Over the last two decades,
OCC has developed dozens of data acquisition systems for the
atmospheric sciences and other scientific applications.
Many of these programs are installed on systems that need to run
autonomously or semi-autonomously. However, when a LabVIEW
program is set to run automatically when a Windows computer
boots, it is not uncommon for the LabVIEW application to begin
running before the operating system has fully initialized the
National Instruments hardware. When this happens, the NI
devices will not function within the LabVIEW application.
In order to overcome this issue, as well as to provide some
additional functionality, the OCC Program Prep software program
OCC Program Prep has five actions, each of
which can be used as many times as desired, in any order.
The actions are: Wait, Wait Until NI Device is Ready,
Launch a Program, Sync Time to NTP Server, and Sync Time to
GPS. Thus, besides waiting for NI Devices to fully
initialize, the OCC Program Prep program can also be used to
synchronize the computer clock to an external source. This
can be important for several reasons. Whenever a data
acquisition program uses software timing, having that program
synchronize the computer clock to an external source after the
program has started can potentially lead to timing errors.
Thus it can be beneficial to synchronize the computer clock
before the data acquisition program starts.
The OCC Program Prep system has two
components, the configuration editor and the OCC Program Prep
program itself. The configuration program provides a
simple graphical interface that allows the user to set up the
OCC Program Prep program to execute the desired functions.
Any number of steps can be added to the configuration.
Whenever an action is selected, help information regarding that
action and its parameters is displayed at the bottom of the
After a configuration is created, press the
Save button to store the configuration file. The OCC
Program Prep.ini file is stored in the directory C:\OCC\OCC
Program Prep Support. Note that when the program runs, it
creates a log file that records each action that is
executed. These log files are also stored in the
C:\OCC\OCC Program Prep Support directory.
The OCC Program Prep installer does not set the OCC
Program Prep program to start automatically at boot-up.
The user must set this up themselves, once they are ready for
this program to be enabled. The quickest way to set it to
run automatically at boot-up is to place a shortcut to the
OCC Program Prep.exe in the Start-up folder. The
exact location of this start-up folder depends on the operating
system in use.
It is also important to note that for many
operating systems (including Windows 7 and up), a program must
be launched with the "Run as Administrator" option in order for
it to set the computer time. When running this program as
an executable, edit the shortcut in the startup directory by
right clicking on the shortcut and selecting Properties.
Then press the Advanced button on the Shortcut tab. Mark
the checkbox for "Run as administrator". If this program
is being run from inside LabVIEW, LabVIEW itself must be run as
an Administrator for the program to be able to set the computer
When the OCC Program Prep program runs, it displays
the steps of Actions that it will complete, an arrow next to the
current Action, a list of log file entries showing the success
or failure of each Action, the time remaining for certain
Actions, and a Stop button. The program will automatically
sequence through the listed actions, then will close when it has
Note that when the Sync Time to GPS Action is used,
the GPS must have been powered up long enough to have acquired a
lock. (The Wait action can be used for this
purpose.) The OCC Program Prep program looks for the RMC
GPS string to find the time, so it is important that your GPS be
configured to put out that string as part of its data packet.
The OCC Program Prep program is available for
purchase from Original Code Consulting. A single license
of this program costs $50, and can be used on a single
computer. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
to place an order or for more information.
OCC Program Prep may be purchased as source code,
an executable program, or with a full installer. The
current version of the OCC Program Prep program is written in
LabVIEW 2012. In order for it to detect and test NI DAQ
Devices, the computer must also have the NI Daq drivers
installed. When run as source code, the user can compile
OCC Program Prep in whatever version of LabVIEW they choose, and
it will use the version of the NI Daq drivers that is installed
on the user's computer. When used as an executable
compiled by OCC, the user must ensure that the LabVIEW RunTime
Engine for LabVIEW 2012 is installed on the target computer, as
well as a compatible version of the NI Daq drivers.
If the user chooses to use the OCC Program Prep installer
program, note that it includes the NI DAQmx device drivers,
version 9.7.5. If your system already has a new NIDaq
driver installed, the newer driver will remain installed.
If your system is using an older version of the NI DAQmx driver,
the OCC Program Prep installer will install version 9.7.5.
Although many versions of LabVIEW are compatible with many
versions of NI DAQmx, it is the responsibility of the end-user
to ensure that installation of the OCC Program Prep program will
not adversely affect the rest of their system.