Need help with choice of Control System.


Thread Starter


My company is developing a DNA sequencing apparatus, and we need to automate it (raising and lowering of various tubes, voltage adjustments, etc.).
We have found someone to do that for us, but the problem is that our data acquisition unit is designed around an FPGA that converts and processes data, and sends it out through an interface designed to connect to a parallel port.
And it does not take kindly to delays in reception of the data, as it just overwrites it with new data.
Out idea is to have 1 something that accumulates this data, and sends it through an ethernet controller to another PC (Preferably embedded), and that PC stores the data, and is connected to a network over which this data can be acquired by a central server, or just another computer, for processing.
My question is what kind of system would we use on the LPT/Ethernet side of things, and what kind of a PC to (store/make accesible) the data (PC104, Embedded, a small box, etc.).
Preferably the hardware cost of the total solution would run less that $500-$700.
Thank you.

Curt Wuollet

How about a total hardware/software cost of less than $500.00 and the best tools for working with ethernet. And how about a wealth of example
source code and probably drivers to make it simple. This is an ideal application for Linux and I believe we have examples of ethernet and
parallel port code available in the archive and I'm sure you can find enough related applications with source code that you would only have to write to the machines particular protocol. Oh, and all the development tools are free and there is a whole community to help you. Between the LinuxPlc project and the Linux Lab project, I'm sure we can get you going with minimal fuss. Without the manditory gui of Windows the speed should be more than adequate on the lowest power box you can buy.



Brian Lee Mast


The University of Washington developed a really cool sample processing machine for use in DNA sequencing. I believe they said it was a first a few years ago.

Below are a couple references to the people and the project. You may want to research further.

Genius UW scientist Dr. Maynard Olsen
Acapella Project (with pictures of the machine)

Good Luck,
Brian Lee Mast, P.E.
Trippel/Mast Consulting LLC
Seattle, Washington
[email protected]