Scientific Solutions ® Inc.

LabMaster ® DPCI Products

Product Description

Our Solution Includes

Key Features


Functional Description

Analog-to-Digital Conversion

Digital-to-Analog Conversion


Digital I/O

Technical Specifications

LabMaster DPCI provides External ADC for Ultra Quiet Measurements!
LabMaster DPCI - RC DeskTop
LabMaster DPCI - ST DeskTop
LabMaster DPCI - PCI card
LabMaster DPCI - MJ DeskTop
LabMaster DPCI - BNC DeskTop

The LabMaster products from Scientific Solutions are the longest selling and supported PC based data acquisition products in the world. First introduced in 1981, they created the PC data acquisition market and were the world's first add in products of any type for the IBM PC.

The LabMaster DPCI is a PCI version of the original award winning LabMaster ISA products introduced in 1981. It is 100% register level compatible running most programs originally written for the ISA card out-of-the-box without any software modification required! This allows ISA users to upgrade to PCI systems without having to start all over with different software.

The multifunctional LabMaster DPCI has analog-to-digital, digital-to-analog, digital I/O, and counter/timer functions with a unique two piece design for exceptional ultra-low noise measurements.

Used in such diverse applications as electrophysiology (Voltage / Current clamp), psychophysiology (VPM), EEG/EKG, industrial test/control, gravitational meters, and fluorescence research instrumentation - the LabMaster DMA is available in several models of A/D resolution/speed, amplifier gain, and I/O buffering methods.

arrow Product Description

The LabMaster DPCI turns your PC into a powerful industrial/scientific workstation. The LabMaster DPCI supports a range of high-performance, low-cost, multifunctioned analog and digital I/O functions including analog-to-digital conversion, digital-to-analog conversion, digital I/O and timer/counter functions. The newly designed version includes a reduction in board size by using surface-mount and custom ASIC technology; an increase in the resolution of the timer/counters; and a newly designed convenient desktop signal connection enclosure. Other features include 16 analog input channels, dual analog outputs, 24 digital I/O lines and five 16-bit timer/counters with 250ns resolution.

The LabMaster DPCI consists of a single-slot PCI Expansion Board and an External DeskTop Unit containing the data acquisition circuitry and convenient signal connections. The DeskTop Unit provides access to remote analog sources. This arrangement optimizes the analog signal clarity providing the most accurate readings. The external ADC allows precision measurement of small analog signals avoiding the inherent noise inside the PC. The LabMaster DPCI is based upon the design of the LabMaster 20009 and LabMaster DMA which were the first data acquisition system with the external ADC design for ultra low-noise measurements.

The LabMaster DPCI is available in several models that vary according to A/D resolution and speed, programmable amplifier gain settings, and DeskTop Unit signal connections. The external modular design of the analog conversion circuitry permits retrofitting to higher resolution and faster conversion rates as measurement requirements change.

Scientific Solutions produced the worlds first IBM PC based data acquisition products in 1981 and has shipped millions of products since. The LabMaster family has been available longer than any other PC data acquisition product in the world. Updates and enhancements throughout the years, has provided the LabMaster with the most current technology while maintaining 100% compatibility with the original - important for maintaining users substantial software investment and knowledge of the product.

The LabMaster DPCI was designed to be able to run most software originally written for the LabMaster ISA cards without any modification required. The PCI card is 100% register level compatible to the original LabMaster introduced in 1981.

arrow Our Solution Includes

arrow Key Features

arrow Applications

arrow Functional Description

The LabMaster DPCI is a complete data acquisition and control product. A small PCI card installs internally into the PC. A single connection with an included quick-connect round cable attaches to the PCI card and also to a DeskTop Unit. The DeskTop unit contains all of the Analog input circuitry, Analog Output Circuitry, Digital I/O and Counter/Timer circuits. The DeskTop Unit is available in several models providing different signal connection types such as Ribbon Cables, Screw Terminals, MiniJack, and BNC connections.

arrow Overview of Product Options

The LabMaster DPCI is a very versatile family of data acquisition products and as such there are many different options available. An understanding of these options are necessary to correctly choose the configuration best suited for your particular needs. The Functional Description in this document contains detailed discussion about the various choices and is recommended reading.

The LabMaster DMA is available in several different models. The differences among these models are: A/D speed, analog input gain options, type of Digital buffering, and method for external signal connections. The options can be summarized as follows:

  1. Analog-to-Digital Converter Speed
    • Choices are 50Khz or 160Khz
  2. Analog-to-Digital Resolution
    • Choices are 12bit or 16bit
  3. Analog-to-Digital Converter Gain Settings
    • Choices are HG, PGL or PGH.
  4. Method for external signal connections
    • Many different options available including
      • Ribbon Cable Connections
      • Screw Terminals
      • 3.5mm MiniJack
      • BNC connections

arrow Analog-to-Digital Conversion (ADC)

Analog signals in the ±10 Volt range are digitized by an Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC). Designed to deliver flexible data, the ADC configures for Input Mode (16 single-ended, 8 true differential, or 16 pseudo differential), Input Range (unipolar or bipolar), Operating Mode (normal, overlap), Channel Auto-Scan, Gain, and Output Format (two's complement or binary). A variable gain amplifier at the input to the sample and hold circuit allows the input range to vary from ±10 mV to ±10 V. Configured by software, a conversion can be initiated by a software command, a rising edge from one of the on-board timer/counters or a rising edge from an external source. The end of a conversion can be detected using a hardware interrupt or polling the status register. Data is transferred at the end of a conversion by reading the data latches on the card.

The LabMaster DPCI has the A/D circuitry located external to the computer. Throughout the years many different ADC modules have been offered by Scientific Solutions. The current 50Khz and 160Khz DC modules replace the previously offered 40Khz and 100Khz versions. These new versions remain 100% compatible with the previous versions while offering increased analog input sampling rates. The speed of the converter determines the maximum sample rate you can use to sample your analog signals. You can always sample slower than the maximum rate.

Choices for ADC speed are 50Khz or 160Khz. Contact Scientific Solutions regarding any special requirements.

Analog-to-Digital Resolution

The LabMaster DPCI comes with either 12bit or 16bit A/D resolution. The higher resolution allows measurements of smaller voltage changes. For example, a 12bit A/D configured for 0 to 10v has 2.44mv / bit. This means the ADC can measure changes as small as 2.44 millivolts. Of course, if you also use an on-board gain of 10 (with a PGL module), then the input signal into the gain amplifier can be as low as 0.244 millivolts to be detected by the ADC. The 16bit converter is accurate to 2 LSBs - this means the data is treated as 16bit data, but the least two significant bits are not guaranteed. With a gain of 1, the 16bit module can measure changes as small as 0.610mv for the 0 to 10v range or 0.0610mv with an on-board gain of 10 used. The application program needs to know the resolution of the A/D so it can properly convert "bits" to "volts".

Choices for ADC resolution are 12bit or 16bit. Contact Scientific Solutions regarding any special requirements.

Analog-to-Digital Gain Options

For the best measurements, the analog input signal to be measured should be as close to the A/D range as possible. This ensures that the resolution of the A/D is being properly used. In unipolar mode, the A/D range is 0 to +10v. In bipolar mode, the A/D range is -10v to +10v. If for example, the analog input signal to be converted is from 0 to +5v, then you would want the A/D to be in unipolar mode and have a gain of 2 (using on-board PGH gain). The LabMaster DMA has the capability to have hardware gains or software programmable gains. Hardware gains (HG) are set by jumpers or external components located inside of the DeskTop Unit. Software programmable gains (PG) are set by the software. A gain set by hardware will effect all the input channels the same. A gain set by software can be changed "real-time" to have different gains on achannel-by-channel basis.

HGE stands for Hardware Gain External. This version ships from the factory with all analog input channels at a gain of 1. The gain is set by hardware and is the same gain for all the channels. HGE versions permit you to change the gain for all the channels to any value by adding a precision resistor on the external ADC board located in the DeskTop Unit. This was the configuration of the previously offered 40Khz non-programmable gain version.

PG stands for Programmable Gain. There are two versions of the PG module, referred to as PGL and PGH. In either case, the gains are under software control and can be changed "real time" on a sample-by-sample basis.

PGL stands for Programmable Gain Low. This version has software programmable gains of 1, 10, 100. It is called PGL, Programmable Gain Low, because it is intended to be used with low level signals that need higher gains.

PGH stands for Programmable Gain High. This version has software programmable gains of 1, 2, 4, 8. It is called PGH - Programmable Gain High - because it is intended to be used with high level signals that need lower gains.

So summarize, GAIN choices for include HGE (external resistor selected to any), PGL(1,10,100) or PGH(1,2,4,8). Contact Scientific Solutions regarding any special requirements.

Analog-to-Digital Conversion - Feature Summary

arrowDigital-to-Analog Conversion (DAC)

The two independent Digital-to-Analog Converters (DAC) can operate in -10v to +10v mode with 16 bit resolution. Each DAC can also be set to support a 12 bit mode and configured for one of five voltage ranges to be 100% compatible with LabMaster ISA software applications. The voltage output from a DAC is changed by writing a low and a high byte to two I/O locations. The value of the high byte is saved until the low byte is latched to insure all bits reach the DAC simultaneously.


arrow System Timer/Counter (STC)

Five independent 16bit timer/counters count TTL compatible pulses (rising or falling edge) generated from a wide range of equipment and sensors. Each gateable counter counts up or down (binary or binary coded decimal format - BCD). The accumulated count may be read at anytime without disturbing the counting process. Each of the counters can be connected to others to form a counter with resolution up to 80 bits. The counters can be driven by an on-board 1MHz, 2MHz or 4Mhz crystal (software selectable) giving them resolutions from 250nsec to 10milliseconds. If driven externally, the counter/timers can count events at speeds to 6.25Mhz.

A TTL compatible pulse/level output signal is available for each counter. All signals are located on a 50-pin header connector.

Timing/Counting - Feature Summary

arrow Digital Input/Output (DIO)

The 24 lines of TTL compatible I/O are addressable in groups of eight (24 input, 24 output, 8 input/16 output, 16 input/8 output or 12 input/12 output). All outputs are latched. Simple input is unlatched while strobed inputs are latched.

Digital I/O - Buffering Options

The LabMaster ISA has 24 lines of Digital I/O available with Universal Socket Sites (USS) for installation of buffering devices. With the ISA cards, the type of buffer chips use determine if the Digital signals are inverted or non-inverted. Also the way the buffers are plugged into the ISA card determines if the digital port is Input or Output.

The LabMaster DPCI does away with the USS method and instead implements automatic Dynamic Digital Buffering (DDM). There are no buffer chips to install or worry about and the Digital signals are automatically fully buffered in all operating modes including Input, Output and Bi-directional without the need to install any buffer devices. Unlike the ISA cards that could have Inverting or Non-Inverting buffers, the LabMaster DPCI always has Non-Inverting Digital I/O buffers.

Inverting and Non-Inverting Summarized:

Remember, the LabMaster DPCI always uses Non-Inverting Buffering of the Digital I/O signals.

Digital I/O - Feature Summary

Handshake strobes for Digital I/O available when used in strobed I/O modes (Mode 1 or Mode 2)

arrow Technical Specifications

A/D Characteristics
Resolution Depends upon module (12bit or 16bit)
Maximum Throughput Depends upon module (50Khz or 160Khz
Input Range Selectable: ±10V, 0 to +10v
Channel Count Selectable: 16 Single-Ended or 8 Differential
Quantizing Error ±1/2 LSB*
Integral non-linearity ±1/2 LSB*
Diff. non-linearity ±1/2 LSB*
Monotonicity 0ºto 70ºC
Coef. of Linearity 3ppm/ºC
Coef. of Diff. Linearity 3ppm/ºC
Temp. Coef. of Offset - Bipolar 20uV/ºC
Temp. Coef. of Offset - Unipolar 10uV/ºC
*Maximum over full temp range 0º to 70º Celsius

Amplifier Characteristics
Max Input Voltage - Power OFF ±10V
Max Input Voltage - Power ON ±25 Volts
Input Voltage - Normal Range ±10 Volts
Input Resistance 1012 Ohms
Source Impedance < 10 KOhms
Differential Amp. CMRR (Gain 1 to 100) 80 dB
Differential Amp. CMRR (Gain 500) 100 dB
Coef. of Gain Linearity (Gain 1 to 10) 12ppm/ºC
Coef. of Gain Linearity (Gain 100) 30ppm/ºC
Coef. of Gain Linearity (Gain 500) 40ppm/ºC

System Dynamics
S/H Aperperature Uncertainty 0.3
S/H Feedthrough -80 dB
System Accuracy (Gain 1 to 10) 0.025%
System Accuracy (Gain 100) 0.05%
System Accuracy (Gain 500) 0.08%

D/A Characteristics
Resolution 16-bit or 12-bit
Output Range 16-bit mode ±10V
Output Range 12-bit mode ±10V,±5V,±2.5V
0 to +10V, 0 to +5V, 0 to +2.5V
Output Voltage / bit - 16 bit mode 305 µV
Output Voltage / bit - 12 bit mode 1.2 mV (5 Volt Range)
2.4 mV (10 Volt range)
4.8 mV (20 Volt range)
Maximum Update rate 200,000 samples/second
Channel Count 2
Differential Non-Linearity 1 LSB max
Integral Non-Linearity 1 LSB max
Power-on / reset condition 0 volts
Glitch Impulse < 2nV - Sec.
Output Current 5ma
Data Format 16 bit Two's Complement
Data Transfer PCI Programmed I/O

System Timer/Counter Characteristics
Resolution 16-bit / counter
Number of Counters 5 Independent
Maximum Counter Resolution 80bit by cascading
Logic Thresholds TTL
Interval Counting Resolution 250nSec.
Event Counting 6.25Mhz (160nSec. intervals)
Input/Output Protection ESD Overvoltage, 6nSec. switching

Digital Input/Output Characteristics
Digital I/O lines 24-bit
Port Grouping 24 Input
24 Output
8 Input / 16 Output
16 Input / 8 Output
12 Input / 12 Output
8255 Modes Mode 0 : Basic I/O
Mode 1 : Strobed I/O
Mode 2 : Bidirectional
Buffering Dynamic Digital Buffering All modes
Current Sink / Source -64 ma / 15 ma Port A, Port B
-20 ma / 20ma Port C
Logic Thresholds TTL
Input/Output Protection ESD Overvoltage, 6nSec. switching

System Resources
Bus Interface 5 Volt compliant 32-bit or 64-bit PCI slot
IRQ Channels (PCI BIOS auto-select) Plug-and-Play
I/O Mapped(PCI BIOS auto-select) Plug-and-Play
Bus Load 1 TTL load/bus line

Environmental Specifications
Operating Temperature 0º to 70º Celsius
Storage Temperature -25º to +85º Celsius
Relative Humidity To 95% non-condensing
Agency Approvals FCC Class A, CE-Mark