NOTE 1: The 'FP' versions of
LabAnalyst and LabHelper include new features, but the main changes and
improvements over the 'regular' versions are:
- FP numerical algorithms use floating-point math instead of binary-coded
decimal (BCD) math
- FP software is written in a 'fat binary' code that runs in native mode
on PowerPC processors (as well as on 68K machines)
- the FP version requires System 7.5 or higher; the 'plain' version also
runs on earlier systems
These changes confer substantial speed increases in many operations.
The minor downside is that older BCD binary data files are read somewhat
less rapidly than previously (but files saved in the new FP format are loaded
NOTE 1.5: The 'FP2' version
of LabHelper is an upgraded version of LabHelper FP that includes:
- More samples per channel.
- Works with the NI PCI-MIO-16XE-50 board, which has 16 channels of analog
inputs with sixteen-bit resolution and gains of 1-100: a considerable improvement
over 12-bit boards (the equivalent PC card device does
- Allows some post-conversion manipulations of data, including response
correction (using the Z-correction algorithm) and calculations for aerial
respirometry (oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide production, and evaporative
water loss). These can now be displayed in real time (and optionally saved
LabHelper FP2 only runs on PowerPC machines with OS 8 and OS 9 operating systems.
It will not allow use of multi-channel oscilloscope mode with
16-bit boards, but I doubt if that will cause much inconvenience.
NOTE 2: The 'FP' version of
LabHelper is faster than the 'plain' version when running on PowerPC Macs.
However, when running on a 68K Mac it is about 25% slower in many aspects
of data acquisition when using National Instruments cards. Therefore,
if acquisition speed is paramount, use the 'plain'
version if you have a 68K machine and the 'FP' version if you have a PowerMac.
NOTE 3: To use LabHelper with
a National Instruments A-D card (LabNB, PCI-1200, or DAQCard-1200, PCI-MIO-16XE-50),
you need the National Instruments driver software (NI-DAQ) version 4.9.x,
which is included when you buy the card. If you aren't using LabHelper,
or if you are using it with an external analog-to-digital converter, you
do not need NI-DAQ. If you have an earlier version of NI-DAQ and want
to upgrade to the latest, go to the NI website:
their downloads page and look through it until you find Ni-DAQ for the Mac.
The binary version is multiple megabytes and the
binhexed version is even bigger (this is because both 4.9.x and 6.x -- plus
a lot of other stuff -- are included in the same source file).
Once you have succesfully acquired the code
-- either as part of an A-D card purchase or a downloaded copy -- you need
to figure out what to do with it. Fortunately, you only need the 'minimal'
installation of NI-DAQ 4.9.x, namely the NI-DAQ control panel and the NI-DMA/DSP
extension (which total about 1.5 Mb). Note that newer versions
of the DAQ software will not work with
LabHelper. Last time I checked, which was quite a while ago, NI was shipping both version 4.9.x
and version 6.x with their cards, and 4.9.x is bundled with 6.x on the NI
website. NI says that version 4.9 works with both 680X0 and PowerMacs,
while 6.x is restricted to PowerMacs. Don't get confused by this:
even if you are using only PowerMacs, do not install 6.x if you want LabHelper
NOTE 4: In addition to NI-DAQ,
you need a couple of software 'patches' to make the system run at maximal
speed with LabHelper and 12-bit NI cards (LabNB, PCI-1200, DAQCard-1200).
You can download these from this page. To get them to work, the folder
entitled "NI-DAQ Extensions" must be placed in your computer's
Control Panels folder (within the System folder).
I got these patches from a kindly National Instruments engineer, after
I fretted about how slowly my system ran following the switch from NI-DAQ
version 4.7 to 4.8. I presume it's OK to put them on the web, since
I can't find them on the NI website, but keep in mind that they, like the
rest of the NI-DAQ software, are copyrighted by National Instruments, and
you should check all the legal stuff at their web site: http://www.natinst.com/.