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DMC Remodeling
Danny Budzinski

DMC Remodeling

Anyone who has ever visited the DMC office probably has made a trip into the friendly 'DMC Annex'. The 'Annex' (which is not really an annex at all, but rather a sub-office in need of a name due to its friendly welcoming attitude) is home to 3 of our top engineers, Nick Shea, Kristie Simon, and, of course, myself. The 'Annex' is a tight knit group, together now for 2+ years, comprising 3/4 of the DMC soccer team, and representing a good portion of the non-computer engi...

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LabVIEW TDMS Write-Close Issue
Brent Hoerman

LabVIEW TDMS Write-Close Issue

I discovered an interesting issue with the LabVIEW 8.6 TDMS Write / Close routine I want to share and document for anyone else unlucky enough to encounter it. In defense of LabVIEW, this issue is only encountered if the programmer uses the TDMS Write and Close out of order (yes, I admit to this). However, in my defense, the error produced by such a 'boneheaded' programming mistake should not abruptly crash your system. Background: I was stress testing a large automated testing soft...

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Ken Brey

Backup at DMC goes full circle

In the beginning, all of the important files at DMC fit onto a single 100MB iomega ZIP disk. Since 1996 we have grown to a 25 person company and gone from 0 servers to 6. We used BackupExec for a couple years but then switched to Dantz Retrospect for it's superior ability to redundant incremental backup sets. Dantz Retrospect became EMC Retrospect in a merger, and now (over a year ago actually) EMC has bought iomega. So now Retrospect can be found on the iomega web site.

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"Team DMC" competes in 2009 Chicago Bastille Day 5K
Frank Riordan

"Team DMC" competes in 2009 Chicago Bastille Day 5K

For at least 9 years (maybe even 10) DMC has been entering a contingency of runners in the annual Bastille Day Race in Chicago's West Loop. This year we get to crown the newest member of our team as the fastest member of our team. Jesse Batsche, who joined us in January, unseated Jody Koplo as the "World's Fastest Engineer who works at DMC" The race times and per mile pace are as follows: DMC 2009 Chicago Bastille Day 5K Results   Runner ...

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Ken Brey

NASA sees the advantages of Structured Light for 3D vision

Recent press releases by NASA show how the agency is realizing the advantages of using Structured Light for 3D vision. A recent NASA Invention of the Year was a hand-held, battery-operated scanner that they use to create surface maps of shuttle tile damage. The same high-speed 3D scanner technology can also be used for longer range 3D measurements. NASA is investigating using this method for Rover Navigation and in-flight shuttle inspection with a system mounted on the robotic arm. DMC ...

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.NET Micro Framework and the GHI Embedded Master
Dan Freve

.NET Micro Framework and the GHI Embedded Master

Recently I've had the opportunity to do some embedded development using the .NET Micro Framework platform. The .NET Micro Framework is a light-weight version of the full .NET framework that can be ported to run on a variety of processors, including the ARM and Blackfin architectures. Using the .NET Framework, developers can implement their solutions in C#. While developing an embedded program in a managed language may sound foreign to most engineers, the obvious benefits are rapid develop...

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Using FBVEL Gain for PID Servo motion tuning Acroloop
Ken Brey

Using FBVEL Gain for PID Servo motion tuning Acroloop

I have been using Acroloop 9000 controllers to control a number of machines where one axis is a high-speed rotary motor that drives a mechanical cam-driven process. During operation of the machine, the motor accelerates from a stop to a constant high speed, and then back to a stop. The mechanical cam performs dozens of cycles during the process while the motor is at a constant speed. The difficulty in tuning this process is that the motor experiences changing loads and inertias as the mechani...

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Danny Budzinski

Trick for Adding an Entire Excel Workbook to Microsoft OneNote

Recently I was using OneNote to compile a lot of test data from Excel and ran into a problem. My data was in a number of different worksheets and when I dragged and dropped the Excel file as a printout into OneNote, I only got 1 of the sheets, not all of the many sheets of data. I didn't want to keep inserting the sheets 1 by 1 so I looked into it and I figured out how to get the whole workbook into OneNote in 1 fell swoop: Open the Excel workbook you want to import as a printout...

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Using LabVIEW with Windows XP Embedded (XPe)
Jody Koplo

Using LabVIEW with Windows XP Embedded (XPe)

I recently finished a project that checked for gas leaks on a mission critical system. Any leaks needed to be diagnosed and discovered as quickly as possible. Our solution also had to be mobile and easily carted around the facility. To develop a system that was incredibly reliable and also capable of displaying and logging important data, we settled on an architecture that used a National Instruments cRIO for data acquisition and a Windows XP Embedded PC as the front end for display and contr...

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Ken Brey

Internet Explorer 8 Problems with SharePoint

At DMC we make heavy use of Microsoft SharePoint in almost everything we do from project management to financial tracking. We use Excel Services to display real time key performance indicators. Several of us in the office have recently updated to Internet Explorer 8. A couple of us have found a peculiar problem with IE8 and SharePoint pages with Excel Services. The problems include: Crash of IE when displaying any page that included Excel Services web parts. Crash of IE when displaying ...

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State Transition to Ladder Diagram Translation
Eric Anderson

State Transition to Ladder Diagram Translation

Ladder diagrams are an industrial programming language typically used on programmable logic controllers (PLC). This graphical language mimics a relay logic electrical schematic. For engineers that are not familiar with relay logic, though, ladder diagrams can be difficult to implement, debug, and maintain, especially when programming complicated machines with many inputs, outputs, and states. In these applications, the state transition diagram or sequential function chart are better tools. Bo...

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Robotic Vehicle Driver - Success!
Leon Grossman

Robotic Vehicle Driver - Success!

Some time ago, the staff of the Advanced Powertrain Research Facility at Argonne National Laboratory asked me if we could create a robotic driver to control speed of a vehicle on their dynamometer. There are off-the-shelf solutions for this task but it would be difficult to get the level of configurability and integration needed with these systems. We used LabVIEW to develop a relatively sophisticated PID control system to handle the significant non-linearities found in the control of most ve...

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DMC Achieves Wonderware Certified Integrator Status
Tim Jager

DMC Achieves Wonderware Certified Integrator Status

I am proud to announce that DMC has achieved Certified Wonderware Integrator Status. To achieve Certified System Integrator Status, DMC has fulfilled the following certification requirements of the Wonderware SI Ecosystem Program: Two or more developers must complete individual product training and pass CSI tests. Two successful projects must be executed and documented to earn product level certifications. A special thanks to Ken Brey and Jody Koplo of DMC for their Wonderware proje...

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DMC Achieves Most LabVIEW Architects in Midwest!
Darren Jones

DMC Achieves Most LabVIEW Architects in Midwest!

DMC demonstrated our LabVIEW expertise again by receiving seven new certifications, including three Architect Certifications, putting DMC among the highest level of LabVIEW Architects in the country. With the additional Developer Certifications, DMC now has the most LabVIEW certifications in the region. Congratulations to four new Certified LabVIEW Developers: Danny Budzinski, Eric Nielsen, Jesse Batsche, and David Simons. All candidates passed with scores greater than 93%. Special mention go...

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Forcing IE8 Compatibility Mode in Dot Net Nuke
Matt Puskala

Forcing IE8 Compatibility Mode in Dot Net Nuke

Microsoft has just released Internet Explorer 8. Unfortunately, some of the pages on our website have some issues when viewed with IE8's default settings. In particular, the styling that we've done on our main page's tab control is causing issues. Users can fix these issues on the client side by selecting compatibility mode (the button to the right of the URL field shown below). Of course, a client side fix is never a user-friendly fix. Thankfully there is a meta tag that can ...

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Circuit Board Design: Auto-routing in Altium
Matt Puskala

Circuit Board Design: Auto-routing in Altium

You've finished and double checked your schematic, all the footprints have been loaded or created, and you've laid out all of your components on your board. Now it is time to route the traces. Traditionally, board designers route traces by hand giving them complete control over everything. However, there definitely are times and places for the auto-routing tool. When to Use Auto-Routing Tools Simple board designs with fewer components Situations where impedance matching and...

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Fixing Pidgin for Yahoo Messenger
Matt Puskala

Fixing Pidgin for Yahoo Messenger

Like many offices, we have adopted the use of instant messenger while at work. It allows us to stay in quick contact with each other, even when working remotely at customer sites. The network we use is the Yahoo Messenger network. Some of us use the default client, but many of us have switched over to Pidgin. The main advantage of Pidgin is the ability to link other IM networks to one client (ICQ, MSN, Google, etc.). Today I noticed issues with my current version of Pidgin on the Yahoo Mes...

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Customer Service Fundamentals - Part IV
Frank Riordan

Customer Service Fundamentals - Part IV

As in previous entries, here I will be exploring one of our Customer Service Fundamentals: Understand, Manage, and Where Possible, Exceed Expectations Managing expectations can really only happen when they are first understood. The simplest way to do this is to discuss, ask and then listen. Amazing how often this simple step is missed. After expectations are properly understood they need to be managed. Keeping clear, open communications channels open is the absolute best way of doing so...

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DMC Passes Wonderware Historian & InTouch Exams
Tim Jager

DMC Passes Wonderware Historian & InTouch Exams

DMC is proud to announce that Jody Koplo and Ken Brey have each passed Wonderware certifications exams. Jody successfully passed the InTouch 10.0 Exam and Ken Brey passed the InSQL Historian Exam. Prior to taking the test, Ken had completed several key projects using the Wonderware historian product. His experience paid off as he was easily able to pass the challenging exam on his first try. Jody recently completed a project that integrated a Wonderware InTouch HMI system with over 30 Alle...

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AutoCross Fun in Rantoul
Leon Grossman

AutoCross Fun in Rantoul

I recently spent a pleasant Sunday in Rantoul, IL at the Champaign County Sports Car Club autocross with some engineers from the Advanced Powertrain Research Facility group of Argonne National Laboratory.  I’ll post about the distributed LabVIEW data acquisition (DAQ) system we’ve created for them in another post. This entry is all about cars. Autocross Adventures If you aren’t familiar with Autocross, it is a sport where a small, twisty track is setup in a parkin...

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