Between company shutdowns and working from home over the last few weeks, some organizations are slowing production and running into various struggles to keep moving forward. For DISTek’s VT Anywhere team, we have been getting even more done now than ever before. While Slack calls and meetings have completely replaced in person interactions, the team has remained focused and very productive.
Have you ever played the game “telephone”? It’s where you have a line of people and starting on one end someone whispers something into someone’s ear. That message is then passed on to the next person and so on and so on. Once it reaches the final person, you may find out that the message was misinterpreted. “Big dog” may have changed to “bed bug”. This is one of the major problems that have plagued software design and something I see on a regular basis. Engineers receive requirements that were already passed down through other people, so the engineer is left to interpret them the best they can.
Acquiring and/or logging high speed data, using the traditional DAQmx scaling approach, will consume considerable amounts of memory due to its use of the double precision data type. Each sample collected will consume eight bytes of memory whether being stored in memory or on disk. This size is fine when collecting data at lower rates, but if you are collecting data at a rate of 1 MS/s, eight bytes per sample is too much for most systems to handle.
A customer has been receiving field failures and the root cause has been difficult to determine. They have ideas of what may be causing these failures and need a test system that can simulate the various conditions and monitor the Device Under Test (DUT) to assist in determining the root cause. The customer turned to DISTek to provide a bench-top setup that will control the DUT and measure multiple in-circuit test points for events that may be damaging field effect transistors (FET) along with recording FET case temperatures. Custom events have been defined by the customer and will trigger the system to capture pre and post-trigger data. The test system should also provide various loads to the output of the DUT.
As LCD vehicle displays have become more prevalent and versatile in both on- and off-highway, the time it takes to ensure proper display functionality after a software release has increased dramatically. It is not uncommon for displays to have 15, 20, or even 30 different screens, each of which having multiple sub-selections available. If you take into consideration different supported languages, the scope of the test grows dramatically. DISTek, as a company, is always attempting to define the future needs of customers in the off-highway industry, of which vehicle display testers are one of those needs.
The 22nd Annual NI Week is slated to begin in Austin, Texas, on August 1st. NI Week provides the forum to bring together the brightest minds in engineering and science. More than 3,200 innovators representing a wide spectrum of industries, from automotive and telecommunications to robotics and energy will converge together to discover the latest technology to accelerate productivity for software-defined systems in test, measurement, and control. While DISTek regularly attends in various capacities, this year we will be making a new showing. Our very own Systems Engineer and LabVIEW expert, Ed Dickens, will be presenting on Wednesday, August 3rd from 4:45-5:45PM. His presentation is the result of National Instruments trying something new. This year, for the first time ever, there will be an advanced software topic track where all the presentation topics and content will be prepared and presented by various “LabVIEW Champions”.
One of the presentations I attended at this years Certified LabVIEW Architects summit was given by Darren Nattinger of National Instruments. Darren is a Principal Engineer in LabVIEW R & D. One of the many things he’s responsible for is getting the Quick Drop feature added to LabVIEW. His presentation was titled, ”An End to Brainless LabVIEW Programming”.
Another year has come and gone and many eventful happenings took place in the history of DISTek. We may look back at 2015 as a turning point due to the substantial changes we made in all aspects of our business. Those end-of-the-year cards you get in the mail always seem to be bragging a little too much, but that is just what I am going to do because I think the year DISTek had is worth bragging about.
Somehow I happened to fall into the last slot of the year for the DISTek blog. I am not complaining as it gave me a few more days to prepare. …
Until about a month ago, all of my experience writing code had been with text-based languages like C and Java. I had mostly written code to command microcontrollers or for signal processing. C allowed me a very procedural view of how the microcontroller would execute the code. One line of code could tell the microcontroller to turn on an LED and the next could tell it to turn the LED off, and the microcontroller would always execute the first line first and the second line second. Then I started at DISTek and learned how to code in LabVIEW. LabVIEW is quite the departure from text-based languages. I would like to describe how LabVIEW compares to text-based languages and some of my experiences learning LabVIEW as a new software developer.
As LabVIEW and TestStand developers creating customer applications, acquiring and maintaining our National Instruments certifications is important to both DISTek and our customers. Certification demonstrates up-to-date expertise with the software as new features are released and maintains our presence as product experts in the technical community. To keep certifications current, we must periodically take the next higher certification exam or recertify at our current level.