Scientific Solutions ® Inc.

LabTender ® Data Acquisition Product

Product Description

Our Solution Includes

Key Features


Functional Description

Analog-to-Digital Conversion

Digital-to-Analog Conversion


Digital I/O


System Resources

Technical Specifications

Four key data acquisition and control functions (on one PC board) are included in a high performance, cost effective package.

New Version provides 16-bit data, Enhanced Digital I/O Drive Capabilities, and ESD/Over-Voltage Protection!....While keeping 100% Compatible with the original!


  • Compatible 100% with the original version!
  • 32 Channels of 16 bit ADC data
  • 16 Channels of 16 bit DAC data
  • 24 bits of Digital I/O with over-voltage protection!
  • Five 16 bit on-board Timer/Counters
  • Single PC slot solution with novel strain relief bracket!
  • Smaller Size. Only 8.75" long (223mm)
  • Leading board for motion-control entertainment simulation!

The LabTender was first introduced in 1981. It has been available and supported continuously ever since, and is used in many diverse applications including laboratory testing, entertainment/training flight simulators, and factory automation.

The newest version of the LabTender expands the original features - increasing the D/A and A/D data from 8 bit to 16 bit, increasing the sink/source current of the Digital I/O, and reducing the physical size to fit in slim computers.

Great care is taken in the design and manufacturing of the LabTender to insure a quality product that provides accuracy and stability for demanding applications. Its feature-full rugged design and reliability make it ideal for acquiring and analyzing data in industrial, scientific, and educational fields.

arrowProduct Description

Turn your PC into an educational, industrial, or scientific workstation. Four key data acquisition & control functions are included in a high performance, very cost competitive package. 32 single-ended or 16 differential input channels are multiplexed to one Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC). One Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) is multiplexed to 16 individual sample and hold outputs. Five 16-bit precision timer/counters provide interval timing to 1 microsecond resolution and event counting to 160 nsec. accuracy. 24 lines of TTL compatible digital I/O complete this multipurpose data acquisition and control product. Our optional LabPac for DOS or LabPac32 for Windows software provides a flexible, multi-purpose interface for customized programs using any language.

arrowOur Solution Includes

arrow Key Features

arrow Applications

arrow Functional Description

The four Lab Tender functions situated on 3/4 length PC board, interface to external equipment through ribbon cables that attach to five 34-pin header connectors. A restraining clamp holds the cables in place. Software communicates via sixteen I/O locations (using the IN/OUT instructions).

arrow Analog-to-Digital Conversion (ADC)

Low level analog signals are converted to digital information by a successive approximation converter. It has a 20 microsecond conversion cycle. One of 32 single-ended or 16 differential inputs is multiplexed to the analog to digital (ADC) converter. The ADC is configured for ±5V operation. An A/D conversion (enabled by software) is triggered by a software command, a pacer clock, or a rising edge from an external source. The end of a conversion can be detected using a hardware interrupt or by polling a status register. Sampled data is transferred by reading from the card. The data can either be read as 8 bit (compatible with previous version) or read as 16 bit data (new capability).

arrow Digital-to-Analog Conversion (DAC)

One Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) is multiplexed to 16 sample/hold outputs. The voltage output (±5V @ +5mA) from each S/H is changed by selecting the channel followed by the value for the DAC. The sample/hold outputs are not latched. To maintain a constant output voltage without decay, each output should be refreshed - this is automatically handled by our LabPac32 device driver! The data can either be as 8 bit (compatible with previous version) or as 16 bit data (new capability).

arrow System Timer/Counter (STC)

Five independent 16-bit timer/counters count TTL compatible pulses (rising or falling edge) generated from a wide range of equipment and sensors. Each gateable counter can count up or down while accumulated counts may be read 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 onboard 1 MHz crystal giving them a resolution to 1µsec. External events can be counted at speeds to 6.25 MHz. A TTL compatible output is available for each counter. Programming all counters is through one command/status location and a data location.

arrow Digital Input/Output (DIO)

The 24 lines of TTL compatible I/O are addressable in two groups of eight and two groups of four (24 input, 24 output, 8-I / 16-O, 16-I / 8-O, or 12-I / 12-O). All outputs are latched. Simple input is unlatched while strobed input is latched. The digital I/O is programmed through four locations. One location is a command register to configure the 24 lines. The three data locations are contiguous in the I/O space.

The LabTender fully supports the following Digital I/O modes:

  1. Mode 0 - Basic Digital Input and Output
  2. Mode 1 - Fully handshaked strobed Digital Input and Output
  3. Mode 2 - Fully handshaked strobed Bi-Directional Digital Input and Output
  4. The LabTender is equipped with Dynamic Digital Buffering (DDB). This provides automatic digital buffering for ALL of the Digital I/O modes - mode0, mode1 and mode2. The DDB provides for 15ma of sink/source current while also providing advanced ESD and Over-voltage protection with fast 6nSec switching.

    arrow Interrupts

    Hardware interrupts allow the computer's processor to react to special events when they occur. The Lab Tender provides four software enabled sources for hardware interrupts (timer/counter outputs, end of A/D conversion, A/D data overrun, and the handshake strobes for digital I/O) or other external sources. Hardware interrupts require software to process the request.

    arrow System Resources

    The LabTender occupies a single ISA slot and is a short board for today's smaller computer cases. The connection from the computer to the outside world is thru five 37-pin header connectors (one for Timer, one for Digital I/O, one for Analog Out and two for Analog In.) The board has a special designed bracket that permits all the cables to exit from the single board slot, while also providing strain relief.

    The LabTender occupies 16 locations in the I/O space of the computer. The address of each card in your computer must be unique. The default base address of 0330h can be easily changed if there is an address conflict or you are installing multiple LabTender cards in your system.

    Besides the Base Address I/O space, the LabTender can also use Interrupt resources of your computer. These resources are jumper selected and software enabled by your application software or the LabTender device driver.

    The LabTender provides 100% compatibility with the original version. It adds features, but is a much smaller size for today's slim case computers. The following picture compares the size of the original to the new LabTender.

    compare Labtender

    arrow Technical Specifications

    A/D Characteristics
    Resolution 16-bit data word with 12-bit hardware resolution
    Input Range ± 5V
    LSB 2.44mV
    Conversion Time 20µSec.
    Maximum Sampling rate 50,000 samples/second
    Channel Count 32
    Input Bias Current 100pAmps
    Source Impedance < 10Kohms
    S/(N+D) 72dB typical
    THD -80dB typical
    Low Drift Voltage Reference 25 ppm/ºC
    Integral Linearity ±1 LSB
    Full Scale Error 1 LSB (typical)
    Offset Error 1 LSB (typical)
    Performance No missing codes
    Input Protection ±5 volts
    Data Format
    • 16 bit Offset Binary
    • 150uV / bit
    • Auto-converted to Two's Complement by LabPac32
    Data Transfer Programmed I/O

    D/A Characteristics
    Resolution 16-bit data word with 12-bit hardware resolution
    Output Range ± 5V
    LSB 2.44mV
    Maximum Update rate 50,000 samples/second
    Channel Count 16
    Differential Non-Linearity 1 LSB max
    Integral Non-Linearity 1 LSB max
    Output Current 5ma
    Data Format
    • 16 bit Offset Binary
    • 150uV / bit
    • Auto-converted from Two's Complement by LabPac32
    Data Transfer 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 1 µSec.
    Event Counting 6.25Mhz (160nSec. intervals)
    Data Transfer Programmed I/O

    Digital Input/Output Characteristics
    Number of bits 24 bits of Digital I/O
    Programmable Modes
    • Mode0 - Basic I/O
    • Mode1 - Strobed I/O
    • Mode2 - Srobed Bi-Directional
    Data Transfer Programmed I/O
    Logic Thresholds TTL
    Current Sink/Source 15 ma
    Input/Output Protection ESD Overvoltage, 6nSec. switching

    System Resources
    Bus Interface Single ISA slot
    IRQ Channels (hardware selectable) 2,3,4,5,6,7
    I/O Address (switch selected) Any address, uses 16 locations
    Default I/O Address 0330h - 033Fh
    Bus Load 1 TTL load/bus line
    Board Size 8.75" (223mm)

    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

    arrow Frequently Asked Questions

    Q1. The LabTender has been available since 1981. Will the new version of the LabTender replace an original version? Do I have to change my software or cabling?

    A1. The current LabTender is 100% compatible with the original so it will run all programs written for the LabTender - even those created in 1981! You do not have to change any of your software or is a direct plug-in replacement. It's smaller size makes it easier to install in the newer slim PC cases.

    Q2. How can the new LabTender be compatible with the original, when the new version has higher resolution A/D and D/A capabilities?

    A2: The older LabTender only provided 8 bit A/D and D/A data. The new LabTender has the same 8 bit data available (to maintain compatibility), but also adds some additional new registers that provide 16 bit A/D and D/A data. Software can read the 8 bit registers to obtain the 8 bit data or read the newer 16 bit registers to obtain the 16 bit data.

    Q3. Scientific Solutions offers versions of the new LabTender with or without the on-board timer. (Note: All older versions - full size card - have the Counter/Timer. The option is only with the newer version). How do I know if my application is using this timer?

    A3: Take a look at how the board is configured and what connections you are using. If you use either connector P5 or the timer interrupt then your application is using the on-board Counter/Timer and you need to make sure the LabTender you get has this feature.

    Connector P5 is the 37-pin header connector on the far left side of the board. If a cable is attached to this connector, then the counter/timer is being used.

    U37 is a socket on the older LabTender. It is located just above and to the left of the card's gold fingers. When shipped from the factory, there is a header plugged into this socket. If any interrupts are being used, there will be a wire soldered from the left side to the right side of this header. If there is no wire, then no interrupts are being used. Pin 1 of this header is the top left position, and the header pin out is as follows:

    Interrupt Header
    Function Pin Number Pin Number Function
    OE 1 16 IRQ2
    DONE 2 15 IRQ3
    TINT 3 14 IRQ4
    PIO1 4 13 IRQ5
    PIO2 5 12 IRQ6
    OE|DONE 6 11 IRQ7

    If there is a wire from Pin 3 (TINT=Timer Interrupt) on the left side of the header) to any other pin on the right side, then this means the timer is being used to create interrupts in the PC.

    In summary, if either(or both) P5 is used, or the Timer Interrupt (TINT) is used, then you need the Counter/Timer feature on your LabTender.

    Q4. What operating systems can I use with the LabTender?

    A4: Scientific Solutions has drivers for DOS (LabPac for DOS) and for Windows (LabPac for Windows). The DOS driver is implemented as a TSR driver. The Windows driver is a true 32-bit kernel mode driver for Windows 9x, and NT/2000. We are pleased to provide support to customers who want to create their own device driver for other operating systems such as Linux, BSD, etc.

    Q5. How do I convert the 16-bit A/D data from the new LabTender into volts?

    A5: The conversion of the "raw" data to the actual units you are measuring (volts in this example), depends upon four factors - the resolution of the A/D data (16bits), the range (-5volts to +5volts) of the ADC, the Gain used when the analog signal was converted, and the format of the raw data (Offset Binary for direct hardware reads, Two's Complement if using LabPac32). Here is a quick equation that you can use (assumes Two's Complement data from LabPac32)..however make sure the arithmetic you are using is "signed" to account for two's complement formats:

    volts = (count) * (range) / (gain) / (2 raised to the power of "resolution")

    Example: data is 3FFFh, range is -5v to +5v, gain=1, resolution of data is 16 bit:

    note: 3FFFh = 16383 decimal

    volts = (3FFF) * (10) / (1) / (2 rasied to the power of 16)

    volts = (16383) * (10) / (1) / (65536)

    volts = 2.4998