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Linking Laboratory Instruments For Simulation: Comma Separated Variable Files

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.690.1 - 6.690.7

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John D. Cremin

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2526

Linking Laboratory Instruments for Simulation: Comma Separated Variable Files

John D. Cremin Parks College of Engineering and Aviation Saint Louis University


This paper describes two workhorse electronic instruments, the function generator and the oscilloscope, and their use in recording and simulation applications in design and laboratory electronic courses. The paper also discusses the application of the recording and simulation techniques to performing experiments over the Internet

The oscilloscope used in the applications which are described is a portable, digital storage, battery operated, 100 MHz, two channel, Fluke Scopemeter1 . The function generator used is a digital synthesized, arbitrary waveform generator, the Hewlett Packard HP33120A2 . Both instruments have digital processing and RS232 interfaces for communication with software hosted on a Personal Computer (PC). It is this combination of analog and digital processing and easy interface with a PC that opens up the ability to use these instruments for acquiring data and later, transferring and using that data for simulation in a laboratory environment. There is another feature of these two products that enhances the ability to easily perform laboratory simulations for design projects or for laboratory course experiments. The common linking feature is the fact that both instruments can generate and use Comma Separated Variable (CSV) files. CSV files can also be read and processed by Microsoft  Excel. In addition to spreadsheet compatibility, word processors or text editors can be used to generate CSV files. This feature provides students with easy access to the data and the ability to analyze and edit recorded data. Thus, simulated input for experiments or design projects can be accomplished by using a text editor to modify the scope CSV data files for input to the arbitrary waveform generator.

I. Introduction

Several yeas ago, in an effort to improve the quality of laboratory reports, and to overcome problems associated with collecting, reporting and analyzing oscilloscope data, the use of digital storage scopes was introduced in to upper division courses in electronic communications, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and avionics.

A brief description of the pertinent Fluke Scopemeter and companion PC software is presented in Table 1.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Cremin, J. D. (2001, June), Linking Laboratory Instruments For Simulation: Comma Separated Variable Files Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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