Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Official blog of the Lehigh University Chemical Engineers

Going Digital

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One of the Unit Operations Labs that my partner and I did was the Data Acquisition Lab. The goal of this experiment was to help us understand how data collecting method work by analyzing signal voltages measured with a computer inserted Analog/Digital data acquisition (DAS) board from a pressure transducer and thermocouples under various conditions and signal variations. Data acquisition systems convert analog signals from specific measurement sensors to digital signals and store them as readable data on a connected computer. The sensors used here are thermocouples and pressure transducers, which convert the physical phenomena of temperature and pressure to measurable voltages with respect to time.

When an analog signal is converted to a digital signal, the voltage is discretized into steps which contain a certain amount of discrete place holders for data. These points are bits, and vary depending on the software.  For example, a 4-bit system will store 4 units of information per step.  The number of steps of an n-bit system can be found by the formula: “2n= steps” The smallest step size, or resolution, of an analog to digital conversion (ADC) can be determined by dividing the reference voltage by the number of steps.

Now here’s something more interesting for those of you music lovers like me. If you wonder how to convert your vinyl collections into digital format, keep reading.  It is actually not that complicated so bear with me. Basically, you first output your analog signal from your vinyl records before you boost it with a preamp. It then passes through a receiver and computer-audio interface that converts analog signal to digital. And then Audacity can record it for you and it’s free. And there you have it! However, if your turntable is analog-line level, you can hook it up directly into the computer audio-interface and then into the computer. Even better, if your turntable output signal at Line level and has a digital output, feel free to connect the turntable directly to the computer.

It’s really useful because now you can bring your digitized music with you to wherever you go. Well unless you are a hipster who prefers to carry turntables around that’s cool too. 


Author: Jerry Jin

Hello, My name is Jerry Jin. I'm a senior at Lehigh University pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering. I'm from Allentown, PA, but I was born in Shanghai, China. I moved here when I was fourteen years old. I'm currently the secretary for Southeast Asia at Lehigh Club, and treasurer for SASE. I'm also on the Lehigh Ultimate Frisbee Team and I enjoy being spontaneous.

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