DAQ Server Guide

NI-DAQ, or just “DAQ”, is the Data Acquisition device developed by National Instruments:

WA uses the DAQ to collect power measurements during workload execution. A client/server solution for this is distributed as part of WA, though it is distinct from WA and may be used separately (by invoking the client APIs from a Python script, or used directly from the command line).

This solution is dependent on the NI-DAQmx driver for the DAQ device. At the time of writing, only Windows versions of the driver are supported (there is an old Linux version that works on some versions of RHEL and Centos, but it is unsupported and won’t work with recent Linux kernels). Because of this, the server part of the solution will need to be run on a Windows machine (though it should also work on Linux, if the driver becomes available).

DAQ Device Wiring

The server expects the device to be wired in a specific way in order to be able to collect power measurements. Two consecutive Analogue Input (AI) channels on the DAQ are used to form a logical “port” (starting with AI/0 and AI/1 for port 0). Of these, the lower/even channel (e.g. AI/0) is used to measure the voltage on the rail we’re interested in; the higher/odd channel (e.g. AI/1) is used to measure the voltage drop across a known very small resistor on the same rail, which is then used to calculate current. The logical wiring diagram looks like this:

Port N
|   AI/(N*2)+   <--- Vr -------------------------|
|                                                |
|   AI/(N*2)-   <--- GND -------------------//   |
|                                                |
|   AI/(N*2+1)+ <--- V  ------------|-------V    |
|                           r       |            |
|   AI/(N*2+1)- <--- Vr --/\/\/\----|            |
|                 |                              |
|                 |                              |
|                 |------------------------------|

        V: Voltage going into the resistor
        Vr: Voltage between resistor and the SOC
        GND: Ground
        r: The resistor across the rail with a known
           small value.

The physical wiring will depend on the specific DAQ device, as channel layout varies between models.


Current solution supports variable number of ports, however it assumes that the ports are sequential and start at zero. E.g. if you want to measure power on three rails, you will need to wire ports 0-2 (AI/0 to AI/5 channels on the DAQ) to do it. It is not currently possible to use any other configuration (e.g. ports 1, 2 and 5).

As an example, the following illustration shows the wiring of PORT0 (using AI/0 and AI/1 channels) on a DAQ USB-6210


Setting up NI-DAQmx driver on a Windows Machine

  • The NI-DAQmx driver is pretty big in size, 1.5 GB. The driver name is ‘NI-DAQmx’ and its version ‘9.7.0f0’ which you can obtain it from National Instruments website by downloading NI Measurement & Automation Explorer (Ni MAX) from: http://joule.ni.com/nidu/cds/view/p/id/3811/lang/en


    During the installation process, you might be prompted to install .NET framework 4.

  • The installation process is quite long, 7-15 minutes.

  • Once installed, open NI MAX, which should be in your desktop, if not type its name in the start->search.

  • Connect the NI-DAQ device to your machine. You should see it appear under ‘Devices and Interfaces’. If not, press ‘F5’ to refresh the list.

  • Complete the device wiring as described in the DAQ Device Wiring section.

  • Quit NI MAX.

Setting up DAQ server

The DAQ power measurement solution is implemented in daqpower Python library, the package for which can be found in WA’s install location under wlauto/external/daq_server/daqpower-1.0.0.tar.gz (the version number in your installation may be different).

  • Install NI-DAQmx driver, as described in the previous section.

  • Install Python 2.7.

  • Download and install pip, numpy and twisted Python packages. These packages have C extensions, an so you will need a native compiler set up if you want to install them from PyPI. As an easier alternative, you can find pre-built Windows installers for these packages here (the versions are likely to be older than what’s on PyPI though).

  • Install the daqpower package using pip:

    pip install C:\Python27\Lib\site-packages\wlauto\external\daq_server\daqpower-1.0.0.tar.gz

    This should automatically download and install PyDAQmx package as well (the Python bindings for the NI-DAQmx driver).

Running DAQ server

Once you have installed the daqpower package and the required dependencies as described above, you can start the server by executing run-daq-server from the command line. The server will start listening on the default port, 45677.


There is a chance that pip will not add run-daq-server into your path. In that case, you can run daq server as such: python C:\path to python\Scripts\run-daq-server

You can optionally specify flags to control the behaviour or the server:

usage: run-daq-server [-h] [-d DIR] [-p PORT] [--debug] [--verbose]

optional arguments:
-h, --help            show this help message and exit
-d DIR, --directory DIR
                        Working directory
-p PORT, --port PORT  port the server will listen on.
--debug               Run in debug mode (no DAQ connected).
--verbose             Produce verobose output.


The server will use a working directory (by default, the directory the run-daq-server command was executed in, or the location specified with -d flag) to store power traces before they are collected by the client. This directory must be read/write-able by the user running the server.

Collecting Power with WA


You do not need to install the daqpower package on the machine running WA, as it is already included in the WA install structure. However, you do need to make sure that twisted package is installed.

You can enable daq instrument your agenda/config.py in order to get WA to collect power measurements. At minimum, you will also need to specify the resistor values for each port in your configuration, e.g.:

resistor_values = [0.005, 0.005]  # in Ohms

This also specifies the number of logical ports (measurement sites) you want to use, and, implicitly, the port numbers (ports 0 to N-1 will be used).


“ports” here refers to the logical ports wired on the DAQ (see DAQ Device Wiring, not to be confused with the TCP port the server is listening on.

Unless you’re running the DAQ server and WA on the same machine (unlikely considering that WA is officially supported only on Linux and recent NI-DAQmx drivers are only available on Windows), you will also need to specify the IP address of the server:

daq_server =

There are a number of other settings that can optionally be specified in the configuration (e.g. the labels to be used for DAQ ports). Please refer to the wlauto.instrumentation.daq.Daq documentation for details.

Collecting Power from the Command Line

daqpower package also comes with a client that may be used from the command line. Unlike when collecting power with WA, you will need to install the daqpower package. Once installed, you will be able to interract with a running DAQ server by invoking send-daq-command. The invocation syntax is

send-daq-command --host HOST [--port PORT] COMMAND [OPTIONS]

Options are command-specific. COMMAND may be one of the following (and they should generally be inoked in that order):

configure:Set up a new session, specifying the configuration values to be used. If there is already a configured session, it will be terminated. OPTIONS for this this command are the DAQ configuration parameters listed in the DAQ instrument documentation with all _ replaced by - and prefixed with --, e.g. --resistor-values.
start:Start collecting power measurments.
stop:Stop collecting power measurments.
get_data:Pull files containg power measurements from the server. There is one option for this command: --output-directory which specifies where the files will be pulled to; if this is not specified, the will be in the current directory.
close:Close the currently configured server session. This will get rid of the data files and configuration on the server, so it would no longer be possible to use “start” or “get_data” commands before a new session is configured.

A typical command line session would go like this:

send-daq-command --host configure --resistor-values 0.005 0.005
# set up and kick off the use case you want to measure
send-daq-command --host start
# wait for the use case to complete
send-daq-command --host stop
send-daq-command --host get_data
# files called PORT_0.csv and PORT_1.csv will appear in the current directory
# containing measurements collected during use case execution
send-daq-command --host close
# the session is terminated and the csv files on the server have been
# deleted. A new session may now be configured.

In addtion to these “standard workflow” commands, the following commands are also available:

list_devices:Returns a list of DAQ devices detected by the NI-DAQmx driver. In case mutiple devices are connected to the server host, you can specify the device you want to use with --device-id option when configuring a session.
list_ports:Returns a list of ports tha have been configured for the current session, e.g. ['PORT_0', 'PORT_1'].
 Returns a list of data files that have been geneted (unless something went wrong, there should be one for each port).

Collecting Power from another Python Script

You can invoke the above commands from a Python script using daqpower.client.execute_command() function, passing in daqpower.config.ServerConfiguration and, in case of the configure command, daqpower.config.DeviceConfigruation. Please see the implementation of the daq WA instrument for examples of how these APIs can be used.