LabView.... Wheee...

A project log for Vacuum System for Deposition

I have been putting a system together for the past few years to do different kinds of deposition.

Jerry BiehlerJerry Biehler 01/19/2018 at 08:070 Comments

I have had way more time on my hands than I would like lately so I have been digging into the vacuum systems. I had ripped out most of the old controls from the large system so I could build in interlocks. Also the new VAT pendulum valve requires RS-232 commands to open and close the valve as well as run it in pressure control mode. 

I decided to use LabView to control it, National Instruments offers the 2014 version for home use for $50, pretty good deal. I picked up a ADLINK PCI7256 latching 16 output/ 16 input card to handle the digital IO and a PMD 1208FS USB Data Acquisition unit to handle analog input from the two Mini Convectron 275 vacuum gauge heads I am using to replace the old thermocouple gauges with.

LabView is quite a learning curve. Both the IO devices I used have LabView drives which made it somewhat easy, though the ADLINK software that was supposed to make setup easier didn't work so I ended up just kludging something together with their examples.

So, after a couple weeks of programming it, bench testing it, and building the hardware and cables I finally have something that works. Still need to tweak some of the program here and there but it seems pretty much good to go. 

Started wiring it up today to the machine and can at least rough down the turbo and control the pumps. Next I need to patch in the rest of the cables.