Counters are used in a wide variety of data acquisition applications, from measuring radiation exposure to counting the number parts coming off of an assembly line. A particularly useful counter function is extracting volume from flow. This information is critical in a host of industries. In the aerospace industry, for example, it allows engineers monitor fuel consumption. In the petroleum industry it can be used to monitor the volume of oil pumped from a well.
A typical electronic flowmeter will have a pulse output with a frequency that is directly proportional to the flow rate (typically represented in gallons per minute or GPM). By counting the number of pulses, you can derive volume (the amount of liquid, gas ect. that has passed through the meter).
The DATAQ Instruments model DI-149 comes equipped with a counter channel to accommodate just such an application. With the pulse output of the flowmeter connected to the counter channel, calibration features in the data acquisition software (WinDaq), allow you to specify the number of pulses per gallon, liter, etc. This allows you to view and record a running volume total.