Getting started with LabHelper
To begin working with LabHelper:


Connecting A-D converters

  • On modern Macs, which have USB ports, you need a USB --> serial converter for all of these devices except the Sable UI3.   I've verified that the Keyspan (now, TrippLite) USA-19HS works nicely.   I've also verified that other converters DO NOT work reliably, so I highly recommend the Keyspan/Tripp Lite units.   Make sure the driver software is appropriate for whatever version of OS X you are running.   Here are some connection considerations for the various supported A-D converters (more details on these devices are here).

       Sable Systems Universal Interface 'UI2' or 'UI3':

  • Connecting the UI2 is simple.   With your USB-serial converter installed (with the necessary driver software), you should not have to do anything except plug in the cable that comes with the UI2.

  • Connecting the UI3 is also simple.   No USB-serial converter is needed.   You may need to install FTDI software drivers (not necessary on late versions of OSX) but after that you should not have to do anything except plug in the USB cable that comes with the UI3.

  •  Data Electronics DataTakers:

    These instructions refer to the basic DT50/500/600 (referred to below as 'DT500') and DT800 models.  Earlier models may not work, and I have not had the opportunity to test other versions.   However, users have told me that other DataTaker models do work with the software.

    • The software expects the default factory settings (no parity, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit).  For the DT500, the standard baud rate is 4800.   For the DT800, a faster rate will be automatically used, up to 115,000 baud (if necessary, the maximum rate can be adjusted from within the LabHelper A-D menu).   If you want to use other baud rates on the DT500, set the appropriate DataTaker switches for the desired rate.  Make sure to use no parity, 8 data bits, and 1 stop bit (If these settings are incorrect, the software won't work). 
    • Build (or purchase) a connecting cable and power supply, as outlined in the very detailed and helpful DataTaker instruction manual.
    • To drive external devices with a DataTaker's digital outputs, you may have to build a simple circuit to supply the necessary positive voltages.

     Advantech ADAM-4019:

    The ADAM 4019 is a simple, inexpensive A to D converter.   I has 8 quite versatile channels (each can be a voltage or thermocouple input).   However, it isn't very fast (about 10 samples/second total) and it has no digital or voltage outputs, so you can't control external devices with it (you can ad digital outputs by adding an ADAM 4050, and another 8 A-D channels by adding another ADAM 4019 or 4017).

    • The software expects the default factory settings (no parity, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit).  For the DT500, the standard baud rate is 9600.   A faster rate will be automatically used, up to 115,000 baud (if necessary, the maximum rate can be adjusted from within the LabHelper A-D menu).  Note that the ADAM units use the RS-485 protocol, so you'll need an RS-232 to RS-485 converter to use it with the TrippLite USA-19HS.   Make sure to use no parity, 8 data bits, and 1 stop bit (If these settings are incorrect, the software won't work). 
    • Build (or purchase) a connecting cable and power supply, as outlined in the instruction manual.  Note that the ADAM units use the RS-485 protocol, so you'll need an RS-232 to RS-485 converter to use it with the TrippLite USA-19HS.
    • To drive external devices with a 4050's digital outputs, you may have to build a simple circuit to supply the necessary positive voltages.

       Remote Measurement Systems ADC-1:

    NOTE: the ADC-1 is LONG out of production, but used ones can be obtained and work fine for many purposes.

    ADC-1s are slow, but have 16 analog inputs.   If possible, get one with the normal input voltage range (±0.42 volts) and the 50X programmable gain option on all 16 channels.  You can use an ADC-1 with the gain option on only 8 channels if you are careful to attach your instruments to those channels exclusively.  You can even use an ADC-1 without programmable gain, but resolution will be much more limited. 

    • Set the DIP switches on the back of the ADC-1 to 9600 baud (you can use slower baud rates, but the default is 9600), no parity, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit.  If these settings are incorrect, the LabHelper software won't work. 
    • Build a connecting cable and power supply, as outlined in the very detailed and helpful ADC-1 instruction manual. 

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