Holidays are a good time for upgrades, etc, and as always that involves much more work than anticipated. In short, upgrading to the Lion version of Mac OSX for all my computers had some severe fallout. Namely, LabVIEW 8.2 is not supposed to work under Lion, and after upgrading to LabVIEW 11 it turned out that the CIN (code interface node) construct is not any more supported… but that is needed as interface to the IOWarrior chip I am using for controlling my electronic measurement setup (via I2C bus and USB).
So, in effect I decided to scrap the IOWarrior hardware interface alltogether and switch to the Arduino Uno, which is very common, cheap, easy to program and has a lot of support, and in particular, LabVIEW and I2C support. Rewriting the hardware drivers for all my ADC/DAC chips kept me busy for a couple of days, thereby completely overthrowing other projects that I intended to do during the Christmas break… here a pic of my universal laser diode/TEC controller now working with the Arduino and LabVIEW11:
Of course, after all was done, it turned out that not only does LabVIEW 8.2 still work under Lion, but also that CINs still work under LabVEW 11.. well so it goes, but at least I have now a streamlined setup with some hope for future compatibility and extensibility.
Since I now got to appreciate the Arduino, I toy with the idea of building a new, completely Arduino-controlled laser diode controller and analyzer, with all sorts of fancy LCD displays etc… seems great fun ahead 😉
As for other news on the electronics/instrumentation front, the friendly greek friends, whom I sold a few lasers, donated me a nice spectrometer (many thanks to them!) These small, fiber coupled and grating-based spectrometers are sold by Science-Surplus, but they come unaligned. Their site has notes for doing the alignment which are pretty clear to follow, but it still took me a day to get the spectrometer to work. I also extended their LabVIEW interface and it now looks like this:
For some more comments see here.