Monday, June 29, 2009

NI Announces PXI Express-Based Test Instruments

National Instruments has introduced two 32-channel PXI Express-based digital instruments and an eight-slot high-bandwidth PXI Express 3U chassis for advanced automated test applications. The NI PXIe-6544/45 selectable-voltage digital waveform generator/analysers optimise test applications by supporting clock rates of up to 100 and 200MHz, respectively. The NI PXIe-6545 provides typical streaming rates of 660MB/s. The digital instruments are designed to enable test engineers to conduct sophisticated analysis of high-speed semiconductor devices and high-definition (HD) multimedia components that require rapid transfers of large amounts of data to and from host memory.

The NI PXIe-1082 chassis, a 3U eight-slot PXI Express chassis with seven PXI Express peripheral slots, complements the generator/analysers with up to 1GB/s per-slot bandwidth and up to 4GB/s of total system bandwidth. Because of the advanced operation of the NI PXIe-6544/45 modules, engineers can now automatically test faster semiconductor devices, such as analogue-to-digital converters (ADCs), digital-to-analogue converters (DACs), memory devices, ASICs and microcontrollers. Testing a 200MS/s DAC, for example, previously required a high-speed pattern generator, an oscilloscope and a power supply.

With the NI PXIe-6545 generator/analyser and NI PXIe-1082 chassis, engineers can perform characterisation and production tests using compact, software-defined modular instrumentation. This approach provides greater flexibility by making it possible for engineers to programmatically select voltages of 1.2, 1.5, 1.8, 2.5 or 3.3V; independently configure each of the 32 channels for input or output; and use the high-resolution onboard clock for sub-hertz frequency selection. The data throughput capabilities of the high-speed PXI Express digital instruments and high-bandwidth chassis are suitable for testing many multimedia devices as well, including HDTV signals up to 1080p at 60Hz, LCD screens, RF baseband devices and HD radio.

The NI PXIe-6544/45 modules include enhanced timing and synchronisation features, such as an onboard direct digital synthesis (DDS) clock that provides sub-hertz resolution ranging from DC to 200MHz. This helps engineers clock data generation and acquisition with higher resolution without using an external clock, eliminating the need for an additional high-resolution clocking device and external timing cables. The DDS also helps engineers manage test applications that require arbitrary clock frequencies. Engineers can export the onboard clock to other instruments or import external clocks through the backplane of the NI PXIe-1082 chassis or through an SMB connector on the front panel of the generator/analysers.

With these features, engineers can synchronise the NI PXIe-6544/45 modules with other analogue or digital instruments for maximum correlation of generated signals and measurements across devices. The NI PXIe-1082 eight-slot high-bandwidth 3U chassis features PCI Express lanes routed to every slot. The chassis provides four hybrid slots that engineers can use for either PXI Express or PXI hybrid-slot-compatible modules to maximise reuse of existing PXI modules. Designed for high-performance systems, the NI PXIe-1082 chassis offers an operating temperature range of 0 to 50C and provides integrated system monitoring features, including power management, fan health and temperature monitoring, for the entire chassis.

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