NIWeek: More high-speed I/O expansion for inline processing, control

Expansion of graphical software programming for FPGA, an expanded I/O module line, and three new reconfigurable I/O chassis deliver advances for high-speed cabled, wireless buses.


NI 9157 and NI 9159 MXI-Express RIO chassis and NI 9148 Ethernet RIO chassisNational Instruments (Nasdaq: NATI) announced the NI 9157 and NI 9159 MXI-Express RIO chassis and NI 9148 Ethernet RIO chassis, which in addition to the existing NI 9144 EtherCAT chassis, extend the company’s offering of high channel count expansion chassis on a variety of buses.

Built on NI reconfigurable I/O (RIO) technology, these chassis deliver the benefits of field programmable gate array (FPGA)-based hardware and C Series I/O to applications requiring hundreds, or even thousands, of channels. Each expansion chassis contains a Xilinx FPGA that is programmable with the NI LabVIEW FPGA Module, giving engineers the flexibility of high-speed and customizable I/O timing, inline processing and control. NI made the announcement Aug. 4 at NIWeek.

The new MXI-Express RIO 14-slot expansion chassis with onboard Virtex-5 FPGAs offer a high-end solution for large applications that require high channel counts, mixed I/O for a variety of measurements and custom signal processing and control algorithms. The MXI-Express link delivers high bandwidth for streaming data to and from multiple chassis from one controller, offering hundreds of C Series module slots and thousands of channels of analog, digital and communication I/O including strain, acceleration, channel-to-channel isolated voltage input and simultaneous voltage. The new chassis are ideal for hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) testing, industrial machine monitoring, and complex research applications.

“Using the MXI-Express RIO chassis, we can build highly customizable, high-channel-count conditioned measurement systems,” said Albion Knight, vice president of Green Mountain Research Inc. “We now use LabVIEW FPGA to program the FPGA within the chassis and add custom signal processing, control and timing to solve a variety of high-channel-count control and acquisition applications.”

The NI 9148 8-slot Ethernet expansion chassis adds flexible distributed I/O to RIO systems. With standard CAT 5 Ethernet cabling, it communicates with NI CompactRIO, real-time PXI controllers, the NI industrial controller or any networked Microsoft Windows PC. The flexibility eases I/O expansion to an existing network. With an onboard FPGA and LabVIEW FPGA software, engineers can implement custom signal analysis, control and safety interlocks local to each chassis to create a modular system. Engineers also can use more than 50 third-party C Series I/O modules with these new chassis, including wireless modules based on IEEE 802.11, GPS, Edge, and other technologies. When combining the new NI 9148 Ethernet chassis with wireless modules from S.E.A. Datentechnik GmbH., engineers can turn the NI 9148 chassis into wireless expansion systems for applications where cabling is difficult or impossible.

The expansion chassis are an extension of the NI RIO platform for control, design and test applications. The common NI RIO architecture consists of a processor, customizable FPGA and modular I/O, which combine to create a flexible system that solves complex application problems. Engineers can use the LabVIEW graphical development environment to program the processor, FPGA and I/O of their RIO system to create an embedded system similar to the performance and optimization of custom hardware, the company says.

NI offers an “NI C Series Expansion I/O for RIO Systems” white paper on

See other NIWeek products, technologies, and videos.

- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering,

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