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Thread: Data Acquisition System

  1. #1
    Hi everyone, we are currently searching for a data acquisition system and I would really like to hear your opinion on the matter. I am in between the following:
    -Motec ACL or ADL3
    -Race-technology DL2 & Dash4 PRO
    -2D (not sure which one yet)
    -Aim (not sure which one yet)

    Could anyone recommend something different?
    Which ones do your teams use?

    We also have a Motec M800 ECU.
    Looking forward to hearing from you guys!

    Nick Kikas
    Electronics-Data Acquisition
    Aristotle Racing Team

  2. #2
    Originally posted by nkikas:
    Hi everyone, we are currently searching for a data acquisition system and I would really like to hear your opinion on the matter. I am in between the following:
    -Motec ACL or ADL3
    -Race-technology DL2 & Dash4 PRO
    -2D (not sure which one yet)
    -Aim (not sure which one yet)

    Could anyone recommend something different?
    Which ones do your teams use?

    We also have a Motec M800 ECU.
    Looking forward to hearing from you guys!

    Nick Kikas
    Electronics-Data Acquisition
    Aristotle Racing Team
    If you've already got an M800 I'm assuming that you've got experience with the i2 software that motec uses. Hands down one of the best software packages for data analysis. That being said, its also one of the more expensive options.

    An equally impressive package is the AIM evo4 (this is what we use). Its got an option for USB storage as well as expansion hubs. The expansion hubs even have specialized options for thermocouples and other sensors. The software isn't quite as powerful as i2 but it'll do everything you want it to just as well. I've had a lot of good luck with the evo4 and its a bit more on the budget side. We payed ~$1400 for it to get into data logging and acquisition. Good bang for the buck if you're on a tight budget.

    I've never worked with either of the other options but when we came to the conclusion the motec and the aim units are both great.
    South Dakota State University Alum
    Electrical/Daq/Engine/Drivetrain/Tire guy '09-'14

    Go big, Go blue, Go JACKS!

  3. #3
    The Motec 1 Mbit CAN is sometimes an issue with non-Motec product.

    If you want the "pro-loging" and more data capacity, you will find out that the ACL is not really more expensive than the ADL when you add up all the extras.

    Plus, Ethernet download is a nice to have when you do long runs.

    I didn't worked with the others, but the ACL is a good bang for the bucks... if you have the bucks.
    Sebastien Hebert

    ETS
    Vehicle dynamic 2007-2010
    Chassis 2008-2009

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Matlab Instrument Control Toolbox

    Write you own flavor A/D activity and post-process the data in an appropriate manner(s). 'Hire' a Team member assigned to get this task done. Then you will have a taste of how professional organizations work.

    You could even use Excel to do this job. Yes, it takes some skill. Avoid the 'Hi guys, you will tell me how to do data inquisition' begging.

    Then run some procedural tests. Compare variations in performance. Validate your designs. Consume some beverages when you are proud of your work.

  5. #5
    Originally posted by BillCobb:
    Then run some procedural tests. Compare variations in performance. Validate your designs. Consume some beverages when you are proud of your work.
    +10^9. 10/10 would recommend. Excellent advice for junior engineers.
    Owen Thomas
    University of Calgary FSAE, Schulich Racing

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
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    Location
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    Originally posted by nkikas:
    Hi everyone, we are currently searching for a data acquisition system and I would really like to hear your opinion on the matter. I am in between the following:
    -Motec ACL or ADL3
    -Race-technology DL2 & Dash4 PRO
    -2D (not sure which one yet)
    -Aim (not sure which one yet)

    Could anyone recommend something different?
    Which ones do your teams use?

    We also have a Motec M800 ECU.
    Looking forward to hearing from you guys!

    Nick Kikas
    Electronics-Data Acquisition
    Aristotle Racing Team
    What is your goal in using a data system? and what are you trying to measure/achieve?

    The MoTeC is by far the most powerful and easieet to use... it'll also give you a leg up in terms of using a system that pro teams use. But may not be worth the cost if you don't have an exact and directed plan.
    "Man, I need to practice more!" - Kenny Wallace
    "Try not to have a good time... this is supposed to be educational." - Charles M Schulz
    -OptimumG 2005-2006
    -Turner Motorsports 2008-2009
    -Black Swan Racing 2010 & 2011 Team and Driver's Champions
    -HPD Race Engineer 2011-2014
    -Currently Freelance Data/Race Engineer

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    University of Pittsburgh
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    First off there is no reason for a ACL (Advanced Central Logger), it is a $10,000+ unit that has no inputs itself, you need to buy SVIMs and everything runs on CAN. Its what the NASCAR teams use... I mean if you have the money go for it but if not..

    ADL3 is a great unit... but unnecessary for all but the most demanding stuff. If you really need to run SVIMs with strain gauges then you need a ADL3. If you have tons of inputs, then maybe you need an ADL3.

    I would recommend what we are using for this year, an SDL3. Should have enough inputs with it plus the M800 (could always add a Texense A-CAN for more inputs), and with pro logging you can do just as much stuff with it as a ADL3 (minus the SVIMs).

    I have used Race-Technology (had to deal with it last year... the software is.. well annoying), dabbled in AIM, and some Racepak (plus a little Mclaren but that is $$$ stuff with hard to use interfaces). The i2 software is just so much better than everyone else's (in my experience). Plus the SDL3 and M800 would work flawless over CAN.

    An SDL3 with 16MB logging and Pro analysis runs about just under 6,000 for a reference.

  8. #8
    First of all, think carefully about what you are trying to achieve with data acquisition. Budget very carefully, especially for the sensors and wiring harnesses. In most setups, unless you grossly overspec your logger, the sensors and harnesses will cost more. Decide if you want idiot-proof plug and play, or if you are prepared to do some engineering. The former saves time and costs big money. The latter cannot be done overnight, but can deliver excellent results for much less money.

    Originally posted by Cardriverx:
    I have used Race-Technology (had to deal with it last year... the software is.. well annoying), dabbled in AIM, and some Racepak (plus a little Mclaren but that is $$$ stuff with hard to use interfaces). The i2 software is just so much better than everyone else's (in my experience). Plus the SDL3 and M800 would work flawless over CAN.
    If I had to spec an FSAE logger setup, I'd seriously consider the latest Race-Technology DL1 Mk3 hardware. But, I'd throw away their software and use GEMS GDA Pro, which is on a par with MoTeC i2 and costs about 200 per dongle last time I checked. It accepts 'csv' files which the DL1 software should be able to export semi-automatically.

    Google "dl1 mk3", "gems gda" & "ConvertRunToTxt" to find this stuff fast.

    GEMS also supply loggers, but I'm not exactly certain about their current range. I've used their older analogue / CAN cardlogger, but it's no longer listed on their site. What they sell now are CAN loggers. These could easily be used with a bunch of Technological Arts NanoCore12MAX modules as distributed acquistion modules for Canadian$47 each. You'd have to add a few resistors etc. to protect the inputs, and write a little firmware, but you'd have the equivalent of a MoTeC SVIM setup at a much lower cost.

    Google "tech arts nanocore12maxc32st" to find this device.

    None of the above is plug and play, but if you are prepared to take on the engineering, you'll be able to do much more with a small budget.

    Regards, Ian

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    University of Pittsburgh
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    That's what we used, the DL1 MK3. I have never tried the GEMS software, but if it is that good and you could directly read the files from the DL1 then it could be worth it.

    Another thing to note is the set up software is sub-par for the DL1 too, zeroing sensors like steering and dampers is really a pain (especially because they integrated the CAN hi and low pins on the serial connector and you need to use serial if you want to see data live on the computer). Furthermore, I am really not a fan of the quick bare wire connector it uses.

    It really just depends on how much money you have and how much time you have to work on just setting it up. And truthfully, you can have the best setup out there but if you have no one that actually knows (or is willing to learn) what to do with the data and analyze it then spend your money elseware.



    Originally posted by murpia:
    First of all, think carefully about what you are trying to achieve with data acquisition. Budget very carefully, especially for the sensors and wiring harnesses. In most setups, unless you grossly overspec your logger, the sensors and harnesses will cost more. Decide if you want idiot-proof plug and play, or if you are prepared to do some engineering. The former saves time and costs big money. The latter cannot be done overnight, but can deliver excellent results for much less money.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Cardriverx:
    I have used Race-Technology (had to deal with it last year... the software is.. well annoying), dabbled in AIM, and some Racepak (plus a little Mclaren but that is $$$ stuff with hard to use interfaces). The i2 software is just so much better than everyone else's (in my experience). Plus the SDL3 and M800 would work flawless over CAN.
    If I had to spec an FSAE logger setup, I'd seriously consider the latest Race-Technology DL1 Mk3 hardware. But, I'd throw away their software and use GEMS GDA Pro, which is on a par with MoTeC i2 and costs about 200 per dongle last time I checked. It accepts 'csv' files which the DL1 software should be able to export semi-automatically.

    Google "dl1 mk3", "gems gda" & "ConvertRunToTxt" to find this stuff fast.

    GEMS also supply loggers, but I'm not exactly certain about their current range. I've used their older analogue / CAN cardlogger, but it's no longer listed on their site. What they sell now are CAN loggers. These could easily be used with a bunch of Technological Arts NanoCore12MAX modules as distributed acquistion modules for Canadian$47 each. You'd have to add a few resistors etc. to protect the inputs, and write a little firmware, but you'd have the equivalent of a MoTeC SVIM setup at a much lower cost.

    Google "tech arts nanocore12maxc32st" to find this device.

    None of the above is plug and play, but if you are prepared to take on the engineering, you'll be able to do much more with a small budget.

    Regards, Ian </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

  10. #10
    We used to run RT DL1,and we're currently using ADL3.

    The RT Analysis software is ok if you know how it works, but learning curve is a bit higher than i2, and it just doesn't work as well in the end. The big difference for me is that MoTeC require you to input the calibration/transfer function in the device config before you can log, and then logs actual values. DL1 pretty much logs voltages, which means you have to know what was connected to which pin for every data file.

    this works if you have a very organsied data logging management system, but I'm betting that most teams don't, and in 5 years, no-one will know what the data means. Anyone can pull an old MoTeC file and still have usable data.

    In short, the main reason to pay the big bucks for MoTeC is that the software/ecosystem is setup to be easy to use/idiot proof. Use it if you want/need data to make your drivers faster. IMO, FSAE is very much a driving competition, and use of daq is a must if you want to go fast.

    Something I noticed about the Monash drivers - they ALL take a serious interest in their own driving data, and use it to go faster/improve. IMO, that's why they win - they have grasped what the "problem" is, and use their resources to find the most effective/efficient solution, which is good engineering.
    Rex Chan
    MUR Motorsports (The University of Melbourne)
    2009 - 2012: Engine team and MoTeC Data acquisition+wiring+sensors
    2013 - 2014: Engine team alumni and FSAE-A/FStotal fb page admin/contributer

    r.chan|||murmotorsports.com
    rexnathanchan|||gmail.com
    0407684620

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