"Acquire" is the name of our dedicated data acquisition software, recently again updated to add support for the model 7230 lock-in amplifier as well as being tested to run on PC's using Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 operating systems.
It uses the technology behind our SRInstComms ActiveX control to allow you to operate up to ten of our instruments simultaneously. Hence, for example, if you are making impedance measurements you cause one lock-in amplifier to record the sample current signal while a second logs the sample voltage. In experiments using our 5113 preamplifier you can adjust the settings, while in boxcar setups you can record the output of a 4121B Boxcar Averager via a 4161A Dual Channel ADC. And if you don't have a 4161A, you can even use the auxiliary inputs and outputs on a lock-it to run a boxcar experiment.
The software includes a powerful plotting engine that lets you show data just as you want it using a variety of line styles, allows data export to both text and CSV files, offers comprehensive clipboard support, and includes a context-sensitive help system.
The software also makes connecting up hardware as easy as possible. There is no need to adjust communications settings on the instrument - simply connect it up via Ethernet, USB, GPIB, or RS232 serial (depending on the ports available on the instrument and on the PC) and let the software find it.
Each time you start the application it checks that the required instruments are connected and warns you if they are not.
The program offers two main operating modes, Virtual Front Panel and Experiment Recording Mode, as follows:
Virtual Front Panel
In this mode virtually all of the functions of the connected instrument(s) can be controlled from the computer via series of property pages on a "remote front panel" property sheet. Each sheet reflects the features available in the controlled instrument. Two data outputs from the instrument can be selected from the range available and these are clearly shown on-screen. If several instruments are connected then separate panels can be opened for each one. Once correctly set up, a button allows the panels to be shrunk to conserve screen space so that only the outputs are displayed.
Experiment Recording Mode
In this mode an experiment is defined in which the instrument output(s) are recorded as a function of some X-axis variable. The range of possibilities for the X-axis variable depends on the capabilities of the connected instruments, but include such parameters as time, frequency, oscillator amplitude, auxiliary DAC voltage, digital delay and trigger events.
Data is plotted to screen either as it is acquired or after acquisition on user-defined axes. You can then adjust the display to the required form prior to generating hard-copy output on any Windows compatible printer or plotter. Data may also be exported to ASCII or CSV (comma separated value) text files for further analysis with third party software.
The program includes the ability to save defined experiments as "test" files allowing easy replication of previous runs. Experiment definitions are also stored within saved data files, and can be extracted and reloaded from them. If you need to run the same experiment repeatedly then settings can be saved on program exit and reloaded on startup for greater convenience.
Support for Curve Buffer and Fast Buffer/Transient Recorder Modes
The models 7225, 7265 and 7280 include 32,768 point curve buffers, while those in the models 7124, 7230, and 7270 have 100,000 points. Acquire fully supports these, including the use of binary curve dumps to speed data transfer. Use of the buffer allows much faster data acquisition than is possible when data is displayed to screen as it is being taken, while the program now also allows frequency sweeps using the buffered mode. Transient recorder mode will digitize any ±10V analog waveform to 16 bits at 40kSa/s (25 µs per point) in the 7225, 7265 and 7280, while in the 7124, 7230, and 7270 it can operate at rates up to 250kSa/s (4 µs per point), giving a useful extra feature at no extra cost.
Acquire is suitable for use with virtually all our computer-controlled instruments and operates via either the RS232, GPIB (IEEE-488), Ethernet, Direct USB, or USB (via models CE0115S or CE0116S) interfaces. Up to ten instruments from the following list can be operated simultaneously: 5105, 5106, 5110(A), 5209, 5210, 7124, 7220, 7220BFP, 7225, 7225BFP, 7230, 7260, 7265, 7270, 7280, 7280BFP, 7310, 4161A, 9650A (with 9650A/97 GPIB option) and 5113. It requires a PC computer running at 1.0 GHz or faster with hard disk, CD, 2 MByte of free disk space, suitable communications ports (either Ethernet, RS232, USB or a free internal PCI bus slot), and Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7 or later for full installation and operation. It includes a comprehensive context-sensitive help system and free support is available to registered users. If ordered through our normal distribution channels it is supplied on a CD complete with 83-page printed instruction manual.
When ordering this software, don't forget to make sure that you have a suitable Ethernet, USB, RS232 or GPIB cable and GPIB interface card. Click on the links below to reach these items.
What's new in Version 4.2.1?
The main change in version 4.2 is to add support for the model 7230 lock-in amplifier. The software has also been verified for operation with Windows 7, and a number of minor bugs have also been fixed.
What's new in Version 4.1?
The latest version of the software includes the following significant changes from version 4.0:
- Version 4.1 adds support for the models 7124 and 7270 lock-in amplifiers. Since these instruments have Ethernet, USB and RS232 computer interfaces, the program has also been updated to support operation via Ethernet and USB, as well as RS232 and GPIB.
- The 7124 and 7270 include a fast data curve buffer, capable of storing instrument outputs at sampling rates down to 1 µs per point. This feature is similar to the "transient recorder" mode found in other SIGNAL RECOVERY DSP lock-in amplifiers, but stores up to eight outputs rather than just ADC1 and ADC2. This mode and the normal buffered mode include extended trigger capabilities and the software fully supports these.
- The 7124 and 7270 can generate amplitude and/or frequency modulated internal oscillator signals, and so a new menu has been added to their remote front panel controls to access this feature.
- The software has been fully tested to run under Windows Vista as well as XP. Support for earlier versions of Windows is no longer assured.
What's new in Version 4.0?
The latest version of the software includes the following significant changes from version 3.x:
- New support for the model 7310 Noise Rejecting Voltmeter. Its digital filter frequency can be used as a dependent X-axis variable, allowing the software to use it to measure signal amplitude as a function of frequency.
- Added logarithmic frequency sweep to X-axis excitation curves in both buffered and normal modes. The software has always allowed logarithmic display of X-axis values, but if the underlying data is linear then the resulting plots show an uneven distribution of points.
- Added support for version 4.8 and later of the 7280 firmware, which includes a better way of running buffered frequency response experiments.
- It is now possible to display two cursors on curves plotted on the left Y-axis, and two on curves plotted on the right Y-axis. Cursors can be positioned anywhere on the plot and the corresponding X and Y values are displayed. A cursor information box also shows the differences in X and Y values, allowing direct readout, for example, of the amplitude of peaks on displayed plots.
- When data is acquired in normal mode, the software now accurately uses the specified time per point, as long as this is longer than the time needed to set the values of excitation outputs and read the required data points. So, for example, if the time per point is set to 1.000 second, the stored data points will now be accurately at 1.000 second intervals. A new "Check" button allows the user to determine what the minimum time per point is for the current experimental set-up.
- The software now supports "daisy chain" operation of compatible instruments. This makes it possible to use a single RS232 port, or model CE0116S USB-Serial Port Converter, to support more than one instrument.
- The file export routine has been updated to handle large files, reducing file conversion time for a 50,000 point file from 30 mins to 8 seconds. A conversion progress bar has also been added.
- Added ability to enter numbers including a multiplier into numeric fields. For example, entering "1k" into an Oscillator Frequency control is correctly interpreted and displayed as "1000".
- Made the Open, Save and Save As... file name entry dialog boxes remember their views, positions and sizes. When set to detailed (report) view the dialogs also remember the column widths and sort order, allowing, for example, the dialog always to open with the most recent files listed at the top.
- The number representing the output value of the 8-bit digital port fitted on many of the supported instruments can now be used as a dependent X-axis output variable. If the bits of this port are used to operate external relay multiplexers, then this new feature allows the software to make sequential measurements on up to 256 signals.
- The line style used to display plots can now be set to show lines with several different types of marker at each plot point, as well as the traditional plain lines.
- Added support for the original design of line filter found in early model 7220 and 7260s.
- The drawing routines have been updated to ensure that displayed data curves are always shown correctly, even at very high magnifications.
- Fixed bug when using more than one readout per point or more than one sweep to average.
- Fixed bug whereby when an experiment was loaded from file the instrument(s) settings would not be correctly updated in all cases.
- The Help system has been updated to use the industry-standard compiled HTML format.
Try before you Buy - Download Acquire Today!
This latest version of Acquire can be downloaded free of charge by clicking the link below. When installed, it will operate in a demonstration mode, known as DemoAcquire, for a period of seven days from first installation. During this time you can evaluate the program to see if it meets your needs, and if it does, choose to purchase it by activating a link from within the software. Once you have purchased the required Activation Code and installed it, the program will be fully unlocked and operate in the full Acquire mode thereafter.
The download includes the full product manual in Adobe PDF format for your convenience.
Product Support and Upgrades
Product support and upgrades are automatic and free of charge to existing users of Acquire 3.00 and later versions. If you have already purchased the product and installed it then you can simply download and install any later version by clicking the link below, and the setup program will update the existing installation. You do not need to reactivate the updated program, since this is done automatically. This procedure will ensure that all users of this software have the easiest possible access to the latest version.
To check if you need to upgrade, see the product version number in the program's "About" box and verify if this matches the version given below. If it is a lower number then you should upgrade.
Following installation, the software will function in the demonstration mode (DemoAcquire) until it is activated. In order to complete the product activation, you will require a unique activation code.
- If you have already placed a purchase order with us for the full software package, then we will supply this code on receipt and verification of details entered in the form that can be accessed by clicking the link below.
- If you have not yet ordered the full software package then complete the form that can be accessed by clicking the link below and we will contact you to give details of pricing applying in your particular territory.
Using an earlier version?
If you are using an earlier version (i.e. version number 2.9 or lower) of the package, and have registered your purchase by returning the product registration document, then you qualify for a reduced price upgrade. If you have never registered your purchase then you may still do so by clicking the link below and completing the form. We will then contact you with details of the upgrade price.