NOTE: This section is normally part of the README.TXT
file that comes with Daqarta, not part of the Help system,
since it deals with what to do to get Daqarta started.
Links to Help topics have been added here.
Welcome to Daqarta, version 2.21!
DAQARTA is Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis
shareware which turns any real-mode DOS PC into a
real-time waveform / FFT spectrum / color spectrogram
analyzer system. Daqarta includes signal averaging,
complex signal generation, advanced triggering options,
and many other specialized features for engineering and
If you obtained this version of Daqarta from somewhere
other than our Website, you can check for the latest
version and custom drivers at:
Please note that Daqarta is SHAREWARE... it is NOT FREE.
We need your paid registration
to stay in business!
Daqarta has a 30-session free trial period, after which
you are encouraged to register. When the trial period
is over, Daqarta will start up with the Help system
showing a registration reminder, instead of executing
any Auto-Initialize Key Macro.
ESCape will return to
normal Daqarta operation. In addition, the
Advanced Stimulus Signal Generator will no longer load,
though you can still use the less powerful STIM3 (which
you may download separately).
Note that when you use the default DEMO driver
(instead of a
"real" ADC board or sound card), it doesn't count
toward the 30-session limit; you can always use all
Daqarta features, including the Auto-Initialize macro
and STIM3A. This allows you to learn about Daqarta's
many features, and about data aquisition and signal
processing in general, with no restrictions.
To run from another directory (like where you want your
Daqarta data files to go), you must tell DOS how to reach
it by adding the DQA directory to the PATH statement in
your AUTOEXEC.BAT file.
After completing the above normal installation, you can
create a "shortcut" icon that will run Daqarta right from
your Windows 9x desktop. However, it is best if you first
make sure that Daqarta runs OK by going to the Start menu
and selecting Shut Down, then selecting the Restart in
MS-DOS option. (Do NOT use the MS-DOS prompt from the
Programs menu... that won't completely exit from Windows.)
- Create a directory (folder) called DQA (or whatever you
wish) and unzip DQA.ZIP into it.
- Unzip your selected board driver(s) to this same directory.
- To run, you must be in Real-mode DOS (as for most older DOS
games that require full system access). This is NOT what
you get by simply clicking on the MS-DOS icon in Windows
3.1 or Windows 95/98... that stays in Protected mode.
Instead, you must end any Windows 3.1 session to get to the
DOS prompt. From Windows 95/98 you should go to:
Start / Shutdown / Restart in MS-DOS mode.
See the full installation instructions for how to avoid
having to do all this in the future, using a simple
shortcut for Windows 95/98.
- Now change to the DQA directory and then enter DQA from the
command line. Daqarta will start up using the default
DEMO.ADC driver. This doesn't use
a sound card or a data
acquisition board of any kind, and should work on any
- You can use Daqarta just like this to learn more about its
features or to use its hands-on tutorials and experiments,
but eventually most users will want to look at real
signals. You will need to update your
DQA.CFG file to tell
Daqarta what board driver to load.
From the resulting DOS prompt, use the CD\DQA command to get
to the Daqarta directory, then enter DQA to start Daqarta.
If there are any problems at this point, consult the
Troubleshooting tips to solve
them before proceeding with the shortcut setup.
If Daqarta comes up and starts running properly (you see a
complete animated logo sequence that leads to a live sine
wave from the default Virtual Source), Quit Daqarta by
hitting the Q-key twice. You can now safely set up the
The above description assumes that you will be using a
"normal" board with old-fashioned jumpers, etc. If you
have a Plug-n-Play (PnP) version, things get more involved:
- Enter EXIT to restart Windows 9x from the C:\ prompt.
- Move the cursor to the desired location for the icon on
- Click on the right mouse button. A small menu will appear.
Move to the New item, and another menu will appear next to
- Click on the Shortcut item in the second menu.
- The Create Shortcut screen that appears will prompt you for
a Command Line. Enter the complete path directly, or:
- Click on Browse to see all the folders on your hard
- Double-click the left mouse button on the Dqa folder
entry to see all the files in that folder.
- Double-click on the Dqa file (or click once and then
click on Open).
- You will now be back at the Create Shortcut screen,
with the Command line entry filled in. It should look
- If your monitor is slow to change modes, as are some new
Energy Star types, you may want to tell Daqarta to hold the
logo display a couple of seconds before starting the
animation sequence. If so, add the number of extra seconds
as a single digit after the Command line entry. To do
this, move the cursor past the end of the DQA.EXE text and
then click the left button once. The flashing bar text
cursor appears. Enter a space and the digit, such as 2:
- Click on Next and you will be prompted to 'Select a Title
for the Program'. The default will be 'Dqa', but you will
probably want to change it to 'DAQARTA' or some name of
your choosing. This is the name that will appear below the
icon on your desktop. Using all upper-case letters will
make this more legible.
- Click on Next and you will be prompted to 'Select an icon
for the shortcut'. The Interstellar Research logo icon
will appear in the window.
- Click on Finish to accept the icon. After a brief pause,
the new DAQARTA icon will appear on the desktop. It's OK
if it looks dim at this point.
- Right-click on the new icon and a small menu appears. Move
to Properties and click on it.
- A DAQARTA Properties menu appears. Click on the Program
thumb-tab at the top of the menu page.
- Click on the Advanced button at the bottom of this menu
page and a new Advanced Program Settings menu page will
- Click on the 'MS-DOS mode' item to put a check there.
- (You may optionally want to un-check 'Warn before entering
MS-DOS mode'... see below.)
- Click on OK to accept this setup, then on OK on the
Properties sheet and you will be back at the desktop.
- Double-click on the icon and Daqarta will start.
- If you left the 'Warn ...' item checked, double-clicking on
the icon will first bring up a warning message that this
will close all other programs, and prompt you to continue.
- When you Quit Daqarta, your system will perform a complete
restart back into Windows 95/98.
Windows 3.1 does not offer the "shortcut" to true
MS-DOS mode that Windows 95/98 does. To run Daqarta you
must quit Windows completely, unless you have the
Power2Play program from The Software Labs, which provides
the functionality of a Windows 9x shortcut. Unfortunately,
Power2Play is no longer available and The Software Labs is
unable to allow further distribution.
- Even though Windows 9x sets up your PnP board properly when
it starts, if you run a program in full MS-DOS mode it will
clear the board's PnP registers, making the board invisible
to DOS. (There are some possible reasons for this... it's
just hard to think of many good reasons.)
- In order for Daqarta or any other DOS-mode program to "see"
this board, the PnP registers must be reset. To do this,
you need to run with the proper AUTOEXEC and CONFIG files,
just as if you are running in a normal DOS-only system.
These must contain special PnP setup programs or drivers,
possibly specific to your board.
- If you originally used a "Complete DOS and Windows 95/98"
option when installing the board, the proper files may
have already been created and called AUTOEXEC.DOS and
CONFIG.DOS (instead of AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS as
they would be called in a DOS-only installation).
The installation may also change the DOSSTART.BAT file in
your Windows directory.
If you keep these files as-is, then the above Daqarta
installation will be OK, since it will use the "Standard
DOS configuration". However, if you also run other DOS
programs that are incompatible with this configuration, you
may need a "Custom configuration", either for Daqarta or
the other program(s).
- The advantage of the Standard configuration is speed, since
the program will start directly when you double-click on
the icon. The Custom configuration, however, will go
through a complete re-boot sequence first, in order to
incorporate the new configuration... not exactly quick.
If you do need a custom configuration, either for Daqarta
or some other DOS program shortcut, you will need to enter
the proper CONFIG and AUTOEXEC commands in the space
provided in the Advanced Program Settings menu.
- CAUTION: Typical DOS board installations use "blind" PnP
configurations. They don't actually use the PnP system to
resolve possible conflicts as intended. These boards will
typically have an AUTOEXEC (and DOSSTART) line with A, I,
and D parameters specified, instead of letting the PnP
system assign them.
Most often, these defaults will work just fine... about as
often as the old jumper-type board defaults worked in any
arbitrary system. But if the Windows 9x PnP configuration
mananger is actually setting different values to avoid a
conflict with some other hardware, then when you switch to
DOS and use the default settings there could be trouble.
- To resolve this, you should see what settings Windows 9x
itself is using for this board. Go to Start, Programs, and
MS-DOS Prompt and enter SET at the command prompt. You will
see several lines, including one like:
SET BLASTER = A220 I5 D1 H5 P330 T6
These are the actual settings assigned by the Windows 9x
PnP configuration manager.
- Now check the settings on the appropriate AUTOEXEC.DOS
and WINDOWS\DOSSTART.BAT lines.
For this board there would be some driver name followed by
/A:220 /I:5 /D:1 /H:5 or something equivalent, and most
likely a SET BLASTER line as well. Although Daqarta
doesn't actually use the driver in the normal way (since it
has it's own SB16.ADC, etc), it may need it just to set the
PnP configuration. For that, the A, I, D, and H parameters
must match those you read earlier from the MS-DOS prompt
- Some boards may come with a DOS PnP configuration manager
that eliminates the need for installing the normal drivers,
as far as Daqarta is concerned. For Creative Labs, it is
CTPNP, given on a DOSSTART line before the driver lines.
If you are short on memory, you may be able to remove the
drivers if you are only running Daqarta. However, if you
use the board with any other DOS program besides Daqarta,
you will need to keep the drivers intact.
- Make sure the parameters used here match those for the
Daqarta driver (SB16.ADC) in the DQA.CFG file.
- Restart your system to incorporate any changes to AUTOEXEC,
CONFIG, or DOSSTART. (You never need to restart just for
changes to the DQA.CFG file.)
(This section appears in both the main Daqarta pop-up Help
system and in README.TXT for your convenience in copying the
Daqarta is not intended for network use. Networks can cause
excessive system interrupts that can disrupt critical data
acquisition tasks. Although some simple DMA-based operations
like ordinary viewing of sound card inputs may appear to work
just fine, you should not depend upon this. Increased usage
due to stimulus generation, DDisk recording, or even pulse
generation or external triggering, may result in distortions
or timing jitter in your data.
And many laboratory-type boards don't support DMA operation,
or don't support it for simultaneous stimulus generation. In
these cases, where aquisition is via an interrupt on each
sample, the network interrupts will cause serious problems.
If you feel you must run with an active network connection,
you should take care to test for proper operation under all
operating conditions. This is not easy to do, since it can
be hard to simulate high network traffic.
Networks have been found to be a particular problem with
Windows 3.x, since the drivers load at boot-up. Windows 9x
drivers are released when you 'Restart in MS-DOS Mode' or
use the direct shortcut method to start Daqarta, so they
are typically not a problem.
The best bet for Windows 3.x is to simply not load the network
drivers when you will be running Daqarta. Note that it is OK
to leave the network card installed, as long as the drivers
are not loaded. However, if the drivers are loaded, even if
you don't log on to the network, there will be interrupt
You can use a simple batch file to swap between two different
setups. Create files called CONFIG.DQA and AUTOEXEC.DQA that
have no network drivers or other things Daqarta doesn't need.
(Just copy your normal CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT, then
delete all the superfluous drivers.)
Now create a batch file called RUN-DQA.BAT in whatever
directory is convenient to start from. (It doesn't need
to be your DQA directory, since AUTOEXEC.DQA will change
REN C:\CONFIG.SYS CONFIG.TMP
REN C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT AUTOEXEC.TMP
REN C:\CONFIG.DQA CONFIG.SYS
REN C:\AUTOEXEC.DQA AUTOEXEC.BAT
At the end of your AUTOEXEC.DQA file, add these lines:
And in the C:\DQA\ directory create this AUTO-DQA.BAT file:
REN C:\CONFIG.SYS CONFIG.DQA
REN C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT AUTOEXEC.DQA
REN C:\CONFIG.TMP CONFIG.SYS
REN C:\AUTOEXEC.TMP AUTOEXEC.BAT
When RUN-DQA runs, it will save the normal configuration to
.TMP files (make sure these names are not already in use),
then automatically reboot. When the new AUTOEXEC.BAT (former
AUTOEXEC.DQA) runs, it will proceed to run Daqarta. Then when
you Quit Daqarta, it will
automatically restore the normal
configuration and reboot again.
This example assumes that you have the REBOOT.EXE utility in a
directory called C:\UTIL. This tiny program (15 bytes)
performs a "warm boot", just like CTRL-ALT-DEL. You can
download it from the Utilities
section of the Daqarta Website.
This same general approach can be used for any circumstance
that requires a configuration change, such as to eliminate
EMM386 or other Protected mode drivers.