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Entries for the 'Custom Hardware and Software' Category

Why Choose Silverlight for Application Development
Rick Rietz

Why Choose Silverlight for Application Development

Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) To help explain why one would choose Silverlight for application development, I think it’s important to have a basic understanding of Rich Internet Applications (RIAs). Silverlight is one of a small handful of RIA software frameworks that are used to build interactive web applications for internal enterprise applications and public-facing Internet sites. Flash and Java are the other major RIA software frameworks that compete with Silverlight. RIAs share...

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SharePoint Web Part Development - Solutions for 2 Common "Gotcha's"
William Mortl

SharePoint Web Part Development - Solutions for 2 Common "Gotcha's"

SyntaxHighlighter.all(); SharePoint and Web Parts : An Introduction Microsoft SharePoint is clearly the current top-dog in corporate information sharing, document management, and workflow management. What many companies are now discovering is how SharePoint can be an effective tool in displaying and monitoring key business and technology performance indicators. This can be easily accomplished in SharePoint due to its compelling ability to create a SharePoint dashboard (in SharePoint jargon k...

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Video Demonstration of BMS Test Stand Basic Capabilities
Brent Hoerman

Video Demonstration of BMS Test Stand Basic Capabilities

Recently DMC put together another BMS Validation Test Stand, with 100+ Battery Cell Simulation Channels, 50 Temperature Sensor Simulation Channels, and a variety of other IO channels for testing the BMS inside a PHEV battery pack. Before we shipped this tester, we wanted to demonstrate using the system to test a BMS in manual mode, to illustrate the basic capabilities of the battery cell simulators, software, and other electronics. However, the automotive BMS boards we have designed this syst...

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Personal NI Week Highlights
Brent Hoerman

Personal NI Week Highlights

So I've been using National Instruments hardware now for 15 years and programming in LabVIEW for 10.  First, that makes me feel pretty old.  Second, why is it that this is the first year I have gone to NI week?  I don't know.  But I finally understand why everyone else makes such a big deal about attending. It is a great time.  You get to network with a bunch of great people. And you can quickly get up to speed on new hardware, software features, and the ...

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NIWeek 2010!
Darren Jones

NIWeek 2010!

DMC is hitting the ground running at NIWeek 2010.  "It's Time".  This is the theme of the keynote of the first official day of NIWeek.  Time to develop, real-time control, timing for data synchronization, time to market,  everything that involves time, and how NI products can help. This is the first official day of the conference, but the second for DMC, as again this year we've come down to Austin for the first day open to Alliance Members only, ...

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Fast Embedded Prototyping: GHI Electronic's FEZ Cobra
Matt Puskala

Fast Embedded Prototyping: GHI Electronic's FEZ Cobra

In an ideal world, a design project has well defined phases with appropriate time alloted for each milestone.  In the real world, clients often bring a project that is already behind schedule, needing results yesterday. Board design can be a cumbersome process, often taking weeks before something physical is ready for the end customer. Breadboarding is an option, but it often isn't worth the time to put together a complete system with flimsy connectors that will be difficult to document...

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LabVIEW Data Storage: Overview of TDMS
Jody Koplo

LabVIEW Data Storage: Overview of TDMS

This is part one of my blog series detailing the use and optimization of the TDMS format. Here is a table of contents for all blogs in this series: LabVIEW Data Storage: Overview of TDMS LabVIEW Data Storage: TDMS Performance Tweaking LabVIEW Data Storage: TDMS Usage Case Study Here at DMC, almost all of our LabVIEW applications acquire data at one point or another. This data often needs to be saved to disk for later review, display, and/or exported to a report. Years ago, logging to...

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Energy Storage Research and Development:  Two New Case Studies
Darren Jones

Energy Storage Research and Development: Two New Case Studies

At DMC, we're happy to be working hard at the cutting edge of emerging Energy Storage devices. Many of the systems we've recently architected and delivered are world-class manufacturing test systems for Batteries and Smart Battery Packs. Another aspect of our work is further upstream, in the realm of Research and Development. Two new case studies cite specific and extensive work that we have performed in world-class Battery and Fuel Cell research. Both systems can be distinguished ...

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Selecting an Embedded Board Designer
Matt Puskala

Selecting an Embedded Board Designer

It is quite typical for companies to outsource their embedded design and other electronic and board design needs to other firms. Sometimes companies have innovative ideas they want to bring to market but not the internal electronics expertise, sometimes larger firms don't have the internal capacity or don't do enough electronics or embedded design to justify the dedicated staff. Own Your Design There are two major business models that embedded design firms use. Some firms make thei...

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RT-201: PLCs vs. Real-Time Systems
Eric Nielsen

RT-201: PLCs vs. Real-Time Systems

In RT-101: Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOS), I provided readers with a brief description of the many benefits that systems running an RTOS can provide in harsh and demanding environments. The bigger question is: in an industry saturated by PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers), PACs (Programmable Automation Controllers), Field Point controllers, Microcontrollers and many others, why should an engineer choose an RTOS PAC (Programmable Automation Controller) platform above all the rest? To addre...

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Using NI Certified LabVIEW Developers? Why not?
Brent Hoerman

Using NI Certified LabVIEW Developers? Why not?

I'm not sure if anyone else remembers taking typing tests. I know I do, and not fondly either. While no fun to take, they serve a valuable purpose to a would-be employer. If you are going to pay someone to complete tasks that involve entering text on a keyboard, shouldn't you make sure you are hiring someone who can crank out as many words per minute as possible, while keeping mistakes to a minimum? So why not give them a typing test? By the same reasoning, it makes sense to select Ce...

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RT-301: Capabilities of Distributed LabVIEW Real-Time
Darren Jones

RT-301: Capabilities of Distributed LabVIEW Real-Time

Eric Nielsen’s Real Time blog did a good job of hitting the major strengths and benefits of any system based on a controller running a Real-time operating system. Here I’ll get into a little more depth, specifically for the capabilities these systems give in regards to distributed execution. As we’ve learned, the major benefits of running a Real-Time system are determinism and robust operation. These benefits can be realized in a very powerful way: distributed execution. Dis...

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Siemens vs Allen-Bradley: Function Blocks
Nick Shea

Siemens vs Allen-Bradley: Function Blocks

Siemens and Rockwell Automation are two giants competing in industrial automation technology today. Rockwell (aka Allen-Bradley) seems to be more popular in the US market, but Siemens has a larger international customer base. A cursory Google search will reveal that there is no lack of debate among automation professionals over which one is preferred. On the higher end of their PLC lines, the programming environments to use are: Siemens - Step 7 Simatic Manager for S7-300 and 400 level ...

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National Instruments LabVIEW Remote Panel Bug
Jody Koplo

National Instruments LabVIEW Remote Panel Bug

Although we use many different technologies and software packages at DMC, we have a great amount of experience with National Instruments LabVIEW. We currently have four Certified Architects and another seven Certified Developers. Lately, we've had several customers with applications that require distributed systems using cRIOs and RT PXI chassis. Both for development and for later interaction, we often use LabVIEW Remote Front panels. Remote Front Panels allow us to peek in and check on V...

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Battery Management System (BMS) Testing Article Featured on Evaluation Engineering
Jessica Mlinaric

Battery Management System (BMS) Testing Article Featured on Evaluation Engineering

An article co-authored by DMC Senior Project Engineer, Brent Hoerman, has been featured on the Evaluation Engineering website and will be published in the April print edition. Brent wrote the article after completing a project with Pickering Interfaces, in which they developed a new PXI Battery Simulator Module. Co-writing the article are David Owens and Bob Stasonis of Pickering. The article discusses new test and validation challenges associated with electric vehicles (EVs). As the populari...

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New Charting and Spreadsheet Web Parts Provide Easy, Versatile, and Customizable Dashboard KPI Visualization
Jesse Batsche

New Charting and Spreadsheet Web Parts Provide Easy, Versatile, and Customizable Dashboard KPI Visualization

DMC has recently developed a set of versatile, powerful, time-saving, and customizable web parts to utilize in our SharePoint dashboard solutions. These tools provide a huge array of ways to visualize data and KPI's critical to a company's operation in a way that is simple and easy to interpret. Here are some of the major benefits of this new web part architecture: Learn more about DMC's SharePoint consulting dashboard services. Reduced Web Part Development Time A pri...

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Object Oriented Programming in Siemens and Allen Bradley PLCs
Jon Carson

Object Oriented Programming in Siemens and Allen Bradley PLCs

Since their conception PLC programs have been founded on simple programs. RLL (Relay Ladder Logic) and IL (Instruction List) commands have dominated PLC programs since PLCs first came to market in the 1970s. However in the past few years automation requirements have grown more complex and demanding. This has in turn led to PLC manufacturers beginning to include some higher level programming concepts in their software packages. What exactly have they added? And what does it mean for your manufact...

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Creating a Modular LabVIEW Application (Part 3 of 3): Creating Universal Control
Danny Budzinski

Creating a Modular LabVIEW Application (Part 3 of 3): Creating Universal Control

This is the final entry in a 3 part series for creating modular, scalable LabVIEW programs. Feel free to visit the first two entries, “Creating a Modular LabVIEW Application (Part 1 of 3): Creating an Expandable Data Format” and “Creating a Modular LabVIEW Application (Part 2 of 3): Eliminating VI Dependencies”. This final part will focus on the need for a universal control and communication scheme between VI’s that control test devices and sample data and some m...

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Introducing LabVIEW Object Oriented Programming to your Toolbox
Danny Budzinski

Introducing LabVIEW Object Oriented Programming to your Toolbox

The concept of LabVIEW Object Oriented Programming (LVOOP) has been around for a number of years now, but has consistently been one of those areas that seemed to have to high of a learning curve to justify learning “just because”. Luckily, in a recent project I managed to get the green light for implementing an object oriented (OO) solution. For me the biggest appeal for OO programming in LabVIEW was the increase in organization, manageability, and code-reuse that it offers. The i...

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Asynchronous Message Box in WPF
Eric Anderson

Asynchronous Message Box in WPF

The message box, in Windows Forms and WPF, is a useful, quick-and-dirty way to send an alert, display an error, and get simple input from the user. The message box is, however, modal. Recently, I needed to use a message box in WPF but did not want to block the calling thread. The usual searches pointed to creating a message box-like window and calling Show, which returns immediately and allows the calling thread to continue. There is so much built into the message box, though, such as standar...

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