industry.