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What Are Plug-and-Play Sensors?



Hardware: Multifunction DAQ (MIO)

Problem:
I have heard people talk about using plug-and-play sensors for measurements. Does National Instruments make any hardware or software that supports plug-and-play sensors? Where can I find more information about these sensors?

Solution:
"Plug-and-play sensors" refer to the IEEE 1451.4 specification of sensors that contain calibration or configuration information in memory on the sensor. In particular, the sensors are embedded with a Transducer Electronic Data Sheet (TEDS), typically in an EEPROM, that specifies what type of sensor is present, describes its interface, and gives technical information that would be needed to take measurements using it.

For example, if you had an accelerometer with a TEDS chip in it, the only thing necessary to take a measurement would be plugging it into a capable interface. Software would then read the data from the EEPROM and configure the acquisition to fit the necessary voltage limits specified and provide scaling for the data per the factors read from the chip. In this sense, the accelerometer is "plug-and-play" because the user need not specify any of these factors. Once the software is written, any type of IEEE 1451.4-enabled accelerometer could be swapped in and work appropriately.

With the release of NI-DAQ 7.2, the IEEE 1451.4 standard is supported directly through Measurement & Automation Explorer. National Instruments has also released three products to interface with TEDS sensors. The BNC-2096 provides an interface for Class I Sensors while the SC-2350 and the SCXI-1314T provide an interface for Class II Sensors.

National Instruments has also explored the concept of "Virtual TEDS", or creating an online library of data sheets that contain all the same information that would be found in an EEPROM TEDS, but also exist for sensors not containing the EEPROM. Virtual TEDS define a plug-and-play capability for legacy sensors. Currently LabVIEW has support for Virtual TEDS via free download from the NI website. The TEDS Library for LabVIEW facilitates the use of plug and play sensors with easy-to-use LabVIEW. Using the FREE downloadable TEDS Library for LabVIEW, users can run plug and play sensors in LabVIEW applications and edit TEDS information into plug and play sensors. For more information refer to the Plug & Play Sensors Program link below.

For more information on plug-and-play sensors and how National Instruments is enabling vendors to take advantage of them, visit the other links below.

Related Links:
White Paper: Plug and Play Sensors Forum
Products and Services: Sensors Plug & Play (TEDS) Measurement Devices

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Report Date: 12/10/2002
Last Updated: 02/09/2017
Document ID: 2S998A7N

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