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I'd like to run some tests by using 4-20mA sensors outputs, by somehow connecting them to my PC (and eventually run some analysis on the collected data).

I'm looking for a converter (that can perhaps be plugged in via USB), or some other interface method to my PC / Laptop.

Any suggestions?

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Remember if your sensors are very sensitive then you should't supply them from PC. If your budget low you can simply use your PC sound card for measurment with few external components like there http://www.marucchi.it/ZRLC_web/INTERFACCIA_ZRLC_p.pdf. What about data collection - you can simply access your PC sound card with Matlab "Data Acquisition Toolbox" and have sampled data direct in Matlab for further analysis. But much more easier to buy one of these "USB ADC DAC converter" and they have software.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ can you post some reference Matlab files for PC soundcard acquisition \$\endgroup\$ – yogece Nov 3 '13 at 7:25
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Why not use a microcontroller with a UART? RS232 would be easiest, but you can use USB too. Or use an Arduino for a quick and simple solution (not to mention cheap).

The Arduino is a micrcontroller too, but everything is there for you on a PCB, all you need to do is plug it into the PC via USB.

Unless I am misunderstanding your requirements, I think a microcontroller may be quite suitable for your intentions.

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You may want to have a look at this one:

http://www.yoctopuce.com/EN/products/usb-electrical-sensors/yocto-4-20ma-rx

It is USB, isolated, driver-less (really driver-less, not serial over USB). It features a data-logger and can power your sensor. Most importantly, it comes with libraries for most common programming languages.

You should also check out the competition

http://www.dataq.com/4-20ma-current-loop-data-logger/4-20ma-current-loop-data-logger.html

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