DAP a-Series Product Safety and Compliance Manual
Safety Guidelines and Declaration of Conformity for the DAP a-Series Family of Products
Version 1.01
Microstar Laboratories, Inc.
The contents of this manual are protected by copyright. All rights are reserved. No part of this manual may be
copied, reproduced, or translated to another language without prior written consent of Microstar Laboratories, Inc.
Copyright © 2012-2015, Microstar Laboratories, Inc.
Microstar Laboratories, Inc.
2265 116th Avenue N.E.
Bellevue, WA 98004
Tel:
(425) 453-2345
Fax:
(425) 453-3199
www.mstarlabs.com
Data Acquisition Processor and DAP are trademarks of Microstar Laboratories, Inc.
Microstar Laboratories requires express written approval from its President if any Microstar Laboratories products
are to be used in or with systems, devices, or applications in which failure could endanger human life.
Part Number DAPSFTY101
Contents
1. Introduction.............................................................................................................................4
2. Products Covered....................................................................................................................6
3. Specifications...........................................................................................................................8
4. Operating Environment..........................................................................................................9
5. Electrical Grounding...............................................................................................................10
6. Access and Maintenance.........................................................................................................11
A. Appendix: Declarations of Conformity................................................................................12
Index............................................................................................................................................21
1. Introduction
This manual provides safety and maintenance information, applicable generally to data acquisition equipment, but directed
specifically to the Microstar Laboratories DAP a-Series family of Data Acquisition Processor products. DAP is short for
“Data Acquisition Processors,” and is a trade name representing the family of products. The a-Series family of Data
Acquisition Processor products is a set of similar and very closely related DAP products that will be defined more
specifically in sections that follow. The DAP a-Series products have been tested and found to be in conformance with
international standards, and declarations of conformity are included at the end of this manual. This manual covers only the
DAP a-Series family. In all of the following sections of this manual, any reference to DAP boards or products products
implicitly refers to the DAP a-Series family only.
Intended Use
The DAP a-Series family of Data Acquisition Processor products are boards operated as as plug-in components of a
desktop, server, or workstation PC machine, through PCI interfaces of the host machine. This extends the capabilities of the
host for capturing high-resolution measurements of signals, typically produced by sensor or digital logic devices. The
captured signals are converted to a digitized form compatible with digital computer processing, and these results are then
delivered to the PC host system directly through its PCI data bus. The microprocessor chip on a DAP board can provide
additional processing to convert the signal data and deliver it in alternate forms, such as filtered signals with reduced levels
of noise, or control output signals that respond to information extracted from input data.
Special restrictions on use of individual models are given in the hardware manual for each DAP product. The functionality
of each of these board models is very similar, differing primarily in precision and delivery rates of digital data produced by
the board, the number of channels of each type that can be configured, and the processing capacity of the microprocessor
chips mounted on the DAP board.
DAP products are not intended for any application for which its performance is critical to human life and safety. DAP
products cannot and do not guarantee the availability characteristics necessary for life-critical applications such as direct
control of nuclear reactors, and they do not provide electrical isolation suitable for general medical applications.
Operating Environment
DAP devices, when properly mounted into their PC host machines, are mostly isolated by the PC host equipment. There are
three potential points of interaction with the environment external to the PC host.
1.
Low power analog and digital signals are routed through signal connectors exposed on the back panel of the host
machine.
2.
There is an incremental power consumption drawn by the PC host equipment to support the operation of the DAP
board.
3.
There are increased digital interactions with the computer signal lines on the PC host PCI data bus.
Operation of the DAP boards is inseparable from the operation of the host computer system. For the purposes of testing
compliance with international safety and emissions standards, compliant cable equipment is connected or disconnected from
the external connectors, according to testing requirements for performing each test. DAPserver devices, which were proven
compliant by previous testing, were used as the host computer systems during testing. Generally speaking, the test criteria
deem the DAP board to comply with international emissions standards if the combined operation of the DAP board and the
PC host equipment is compliant.
Operating Instructions
After the DAP equipment is properly installed according to the installation guide provided with the board, it is powered up
automatically when its host computer system is powered up. Once started, the equipment is operated through software
commands, sent from an application on the PC host via the internal PCI interface bus. There is no direct interaction with the
board during operation, except my means of software messages under control of host system software. The installation
guide for PCI-based DAP boards provides instructions on signal connectors, board installation in the host, and software
setup. The installation guide is available on the DAPtools software CD (or the equivalent downloaded file system image)
provided with each DAP unit, or from the Microstar Laboratories Web site at http://www.mstarlabs.com.
2. Products Covered
All of the DAP a-Series products are variants of a basic DAP product, with small modifications to achieve different
performance levels using devices with similar but slightly different performance ratings. There are also small modifications
related to employing functionally similar but not completely interchangeable new components, to take advantage of reduced
costs as technology has advanced.
While the DAP products do not have a single physical entity that can be identified as a unique, common base product, the
DAP 5000a model can be considered the most nearly prototypical, since it embodies all of the relevant electronic sections
present on the other DAP models, and the circuit board designs of other models are obtainable by small adjustments to the
design used in the DAP 5000a. In general terms, the functionality embodied in a DAP includes the following:
•
a common mechanical assembly: circuit board, connectors, cabling
•
an internally shielded, multilayer printed circuit board
•
power regulation to remove noise from the DC power provided by the computer host
•
electronic clock signal generation for internal timing
•
signal processing components for input signal detection and digitization
•
electronic control logic devices for coordinating high-speed signal conversion activities
•
a general-purpose microprocessor for data management and transfer.
The models included in the DAP a-Series are the following:
•
DAP5000a/526
•
DAP5016a/527
•
DAP5200a/626
•
DAP5216a/627
•
DAP4000a/112
•
DAP4000a/212
•
DAP 840
•
DAP5400a/627
•
DAP5380a/526
As a general principle, when functionality is reduced by lowering operating frequencies, omitting features, or using less
expensive devices with lower performance ratings, changes such as these to derive one DAP model from another results in a
product variant with fewer and lesser means for affecting its host PC environment, or for emitting interference signals
beyond the PC environment. Consequently, if the more capable model passes all tests required for emissions compliance,
the reduced functionality module is also compliant.
The following list summarizes the differences in capability among the DAP models, as compared to the prototypical DAP
5000a model.
•
The DAP 5016a uses slightly different circuits in the low-power digitizer section to support a different numerical
resolution and slightly reduced digitizing rates.
•
The DAP 5200a and DAP 5216a are constructed using exactly the same circuit boards as their counterparts, the
DAP 5000a and DAP 5016a. These boards all operate at the same internal timing rates and the same data rates on
the digital host connections. The primary difference is a different pin-compatible main microprocessor chip on the
DAP 5200a and DAP 5216a models, for supporting more advanced real-time algorithms.
•
The DAP 4000a board was derived from the DAP 5000a by simplifying the microprocessor support circuits to use
a simpler and much less powerful main processor, consequently much lower power draw. The overall architecture
and layout of the board is the same. The circuit topologies are identical, and the signal processing section in
particular is nearly identical to the DAP 5000a. The two variants of the DAP 4000a model use different grades of
otherwise identical components.
•
Though often not listed as part of the DAP a-Series boards, the DAP 840 board was derived from the DAP 4000a
by further simplifying it to eliminate all functionality not required in a most-basic product. Though its electronic
components are similar to or identical to corresponding components on the DAP 4000a, there are fewer of them,
because there are fewer signal paths supported, hence operation is quieter with lower power demand.
•
The DAP 5400a and DAP 5380a boards embody a very limited subset of the signal capture circuits of the DAP
5000a. All of the digital signal capture functions are eliminated. The reduced analog capture circuits are replicated
8 times so that 8 input signals can be processed simultaneously. There is no added clocking logic, since all of the
analog sampling sections operate from a common clock line. The added circuits are very low power, with very
limited means to power noise emissions. Connector and mounting configurations are identical to the DAP 5000a.
The bus logic devices are the same as the DAP 5000a. The DAP 5400a and DAP 5380a models differ in the speed
grade of the components and the instruction rates of their main microprocessor chips.
Specific information about hardware features available on each DAP model are provided in the user's manual for that
product. Copies of these manuals are available on the Microstar Laboratories Web site at: http://www.mstarlabs.com.
3. Specifications
Technical specifications
Technical specifications are provided for each DAP product. These are available on the DAPtools software CD (or the
equivalent downloaded file system image) provided with each DAP unit, or from the Microstar Laboratories Web site at
http://www.mstarlabs.com/.
Electrical Specifications
Electrical specifications are included within the technical specifications documents. Most of these specifications are related
to connections that, in operation, are inaccessible on the interior of the PC host, or inaccessible because of the shielded
provided by attached cables. Except for the shielded signal connectors, there is no external access. Some general
information related to safety is provided in this manual for completeness. For full information about electrical
specifications, refer to the technical specifications sheet.
DAP products are operated by PC host machines, which determine the externally observable power requirements.
Physical specifications
The DAP boards conform to size standards for PCI full-length boards, 10.5 cm wide including the PCI edge connector, and
30.0 cm long. Connectors mount flush on the panel strip at the end of the circuit board. That strip fits into a slot at one end
and provides a mounting flange that can be locked into place by a screw on the other end, covering the opening in the back
of the PC case. Once locked into place, the panel strip covers the rear panel slot, maintaining the integrity of the emissions
shielding provided by the PC host back panel. The mounting hardware is no different than you would find on other kinds of
PCI computer accessory boards, such as network adapters or video display drivers.
4. Operating Environment
There are typically no thermal hazards when computer host equipment is used as intended and with reasonable care. The air
circulation fans provided by the PC equipment are usually sufficient for thermal control without any concern. However, the
heat sinks on some of the DAP board models can sometimes stack too closely and interfere with air flow, which can lead to
local overheating. More information about this is provided in the hardware manuals for each board model. Prolonged
overheating of the boards due to inadequate circulation can lead to loss of performance, main processor shutdown failures,
and possibly physical damage.
Cables are critical to successful DAP device operation. Avoid crimping or straining the cables, which could break
conductors or breach the cable shields and increase noise susceptibility. Be particularly careful when mounting cable
connectors to DAP board edge connectors, so that delicate pins are not broken or crimped to form a short circuit with
neighboring pins. Avoid touching cable lines with fingers, which can deliver static discharges sometimes into the hundreds
of volts, sufficient to seriously damage delicate input amplifier devices despite their low energy.
Always operate signals within the specified safe limits. Most signal devices will survive very short fault conditions, such as
attempting to set a digital signal high while external equipment inadvertently connects that line to a firm ground. Sustained
or repeated stresses of this sort are likely to result in damage, rendering the hardware channel inoperable.
It is essential to operate all attached equipment properly and safely, according to operating specifications. Particular caution
is required when using high-power devices. For example, if you use the DAP board to measure a high-power device like an
electric motor, and the connection to the motor's power supply ground is inadvertently broken, this could result in high
motor currents seeking to reach ground through the delicate signal ground connections intended for measurements. The fault
will clear almost instantaneously, but in general, computer equipment should not be expected to provide sufficient
protection from serious power faults of this sort.
The processor chip on the DAP board can generate a significant amount of heat. Heat sinks could be hot to the touch after
periods of normal operation, so it is best to let the boards cool first if you need to handle them. Be sure not to obstruct the
fans, heat sinks, cooling plates and so forth that are provide for your host PC system. The maximum safe ambient
temperature for DAP board operation, given in the technical specifications, will typically be around 50 degrees Centigrade.
In general, ambient temperatures that are safe for humans are also safe for operating the PC host, and will be safe for
operating the DAP boards as well, but sustained operation at relatively high ambient temperatures could accelerate
degradation of materials in electronic components, thus impairing the product lifetime.
Take the normal and appropriate precautions to prevent liquids and other contaminants from getting into the equipment, as
you would with any computing equipment.
5. Electrical Grounding
The ground connection from a DAP board to the power system ground is through the ground connections provided on the
host system PCI bus connectors, internal to the host system enclosure. These bus connectors are strongly connected to the
ground side of the PC system DC power supply, which in turn is strongly connected to the host equipment case and to the
external earth ground provided by the PC host system power cord. Generally, this grounding strategy will provide a high
degree of safety for desktop units, but for industrial equipment in a rack, beware that it can introduce unanticipated stray
grounding effects between equipment. There is usually no danger from this, but there could be implications for how the
affected equipment operates, and for conformance with EMC directives.
There can be exposure to equipment damage from connecting DAP systems to signal sources with a “floating ground.” This
kind of problem is less likely to be anticipated when inputs are configured for differential mode operation, since common
mode rejection does not respond to the common mode “float” voltage, and problems might not be obvious. However, the
combined common mode voltage and differential voltage needs to remain within the safe operating range specified for the
input signals. For accurate measurements, the common mode plus differential voltages must remain within the measurable
voltage range. Inputs can be damaged if any input voltage exceeds the maximum voltage range limits relative to the DAP
ground, even for a short time.
There are ground-reference pins on analog connectors, intended for equalizing small voltage differences that might exist
between sensors and signal inputs. There are also ground-return pins on digital input and output connectors. If any of these
are connected to a power current source because of improper equipment wiring, this would almost guarantee damage to the
DAP board.
Be particularly careful when wiring signals. It is best to have all systems turned off and unplugged from power sources when
wiring. It is easy to accidentally short-circuit signal lines to pins or to the strongly grounded case, damaging the signal
inputs, the sensors, or both. Signals lines that you think are not powered could pack a damaging level of static charge, so
anti-static precautions are strongly advised.
6. Access and Maintenance
There are no user-maintainable components on DAP boards.
Over long periods of time, it is possible that a DAP unit will start to exhibit small offset and gain errors. Follow your
organization's policies, and use good technical judgment, about how often to check the calibration of your equipment. Some
organizations prefer to make calibration adjustments themselves – check the manual for your board to decide whether you
want to try this, and follow the instructions. Other organizations prefer to have Microstar Laboratories perform the same
kind of calibration process that is applied to new boards in production – contact Microstar Laboratories for assistance in
making these arrangements.
In cases where it is necessary to ship boards to Microstar Laboratories for repairs or calibration, shut down the PC host and
remove its power cord, remove the mounting screw from the cover strip that holds the board in place in the host system's
back panel, and pull the board carefully out of the PCI slot. DAP boards are highly sensitive to electrostatic damage, so be
sure to take proper precautions for static control, and if possible, handle the DAP board only at a grounded static-controlled
workstation. Keep the DAP board wrapped with conductive plastic material while they are out of the enclosure.
A. Appendix: Declarations of Conformity
DAP products are intended to be used in an industrial or controlled laboratory
environment. They are not intended to be used in residential or commercial
environments.
Installations must provide 3-wire AC power with an earth ground to the computer system
hosting the DAP products, as discussed in Chapter 5 of this document, in order to meet
the IEC61326 EMC requirements as set forth in the applicable EMC directives.
NOTE: DAP products are used in combination with separate host computer equipment
provided by the system user or system integrator. Testing of the DAP a-Series family
was done using Microstar Laboratories DAPserver devices as the PC hosts. It is the
responsibility of the system user or system integrator to ensure that any system using a
DAP product is compliant to all relevant standards.
NOTE: This equipment was found to comply with the limits for a Class A digital
device, pursuant to part 15 of the FCC Rules (USA), and to ICES-003 (Canada). Cet
appareil numérique de la classe A est conforme à la norme NMB-003 (du Canada). The
class A limits are designed to provide reasonable protection against harmful interference
when the equipment is operated in a commercial environment. This equipment
generates, uses, and can radiate radio frequency energy and, if not installed and used
with the right computer equipment, in accordance with the instruction manual, may
cause harmful interference to radio communications. Operation of this equipment in a
residential area can cause harmful interference, in which case the user will be required to
correct the interference at his or her own expense.
Index
Calibration............................................................................................................................................................................................ 11
Copyrights and Trademarks.................................................................................................................................................................... 1
DAP a-Series products........................................................................................................................................................................... 6
Declarations of Conformity..................................................................................................................................................................12
Grounding............................................................................................................................................................................................ 10
Hardware features................................................................................................................................................................................... 7
Installation guide.................................................................................................................................................................................... 5
Intended Use.......................................................................................................................................................................................... 4
Operating Environment.......................................................................................................................................................................... 4
Operating Instructions............................................................................................................................................................................ 5
Specifications......................................................................................................................................................................................... 8
Thermal hazards..................................................................................................................................................................................... 9
User's manual......................................................................................................................................................................................... 7