Getting to know Dracal

Introduction

Dracal's offering is diverse and provides several options. This article aims to help the reader navigate the various possibilities step by step, enabling them to understand our ecosystem better and determine if Dracal can offer them an ideal combination of options for their application.

This documentation is informational. For readers interested in proceeding with Dracal, here is a 5-step guide to help them confidently place their first order, ensuring that no element is overlooked.

What does Dracal offer?

Dracal's mission is to "Eliminate all barriers to the implementation of simple or complex projects requiring reliable precision measurements." With this goal in mind, the company offers a complete and integrated measurement solution, covering the three main components necessary for the rapid establishment of a complete measurement system:

1. Physical hardware
2. Visualization and logging software
3. Integration tools

Discover what each of these parts entails and the options available to you.

 

1. Physical hardware

1.1 Measuring instruments

First and foremost, Dracal offers precision measurement instruments. When writing this documentation, our USB sensors can measure seven types of measurements: temperature, relative humidity, atmospheric pressure, CO2, light, VOC, and particles. You can find all our measurement instruments here.

Our software tools (components 2 and 3) work exclusively with our measurement instruments. Although this statement may seem limiting, component 3 has been designed precisely to allow our users to integrate their Dracal setup into their own infrastructure at any time. Therefore, choosing Dracal for a specific project or to build a part of an infrastructure is not a restrictive decision. At any time, Dracal can become a single part of an evolving whole.

Our instruments are shipped within 3 business days. Therefore, unless an instrument is identified on the website as "Out of Stock," we maintain a significant inventory that allows us to ship small and medium-sized orders within this timeframe.

1.2 The 3-point User-calibration mechanism

Dracal instruments can be obtained with the option of a 3-point user-calibration mechanism. This option offers several advantages and is definitely worth considering. To avail of it, choose the desired product version whose identifier has the suffix "-CAL."

1.3 Traceability certificates issued by an ISO 17025 accredited laboratory

Dracal also offers the issuance of traceable certificates to NRC (NIST) by its Canadian partner laboratory, TransCat, accredited to ISO 17025, upon purchase of its instruments. These certificates are optional and add an additional lead time of 10 business days to the order delivery.

If you need it, you can find a brief reminder here of what these certificates are and how they play a significant role in metrology.

1.4 SensGate: Wireless communication device

Dracal offer: SensGate

Dracal also offers an Ethernet/Wi-Fi communication gateway, the SensGate, which allows for the implementation of a connected and remote infrastructure. The SensGate and its tools have been designed to offer an unparalleled simplified experience in the market for setting up such a system. Indeed, for the end user (and the programmer!), working with two instruments connected directly via USB to their computer or with 50 devices connected to 10 SensGates is equally time-consuming, taking just a few minutes.

The decision of whether or not to acquire a SensGate can be made at any time during or after the setup of a Dracal system. Its integration into your system is almost trivial.

2. Visualization and logging software

2.1 DracalView

Free and cross-platform, our graphical software DracalView allows instant visualization and logging of data from unlimited Dracal instruments, regardless of their types. This offers a complete Mix & Match functionality. It only takes 3 minutes to familiarize yourself with it. Graphical documentation is, of course, available.

Instruments connected via SensGate are discoverable on DracalView with a single click and are treated exactly the same way as instruments connected via USB directly to the computer.

2.2 SensGate datalogger

In addition to its Wi-Fi/Ethernet gateway functionality, the SensGate also offers data logging capabilities, making it a standalone data logger. View your data remotely, initiate logging tasks, and import your harmonized data with just three clicks.

3. Integration tools

3.1 Command-line tools (CLI)

The command-line tools, free and cross-platform, allow easy and quick data integration from our instruments without requiring in-depth software development knowledge. The two tools are dracal-usb-get and dracal-sensgate-get, downloaded from the same location as DracalView during its installation. Code examples in more than 10 programming languages and an integration example in LabVIEW are available, allowing for rapid integration into virtually any system.

This option enables the rapid and efficient implementation of automated measurement systems in enterprises. It also allows for easy integration of a Dracal system into existing infrastructure.

3.2 Virtual Serial Port (VCP) communication option

Some applications do not allow third-party software to access sensor data. The VCP option was developed to provide a solution for users in this situation. Instruments equipped with this option can communicate either via USB protocol or VCP protocol. When the instrument operates in VCP mode, it directly provides the user with ready-to-use data without needing third-party software.

This option is particularly popular for projects that involve OEM integration of Dracal sensors or other software integrations where it is beneficial to eliminate any licensing requirements.

Under Windows, it should be noted that the tools downloaded with DracalView, including DracalView itself, cannot read data from instruments whose protocol has been converted from USB to VCP. Therefore, users must switch their instrument back to USB mode to use these tools again. This limitation does not apply to Linux and macOS users.

The choice of an instrument with the VCP option must be made at the time of purchase by selecting the desired product version with the "VCP-" prefix, as opposed to the standard option with the "USB-" prefix (e.g., VCP-PTH450-CAL versus USB-PTH450-CAL).

Next Steps

Have you found answers to all your questions? If you need help, feel free to contact us. You will receive a response within 24 business hours.

Have you concluded that Dracal may not be the best solution for you? It is possible, and the objective of this article was to help you figure quickly out if that is the case.

With this information, do you feel confident that Dracal offers a solution that fits your reliability, speed, and simplicity needs? If so, welcome aboard! We now invite you to consult this short 5-step guide, which will allow you to confidently place your first order without the fear of missing anything.