64 Channel Chassis with Integrated Controller                5017 

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The DTX-5017 Chassis Unit serves as the host for all installed 5xxx and 6xxx series modules providing operating power, analog signal input and output connections, digital module control functions, and computer platform for the Graphical User Interface (GUI). Configured as 16 slots accepting any of the DTX-5000/6000 series modules allows for a mix and match of signal conditioning functions. Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) computer hardware (Pentium processor) and Microsoft Windows OS were selected to insure compatibility with future technology trends and to facilitate product maintenance. Standard 10/100 baseT Ethernet is included for Web based applications along with PC compatible keyboard, video and mouse (KVM) ports for standalone operation. User interface and control software allows for ease of setup as standalone instrumentation, operation as a Web based appliance or integration as part of an automated test system.

Design Features

A compact 5U chassis was developed to house up to 16 four-channel conditioning modules and a complete single board computing system. Internal shielding separates digital computing hardware and main power systems from conditioning modules reducing electrical noise and controlling airflow within the chassis. In addition a single shielded backplane is used to route all signal input and output connections directly to each module eliminating internal cabling or interface connectors as potential noise sources.

To verify channel operation and accuracy, an on-board program- mable frequency generator can be switched into the input with a high-accuracy 24 bit A/D converter used to calibrate the analog outputs. Low temperature-coefficient components are used to maintain system accuracy over a wide temperature range, and all circuitry is housed in a shielded enclosure for improved reliability and noise reduction.

COTS Technology

The 5000 Chassis uses a standard micro-ATX computer board as the system controller with a Widows operating system. This board contains an Intel P4 processor running at 1.7 GHz, 512 MB of system RAM and two PCI bus slots for system expansion or future enhancement. Also included are an Ethernet interface for remote operation and keyboard, video and mouse ports for standalone operation. Using a standard processor board allows the unit to be used with a variety of monitors, printers, and other external devices, and allows the system to be upgraded as technology advances.

Mixed Signal Technology

The actual circuitry inside each module type varies, but they all share a common design approach. The input signal is first amplified to a usable level, and is then converted to a digital signal using a high-speed 16-bit Analog-to-Digital converter. This allows all gain correction and filtering to be done digitally, thereby improving system accuracy and stability. A Digital Signal Processor (one for each channel) uses stored offset and gain calibration factors to correct the digitized data values, and performs the requested low-pass filtering. The DSP also compares the signal level to user-specified limits, and sets the color and brightness of the front-panel Signal LED accordingly. After signal processing has been completed, the digital value is converted back to an analog voltage by a high-speed 16-bit Digital-to-Analog Converter. A four-pole low-pass filter removes the digitizing steps in the reconstructed signal, along with any high-frequency noise, and an output buffer provides up to 50 mA of signal current to the output load.

Digital Interface

A proprietary interface board is used to connect the CPU’s PCI bus to a passive backplane. This board provides PCI bus interface buffering and address decode for controller interaction with individual modules and a mechanical interface between the ATX motherboard and 5000 chassis backplane.

Power Supply

A single 300w low profile ATX-type switching power supply is mounted in a shielded enclosure along side the main processor board providing system level power to chassis components and installed signal conditioning modules. Individual modules convert this system level power into isolated power supplies for analog circuit components reducing conducted EMI and further enhancing front end performance. Using a readily available COTS power supply with standard connectors allows for ease of replacement or future upgrade.

Input/Output Connectors

All sensor input signals are routed from the rear connector directly to each module through a shielded backplane. Isolated 7-pin Lemo connector or commercial RJ-45 input connector options are available. The connector pins are soldered directly to the passive backplane, and the signal conditioning modules also connect directly to the backplane, avoiding the use of less-reliable and more noise-sensitive cabling inside the chassis. The conditioned voltage outputs from each module are returned through the backplane directly to a DB25 connector in 8 channel increments. The use of standard DB25 output connectors allows for direct cabling to DataMAX II instrumentation recorders. Using the DTX-BNC adapter allows the output signals to be routed to isolated BNC connections. Routing all input and output signals through the back panel eliminates internal cabling and potential problems associated with multiple internal interface connectors.
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Last Updated: 31-Jul-2012  

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