Daqarta for DOS Contents



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Daqarta for DOS
Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis
Shareware for Legacy Systems
(Use Daqarta for Windows with modern systems)

From the Daqarta for DOS Help system:

README.TXT Installation Instructions:

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 scientific research.

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 STIM3A 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.


  • 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 system as-is.

  • 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.


  • Once Daqarta is running with the DEMO.ADC driver, you can hit the H-key to bring up the Help system. The Contents page shows which keys to use for Help navigation. Tab down to Getting Started and hit ENTER, then tab down to Loading Board Drivers and again hit ENTER.

  • 'Loading Board Drivers' explains some basics and offers a link that describes the DQA.CFG file. Since each board may have different parameter needs, board-specific information is included in each driver's own Help file. You can load any driver in a "disabled" mode to allow viewing this parameter information by setting the board Address to zero. (See the Viewing Driver Help Without a Board subsection.)

  • Using the SB16.ADC driver as an example, open DQA.CFG using any plain ASCII text editor (like Edit) and change the second line from:

  • The above assumes that your card has a proper BLASTER environment string, which may have been set by a PnP configuration manager such as CTCM, or may appear as a SET BLASTER= line in AUTOEXEC.BAT. (You can view the current environment by entering SET at the DOS prompt.)

  • Daqarta will use the parameters in the BLASTER string, or you can override them with corresponding entries on the .ADC line. Only sound cards use the BLASTER string... lab-type boards must supply .ADC parameters if the defaults don't match your board.

  • NOTE that some board drivers (ESS, SBPRO, etc) don't allow simultaneous DAC or digital output during ADC input. In this case you should comment out the STIM3A.GEN line from DQA.CFG.

  • Restart Daqarta. If it fails to start, and reports that it couldn't find your board, you must either change the BLASTER parameters (especially A), or override them with parameters on the .ADC line. To get more information about parameters when your board isn't found, go back and use an A:0 parameter on the .ADC line:
        SB16.ADC    A:0

  • Restart Daqarta and hit the B-key. The SB16 control menu will appear, although since the board is disabled the trace will still show the Virtual Source waveform. Now hit CTRL-H to bring up the board's Help system and go to its Configuration Parameters section for a complete discussion of the options.

  • Replace the A:0 with the proper board Address and add any other required parameters (D:, H:, and I: in this case). You can omit any or all of these to accept the default values, which for this driver would be equivalent to:
        SB16.ADC    A:h220  D:1  H:5  I:5
  • Note that these values will generally match those in the BLASTER environment. (The CT417x ViBRA 16X series may need a different H: setting than the BLASTER value.)

  • There is a special section under the A: Address parameter Help topic for PnP Address Determination that DOS or Windows 3.1 users may need to consult. Windows 95/98 users should refer to the section later in this README.TXT file called Special Windows 95/98 PnP Configurations.


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.)

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 shortcut:

  • Enter EXIT to restart Windows 9x from the C:\ prompt.
  • Move the cursor to the desired location for the icon on your desktop.
  • Click on the right mouse button. A small menu will appear. Move to the New item, and another menu will appear next to the first.
  • 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 drive.
    • 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 something like:
  • 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:
    C:\DQA\Dqa.exe 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 appear.
  • 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.


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:
  • 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 SET command.

  • 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.)


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.


(This section appears in both the main Daqarta pop-up Help system and in README.TXT for your convenience in copying the batch files.)

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 activity.

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 to that.)


At the end of your AUTOEXEC.DQA file, add these lines:

    CD DQA
And in the C:\DQA\ directory create this AUTO-DQA.BAT file:

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.


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