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Measurement Hardware: Stand-Alone Buses


Measurement Hardware
Instrument Control Buses
Serial (RS-232)
Ethernet
USB
IEEE 1394
We now continue the discussion of the hardware layer by presenting other stand-alone instrument
control buses.
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Serial (RS-232) Basics
Interface for connecting peripherals to PCs
Typically used for connecting mice, joysticks, etc.
Can achieve up to 28.8 kB/s rates (230.4 kb/s)
Used for scientific and laboratory instrument control
For example, scales, barcode readers, etc.
Inexpensive to implement
RS-232 UART built into most microprocessors
The serial or RS-232 bus is commonly used for connecting peripherals such as miceand
keyboards to PCs. In instrument control, it is mostly used for controlling laboratory and analytical
types of instruments such as scales and barcode readers. It currently can achieve transfer rates up
to
28.8 kBytes/s or 230.4 kbits/s (higher rates can be achieved with different transceivers). The main
benefit of RS-232 is that it is inexpensive for instrument vendors to implement since the RS-232
UART is built into most microprocessors.
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Ethernet Basics
Medium for transport
Defines Physical and Data Link layers
Distributed communication
Standards
IEEE 802.3/ISO 8802.3 Cabled, up to 125 MB/s (1 Gb/s)
IEEE 802.11 Wireless, up to 7 MB/s (54 Mb/s)
Ubiquitous: virtually all PCs have it
Presentation
Physical
Data Link
Network
Transport
Application
Session
The ISO/OSI model indicates that a standard driver stack for a network communication system
has seven layers. These layers are (from bottom up): Physical, Data Link, Network, Transport,
Session, Presentation, and Application. The bottom two layers, Physical and Data Link, are
defined by the word Ethernet.
In 1983, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) released the first IEEE
standard for Ethernet technology. The formal title of the standard was IEEE 802.3 Carrier Sense
Multiple Access with Collision Detection (CSMA/CD) Access Methodand Physical Layer
Specifications.
Many other specifications followed including IEEE 802.11, wireless Ethernet released in 1997.
Ethernet provides distributed communication, so applications cancommunicate with devices
located far away. It is widely available, with virtually every PC.
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Ethernet Wireless
802.11a 7 MB/s transfer rate (54 Mb/s)
~60 ft range and transmits at 5 GHz
802.11b 1.5 MB/s transfer rate (11 Mb/s)
~300 ft range and transmits at 2.4 GHz
802.11g 7 MB/s transfer rate (54 Mb/s)
~300 ft range and transmits at 5 GHz
802.11a and 802.11b are not interoperable
802.11b is currently the most prevalent
There are several standards for wireless Ethernet communication, the most common of which are
IEEE standards 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g.
802.11a radios transmit at 5 GHz and send data up 60 ft at ratesof 7 MB/s (54 Mb/s ) using
OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing)
802.11b radios transmit at 2.4 GHz and send data up to 300 ft at rates of 1.5 MB/s (11 Mb/s)
using direct sequence spread spectrum modulation
802.11g radios transmit at 5 GHz and send data up to 300 ft at rates of 7 MB/s (54 Mb/s)
using direct sequence spread spectrum modulation
Orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) is a method of digital modulation in which a
signal is split into several narrowband channels at different frequencies. The technology was first
conceived in the 1960s and 1970s during research into minimizinginterference among channels
near each other in frequency.
In direct sequence spread spectrum, the stream of information transmitted is divided into small
pieces, each piece is allocated to a frequency channel across the spectrum. A data signal at the
point of transmission combines with a higher data-rate bit sequence (also known as a chipping
code) that divides the data according to a spreading ratio.
Because 802.11a and 802.11b operate at different frequencies, they are not interoperable. 802.11b
is currently the most prevalent version of 802.11, but may be superseded by 802.11g.
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Ethernet Test and Measurement Protocol Basics
TCP/IP Instrument Protocol Specification
Known as VXI-11 though not related to VXI
Defined by VXI Consortium because of member interest
What is it?
GPIB over Ethernet
Test and Measurement standard since 1995
Follows the IEEE 488.2 device model
Handles device locking for multiple controllers
The Test and Measurement industry standardized VXI-11 in 1995. While VXI-11 was
standardized through the VXI Consortium because of member interest, it does not relate to VXI.
The base VXI-11 standard defines the packets that are sent to the network instrument. VXI-11
defines three subclasses. The most common subclass is defined inthe VXI-11.3 subclass. This
defines a native network instrument that follows the IEEE 488.2 device model. These instruments
act like existing IEEE 488.2 GPIB instruments and are generally referred to as GPIB over
Ethernet.
As a side note, other VXI-11 subclasses are VXI-11.1 and VXI-11-2.
VXI-11.1 defines a converter between Ethernet and VXI
VXI-11.2 defines a converter between Ethernet and GPIB
Both of these subclasses are primarily used in bridge products.
VXI-11 defines a model for device locking, so that multiple controllers can communicate to the
same instrument without sacrificing reliability. Normally, the controller locks the instrument,
performs a set of atomic operations, and then unlocks the instrument. This allows unrestricted
access to the instrument and promotes sharing.
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VXI-11 Communication
Uses remote procedure calls (RPC) over TCP/IP
Defines standard packet formats for read, write,
trigger, status byte, and so on
Channel-based
Core
Abort
Interrupt
VXI-11 supports any network that uses the Internet Protocol suite (including TCP/IP). It
communicates by creating packets for standard commands and transmitting them across TCP
using the ONC/RPC protocol. TCP was chosen because it ensures the correct ordering of
messages, guarantees arrival of messages, allows parameters of aremote procedure to be of any
size, and provides awareness of both connections and terminations of connections.
VXI-11 defines standard packets for all Test and Measurement commands, including data
transfers, triggers, clears, and status byte requests. It also includes support for remote/local, device
locking, and service requests.
Communication in VXI-11 is channel based. Three channels are defined: Core, Abort, and
Interrupt.
The Core channel is used to transfer all requests except device_abort, and device_intr_srq.
The Abort channel is used to transfer the device_abort request. This provides a mechanism to
cancel a transfer that is currently in progress on the Core channel.
The Interrupt channel is used to transfer the device_intr_srqrequest. This provides a
mechanism for the device to request service from the host.
In VXI-11, a host first establishes a connection with a device. The host then sends and receives
data using formats defined by the VXI-11 specification.
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Ethernet for Test and Measurement
Pros
Long distance to instruments
OS independent
NI-VISA support preserves instrument driver investment
Cons
Supported by very few instruments
Non-deterministic
May require advanced network administration
Security issues if used on external Internet
There are many advantages to Ethernet and to networking in general, some of which apply in the
context of instrument control. These include the ability to distribute measurement systems
essentially eliminating any distance restrictions, it is operating system independent, and support
through
NI-VISA allows users to preserve their investment in instrument drivers and test applications.
The drawbacks of Ethernet for instrument control include the fact that it is currently supported on
very few instruments, it is non-deterministic, and if it is used on an actual network (not an internal
closed network) it may require advanced network administration and corporate IT departments
and has issues with security.
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USB Basics
Node
Hub
Hub
Hub
Node Node
Node
Hub
Host
Root Hub
Designed for computer peripherals
Specs define varying transfer speeds
V. 1.0, 1996: 200 kB/s (1.5 Mb/s)
V. 1.1, 1998: 1.5 MB/s (12 Mb/s)
V. 2.0, 2000: 60 MB/s (480 Mb/s)
Versions forward and backward
compatible
Topology made up of hosts, hubs, and
nodes (peripherals)
Vast majority of PCs include USB ports (>95%)
The Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a plug & play bus developed bya group of computer industry
leaders. It is a standard held privately by the USB-Implementers Forum (USB-IF), an independent
corporation responsible for overseeing the development and compliance of the USB standard. The
promoters group started with Intel, Microsoft, Compaq, and NEC, and now includes Hewlett-
Packard, Lucent, and Philips.
With strong marketing power and considerable backing from the promoters, USB devices
flourish, entering almost every area of the computer peripheral market. Using USB, you connect
peripheral devices (such as a keyboard and mouse) to PCs (hosts) either directly or through a hub.
Bandwidth is shared with non-Test and Measurement devices. USB ports are readily available on
PCs, making the bus an attractive possibility for instrument control.
The USB-IF has released three specifications, the main goal of which is to define a new
communication speed. Version 1.0 released in J anuary 1996 defines a low speed of 200 kBytes/s.
Version 1.1 released in November 1998 is a minor revision providing some specification bug
fixes and a full speed of 1.5 Mbytes/s. Version 2.0 released in April 2000, is available on new
computers, and defines a high speed of 60 Mbytes/s.
The topology of the bus consists of: hosts, which manage attach/detach of peripherals and initiate
transactions; hubs, which provide additional connectivity and serve as bi-directional repeaters;
and nodes (peripherals), which react to requests from hosts.
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USB Test and Measurement Protocol Basics
USB Test and Measurement Class (USBTMC)
Defines basic communication structures
Emulate IEEE 488.1 (GPIB) devices
USBTMC communication
Default control pipe for command transfers
Trigger, Clear, Serial Poll
Pair of bulk pipes for data transfers
Read, Write
Interrupt pipe for service requests
The USB Device Working Group (DWG) in the USB-Implementers Forum standardized a test
and measurement protocol for USB called USB Test and Measurement Class (USBTMC).
Following in the footsteps of the popular VXI-11 protocol, USBTMC attempts to create backward
compatibility with existing GPIB instruments by performing GPIB-style communication over the
USB bus. USBTMC is designed such that instrument vendors can follow the IEEE 488.2 model
to create robust instruments.
USBTMC uses four pipes to communicate to USB instruments. The default control pipe, required
for all USB devices, is used traditionally to send command messages in GPIB. These messages
include triggers, clears, and serial polls. Other messages that go across the default control pipe
allow the host to abort an in progress message and change the remote state of the device.
USBTMC also uses a pair of unidirectional bulk pipes for transferring device-dependent data to
and from the device. It takes advantage of the fact that USBTMC instruments are not likely to
share the bus with other peripherals, allowing them to use a large percentage of the bandwidth.
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USB for T&M
Pros
Connectors on almost all desktop computers
Plug & play, including hot plug
Preserves firmware investment
NI-VISA support can preserve instrument driver investment
Cons
Supported by very few instruments
Consumer connectors (no screws)
Minimal trigger support
Relatively long latencies
USB offers many advantages when considered for Test and Measurement applications. It is
available on almost all desktop and laptop computers and it is plug & play and hot plug capable,
making it easy to use. Because of the USBTMC protocol, instrument manufacturers can preserve
their investment in firmware and VISA support, and this allows users to preserve their investment
in instrument drivers and test software.
The disadvantages of USB are that it is currently supported by few instruments, it provides only
consumer connectors making it unsuitable for harsh industrial environments, provides minimal
trigger support and because it is a serial bus, it has relatively long data and command transfer
latencies.
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1394 Basics
IEEE 1394 Standard
Also known as FireWire
Serial bus
High throughput (100MB/s
or 800 Mb/s) / long latency
Peer-to-peer
Used mainly in digital
photography and videos
Isochronous
Guaranteed bandwidth
Packets with errors are
unrecoverable
Asynchronous
Bandwidth not guaranteed
Bad packets can be retried
IEEE 1394, also known as FireWire, is a high-performance serial bus developed by Apple
Computer, Inc., in the early 1990s. Although Microsoft Windows operating systems support
FireWire, Intel PC peripheral chip sets do not currently includeit, so in most cases you need an
IEEE 1394 controller for your PC.
IEEE 1394 provides a peer-to-peer high speed serial bus capable of throughputs up to 800
megabits/s or approximately 100 megabytes/s. It is mainly used in digital photography and videos.
IEEE 1394 provides two modes of transfer: an isochronous mode which guarantees bandwidth
but cannot retry packets with errors, and an asynchronous mode where bandwidth is not
guaranteed but bad packets can be retried ensuring data integrity.
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IICP Test and Measurement protocol developed in 1394TA
Based on 1394 Asynchronous Communication
Producer sends data to consumer
Consumer receives data from producer
One-to-one connection
Node
1394 Test and Measurement Protocol Basics
P
Node
C
IEEE 1394 also has a protocol defined for providing GPIB-style instrument control over the bus.
The protocol was developed by the 1394 Trade Association and is known as the Industrial
Instrumentation Control Protocol. It describes the method to communicate IEEE 488.1 and
IEEE 488.2 messages and command/control sequences on a 1394 bus. It is based on the 1394
asynchronous communication mode and consists of a one-to-one connection between a producer
and consumer. The producer sends the data to the consumer and the consumer receives data from
the producer.
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1394 for Test and Measurement
Pros
Flexible physical topology
High throughput
Cons
Lack of industry support
Not many PCs (<10%), or instruments (~0%) support it
Test and Measurement extensions complicated
Relatively long latencies
IEEE 1394 offers a few benefits for instrument control includinga flexible physical topology and
high throughput which has the potential of providing a faster communication link to instruments.
However, the bus also has several drawbacks, the largest of which is the lack of industry support.
Very few PCs come standard with IEEE 1394 buses and almost no instruments provide the bus as
an instrument control option. In addition the Test and Measurement protocol and extensions for
1394 are fairly complicated and result in relatively long data and command transfer latencies.
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Stand-Alone Instrument Bus Comparison
High High High Low/ Medium Low
Latency (First Byte
and Service
Request)
<10 <100 <100 >10,000 >10,000 Product Availability
100 MB/s 60 MB/s 125 MB/s 28.8 kB/s
1.5 MB/s
8 MB/s (HS488)
Maximum
Throughput
Minimal
Consumer
30m
127
USB
Minimal
Consumer
4.5m
63
IEEE 1394
Minimal Minimal Minimal Triggering
Consumer
Industrial/
Consumer
Industrial Connectors
No Limit
(300ft Wireless)
15m 20m Max Cable Length
No Limit 1 14
MaximumNumber
of Devices
Ethernet RS-232 GPIB
The table above offers a comparison of the five stand-alone instrument communication buses that
we have discussed so far. The table shows the differences in maximum throughput, product
availability, bus latency, maximum number of devices, maximum cable length, connectors, and
triggering. We would like to highlight the differences in three of these areas.
Maximum throughputEthernet, USB, and IEEE 1394 provide the advantage of a higher
theoretical maximum throughput than GPIB, although these rates are practically unachievable. In
reality, for most common communication, GPIB offers comparable speeds to these buses.
Product availabilityGPIB offers a clear advantage with more than 10,000 instruments
available. It remains to be seen whether any of the new buses ever gains significant acceptance in
this market. The serial bus (RS-232) does offer a wide product availability but is typically used
more in laboratory settings.
LatencyFor instrument communication, the newer buses need to add header information and
perform bus management on every transfer to define whether the packet contains data or bus
management information. This adds significant overhead. GPIB uses separate lines for data and
for bus management.
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RS-232
GPIB
Proliferation of Network Technology
1990
Ethernet
10 Mbps
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ASI
ARCNET
BACNet
Bluetooth
BITBUS
CAN
CEBus
DeviceNet
Ethernet
100 Mbps
Gigabit
ENET
FOUNDATION
Fieldbus
FIP
FlexRay
HART
HomeRF
HPNA
IEEE 802.11
IEEE 1394 SPI
Interbus
J1850
LIN
LonWorks
Microwire
Modbus
Modbus/TCP
Ethernet/IP
ProfiNet
Optomux
Profibus - DP
Profibus - PA
RS-485
SERCOS
SDS
Seriplex
TTP
USB
WorldFIP
X10 I
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CANOpen
ControlNet
HSE
SP50
Remote I/O
1980 2000
MOST
D2B
J1939
VAN
Fibre Channel Token Ring
Another advantage of GPIB is its stability and consistency over the last 25 years. The chart above
gives you a sense of the number of available network technologies. We divide them into a three
different classes: automotive, industrial, and general purpose.
In the general purpose class you see buses such as Ethernet (10 Megabit, 100 Megabit, and
Gigabit), USB, FireWire, and 802.11 Wi-Fi. Industrial buses include GPIB and other buses such
as LonWorksfor HVAC systems, Profibusused for Factory Automation, and ModBus.
The continually changing landscape of general purpose buses makes them difficult to adapt to
instrument control. Instruments and instrument control systems do not change as often as these
network technologies. The key to shielding you from these changes is in providing links to these
new buses and a software architecture that makes the choice of bus transparent.
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Industry Trends for Stand-Alone Buses
GPIB still most popular instrument control bus
Robust, proven technology
Extremely large install base
Other buses being considered for instrument control
Ethernet, USB, IEEE-1394
Most likely short-medium term outlook
Mixed and hybrid systems including GPIB and other buses
Software is key for shielding user from bus changes
Now that we have discussed all the major stand-alone buses, we can look at the trends in the test
and measurement industry for using these buses for instrument control.
GPIB is still by far the most popular bus for instrument control. This is in large part because of the
extremely large installed base of GPIB instruments and because GPIB is a robust and proven
technology specifically designed for instrument control.
Other buses such as Ethernet, USB, and IEEE 1394 are being considered for applications in
instrument control because of their wide availability in new computers and their high
performance. These buses, however, were not designed for instrument control and they have some
disadvantages when used in this area.
The most likely outlook in the short to medium term is for the creation of mixed I/O and hybrid
systems that combine these new buses with GPIB instruments to get the best of both worlds. The
key to making this scenario as seamless as possible lies in the software. Using a common software
architecture that integrates all these buses makes it inconsequential which bus you communicate
with.
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GPIB Bridges: FromAny Bus to GPIB Instruments
Connect to your GPIB instrument from:
USB, Ethernet, IEEE 1394, and more
Completely software transparent
Maintain software and hardware investments
Take advantage of new bus technologies
Although few instruments are available that offer these buses asnative control options, today you
can take advantage of these buses and incorporate them into your systems.
With National Instruments GPIB bridges, you can seamlessly connect to your GPIB instrument
from USB, Ethernet, IEEE 1394, and parallel buses. You gain the advantages of the plug & play
capabilities, ease of use, and wide availability of these buses with versatile solutions such as the
GPIB-ENET/100 and GPIB-USB-B. In addition, you conserve your investment in hardware,
software, and save money in development costs. For example, you can take the code that you had
written for a GPIB plug-in controller and reuse it without any modifications if you decide to
replace the GPIB plug-in controller with a GPIB-ENET/100.
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Measurement Hardware: Modular Instruments
Measurement Hardware
Instrument Control Buses
PCI bus
VXI bus
PXI
We now discuss modular instruments, which combine the measurement hardware and the
instrument control bus into one device.
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Modular versus Stand-Alone Instruments
Modular Instruments
Open/multi-vendor
User-defined
Easy integration
Scalable
Standard SW model
Pay for what you need
Stand-Alone Instruments
Closed/proprietary
Vendor-defined
Limited integration
Limited expandability
Proprietary SW model
Pay for what you get
Modular Instruments
Modular instruments empower you, the user, to define exactly what you need in your system,
while at the same time allowing for future expansion. It provides a standard software model
across multiple types of measurement and control devices enabling a high degree of integration
and productivity. In modular systems, you only pay for what you need because you define the
system.
Stand-Alone Instruments
Stand-alone instruments typically are closed and all the functionalityis defined by the vendor.
This often results in the user paying for features not required. Additionally, stand-alone
instruments are not inherently made to integrate into automated test systems, and thus present
challenges in integration and automation. Furthermore, using stand-alone instruments
considerably reduces the possibility to expand test systems in the futureoften requiring a
complete rework just to add small amounts of capability.
Ideally, automated test platforms are based on a modular platform with the ability to add
specialized stand-alone instruments when needed.
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Modular Instruments Benefits
Increased measurement throughput
Faster data transfer
Better instrument synchronization
Tighter software and hardware integration
Smaller footprint
Lower cost
Modular
Stand-Alone
With modular instruments, you retain instrument-quality measurements while taking advantage of
the flexibility and performance of your laptop or desktop PC. Computer-based modular
instruments deliver:
Increased measurement throughputReduces the amount of time required to test your
product by reducing the time it takes to make critical measurements. The primary components
of measurement speed include:
Faster data transfer, which you can achieve by leveraging the132MB/s throughput of the
PCI or PXI bus and memory-mapped I/O structure to transfer measurements to your
computer at rates 10 to 300 times faster than traditional stand-alone instruments
Better instrument synchronization, made possible in modular instrumentation through
integrated timing and triggering buses directly on the backplaneof the measurement
system
Software integration, with LabVIEW, LabWindows/CVI, Visual C/C++, and Visual
Basic
Smaller footprintSave space and money both in your lab and factory floor by integrating
your equipment inside the computer or with PXI.
Lower costYou pay only for the functionality you need, and you also get increased cost
savings with less development time and easier deployment of systems built using modular
instrumentation.
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Data Transfer
Modular Instruments Reduce Measurement Time
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PC Integration
PCI/PXI VXI GPIB
Digitizer Conversion
Data Analysis
Modular instruments improve overall system performance by reducing the time required to take
measurements.
Digitizer ConversionThe amount of time required to digitize a signal acts independently of the
instrumentation platform. Regardless of whether the conversion takes place in a stand-alone
instrument or on a modular instrument, the sample rate and number of data points ultimately
determine the digitizer conversion time.
Data AnalysisIn many measurement systems, data analysis is performed in the stand-alone
instrument, whereas in other systems, analysis occurs primarily on the PC. Although a trend in
industry has dictated putting standard PC architectures inside traditional instruments, instrument
vendors cannot match the rapid performance increases of the PC industry. Therefore,
measurement systems that perform their analysis using the latest PC technologies will benefit
from increased processing power and will lower the time requiredto perform signal analysis.
Data TransferFor users making automated measurements, the major benefit of modular
instruments is the improved data transfer rate. By leveraging the 132 MB/s and memory-mapped
I/O structure of the PCI bus to transfer measurements to your computer, you can significantly
reduce overall measurement time.
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PCI Bus Basics
Industry standard computer bus
Unified computer makers (IBM, Apple, Sun, etc.)
Robust electrical specification
Flexible mechanical specification
PCI
CardBus
CompactPCI
PXI
Register-based
The PCI bus is an industry-standard computer bus used for expansion of desktop computers.
Users typically plug PCI expansion boards into PCI slots in their computers to add functionality
ranging from modems and video capture devices to instrument control and data acquisition cards.
The PCI bus strengths are that it unified computer manufacturers over one standard, it defines a
robust electrical specification, and it defines flexible mechanical specification that has been
leveraged in other form factors. The PCI bus is also register based, providing much higher
communication throughputs.
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VXI Bus Basics
Based on Versa Module Eurocard(VME) backplane
IEEE 1155
First attempt at multi-vendor standard
Goals
Increased interchangeability
Decreased size
Increased system throughput
Lower cost
80% of instruments message based
The VME eXtensionsfor Instrumentation or VXI bus was the first attempt at a multi-vendor
industry standard specific to instrumentation. As the name implies, VXI builds on the VME bus
and is based on the VME backplane. It was defined in 1987 and later standardized as the IEEE
1155 standard. Its goals included increased interchangeability, decreased size, increased system
throughput and lower cost. VXI retained the GPIB communication methodology and more than
80% of VXI instruments use message-based communication.
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VXI Bus
Accomplishments
Physical size reductionsmaller systems
More precise timing and synchronization
Interoperability between manufacturers
Shortcomings
No software standard, same issues as GPIB
Did not leverage commercial PC technologies
No reduced system costs
No widespread adoption
Lacking in ease of use
The VXI bus did have major accomplishments in achieving some of its goals. Although still
bulky, VXI systems did achieve a reduction in physical size. VXI also achieved better
interoperability between vendors and defined an electrical specification that provides more precise
timing and synchronization.
The VXI bus did have some shortcomings, however. VXI did not adopt a software standard. The
goal of increased system throughput was never fully realized because, in order to make
programming manageable, most VXI instruments are message based. Therefore, the speed of
GPIB and VXI for normal communication is very similar. In addition, VXI did not leverage
standard commercial PC technologies, so it failed to achieve itsgoal of reduced system cost, it is
lacking in ease of use, and never achieved widespread adoption.
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PXI Combines Standard Technologies
bus
CompactP CompactP
CompactP
PP
P
The major strength of PXI is that it uses proven industry-standard technology. PXI is
built on CompactPCI, an industrial version of the PCI bus found in almost all desktop
computers. On top of CompactPCI, PXI adds timing, triggering, and synchronization
similar to functionality delivered in VXI. For easy integration, PXI uses driver and
networking standards from the PC software market, including plug-and-play drivers.
Because PXI and CompactPCI are completely interoperable, users can use any core
CompactPCI product in a PXI system and vice-versa.
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PXI Timing and Synchronization
PXI timing and synchronization improves performance
Star Trigger
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CLK
133 MB/s, 33 MHz, 32-bit Computer Bus
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PXI Trigger Bus
Electrically, PXI adds a trigger bus (eight lines), a star trigger (13 slot-specific signals), a
10 MHz reference clock (equally distributed), and local buses (13 lines wide). The star
trigger control functionality is separated from the main system controller to allow using
standard CompactPCI controllers and to require users to pay for the star trigger feature
only if they need it.
System Reference ClockA highly accurate 10 MHz clock is independently
distributed to each PXI peripheral slot through equal-length traces. Multiple cards can
use this common time base for synchronization of events.
Trigger BusEight bused trigger lines link all PXI slots in a bus segment sothat
multiple boards can interact and control each others events through hardware.
Star TriggerA special star trigger slot is defined that provides an independent
dedicated line for each of up to 13 peripheral slots on a singlebackplane. When a star
trigger controller is plugged into this slot, it can be used to control, monitor, or route
triggers among peripheral slots with very low skew (within 1 nanosecond).
Local BusA right and left local bus composed of 13 lines is available to each
peripheral slot for private communication between adjacent slots. Pairs of peripherals
can pass analog or digital signals back and forth using the local bus.
National Instruments Corporation Advances in LabVIEWand PXI Instrumentation Seminar
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The Governing Body of PXI
Charter
- Promote PXI
- Ensure interoperability
- Control the PXI Specification
Focused on user success in measurement and automation
More than 50 member companies
www.pxisa.org
Systems Alliance
The PXI specification is controlled by the PXI Systems Alliancea group of more than
60 companies determined to ensure end-user success. The PXI Systems Alliance was
formed around a charter document that defines the goals of the organization, which
include:
Promoting PXI and CompactPCI for measurement and automation
Maintaining and revision control of the PXI specification
Ensuring the highest levels of multi-vendor interoperability at the mechanical,
electrical, and software levels
The PXI Systems Alliance Web site contains:
White papers
Free softcopy of the PXI specification
List of all members
Upcoming event information
Product directory arranged by category
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PXI Systems Alliance Members
EXFO
ERNI
Gage
Gespac
Goepel Electronic
GDE Systems (Marconi)
GTE-ERS
Innovative Integration
JTAG
KineticSystems
LeCroy
MAC Panel
Acqiris
Advanced Power Designs
Advanced Test Methods
Alphi Technology
AMP
Analogic
ASCOR
ARVOO Engineering
ATEME
A&T Engineering Tech. Ctr.
B&B Technologies
Ballard Technology
BittWare Research Systems
Bode Enterprises
BRIME
C&HTechnologies
CHROMA ATE
Data Patterns
Dateppli
Datum
Dolch Computer Systems
MarekMicro
MENMikroElektronik
National Instruments
Pickering Interfaces
PX Instrument Tech.
Racal Instruments
Rohde and Schwarz
QuantumControls
SBS GreenSpring
Schroff
Shaanxi HiTech
Signametrics
SRC
TestWare
Tracewell Systems
TTI Testron
Vero Electronics (APW)
Viewpoint Systems
Virginia Panel Corp.
ZYNX
PXI Systems Alliance members include instrument suppliers, platform suppliers
(chassis/controllers), component suppliers, and system integrators. For more information
on the alliance and links to member companies, refer to www. pxi sa. or g.
PXISA Members who provide System Integrator Services: Advanced Test Methods
(UK), ATEME (France), A&T Engineering Technology Center (USA), Bloomy Controls
(USA), Bode Enterprises (USA), BRIME (France), B&B Technologies (USA), Cortest
(USA), C&H Technologies (USA), Data Patterns (India), Dateppli (USA), GenRad
(International), Geotest, GTE Electronic Repair Service (USA), Marconi Integrated
Systems (USA), MarekMicro(Germany), Quantum Controls (USA), Racal Instruments,
Shaanxi HitechElectronic (China)
National Instruments Corporation Advances in LabVIEWand PXI Instrumentation Seminar
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PXI Module Availability
MODULAR INSTRUMENTS
Oscilloscopes/Digitizers
DMMs
Arbitrary Waveform Generators
RF Instruments
Digital I/O
Dynamic Signal Analysis
DAQ AND CONTROL
Multifunction I/O
Digital I/O
Analog Output
Counter/Timers
Real-time I/O
MOTION/VISION
Analog/Digital Image Acquisition
Stepper/Servo Motion Control
PERIPHERALS
Prototyping Boards
Hard Drives
PC Card Carriers
M-module Carriers
BUS INTERFACES
GPIB
Ethernet
DeviceNet
CAN
ARINC/MIL-STD-1553
SCSI
PROCESS TEST
Boundary Scan
1,000 Products from More than 50 Vendors
PXI offers a wide variety of modules from National Instruments and many other
companies. Whether your application is in test, measurement, data acquisition, or
industrial automation, you can choose modules to meet your applications specific
requirements. Instrumentation, data acquisition, motion control, image acquisition, and
industrial communications modules are available, as well as interfaces to other buses
such as PCMCIA, SCSI, Ethernet, RS-232, RS-485, CAN, VXI, VME, and GPIB.
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Select Your Control Scheme
Embedded controllers
Most compact solution
Modular = easy maintenance
Pentium III class
Remote MXI-3 controllers
Short or long distance
Fully transparent
Low cost
Choose whether you want to control your system from a standard PC with MXI-3 or with
a fully integrated embedded computer.
If your application precludes the use of an external PC and you require a completely
integrated, compact solution, then an embedded computer is the right choice. An
embedded computer is required for controlling portable chassis with integrated displays.
National Instruments offers a variety of embedded computers withyour choice of
processor speed, I/O configuration, operating system, and application development
software. All embedded computers include a built-in hard drive, floppy drive, and video.
Peripheral ports such as USB, serial, parallel, mouse, and keyboard are also standard.
GPIB and Ethernet ports are also available as options on some embedded computers.
MXI-3 kits give you a fully transparent link from your PC to your PXI system. You plug
a MXI-3 interface card into your PC and connect it with a copper or fiber optic cable to a
MXI-3 module in slot 1 of your PXI system. MXI-3 extends the PCI bus at full speed so
that the processor in your PC transparently configures and controls the PXI modules
whether the PXI system is 2 m or 200 m away. MXI-3 is a low cost control solution that
allows you to benefit from the very latest in PC technology.
National Instruments Corporation Advances in LabVIEWand PXI Instrumentation Seminar
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Modular Test SystemArchitecture
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Audio/Video Modulator System
The heart of todays seminar is to show you a series of modular instruments in PXI and
demonstrate how you can use these products in conjunction with each other. This system
tests two consumer electronic products, an audio D/A converter from Texas Instruments
and a consumer audio/video modulator. We stimulate the audio DAC with a pattern from
a digital I/O board and analyze the audio output with a dynamic signal analyzer. The
audio is then fed into the modulator along with a video pattern generated from an NI
arbitrary waveform generator, which is in turn analyzed using a high-speed NI digitizer.
The A/V modulator takes these two inputs and modulates them ontoseparate high-
frequency carriers. We view the resulting RF spectrum with the new NI PXI-5660 2.7
GHz RF signal analyzer and use this product, along with LabVIEW software tools, to
perform demodulation and extract the original audio and video signals. We also use the
new NI PXI-4070 6-digit FlexDMM to monitor the power supply to both devices under
test.
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LabVIEW
PXI
Chassis
PXI Trigger Bus
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Here is a graphical illustration of the test system just described. As you can see, we use a
wide range of PXI modular instrumentation. As we see throughout this seminar, the
LabVIEW program performs several key functions, including stimulus-response
measurements of the audio and video signals, a variety of power measurements, and
software demodulation.
Advances in LabVIEWand PXI Instrumentation Seminar ni.com