Expanding the Limits
Top of the list for improvements was an easier, spreadsheet-like acquisition setup similar to that used in PULSE Data Recorder Type 7708. This was a major task as the user interface for I-deas was not flexible enough to accommodate a spreadsheet in the main application window. We accepted the challenge and planned to implement the Channel Table Spreadsheet (CTS) in Test for I-deas 5. The result was an easy-touse interface with “Excel-like” functionality duplicating settings to adjacent rows in the table, saving significant time and providing live feedback of the input levels during setup and configuration.
Adding the CTS let us support PULSE hardware features that were previously unavailable to I-deas customers. TEDS (Transducer Electronic Data Sheets) support is one of the main features requested. The CTS automatically detects TEDS transducers and simultaneously loads them into the I-deas Transducer Database and enters the correct values in the CTS while configuring the front-end transducer conditioning to the appropriate settings (ICP, Preamplifier, etc.). This removes the need for manual entry and the errors that result from this. On large systems, the saving in setup time can be 60%.
The CTS also supports other hardware features such as front-end fan control and switching between 16- and 24-bit acquisition. In addition to the CTS, we implemented many minor improvements to improve productivity and save time. Multiple data files can be opened simultaneously, the file browser can be set to remember the last directory, and Excel export has been extended to include complete function header information.
To test the functionality of the CTS and the expandability of the PULSE hardware, we configured a 721-channel PULSE system, the largest ever assembled. Test for I-deas 5, including the CTS, performed flawlessly. Connection to the front-end and scanning for TEDS transducers took a mere 16 seconds before the system was ready for acquisition. Performance and responsiveness were good even on a modest, midrange desktop computer, which had no problem acquiring both time and frequency response functions from all 721 channels simultaneously. (www.bksv.com/worldslargestpulsesystem)
Continuing the Legacy
Earlier this year Brüel & Kjær launched a completely new acquisition front-end platform called LAN-XI (see page 8).
We are pleased to announce that we will not only be supporting LAN-XI in I-deas but will also provide support for a combined LAN-XI and IDAe acquisition system. This means that customers can augment their current PULSE hardware with LAN-XI hardware with confidence. Support for LAN-XI acquisition will be included in the Test for I-deas 6 release later this year.