By Anthony J. Lockwood
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
I think it was Ray Almgren at National Instruments who introduced me to PXI one snowy day in 1997 or ’98. He was demoing a couple of data acquisition devices. From that humble beginning, we now have some 1,500 or so PXI-based products from more than 50 vendors, according to the PXI Systems Alliance, an industry consortium. National Instruments, considered the leader in PXI solutions, alone offers over 450 products, a number that includes six new PXI-based devices it recently introduced.
PXI stands for PCI (peripheral component interconnect) eXtensions for Instrumentation. PXI is an open standard for high-performance PC-based platforms for test, measurement, and automation systems. (NI defined then released the standard, which is now overseen by a governing body of some 50 manufacturers.) But what PXI really stands for is what you need to meet your innovation challenges in every development, testing, and manufacturing setting from audio-visual to consumer electronics to semiconductors and RF communications to HIL (hardware-in-the-loop) simulation for developing and testing complex real-time embedded systems.
PXI enables you to mix and match a variety of interoperable hardware and software to create scalable systems to address virtually any engineering challenge. And addressing challenges is what NI’s announcement is all about. The announcement’s plot line is that NI unveiled a real-time embedded controller, two PXI Express (think “express” to mean high bandwidth) system expansion modules, and high-speed data storage products for streaming data to and from disk.
The NI PXIe-8100 RT embedded controller, says NI, is designed for deploying embedded real-time measurement and control applications. Use it with NI’s LabVIEW, and you’ll meet the challenge of efficient test, measurement, and control applications.
The NI PXIe-8364 and 8374 are PXI Express remote control modules that simplify connecting multiple PXI Express chassis directly to a single host computer. That translates into easier creation of high-channel-count data acquisition creations and high-speed automated test applications.
The data storage products are RAID units suitable for high-speed record and playback, RF test, and high-channel-count data-acquisition applications. One of the products is a new 24TB option for the NI HDD-8265 high-speed data storage enclosure. Among other things, that means 13 or so hours of continuously streaming real-time bandwidth.
No matter what you design, some day you have to analyze, prototype, run, manufacture, control, monitor, test, and service it. PXI products are there to help you meet those innovation challenges. You can learn a lot more about the new PXI products from NI in today’s Pick of the Week write-up and from the links at the end of the write-up.
Thanks, pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering
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