Hands-On Introduction to LabVIEW for Scientists and Engineers, Third Edition

LabVIEW coverFor questions or comments, please contact John Essick

 

Table of Contents and Preface

Errata & Updates for First Printing

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Are solutions available for the book’s exercises (i.e., Do It Yourself and Back of the Chapter Problems)?

The solutions to the even-numbered Back of the Chapter Problems are available to all at www.oup.com/us/essick. Instructors who adopt Hands-On Introduction to LabVIEW as their course textbook can obtain a password-protected link to the solutions for all of the book's Do It Yourself and Back of the Chapter Problems by contacting Oxford University Press. These solutions are written using LabVIEW 2013 (if you are not able to open the solutions because you have an older version of LabVIEW, use the free 30-day trial copy of the current LabVIEW version available at http://www.ni.com/trylabview).

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The MathScript Node does not appear in my Functions>>Structures palette. Where is it?

The MathScript Node was introduced in LabVIEW 8. In LabVIEW 8, the MathScript Node was a basic component of LabVIEW and was automatically included when you installed the software. Beginning in LabVIEW 2009, the MathScript functionality became a LabVIEW add-on, which must be separately purchased and installed. If you have an academic site license or the Student Edition, however, the Mathscript add-on should be included on your installation disks (the exception may be the 10-seat license), but you need to select it manually during the installation process. Re-run the installation disk and when the window appears in which you select the programs that you want to have installed, make sure that the “MathScript RT Module” line is selected.

If your installation package does not include the MathScript add-on, a 30-day trial version of the MathScript RT Module can be downloaded here: https://lumen.ni.com/nicif/us/evaltlktsigproc/content.xhtml. If you are professor using LabVIEW in an instructional setting and need to purchase the MathScript RT Module separately, contact your local NI sales representative and request a quote that includes the standard academic discount (the savings will be considerable).

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My system does not include the MathScript RT Module. Can I write the Waveform Simulator VI in Chapter 4 (and other MathScript Node-based VI in the book) using the Formula Node in LabVIEW's Functions>>Structure palette?

Yes, although more primitive than the MathScript Node, the Formula Node can be used to write Waveform Simulator (Chapter 4) and all other MathScript Node-based programs in the book. Instruction for constructing the Formula Node version of these programs is given in Appendix A.

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Is Hands-On Introduction to LabVIEW consistent with the latest version of LabVIEW?

Hands-On Introduction to LabVIEW, Second Edition was written using LabVIEW 2014.

This edition of the book is also compatible with earlier versions of LabVIEW from LabVIEW 2013 through LabVIEW 2009. Where needed, comments noting the (mostly small) differences between these prior versions and LabVIEW 2014 are included in the text.

The latest versions of LabVIEW (LabVIEW 2015 and 2016) have only a few minor changes from LabVIEW 2014 and so Hands-On Introduction to LabVIEW, Third Edition is also consistent with these newest versions.

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I'm a professor and would like to use Hands-On Introduction to LabVIEW in my lab course. In using this book, what hardware is needed and how much does it cost?

The first four chapters of Hands-On Introduction to LabVIEW are software only, so for that work you'll need a PC loaded with the LabVIEW software at each lab station. If most of your students have their own laptops, you could have them buy the LabVIEW Student Edition for $20 and do the programming on their own machine. Otherwise, you can purchase a site license for LabVIEW (Reed pays $2000 per year its license), which can be used on an unlimited number of instructional lab machines. If you only have a few stations, it might be cheaper to just buy a single copy of LabVIEW for each, which for academic institutions costs about $675 per copy. A National Instrument sales representative can help you decide what is the least expensive approach for your situation. If you just want to play around in the meantime, you can download a 30-day trial copy of LabVIEW at http://www.ni.com/trylabview.

In the fifth and later chapters where students learn to control a data acquisition device, the cheapest route is to use the USB-6009 DAQ device, which costs about $250. It attaches to a PC desktop or laptop via an included USB cable and it has screw-terminal connectors where you attach wires leading to your experiment. The only other things you will need at each station are an electronics breadboard, function generator, voltmeter and oscilloscope, which hopefully you have already in your lab. Also in some later chapters, you will need inexpensive electronic components like op-amps, resistors, and thermistors. The part numbers are given in the book.

In Chapter 13, students learn to control a stand-alone instrument via the GPIB and/or USB interface buses. For the GPIB work, you will need a GPIB board and GPIB-interfaced instrument with GPIB cable, while for work with the USB, a UBS cable and USB-interfaced instrument are required.

Various options for an instructional laboratory LabVIEW station are given here.

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I'm a hobbyist and would like to use Hands-On Introduction to LabVIEW to learn LabVIEW. What hardware is needed and how much does it cost?

The first four chapters of Hands-On Introduction to LabVIEW are software only, so for that work you'll need a PC and loaded with the LabVIEW software. List price for a single copy of the Base Development System of LabVIEW is $1249 (which is sufficient for the material in Hands-On Introduction to LabVIEW, except Chapters 10 and 11). A National Instrument sales representative can help you decide what is the least expensive approach for your situation. You can download a 30-day trial copy of LabVIEW and Mathscript at http://www.ni.com/trylabview/ and https://lumen.ni.com/nicif/us/evaltlktsigproc/content.xhtml, respectively.

In the fifth and later chapters where you will control a data acquisition device, the cheapest route is to use the USB-6009 DAQ device, which costs about $250. It attaches to a PC desktop or laptop via an included USB cable and it has screw-terminal connectors where you attach wires leading to your experiment. The other things you will need are an electronics breadboard, function generator, voltmeter and oscilloscope, which hopefully you have access to. Otherwise, you can purchase these items from electronic suppliers like Newark. Also in some later chapters, you will need inexpensive electronic components like op-amps, resistors, and thermistors. The part numbers are given in the book.

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Can an Arduino (rather than a National Instruments DAQ device such as a USB-6009 or PCI-6251) be used to construct the computer-based instruments created in Chapters 5, 10, 11, and 12 of Hands-On Introduction to LabVIEW?

The LabVIEW Interface for Arduino (LIFA) Toolkit, available from National Instruments as a free download here, is open-source driver software that allows one to control an Arduino data acquisition device using LabVIEW software. The LIFA toolkit includes a collection of high-level LabVIEW icons that perform many of the operations (e.g., N-sample analog input) needed to construct the computer-based instruments (e.g., Digital Oscilloscope) created in Hands-On Introduction to LabVIEW. However, the book’s programs implement LabVIEW’s DAQmx-based icons, including the Express VI DAQ Assistant, as these DAQmx icons control the National Instruments data acquisition devices commonly used by professional researchers. Unfortunately, the LIFA icons are not DAQmx based, but instead function by serially communicating with the Arduino using VISA icons (control of stand-alone instruments using VISA icons is covered in Chapter 13 of Hands-On Introduction to LabVIEW). Consequently, the VISA-based icons from the LIFA toolkit do not trivially substitute for the DAQmx icons used in the book’s computer-based instruments. For those using Hands On Introduction to LabVIEW to learn the fundamentals of LabVIEW-based data acquisition, the use of an NI DAQ device such as a USB-6009 or PCI-6251 (rather than an Arduino) is recommended. 

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