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Entries for the 'Custom Hardware and Software' Category

March Programming Madness - The Bracket
Danny Budzinski

March Programming Madness - The Bracket

With the final few plays of the super bowl still fresh in mind, we enter March on the verge of another of the greatest events in sports, the March Madness of Programming Languages. This epic, world-renowned event (not to be confused with the similarly named athletic event) pits some of best programming languages head to head. At DMC, we pride ourselves in being fluent in many, many software languages from LabVIEW and .Net to PLC’s and microcontrollers. A team of engineers came...

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Exploring Altium: Document Management
Ryan Taylor

Exploring Altium: Document Management

"Documentation" The word alone sends shivers down the spine of even the most grizzled engineer and fuels nightmares for the rest of us. Maybe it’s not quite that bad, but keeping accurate and effective documentation is a critical element of any project, and it’s easy to do wrong. At DMC, we have developed a handful of methods and tricks to fend off the perils of poor documentation when working with Altium Designer. For the second part of my Exploring Altium series, I...

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Office Autonomous Robot
Alex Krejcie

Office Autonomous Robot

With the imminent arrival of DMC’s second FedEx Day, the brainstorming began. Amid ideas to improve our internal network and everyday tasks, the idea to one day take over the world started gaining support. Everyone knows that the first step towards world domination is the creation of your very own robot army. With that in mind, DMC decided it was time to build its own office autonomous robot. Hardware Selection In order for our robot to provide a lasting platform for autonomous devel...

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Exploring Altium: Pin Swapping
Ryan Taylor

Exploring Altium: Pin Swapping

Since joining the DMC team, I’ve had the opportunity to contribute to a wide variety of awesome projects and learn several new technologies. During a recent embedded design project, I was tasked with converting our circuit schematic to a printed circuit board (PCB) layout using a software package called Altium Designer. Altium is a very powerful tool for schematic capture and layout (as well as FPGA design and simulation) with a fantastic support wiki, and I wanted to share some of the tip...

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NLog for LabVIEW – Logging done properly
Jody Koplo

NLog for LabVIEW – Logging done properly

What is it? Many developers may be familiar with the concept of a logging platform. Essentially, a logging platform is a modular system that is designed to be plugged into a project and allow the system to keep a time-stamped record of events with minimal effect on execution time or system resources. Think of it as a journal of a program’s execution. One of the most commonly used logging platforms is NLog – an open source module that integrates well with .NET applications. We b...

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Create a Photo Booth with Your Canon DSLR
Jason Mayes

Create a Photo Booth with Your Canon DSLR

I attended a wedding a few months back where the bride and groom had rented a photo booth. With a combination of props and wine, there were many great photo strips being printed and passed around and it quickly turned into quite the contest. Naturally, I won. It seemed like a great idea – the guests were really enjoying themselves and the bride and groom kept a copy of each strip to put into a photo album documenting their big day. After the wedding, I was talking with some friends who ...

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Danny Budzinski

DMC Kinect Demo News and Updates

As many of you may know, we used last week’s Oktoberfest party as an unofficial house warming party for our new office space. In addition to having a great turnout despite uncooperative weather, the Kinect Demo team from FedEx Day 2010 put in some extra hours to get our new display case setup to welcome guests. If you haven’t seen the display case, an early video is available here, and a detailed case study can be found in our case study section. In the new office, we were able to...

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Image Manipulation in Windows CE or Mobile using VS .NET
John Sullivan

Image Manipulation in Windows CE or Mobile using VS .NET

SyntaxHighlighter.all(); Recently DMC developed a high speed vision inspection system using LabVIEW. This system inspects many different parts and each part requires different inspection criteria, so we needed to develop a user interface (UI) that could be used to configure the current products, as well as be flexible enough to configure new products. The manufacturing machine was already running on a Windows CE device, so our UI would need to interface with the UI already on the system an...

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It's here!!  NIweek 2011
Darren Jones

It's here!! NIweek 2011

It's great to be back in Austin Texas for the annual National Instruments NIweek conference. Today is the first official day of the conference, where the largest ever audience (3300 people!) will be introduced to the latest products, trends, markets, and emerging technologies. We kicked things off at Alliance Day yesterday, where the day's keynote and sessions are dedicated to NI's partner network.  DMC has been a part of the NI Alliance Partner network for close to 15 yea...

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Automatic Remote Updates and the GHI Electronics EMX
Matt Puskala

Automatic Remote Updates and the GHI Electronics EMX

Our first experience with the .NET Micro Framework (NETMF) was on GHI Electronic's Embedded Master platform, using the .NET Micro Framework 3.0.  We recently had an opportunity to use the GHI's next generation replacement for the Embedded Master, the EMX module, and the .NET Micro Framework 4.1.  Both Microsoft and GHI have made many changes to the assemblies, classes and methods.   One cool new feature is the SystemUpdate class and the bootloader features that GHI a...

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WCF web services with LabVIEW
Leon Grossman

WCF web services with LabVIEW

On a recent project with LabVIEW, I was tasked with integrating a C# DLL into a LabVIEW application. The integration worked quite well and allowed us to integrate client generated code with the exising LabVIEW application. As the application has evolved, it makes sense to separate the .NET code completely from the LabVIEW code. The initial thought was to use WCF Web Services to do the heavy lifting and use the web services import functionality in LabVIEW. Unfortunately, the import functonalit...

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Occasionally Connected Database Applications with Microsoft Sync Services
Leon Grossman

Occasionally Connected Database Applications with Microsoft Sync Services

It is often desired to have "occasionally connected" applications where a device may not always be connected to a network and that makes the task of maintaining a central data store such as SQL Server 2008R2 consistent across multiple devices and users an extremely challenging task. Fortunately, Microsoft has created Microsoft Sync Services (sync services) to address this problem. Sync services is a way of using a local database cache built on Microsoft SQL&nbs...

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Application Programming with Yaskawa’s A1000 Inverter Drives
Jason Mayes

Application Programming with Yaskawa’s A1000 Inverter Drives

I recently had the opportunity to spend a few days at Yaskawa America’s North American headquarters to sit in on an A1000 Application Programming class. As a Yaskawa Solution and Service Provider PLUS, many DMC engineers have extensive application programming experience using Yaskawa’s inverter drives in the industrial workspace. In addition to being a Yaskawa Solution and Service Provider, we have frequently worked closely with Yaskawa’s software development team to aid i...

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DMC Achieves Microsoft Partner Gold Status in Software Development
Jessica Mlinaric

DMC Achieves Microsoft Partner Gold Status in Software Development

DMC is excited to announce the achievement of Gold status within the Software Development competency of Microsoft’s new partner program. The criteria for earning Gold status in the new Microsoft Partner Network is far more stringent and promises to better represent organizations who have demonstrated the highest, most consistent capability and commitment within specific technical and business solution areas. While DMC has consistently maintained a gold level partnership with Micr...

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Tortoise SVN and VisualSVN Server - Your project anywhere
Leon Grossman

Tortoise SVN and VisualSVN Server - Your project anywhere

Source Code Control (SCC) is universally acknowledged by developers as an important part of developing and maintaining projects.  Effective use of takes discipline because what is not checked into the repository is not saved.  Opening a project several years after the fact to find out that the latest code resided on a long decommissioned computer is not a pleasant experience.  It is in everyone's best interest to make sure that code is properly stored in the repository at all...

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Maintaining Legacy Custom Visual Studio Software
Leon Grossman

Maintaining Legacy Custom Visual Studio Software

I recently had the experience of working on a Visual Basic.NET 1.1 application that our company created a number of years ago.  This brought the whole issue of maintaining legacy code into sharp focus.  Legacy industrial software could easily take up several blog entries on its own so we will focus specifically on Visual Basic 6 and .NET (Visual Basic.NET or C#). For a blog entry on working with legacy hardware, see this blog entry. VB6 I still encounter VB6 applications in th...

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DMC exhibiting at the National Instruments Technical Symposium
Darren Jones

DMC exhibiting at the National Instruments Technical Symposium

DMC will join leading companies to host the National Instruments Technical Symposium that builds on the success of NIWeek, the worldwide virtual instrumentation conference and exhibition held annually in Austin, Texas, where the company is headquartered. NIWeek 2010 concluded in August with attendance of more than 2,500 people, who participated in hands-on training, interactive technical sessions, summits, exhibitions and workshops. National Instruments designed the NI Technical Symposium to del...

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Battery Management System (BMS) Testing Strategies
Brent Hoerman

Battery Management System (BMS) Testing Strategies

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are bringing new test and validation challenges to the automotive industry as we rapidly continue the long-awaited cross-over from internal combustion engines to fully electric drive trains. One of the bigger test and validation challenges out there involves testing the battery management system (BMS). (Background of PHEV automotive battery packs and battery management systems) Modern BMS systems for PHEV applicat...

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BMS Test Stand Towers Over the Competition
Jesse Batsche

BMS Test Stand Towers Over the Competition

DMC recently developed a completely automated test system specifically designed for Battery Management System (BMS) validation, verification, environmental, and Hardware in the loop (HWIL/HIL) testing. The system was developed for a tier-one automotive supplier developing lithium ion battery packs for Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs). Check out the Battery Management System Test Stand Case Study for a full description of the system. Here are a few high res p...

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Multithreading and Delegates in C# and Handling a Parameter Mismatch Exception
John Sullivan

Multithreading and Delegates in C# and Handling a Parameter Mismatch Exception

Recently I was working on a project using several threads in C#. I had four threads; one for the Main UI, one for serial communication with some force sensors, one operating a motion controller, and the final one used to perform user defined scripts. When using multiple threads it is important to control the method of information transfer between threads. Although some older software required you to create your own flags or methods to prevent multiple access to the same point, C# allows you acce...

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