Data AcQuisition And Real-Time AnalysisScope - Spectrum - Spectrogram - Signal Generator
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Polarity Determination - Full-Scale Ranges
Some sound cards invert signal polarity on input or output channels, or both. Daqarta must know the correct polarity in order to generate and display waveforms properly.
If you know that a channel is inverted, you just enter the Full-Scale Range value with a minus sign. Daqarta will retain that and apply the needed correction whenever that channel is used.
The best way to determine polarity, without lab-type equipment, is via the method discussed for input voltage calibration using a 1.5 volt battery... the input polarity determination happens automatically with that procedure.
Basically, it involves briefly connecting the battery to the input, and noting which way the Daqarta trace deflects. Sound card inputs (and outputs) include capacitors that block sustained DC signals, so the signal jumps to the battery voltage and rapidly decays; you just need to note which direction it first jumps.
If the trace goes up when the input connects to the positive battery terminal (and the shield connects to the negative terminal), then the input polarity is correct. Otherwise, enter minus signs for Line In (both Stereo and Mono fields) of the Full-Scale Range.
Once you have entered the proper sign for the input channel, use a standard stereo sound card cable to connect Line Out (or Spkr or Headphone Out) to Line In. Use the Generator to create a waveform; the default 440 Hz sine is fine, but just about anything will do. Note if the input and output traces have the same polarity; if not, enter a minus sign ahead of the Wave Out Full-Scale Range value.
The above assumes you have already done an Auto-Calibration with the Duplex Delay option. That will insure that the input and output traces are properly aligned, so that you can tell if the polarity is the same. Without proper alignment, a delayed wave may look like an inverted one.
You can use a Ramp or Pulse waveform to remove any ambiguity. A ramp that with a long Rise duration and steep fall will appear to have a slow fall and fast rise if inverted. Similarly, a narrow pulse with a long dwell time will obvious when inverted.
Note that there is a peculiarity about the way the Range polarity interacts with the Generator output and the trace display. When you specify an inverted Wave Out value, both the generated wave and the display of that wave are inverted. The idea is that the display shows the actual output; if there is an inverting amplifier somewhwere after the digital-to-analog converter (DAC or D/A), then the generated signal must be pre-inverted to make it come out right after the inverter. The display inverts the generated signal to match.
However, if the Generator is already runing when you change the Range sign, it is not restarted with the inverted polarity. There is typically a second or two of prior waveform data already "in the pipeline" on the way to the DAC, which has to work its way out before the inverted data is seen. But since the display begins inverting as soon as you change the sign, you'll see a second or two of inverted prior data before the display and the data are both using the same sign.
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