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Instrumentation and Data Acquisition

NATC has extensive experience in the fabrication and use of instrumented systems. These have included the construction and instrumentation fitment of 15 Dynamic Force Measurement Vehicles for both in-house use and for customers such as U.S. Army Cold Regions Research Experimental Laboratory, Department of Defense Canada, and U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Other systems include the construction and instrumentation fitment of a mobile dynamometer for the People's Republic of China and ground pressure/deflection devices for measuring footprint pressure, damping and spring rates of very large low pressure tires.

NATC has an instrumentation department to support and conduct instrumented evaluation of ground-based vehicles and weapons firings, and a data analysis department to perform data reduction and analysis. A wide variety of transducers is used to measure many different system performance parameters for vehicles and weapons systems. Examples include accelerometers, strain gages, thermocouples, etc.

All the equipment necessary to condition and record the signals out of the transducers is available. Systems for recording 168 channels simultaneously are available; however, typical commercial and military applications on vehicles use approximately 32-64 channel configurations. This equipment is currently on-site and available for test support.

  1. Acceleration
  2. Speed
  3. Temperature
  4. Flow
  5. Pressure
  6. Force/Torque
  7. Stress Analysis
  8. Sound
  9. Light
  10. Displacement/Proximity
  11. Gyros and Inclinometers
  12. GPS tracking
  13. Toxic Gas
  14. Nuisance Dust Quantification
  15. Meteorology
  16. Electrical Properties and Parameters - Secondary Reference Standards

Outputs from the above transducers are recorded on analog or digital microprocessor controlled recorders. The recorders are ruggedized to survive in an environment of dust, and high shock and vibration. Since multiple techniques and equipment types are available for most of these measurements, the methods chosen depend upon test plan requirements, resolution requirements, and type of test. NATC utilizes an Optim Megadac 3407DC RAM-based data recorder which has the capability to sample data at 25,000 samples per second and acquire 330 channels per mainframe. This can be a combination of any of the sensors referenced above. Calibration documentation for all instrumentation is maintained on file.

Data analysis capabilities include time- and frequency-domain statistics, spectral analysis, digital filtering, transfer functions, input/output models, etc. For weapons firing applications and other shock-spectrum-analysis applications, sample rates near one million per second are available.

For data acquisition and data analysis requirements from instrumented tests, a variety of data acquisition devices are available. Nsoft data processing software is used for signal-analysis.

Data Transfer and Exchange

NATC has previously established data transfer and data compatibility with USATACOM, Warren Michigan, USAF BMO Norton California, USA Picatinny Arsenal and various commercial sites. NATC can provide digital data in virtually any required format. Due to the wide range of computer requirements, NATC's testing facilities are augmented by several different computer systems that perform various levels of word and data processing. Digital data can be provided in IBM or Macintosh formats.

Data Acquisition Packages

Through nearly 40 years of vehicle test and evaluation, NATC has recognized the need for ruggedized, reliable acquisition of dynamic vehicle response data. Our engineering staff has developed and patented numerous devices, procedures, and techniques for collection and analysis of test data within the often brutal environment of off-highway durability testing. Through this experience and expertise, NATC is in a position to offer complete instrumentation and data acquisition packages to testing labs and proving grounds around the world.

Systems can be engineered to meet specific data collection and analysis requirements in virtually any ground vehicle testing arena. For example, NATC can provide a complete heating, cooling, control, and data acquisition package for a vehicle-sized environmental test chamber. NATC also can provide software to be used with off-the-shelf systems, as well as with NATC's exclusive components and devices. Traceable calibration of NATC-supplied equipment is available in our on-site lab.


Nevada Automotive Test Center
a division of Hodges Transportation, Inc.
Post Office Box 234, Carson City, Nevada 89702

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