Spinal Cord Research Centre

SCRC Data Capture and Analysis Software
PowerDAQ Patch Panel Setup

Here are some pictures showing how we set up our PowerDAQ patch panels for Linux-based A/D capture systems:

breakoutbox.jpg (71 KB)
breakoutbox.jpg: 71 KB image.

This box is used in McCrea's lab. It contains a PD-CONN-PCB to which a bundle of thin coax cables is attached, one per input channel. These coax cables, which come out of the box at the top of the picture, have mini-phone plugs on the other end. These plug into a patch panel in the rack which distributes the signals from all amplifiers in the rack. Currently, it only has 16 input cables, but will be expanded shortly to 32. (We have a 64 channel PowerDAQ card in the PC.) The large connector on the right of the box goes down to the buffer box shown below.


bufferbox.jpg (63 KB)
bufferbox.jpg: 63 KB image.

This black box contains a PD-BUFF-64. The white cable protruding from the left of the box is a PD-CBL-96-9FT cable from the breakout box above, and it goes to the input connector on the buffer amplifier. The grey cable protruding from the right of the box is a PD-CBL-96 (1 metre) cable which goes to the PowerDAQ card in the PC under the box. According to UEI, this output cable should not be longer than 1 metre.


bufferboxopen.jpg (61 KB)
bufferboxopen.jpg: 61 KB image.

This is the same buffer box, turned over with the cover removed. It shows how we mounted the PD-BUFF-64. inside the box, and removed the covers from the ends of the two cables so they could bend (gently) at right angles and come out of either side of the box.


bufferinbox.jpg (52 KB)
bufferinbox.jpg: 52 KB image.

Here is a close-up of the shot above, to see the construction in more detail.


patchpanel.jpg (52 KB)
patchpanel.jpg: 52 KB image.

As an alternative to the breakout box at the top of this page, here is a patch panel that we typically use on most of our PowerDAQ-based systems. It also contains a PD-CONN-PCB to which all the front-panel BNC jacks are connected. Some labs use mini-phone jacks instead of BNC jacks, but the construction is otherwise the same. This patch panel has 16 input jacks, but the same technique could be used to build a 32 or 64 channel patch panel, though it might require a taller box.


panelandboxv2.jpg (31 KB)
panelandboxv2.jpg: 31 KB image.

This patch panel is built like the one above, but using mini-phone jacks. It is shown here with the buffer box and cables. The shorter (1 metre) cable on the right goes to the PowerDAQ card in the PC. Recently, the PD-CBL-96 cables have come with molded covers on the connectors, so we can't remove them as for the earlier buffer box design above, so we modified the design of the box as shown below.


bufferboxv2.jpg (35 KB)
bufferboxv2.jpg: 35 KB image.

The new version of the buffer box has the cables with intact covers, and the end of each cover and cable coming out of the top.


bufferboxopenv2.jpg (39 KB)
bufferboxopenv2.jpg: 39 KB image.

With the box lid removed, you can see how the buffer board fits in the bottom of the box, with the two cables plugged in. Slots in the lid allow it to be fitted around the two cables and lowered over the two cable end covers.


bufferinboxv2.jpg (58 KB)
bufferinboxv2.jpg: 58 KB image.

Here is a close-up of the new buffer box, showing the construction. Plastic spacers hold the board at the four corners. The cable on the right is the buffer output, which connects to the PowerDAQ card in the PC.


pdconnpcb.jpg (31 KB)
pdconnpcb.jpg: 31 KB image.

This is a close-up of the PD-CONN-PCB board in our breakout box and patch panels. It features a right-angled connector for the 96 wire cables used for PowerDAQ systems, so the board can easily be mounted in a patch panel as shown above, with the connector coming out the back of the box. The holes to which you solder your wires are all clearly labeled with the input channels to which they correspond, so wiring the patch panel is quite easy. The extra holes on the right side of the board are not really needed for the patch panel, so that part of the board may be cut off if needed to fit in the enclosure. Only the rows of holes labeled J2 and J3 are needed for connection to the jacks or plugs.


You can get more information about PowerDAQ accessories, including how to order, from UEI's web site, http://www.ueidaq.com/. In Canada, you can order them through their Canadian reseller, A-Tech Instruments Ltd. Contact UEI for distributors in other countries.

See our Fact Sheet for more information on the PowerDAQ equipment we recommend, and where to order it.

See also: SCRC Software On-line Documentation

© Copyright 2009 Spinal Cord Research Centre, University of Manitoba. All Rights Reserved. Contact Us for more information.
Revised May 14, 2009.