Data acquisition (DAQ) systems are a necessary component for products whose outcomes depend on collected information throughout its operation. Current systems are directed towards users utilizing custom hardware, software, and requiring its user to have high-level skills in coding and system setup; but with the increasing interest in renewable energy, small corporations, university research departments, and independent companies are undergoing their own testing, requiring DAQ systems on a smaller scale.
The purpose of this project was to produce an easy-to-use EtherCAT server DAQ system alternative, aimed towards new developers conducting small scale testing in the wave energy field. This report serves to outline the product made in the Mini-Data Acquisition (MiniDAQ) project funded by Sandia National Laboratories.
Along with various sensors such as encoders, analog-to-digital converters, and an inertial measurement unit, the MiniDAQ contained an Arduino Mega 2560 Rev3 as the development board, equipped with AB\&T's EasyCAT shield as a means to operate in real-time through the protocol EtherCAT when combined with real-time systems Speedgoat and Mathworks Simulink. This setup met the main requirements of real-time operation, 100 Hz sampling frequency, differential inputs/outputs, and two communication interfaces.