Modernization and Performance Improvement of Enhanced Data
 Acquisition System Instrumentation, 14-9227

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Principal Investigators
Ron H. Peterson
Jay L. Fisher

Inclusive Dates: 10/23/00 - 09/23/01

Background - For more than 20 years, the Institute has been an internationally respected leader in technology for nuclear reactor vessel nondestructive evaluation. As part of this program, SwRI developed the Enhanced Data Acquisition System (EDAS), which provides high-speed, multichannel ultrasonic and eddy current data acquisition and analysis. To support this capability, SwRI developed custom instrumentation, including digitally controlled ultrasonic data acquisition ("channel") cards and realtime waveform averager cards. This project was undertaken to provide a basic redesign of the channel and waveform averager cards, with the following major goals:

  • Improve performance (greater resolution and averaging capability)
     
  • Reduce manufacturing cost
     
  • Transfer knowledge to younger staff for future support
     
  • Establish SwRI ownership of the new designs
     
  • Enable manufacturing for 3 to 5 years without redesign

These goals allow SwRI to continue to support systems that its existing EDAS clients now use and to manufacture new systems economically.

Approach - The redesign activity involved electronic analog and digital circuit design, complex programmable logic device design, and surface-mount technology printed circuit board layout design. These selected components are current design, which means they probably will be commercially available for several years. To ensure design maintainability, modern computer-aided design tools were used for the development of the new components.

Accomplishments - A new waveform averager and channel board prototype was successfully designed and developed. Because of the change to higher density logic devices, SwRI was able to combine the functionality of both boards into a single printed circuit board. This prototype board is now operational in SwRI's in-house EDAS support station. Additionally, the team developed an independent waveform averager board that can be used to provide replacement boards for existing systems.

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