Control of Function Generator and HV DC power supplies

Hi everyone!

I am new to Arduinos and was hoping to get some insight into a project I'm putting together.

Basic procedure - Monitor a particles location with a camera, when the particle moves (detected by a LabVIEW VI) begin a feedback cycle with an Arduino that is hooked up to a high voltage DC power supply and function generator (acting as an AC power supply). The feedback would be changing DC V and AC frequency, checking the particles location, changing, checking, etc. until the particle is back it's original location.

My main concern at this moment is the supplies we'll need to do this. The remote connections are RS232 on the function generator (for which I see there are shields available) and J107 on the DC power supply (where the voltage put out by the supply is set by a voltage input ranging from 0 to 5 V DC on one of the pins).

My questions:

  • Are there any RS232 shields that come highly recommended? I've seen a lot about building your own serial connection but would prefer an off the shelf item the folks have had success with in the past.
  • Do I need two Arduinos, one for communicating with the function generator (RS232) and one for communicating with the DC power supply (J107), or can this be done with one Arduino?
  • Along those lines, can an Ardiuno supply a variable voltage output? Or do I need to control something that will give me a variable voltage output to then control the DC power supply? Or a yet unthought of combination?

Thank you for your help. I'm happy to elaborate or answer any questions as needed.

I never used RS232 shields, no recommendations so far.

One Arduino will be sufficient, with added hardware for RS232 and a DAC for the variable voltage.

Thank you for the input!

One clarification - By DAC you mean digital-to-analog converter?

A DAC is a digital to analog converter. They output a discrete number of voltages depending on the number of bits (1024 for 10 bit, 4096 for 12, etc.), which will also be the number of discrete voltages from the HV power supply.

You don't need a shield for either RS232 or the DAC. Separate modules are fine. For true RS232 (+/- 12V levels) this module works well.