NI LabVIEW – Open Connectivity f by hilen

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                                                                   The Worldwide Publication for Measurement and Automation | First Quarter 2006

                                                                                                       NI LabVIEW and PXI Reduce Microsoft
                                                                                                       Xbox 360 Test Time 50 Percent
                                                                                                                                           page 3

                                                                                                       Use a Single Software Tool for HMI
                                                                                                       and Logic Programming
                                                                                                                                           page 6

                                                                                                       LabVIEW 8 Delivers a Flexible, Open
                                                                                                       Platform for Math
                                                                                                                                           page 8

                                                                                                       The Integrated Laboratory
                                                                                                                                          page 12

                                                                                                       DIAdem 10.0 DataFinder Revolutionizes
                                                                                                       Test Data Search
                                                                                                                                          page 22

                                                                                                       Special Focus:
                                                                                                       Accelerating Embedded System Design
                                                                                                                                          page 14

NI LabVIEW – Open Connectivity from A to Z
From controlling ampmeters to testing ZigBee devices, National Instruments    market. With nearly every test and measurement system requiring
LabVIEW software delivers open connectivity with the broadest range of        connectivity to more than one type of device and interface, NI LabVIEW
devices, protocols, and interfaces required by today’s test and measurement   provides a complete library of built-in elements for open connectivity
applications to speed test system integration and achieve a shorter time to   and system integration from A to Z.

                                                                                                                                 continued on page 4
Inside NI

                                                                      Empowering Innovation for 30 Years

                                                                                           May 2006 represents 30 years           Real-time and embedded control has long
    Volume 18, Number 1                   First Quarter 2006                               since three engineers started      been the domain of specialized programs. Now,
                                                                                           a technology company in            advances in industry-standard technologies,
                                                                                           Austin, Texas, known as            including more reliable operating systems, more
    Instrumentation Newsletter is published
                                                                                           National Instruments.              powerful processors, and computer-based real-time
    quarterly by National Instruments
                                                                                           Technology has changed             engineering tools, are introducing new levels of
    Corporation, 11500 N. Mopac Expwy,
                                                                                           dramatically over the past         control and determinism to virtual instrumen-
    Austin, TX 78759-3504 USA.
                                                                      30 years, and many technology companies have            tation. This presents new opportunities for
    For inquiries, requests for permission,                           come and gone during this time. How is it that          engineers to take on increasingly sophisticated
    or changes of address, e-mail the                                 National Instruments has been able to keep its          real-time and embedded development. Software,
    Managing Editor at                             momentum and growth for 30 years? We believe it         such as the NI LabVIEW Real-Time, LabVIEW
                                                                      fundamentally comes from a focus on innovation          FPGA, and LabVIEW Embedded Development
                                                                      and continuous improvement built around a               modules, scales across development on the PC
    Staff                                                             deep and solid understanding of our core.               into development in real-time and embedded
    Executive Editor John Graff                                           Virtual instrumentation is how we refer to our      applications. Engineers can move into new
    Editor-in-Chief Lee Chapman                                       core. Virtual instrumentation leverages standard        application areas without a steep learning curve
    Managing Editor Jennifer Radabaugh                                technologies, such as the PC and other commercial       because the software itself evolves to incorporate
    Senior Editor Andria Balman                                       technologies, to enhance the way engineers and          emerging computer technologies.
    Associate Editor Stephanie Levy                                   scientists approach applications in test, control,
    Contributing Editors Johanna Gilmore,                             and design. Flexible software tools combined            Empowering Innovation
    Lance Looper                                                      with modular hardware devices are the core              Thomas Edison is widely recognized for
    Creative Manager Joe Silva                                        components increasing productivity and lowering         innovations such as the phonograph and the
    Design Manager Melissa Maldonado                                  costs for our customers. It is easy to look back and    incandescent light bulb, which he created by
    Production Manager Laura Thompson                                 see how technology has evolved but quite difficult       working with small teams. Over the years, however,
    Production Artist Pam Nalty                                       to imagine how technology will play out in the          R&D has become the domain of large projects
    Cover Art, Illustrations Brent Burden
    Photographer Nicole McGinnis
    Production Specialist Judy Pinckard                                  Flexible software tools combined with modular hardware
    Circulation Coordinator Tiffany Rickard                              devices are the core components increasing productivity
                                                                         and lowering costs for our customers.
    © 2006 National Instruments Corporation. All rights reserved.     future. Nevertheless, we are continuing to increase     requiring hundreds, if not thousands, of engineers
    AutoCode, BioBench, Citadel, CompactRIO, Crashbase,
    CVI, DAQ Designer, DAQCard, DAQPad, DAQ-STC, DASYLab,
                                                                      our investment in R&D so we can do just that.           and scientists working together, often without fully
    DataSocket, DIAdem, DIAdem CLIP, DIAdem-INSIGHT,                                                                          understanding the complete scope of their project.
    DocumentIt!, FieldPoint, Flex ADC, FlexDMM, FlexFrame,            Rapid Technological Advances                            Only recently, with the emerging productivity
    FlexMotion, HiQ, HS488, IMAQ, Instrumentation Newsletter,
    Instrupedia, LabVIEW, LabVIEW Player, Lookout, MANTIS,
                                                                      Although computer and integrated circuit                advantages of virtual instrumentation, are we
    MATRIXx, Measure, Measurement Ready, Measurement                  technologies have experienced significant advances       returning to small teams. With the power of the
    Studio, MITE, MXI, NAT4882, NAT7210, NAT9914, National            in the past three decades, it is software such as       personal computer; the versatility of modular
    Instruments, National Instruments Alliance Partner, NI,, NI Developer Suite, NI Developer Zone, NI Motion
                                                                      National Instruments LabVIEW that makes it              hardware; and the productivity of off-the-shelf,
    Assistant, NI-488, NI-488.2, NI-488DDK, NI-CAN, NI-DAQ,           possible to build on this foundation to create          engineering-focused software, small groups of
    NI-DMM, NI-DNET, NI-FBUS, NI-FGEN, NI-IMAQ,                       virtual instruments. Over the past two decades          designers can exert more creativity and, through
    NI SoftMotion, NI TestStand, NI-VISA, NI-VXI, NIWeek,
    RTSI, SCXI, Sensors Plug&Play, SignalExpress, StillColor,
                                                                      alone, PC performance has improved by a factor of       collaborative engineering, build advanced systems.
    SystemBuild, The Software is the Instrument, The Virtual          10,000 while prices have decreased dramatically.            As we look ahead into the next 30 years, we will
    Instrumentation Company, TNT4882, TNT4882C, Turbo488,             These advances not only make virtual instrumen-         continue to leverage our virtual instrumentation
    VirtualBench, VXIpc, and Xmath are trademarks of
    National Instruments. Other product and company
                                                                      tation a cheap and flexible solution, but they           core and aggressively investigate new and emerging
    names listed are trademarks or trade names of their               also deliver productivity gains unmatched by            technologies, as well as focus on developing the
    respective companies.                                             stand-alone, proprietary systems. With this             flexible software and modular hardware tools
    A National Instruments Alliance Partner is a business
                                                                      software orientation, virtual instrumentation           that continue to help you, our customers, rapidly
    entity independent from National Instruments and has no           can more quickly take advantage of advances in          design, prototype, and deploy your innovative
    agency, partnership, or joint-venture relationship with           computing technology. Examples today include            system designs. I
    National Instruments. FireWire is a trademark of Apple
    Computer, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
                                                                      quick, seamless adoption of technologies such
    MATLAB® is a registered trademark of The MathWorks, Inc.          as USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth into
                                                                      virtual instrumentation systems.                                                John Graff, VP Marketing

2                                                                                              National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •
                                                                                                                              Business Benefits

NI LabVIEW and PXI Reduce Xbox 360 Test Time 50 Percent
Microsoft recently released its next-generation
video game and entertainment system, the
Xbox 360, along with a new line of wired USB and
wireless controllers. Microsoft has said it expects to
sell between 4.5 and 5.5 million Xbox 360s by the
end of its fiscal year in June. To reduce test time,
Microsoft chose National Instruments virtual
instrumentation as a key component of its strategy,
resulting in a 50 percent increase in test throughput
for its Xbox 360 controllers.

LabVIEW and PXI Deliver
Test System Longevity
When developing the original Xbox, Microsoft
engineers worked with National Instruments
to deploy a functional test system based on
NI LabVIEW software and PXI for the original
wired Xbox controller. The system tested device
communication; monitored data packets; and
analyzed electrical signal parameters such as          Microsoft uses NI LabVIEW and PXI to test wired and wireless Xbox 360 controllers.
rise/fall times, minimum/maximum voltage levels,
and current draw.                                                                   Throughout the product development phases, the following NI PXI-based
    One of the major features of the Xbox 360 is a new line of wired                products provided a broad range of measurement functionality:
and wireless game controllers. The wired controllers use the versatile,             • PXI-5124 high-resolution digitizer for USB communication
low-cost USB communication interface, while the wireless controllers use              interface analysis
a 2.4 GHz wireless technology with a 30 ft range. These new controllers             • PXI-4472 dynamic signal acquisition module for rumble
                                                                                      vibration motor analysis
   The new functional test system for the                                           • PXI data acquisition modules for general-purpose
                                                                                      analog I/O measurements
   Xbox 360 controller achieved a 50 percent                                        • PXI-6509 digital I/O module for general-purpose I/O control
   increase in overall test throughput.
                                                                                     LabVIEW Provides Critical Connectivity
demanded a new set of test requirements with high-performance signal                 Microsoft used LabVIEW to optimize the functional test system by packaging
capture to qualify the signal integrity and ensure a quality gaming                  as many parallel test scenarios as possible within the given production
experience. Microsoft engineers worked with National Instruments once                cycle time. Microsoft used the LabVIEW Database Connectivity Toolkit to
again to meet these challenges by expanding their test system to take advan-         easily communicate to its SQL Server, which stored more than 110 data
tage of the latest PXI modular instruments, including the NI PXI-5124                parameters for every USB and wireless Xbox 360 controller. The company
12-bit, 200 MS/s digitizer. Microsoft then created more than 100 tests,              can use the post-analysis of the data to implement future production and
implemented TCP/IP communication, and incorporated a data storage                    product enhancements. The integrated support for TCP/IP and embedded
interface to its Microsoft SQL Server database using LabVIEW.                        ActiveX controls in LabVIEW were also critical to establish communication
                                                                                     with custom Microsoft test interfaces.
Modular Instruments Scale Design and Production                                          Microsoft developed a versatile design and high-volume production
Microsoft used the test system based on LabVIEW and PXI early in the                 test system for the Xbox and Xbox 360 controllers using Microsoft
design cycle – starting in design validation and later expanding the system to       Windows XP, LabVIEW, and PXI. The new Xbox 360 controller test system
its high-volume production for the Xbox 360 controllers. The PXI modular             maximized coverage and achieved a 50 percent increase in overall test
instrument approach provided the flexibility needed to adapt to the variety           throughput. Continuing to execute on a test strategy built on virtual
of measurement requirements in both design and production. For example,              instrumentation provides Microsoft with low-cost automated testing for
with the broad range of available instrumentation, Microsoft integrated              the Xbox 360 controllers. I
a wide array of measurements such as USB communication tests and
vibration motor analyses.                                                            To read the full-length customer solution, visit and enter nsi6102.

National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •                                                                                 3

NI LabVIEW – Open Connectivity from A to Z
continued from page 1
Open Connectivity Requires Seamless
System Integration
The built-in I/O, analysis, and communication libraries in LabVIEW provide
native connectivity to virtually any instrument, sensor, bus, or software
interface to remove the guesswork of integrating each of these components
into your test and measurement applications. Open connectivity, however,
only offers the possibility to connect to a device or interface, which does
not always equate to rapid system integration when developing a test and
                                           measurement solution. Fortunately,
                                           LabVIEW not only provides open,
   Ampmeters                               flexible connectivity, but also offers
   Bluetooth                               the industry’s most comprehensive
   CAN                                     set of test and measurement software
   DeviceNet                               tools and device drivers to integrate
                                           each of these devices and interfaces      Figure 2. LabVIEW open connectivity greatly reduces the amount of hidden development
                                           into a complete system. This makes        costs associated with most test and measurement systems.
   Frame grabbers
                                           LabVIEW an invaluable asset and
   GPIB (IEEE 488)
                                           strategic differentiator in your test         technology, including the Instrument I/O and DAQ assistants;
   Hall-effect sensors                     system development toolchain.                 Sensors Plug&Play based on IEEE 1451.4 transducer electronic data sheet
   IEX thermistors                           Many engineers have not yet                 (TEDS) technology; and the NI Measurement & Automation Explorer
   JTAG                                    taken advantage of the time- and              (MAX) system management and configuration tool. LabVIEW Zone
   K-type thermocouples                    cost-saving benefits of LabVIEW,               ( also features a complete online user community
   Logic analyzers                         according to a worldwide survey               with thousands of example applications, the LabVIEW Tools Network,
   Motion stages                           of engineers conducted by                     user groups, and online discussion forums to ensure the ultimate
   .NET                                    National Instruments. Results from            plug-and-play experience with LabVIEW.
   Oscilloscopes                           this survey, shown in Figure 2,            2. Native Hardware I/O Function Libraries – In addition to the plug-and-play
   Pulse generators                        indicate that engineers are spending          experience, LabVIEW has an extensive set of native hardware I/O function
   QAM                                     more than half of their total system          libraries, including NI-VISA and NI-DAQmx, that help you connect to
                                           costs on hidden costs – areas related         more than 4,000 stand-alone instruments and thousands of sensors,
   Radio frequency (RF)
                                           to system integration including               cameras, and motion drives across practically any bus and communication
   Sound pressure sensors
                                           system setup, software development,           interface. The types of measurement devices featuring built-in I/O
   TCP/IP                                  and system test and calibration.              function libraries in LabVIEW include stand-alone and modular
   USB                                     This is a startling realization when          instruments, data acquisition devices, sensors, cameras, motion control
   Vector network analyzers                compared to the 36 percent of                 stages, and more. Bus connectivity I/O functions include GPIB (IEEE 488),
   Wi-Fi (802.11)                          total system costs attributed to the          serial, Ethernet/LAN, USB, IEEE 1394 (FireWire®), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
   XML                                     actual cost of the system hardware            (IEEE 802.11), IrDA, and more. In total, more than 1,000 measurement,
   Yaw sensors                             and software. These statistics                analysis, and visualization functions come standard in LabVIEW for
   ZigBee                                  demonstrate the importance of                 ensuring a productive user experience when connecting hardware I/O
                                           comprehensive, built-in system                devices together to create your automated test and measurement systems.
Figure 1. NI LabVIEW provides built-in     connectivity when selecting the            3. Flexible Data Communication Interfaces – LabVIEW also features
tools and I/O libraries for open           appropriate test and measurement              industry-leading data communication interfaces and technologies.
connectivity from A to Z.                  tools for your test system needs.             Establishing connectivity with measurement hardware and software
                                                                                         applications is one thing; being able to effectively communicate with and
Signature Traits of LabVIEW Open Connectivity                                            control them is another. The flexible data communication interfaces in
During the past 20 years, LabVIEW has delivered A-to-Z system connectivity               LabVIEW are important for many engineers who are interfacing LabVIEW
for nearly every test and measurement device and protocol by focusing on                 test systems with software applications developed in other programming
four signature traits:                                                                   languages such as ANSI C, Visual Basic, C++, .NET, and more. LabVIEW
1. Plug-and-Play Experience – Productivity for engineers, scientists, and                can natively communicate with applications developed in any of these
   technicians developing automated test and measurement systems is a                    languages. In addition, you can use LabVIEW to communicate across a
   primary goal for LabVIEW. The driving factor behind the productivity                  wide variety of industrial communications protocols including TCP/IP,
   gains that LabVIEW delivers is the unique plug-and-play system inte-                  serial, CAN, DeviceNet, FOUNDATION FieldBus, FlexRay, Modbus, and
   gration experience provided through its patented graphical development                more. The new LabVIEW Project and shared variable in LabVIEW 8 also
   environment; vast instrument driver network; interactive Express VI                   dramatically simplify the development of distributed systems involving

4                                                                                  National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •

   processes running across multiple                                                                                                         GPIB, serial, and TCP/IP I/O func-
   applications and remote devices.                                                                                                          tion libraries. If an instrument driver
4. Integrated I/O Communication                                                                                                              does not exist and you find yourself
   Development Tools – The final                                                                                                              routinely sending direct commands to
   signature LabVIEW trait of open                                                                                                           your instrument, you can use the
   connectivity is the availability of                                                                                                       LabVIEW Instrument Driver Project
   integrated tools to help you connect                                                                                                      Wizard to quickly create an
   to and troubleshoot communication                                                                                                         instrument driver containing the
   with devices and protocols for                                                                                                            core functionality
   which device-specific I/O libraries                                                                                                        you need for your application, a task
   may not exist. This is often the case                                                                                                     that once took weeks to complete.
   in areas involving lead research in
   aerospace, automotive, medical, and                                                                                                       A-to-Z Data Acquisition
   communications fields. LabVIEW                                                                                                             with LabVIEW
   offers a variety of built-in tools to                                                                                                     From accelerometers to Z sensors,
   assist you in this area, including the                                                                                                    LabVIEW delivers A-to-Z connec-
   Instrument Driver Project Wizard                                                                                                          tivity for your data acquisition
   and the NI Spy feature in NI MAX.                                                                                                         elements, including transducers and
   The new Instrument Driver                                                                                                                 sensors, signals, signal conditioning,
   Project Wizard in LabVIEW 8                                                                                                               data acquisition hardware, and
   is designed to help you quickly         Figure 3. NI LabVIEW provides unparalleled connectivity with thousands of instruments,            driver and application software.
   develop LabVIEW Plug and Play           sensors, cameras, stages, and software interfaces to streamline your measurement                  National Instruments offers the most
                                           and automation system integration.
   instrument drivers by stepping                                                                                                            complete family of data acquisition
   you through an interactive process that prompts you for information                   devices for desktop, portable, embedded, and networked applications across
   about the specific instrument with which you wish to communicate. The                  many buses, including PCI, PCI Express, PXI, PCMCIA, USB, CompactFlash,
                                                                                                                                       Ethernet/LAN, and FireWire. With
                                                                                                                                       the highly integrated functionality of
   Using “open,” off-the-shelf instrumentation and components does                                                                     LabVIEW – including the interactive
   not always equate to fast, seamless test system integration.                                                                        DAQ Assistant, the rich library of
                                                                                                                                       NI-DAQmx I/O functions, and the
   NI Spy functionality in MAX is useful for diagnosing communications                   Sensors Plug&Play TEDS technology – you can quickly develop an infinite
   problems in your measurement system by helping you monitor all I/O                    number of different data acquisition systems with LabVIEW.
   commands and traffic across a particular bus. Both of these tools are
   examples of the National Instruments commitment to your productivity                  Open Connectivity with Proven Productivity
   when building automated test and measurement systems.                                 Today’s test and measurement systems must deliver high performance,
    Next, take a closer look at how the specific features of these signature              improved flexibility, and seamless integration with virtually any new or existing
traits benefit you when designing automated instrument control and                        device or interface. These increasing demands require engineers to carefully
data acquisition systems – the two most commonly developed test and                      choose their tools and platforms when building test and measurement systems.
measurement application types.                                                           Devices and interfaces featuring open connectivity provide only the possibility
                                                                                         to be combined with other system components. National Instruments
A-to-Z Instrument Control with LabVIEW                                                   offers you the widest selection of open test and measurement software and
From Agilent 34401A digital multimeters to ZES LMG310 power analyzers,                   hardware, including LabVIEW and PXI, with proven system integration
LabVIEW has offered seamless, stand-alone instrument connectivity and                    productivity to assist you in developing a complete, open, and modular
control for more than 20 years. Today, you can use the new Instrument Driver             solution for your application needs. I
Finder in LabVIEW 8 to automatically locate, download, and install FREE
instrument drivers for more than 4,000 different instrument models. All                                                                                           Richard McDonell
LabVIEW instrument drivers are based on the Virtual Instrumentation                                                                Test Software, PXI, and Instrument Control
Software Architecture (VISA) so you can communicate with your instruments                                                                              Marketing Group Manager
across any bus, including GPIB, Ethernet/LAN, USB, and serial, without any                                                                     
differences in the LabVIEW programs you develop. You also can migrate your
applications to use new bus technologies, such as USB 2.0, because these                 To see how you can use LabVIEW 8 to implement eight common types of auto-
technologies emerge without requiring any modifications to your software                  mated test and measurement benchmark applications, including benchtop test,
code. In addition to instrument driver-based control of your instrument,                 data logging, and manufacturing test, visit and enter nsi6101.
LabVIEW offers the ability to communicate directly with instruments that
do not have a driver using the Instrument I/O Assistant and the low-level               MATLAB is a registered trademark of The MathWorks, Inc.

National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •                                                                                                5

Use a Single Software Tool for HMI and Logic Programming
                                                                                              These new HMIs and industrial touch panels combined with LabVIEW 8
                                                                                          offer a single software environment for developing logic, operator interface, and
                                                                                          supervisory control and data acquisition systems. Figure 1 shows the three
                                                                                          new HMIs based on functionality and typical hardware platforms:
                                                                                            1. Operator interfaces for Windows-based systems
                                                                                            2. Front panels for LabVIEW Real-Time controllers
                                                                                            3. Industrial PCs with integrated touch screens
                                                                                              To deploy operator interfaces from Windows-based systems such as PXI,
                                                                                          simply add a touch screen display for interactive user interfaces. For embedded
                                                                                          real-time targets, Windows CE devices provide rugged displays programmed
                                                                                          with the LabVIEW PDA Module using TCP/IP commands. A PC with an
                                                                                          integrated touch screen delivers PC-based I/O for data acquisition systems
                                                                                          or offers a display that you can connect to other programmable automation
                                                                                          controllers (PACs) to create distributed I/O systems. The LabVIEW
                                                                                          Datalogging and Supervisory Control (DSC) Module adds supervisory
Figure 1. Deploy NI LabVIEW to new NI HMIs and industrial touch panels.                   and SCADA functionality to these HMI applications.
Developing control applications requires expertise in several areas, including
process logic, control system design, and user interface design. When using               1. Operator Interfaces for Windows-Based Systems
programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and traditional software tools, engineers           You can easily deploy LabVIEW user interfaces for Windows-based systems by
need to be proficient with both logic programming tools and human-machine                  adding a flat panel touch screen. For example, the new 15 in. NI FPT-1015 flat
interface (HMI) software development packages. These disparate tools add                  panel touch screen provides a display through a standard VGA port and an
development time and training costs for developing control applications.                  interactive touch screen through USB. The FPT-1015 offers an industrial touch
                                                                                          screen for any PC, CompactPCI/PXI, or industrial PC with a VGA and USB
LabVIEW – The Alternative to Disparate                                                    port running Windows XP/2000. A typical application for deploying the
Software Applications                                                                     FPT-1015 is an operator interface for PXI factory floor test systems.
National Instruments LabVIEW software provides an alternative with                            After developing a test system, engineers often deploy the LabVIEW
a single development environment for logic and HMI development.                           executable and an NI TestStand sequence as the final system on the factory
NI LabVIEW programmers have been using the unique combination of                          floor. Operators need intuitive operator interfaces that display pass/fail results
                                        an interactive front panel user                   and test information. With LabVIEW, you can develop these operator interfaces
   New OPC Features                     interface and graphical dataflow                   in parallel with the test program. Deploying these operator interfaces is as easy
   with LabVIEW 8                       programming environment to                        as adding interactive touch screens such as the FPT-1015.
   LabVIEW 8 includes several new       develop integrated user interface
   features that integrate OPC for      and control programs for 20 years.                2. Front Panels for LabVIEW Real-Time Controllers
   connectivity to third-party devices. New features in LabVIEW 8, such as                LabVIEW Real-Time controllers offer reliability and determinism programmed
   • OPC 2.x/3.0 support                the LabVIEW Project and shared                    through Windows PCs. To deploy the LabVIEW front panels you create in
   • OPC support in LabVIEW             variables, make creating user                     parallel with embedded logic, you have options for either Windows or
      shared variable engine            interfaces for HMI applications                   industrial Windows CE .NET displays:
   • Front panel data binding to        even easier. For deploying these                  • Remote Web Panels for Windows Browsers – The LabVIEW Web
      OPC network items                 user interfaces, NI has released                    Publishing Tool automatically generates HTML code and then publishes
                                        three new hardware targets.                         a user-created LabVIEW front panel as an interactive Web page with the

    Table 1. New NI HMIs                                                                          Connectivity              Connection            Driver/Communication
      and industrial touch                           Device OS            Display Size
                                                                                                    Targets                  Method                      Method
   panels offer device OS,
 display size, connectivity                       Windows XP/2000                                CompactPCI/PXI,
                               FPT-1015                                      15 in.                                           USB/VGA                       –
                                                   Driver Support                                 Industrial PCs
   target, and connection
and driver/communication                                                                                                                                 TCP/IP
                                                                                               LabVIEW Real-Time
          method options.      TPC-2006         Windows CE .NET 4.2          5.7 in.
                                                                                             Controllers and NI PACs
                                                                                                                                                   Communication Palette

                               PPC-2015             Windows XP               15 in.         Distributed I/O with NI PACs       Ethernet               Shared Variable
                                                                                                  Industrial DAQ                 PCI                    NI-DAQmx
                                                                                               Industrial USB DAQ               USB                     NI-DAQmx
                                                                                                      Motion                     PCI                    NI Motion
                                                                                                      Vision                     PCI                     NI Vision

6                                                                                      National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •

  LabVIEW Web server. Multiple PCs can access these LabVIEW front                    The combination of LabVIEW and the PPC-2015 is ideal for the following
  panels, and you can grant one controller control access. You can set               two typical application types:
  security and access rights to limit access by IP address so remote                 • Distributed I/O Systems with NI PACs – Add distributed I/O or remote
  operators or managers can securely monitor or update values.                         PAC targets to the panel PC using Ethernet and the new features available in
• Windows CE .NET Industrial Touch Panels – To create interactive front                LabVIEW 8. Creating distributed systems is now easier with the LabVIEW
  panels without using a Windows Host, the LabVIEW PDA Module                          Project because the project provides access to distributed hardware targets
  compiles LabVIEW applications for Windows CE .NET industrial                         from a single LabVIEW program. LabVIEW shared variables offer easy
                                                                                                             access to the I/O on distributed PACs. The PPC-2015
  The new HMIs and industrial touch panels provide                                                           can host shared variables from multiple real-time
                                                                                                             targets including Compact FieldPoint, CompactRIO,
  hardware targets for deploying HMI applications based on                                                   and PXI real-time. Then, using LabVIEW, create
  the new features in LabVIEW 8 distributed intelligence.                                                    HMI displays for these real-time targets by dragging
                                                                                                             the shared variable from the LabVIEW Project to
  touch panels such as the new NI TPC-2006 touch panel computer.                       a front panel hosted on the panel PC, and an appropriate front panel
  Standard networking protocols such as TCP/IP, IrDA, Bluetooth, and                   control or indicator is automatically created.
  802.11 provide communication between PDA applications and                          • Integrated PC-Based DAQ Systems – For integrated PC-based
  LabVIEW Real-Time controllers.                                                       data acquisition systems, the NI panel PC provides connectivity with
                                                                                       five USB ports and two half-length PCI slots. Create integrated systems
     LabVIEW offers several tools for deploying HMI displays including                 with new USB-based data acquisition (DAQ) and select from a wide
the TCP/IP communication palette and example programs. The LabVIEW                     range of NI M Series DAQ hardware and industrial digital I/O hardware
PDA Module includes the LabVIEW PDA Project Wizard, example VIs, and                   with software support through LabVIEW and NI-DAQmx. Also add
LabVIEW PDA templates for creating user interfaces on industrial touch panels.         motion or vision through either PCI motion and vision cards or
National Instruments has developed several white papers on architecting                Ethernet-based PACs.
TCP/IP communication from real-time PACs, including:
  •“Creating LabVIEW PDA Applications to Communicate                                 Alarm and Event Functionality with LabVIEW DSC
    between PACs and Industrial Touch Panels”                                        Add configuration-based alarms and events, real-time and historical
  •“Simple TCP/IP Messaging Protocol”                                                trending, and a database for distributed logging to these panel PC
  •“Command-Based Architecture for LabVIEW Real-Time”                                applications with the LabVIEW DSC Module. In addition, the new
                                                                                     LabVIEW 8 DSC Module provides:
   These white papers include a LabVIEW PDA Module overview and                        • Programmatic shared variable creation
a detailed analysis of how to architect TCP/IP communication using a                   • Support for shared variable import/export of
simple TCP/IP messaging protocol and a more advanced command-based                       comma-separated values (CSV) files
architecture built on the simple TCP/IP messaging protocol. This architecture          • Event structure integration for value-change notification
creates parallel loops that execute with different priorities for separate               of alarm and event changes
communication and real-time tasks to reduce jitter. A library of example VIs
for sending messages between host and target applications using TCP/IP               One Tool for HMI and Logic Application Development
messaging is also available as a FREE download.                                      The new HMIs and industrial touch panels provide hardware targets for
                                                                                     deploying HMI applications based on the new features in LabVIEW 8
3. Industrial PCs with Integrated Touch Screens                                      distributed intelligence. Reduce development time by using a single
LabVIEW runs on industrial PCs with integrated touch screens such as                 development tool to program multiple targets and develop HMI and
the new NI PPC-2015 panel PC. The PPC-2015 is an integrated HMI and                  logic applications. I
industrial PC that runs Windows XP on a Pentium 2.0 GHz processor.
                                                                                                                                                Robert Jackson
                                                                                                                                   Compact FieldPoint and HMIs
                                         3X the Performance at the Same Price                                                              Marketing Engineer
                                         New National Instruments Compact FieldPoint controllers –                            
                                         the cFP-2100 and cFP-2110 – feature a 188 MHz processor
                                         with three times the performance of the previous NI cFP-20xx          To download data sheets for the new industrial
                                         generation at the same price. Add expansion I/O to these              touch panels or the white papers and example
                                         controllers using the new NI cFP-1808 Ethernet interface with         code discussed in this article, or to participate
                                         the easy-to-use FieldPoint API.                                       in an online Web event, visit and
                                                                                                               enter nsi6103.
  To configure a new Compact FieldPoint system, visit and enter nsi6104.

National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •                                                                                 7

LabVIEW 8 Delivers a Flexible, Open Platform for Math
The popularity of the National Instruments
LabVIEW platform has led to its adoption in a
variety of disciplines, resulting in a broad collection
of integration tools, libraries, and file formats
linking NI LabVIEW with different tools for design
and simulation. For math, LabVIEW interfaces
exist for external software such as MathCAD,
The MathWorks, Inc. MATLAB®, Mathematica,
Maple, XMath, and IDL.
    With these links, you can simplify software
integration and data exchange between LabVIEW
and external software, giving you the freedom to
choose a “best-fit” approach for design, modeling,
visualization, and other jobs. You benefit from the
improved productivity and flexibility that comes
from the ability to choose an approach that best
suits the problem at hand or leverages your              Figure 1. With NI LabVIEW 8, you can choose a “best-fit” approach – graphical, textual, or a combination of the
investment in these tools.                               two – to easily implement algorithms for math or signal processing.
    Working with one or more of these interfaces,
you can build custom virtual instruments that split the work between                   ranges of input parameters. Place new controls and indicators to set ranges
LabVIEW and the external software. For example, LabVIEW graphical                      and capture aggregate results.
programming might perform jobs such as signal acquisition or generation,                   When you instrument an algorithm using LabVIEW, you also benefit from
instrument control, presentation of the user interface, or publication of              close ties to real-world data. With the history of LabVIEW as a tool for data
                                                                                                                              acquisition and instrument control, you
    A key benefit to working with LabVIEW and interfacing to external                                                          can easily apply or generate live signals
                                                                                                                              to algorithms or other functionality
    math software is the ability to easily “instrument your algorithms”…                                                      implemented with external software.
    you can easily build custom VIs for interactive and/or programmatic
    exploration of algorithms.                                                                                                        Graphical Programming
                                                                                                                                      Is an Intuitive Choice
results. You can invoke external software for symbolic or numeric math, signal        Of course, if you do not have a significant investment in other tools, you
analysis, formula implementation, data visualization, or other tasks suited to        can work exclusively with LabVIEW. LabVIEW offers built-in graphical
that environment.                                                                     and textual approaches to define functions and algorithms.
   Because you decide where to partition the work, you can consider the                   At the heart of LabVIEW is a graphical dataflow programming language
best fits for different approaches. For signal processing, analysis, and math,         featuring a syntax that resembles block diagrams and built-in functionality
the decision might involve supported functionality, syntax, the desire to             dedicated to signal processing, analysis, and math. Built-in functionality covers
reuse your existing code, or even personal preference.                                instrument control, data manipulation, and more – including a rich set of
                                                                                      more than 500 functions for signal processing, analysis, and math. LabVIEW
Instrument Your Algorithms                                                            also includes graphical constructs that are a natural means to express common
A key benefit to working with LabVIEW and interfacing to external math                 programming structures (for loops and while loops) and advanced concepts
software is the ability to easily “instrument your algorithms.” By deploying          (parallelism and threading).
powerful, built-in LabVIEW tools, you can easily build custom virtual
instruments for interactive and/or programmatic exploration of algorithms             Textual Math Alternatives Offer Flexibility
and other functionality implemented by external software.                             While the graphical methodology of LabVIEW is powerful and intuitive,
   For interactive exploration, you can rapidly build custom graphical user           advocates of the textual approach present strong arguments. Text offers a
interfaces (GUIs) in LabVIEW to interactively modify combinations of input            commonly used means of describing a function with efficient syntax elements
parameters and immediately see the impact on outputs. Use scalar numeric              so you can specify arithmetic, variable assignment, and order of operations.
inputs, knobs, sliders, arrays, text, and many other built-in LabVIEW                 Text also can effectively represent sequential program flow and, through
controls as inputs for your applications. To show the results, you can rely           variable assignment, can simplify the job of tracking intermediate results.
on built-in LabVIEW indicators such as 2D/3D graphs, numeric outputs,                 Finally, textual programming can offer a succinct way of specifying
picture controls, and more.                                                           array/matrix operations and nested function calls.
   You can easily extend your interactive interfaces for programmatic
exploration. By adding loops, you can automate parametric sweeps through              MATLAB® is a registered trademark of The MathWorks, Inc.

8                                                                                 National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •

                                                                                                Figure 2. The combined graphical/textual approach is especially
                                                                                                useful when trying to represent computations, such as parallelism,
                                                                                                that are easily represented in one approach but not the other.

    Although textual syntax can be effective in its own way, syntax is not            Node offers an intuitive means of combining graphical and textual code
the only reason to work with a text-based methodology. For example, you               within LabVIEW – it coexists with LabVIEW graphical programming as a
may need to call routines from your existing library of text-based code.              rectangular text entry region in which you can enter your m-file scripts
    Alternatively, you may need to invoke otherwise unavailable functionality.        directly or load them from files.
Considering the possibilities, it is clear that each approach has unique strengths.      You can define named inputs and outputs to specify the data to transfer
With multiple approaches available in LabVIEW, you can take advantage of              between the graphical LabVIEW dataflow programming and your textual
a single environment and choose the most appropriate solution or work with            MathScript code. In this way, you can build applications and implement designs
a combination of the two (see Figure 2). Visit the link referenced at the end         with a syntax that most directly represents the computation. This approach
of this article to see a table that summarizes the alternatives related to signal     proves especially useful when trying to represent computation that is easily
processing, analysis, and math and reveals that some are built into LabVIEW           represented in one approach but not the other. For example, Figure 2 shows
while others are interfaces to third-party software.                                  a case where graphical programming depicts the desired parallelism of two
                                                                                      blocks of textual code.
Apply Textual Math in LabVIEW
A new built-in tool for text-based math is LabVIEW MathScript. A new                  Your Approach Is Best
feature in LabVIEW 8, LabVIEW MathScript does not require additional                  When you work with LabVIEW for jobs that require signal processing, analysis,
third-party software. It offers a high-level, text-based language with syntax         and/or math, you benefit from the availability of multiple syntax alternatives in
and functionality that abstract the complexity of applying signal processing,         a single environment. For any given algorithm or function, the best approach
analysis, and math. MathScript includes more than 500 functions for such              may be graphical, textual, or a combination of the two. Working with LabVIEW,
work, and you can create user-defined functions.                                       either exclusively using built-in functionality or through an interface with
    LabVIEW MathScript is generally compatible with m-file script language             external software, you can choose the approach or combination of approaches
syntax (also commonly known as the m-script language syntax). With such               that best suits your needs. I
compatibility, you can work with many previously developed m-file scripts
such as those available in engineering textbooks or on Web sites that distribute
open-source m-file scripts.                                                                                                                         Sam Shearman
    With LabVIEW MathScript, you can choose between both interactive and                                                  Signal Processing and Analysis Software
programmatic interfaces. For interactively debugging and building your m-file                                                              Senior Product Manager
scripts, you can use the MathScript Interactive Window. This interface gives                                                     
you immediate feedback as you work by offering a command line, a text
editor, a history window, a variable display, and more.
                                                                                      To view a table of options for working with math in LabVIEW, including
Combine Textual and Graphical Approaches                                              both built-in options and links to external software, visit
With the MathScript Node, you can deploy your m-file scripts program-                  and enter nsi6105.
matically as part of your LabVIEW graphical programs. The MathScript

National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •                                                                                   9
Product In-Depth

Transform Modular Instruments into Communication Systems

Figure 1. These transmit blocks are part of a typical digital communication system you can create with the NI Modulation Toolkit 3.1 for LabVIEW and RF modular instruments for PXI.

Keeping up with the barrage of communication standards is pushing engineers
to seek flexible, out-of-the box solutions. The new National Instruments
Modulation Toolkit 3.1 for LabVIEW is delivering this flexibility by performing
encoding, modulation, and upconversion functions in user-defined software.
This approach simplifies the way modern communication systems are defined                         Amplitude modulation uses the data signal as an envelope for the carrier signal.
by building on the intuitive NI LabVIEW dataflow-based programming
model. With this model, communications engineers’ programs mirror the
                                                                                               What Is RF Modulation?
                                                                                               Wireless transmissions usually occur with signals in the kilohertz to
block diagrams of the communication system to be tested (Figure 1). The
                                                                                               gigahertz range for practical implementation and efficiency. With modulation,
latest version of the NI Modulation Toolkit extends the built-in analysis
                                                                                               you can modify this high-frequency “carrier” signal to add a lower-frequency
capability of LabVIEW by providing a toolbox for signal generation, analysis,
                                                                                               data signal such as audio at 44.1 kHz. A carrier signal, usually sinusoidal in
visualization, and modulation format processing.
                                                                                               nature, is composed of three main parameters – amplitude (A), frequency
                                                                                               (2 fc), and phase (ϕ).
From Cellular Communication to Broadcast Radio
At the core of this toolkit are the modulation and demodulation functions
                                                                                                                          Signal = A·cos(2 fct + ϕ)
                                                                                                  Therefore, by “modulating” any combination of amplitude (AM), frequency
necessary to generate and receive communications signals. Signals are
                                                                                               (FM), or phase (PM) in proportion to the data signal, you can transmit the carrier
modulated to optimize either transmit or receive power, bandwidth
                                                                                               signal at a higher frequency and recapture it after demodulating (see figure).
efficiency, circuit design complexity, impairment immunity, or any
                                                                                                  The two different categories of modulation are analog modulation
combination thereof. The modulation/demodulation functions are the
                                                                                               and digital modulation. Analog modulation refers to modifying the carrier
foundation for common transmission schemes such as code division
                                                                                               signal in reference to an analog waveform (as shown above) while digital
multiple access (CDMA) for cellular communication in the United States as
                                                                                               modulation modifies the carrier parameters in relation to a digital bit pattern.
well as AM and FM for radio broadcast. The time-division multiple access
(TDMA) and Gaussian-filtered minimum-shift keying (GMSK) modulation
                                                                                               To view the RF and Microwave Fundamentals tutorials, visit
included in the toolkit forms the basis of cellular communication in Europe
                                                                                               and enter nsi6107.
through Global System Mobile (GSM). The toolkit provides ASK, FSK,
MSK, PAM, PSK, QAM, AM, FM, PM, and custom modulation formats
to address a breadth of communications applications and standards –                          design. This saves time and money because designers can emulate the
something previously unattainable in hardware-based systems. The toolkit                     communications channel in software instead of purchasing expensive
also provides encoding/decoding algorithms such as Reed-Solomon,                             hardware-based channel simulators. The toolkit also has many measurement
Hamming, Golay, and Convolution to improve transmission efficiency                            and visualization tools to greatly simplify analysis, including the 3D eye
and noise immunity of a given modulation scheme and channel.                                 diagram shown in Figure 2, which demonstrates the relationship among
                                                                                             time, in-phase, and quadrature signals on a single graph.
                                              The Power to See and
                                              Control Noise                                  Building a Software-Defined Radio
                                              To augment transmit/receive tests,             A software-defined approach to communication system development gives
                                              the Modulation Toolkit also features           you flexibility and control over every aspect of the system, so you can use
                                              a variety of modeling impairments.             the same hardware system to test multiple communication standards. This
                                              With these modeling impairments,               approach also provides the ability to create custom, user-defined modulation
                                              designers can inject additive white            systems for proprietary or characteristic systems, transforming LabVIEW
                                              Gaussian noise (AWGN), phase                   programmers into communications engineers. I
Figure 2. Create 3D eye diagrams to           noise, I-Q impairments, multitones,
show the relationship among time,             or fading profiles to analyze or                For more information on the NI Modulation Toolkit 3.1 for LabVIEW, including
in-phase, and quadrature signals.             test the constraints of a particular           the data sheet, pricing, and availability, visit and enter nsi6106.

10                                                                                       National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •
                                                                                                                                         Mixed-Signal Test

Characterize MP3 Player Power Consumption with LabVIEW
New portable consumer electronics devices are
constantly driving the leading edge of speed, size,
cost, and complexity. For example, with MP3
players, you now can browse playlists via onscreen
menus, thumb through album cover art, and even
play games. With so many new features, maximizing
the battery life of these new devices is one of
the biggest challenges design engineers face.
Consequently, they often spend significant time
characterizing parameters such as leakage current,
power consumption, and internal battery resistance.
    You now can make all of these measurements
with a single instrument – the National Instruments
PXI-4071 FlexDMM – using the built-in analysis
capability of NI LabVIEW software. Using software,
you can configure the NI PXI-4071 to operate as a
full-featured, 26-bit (71⁄2-digit) digital multimeter
                                                             Figure 1. Trending the power consumption of an MP3 player requires a high-resolution current digitizer,
(DMM) or a 1.8 MS/s digitizer. This measurement
                                                             such as the NI PXI-4071 digital multimeter.
capability is required for full characterization of
battery life and battery resistance.

Maintain Battery Life in the On and Off States
Trending the device’s power consumption helps predict battery life and
optimize the design. In any real-world device, power is actually consumed
in both the “off ” and “on” states. The current drained from the battery while
the device is in the “off ” state is called leakage current. To perform this
measurement, you need to connect the battery in series with a sensitive
current measurement device, such as the NI FlexDMM, which offers
picoamp (10-12 A) current sensitivity.
    The “on” state measurements require a high-resolution current digitizer,
which is not available in traditional DMMs. Because you can software                       Figure 2. The NI FlexDMM measures voltage drops across a battery by switching in a
reconfigure the NI FlexDMM to operate as a full-featured DMM or a                           load that correlates to different device functions, such as loading songs into memory.
1.8 MS/s current digitizer, you can use the same measurement device and
physical connections to acquire both leakage current and current transients.               Measure Internal Resistance of Potential Batteries
Figure 1 depicts the power consumption measurements from one MP3                           The internal resistance of the battery determines its capability to deliver
player. This particular MP3 player has been designed to maintain low power                 instantaneous current. The internal resistance of a battery is not constant – it
consumption at all times, even while playing songs. It only requests power                 varies dynamically as the device requires more power, such as loading songs or
from the battery when the user browses through the menus or when it loads                  accessing menus. The lower its value, the better the device can respond to sudden
songs into memory. When it does request power, the current spikes.                         current demands, based on user input. You often can correlate a performance
                                                                                           drop with an increase of internal resistance, decreasing battery life.
                                                                                               You can measure the internal resistance of a battery by switching in a
                                                                                           load that correlates to different device functions, such as loading songs, turning
                                         Best in Test Digitizer                            the backlight on, and accessing menus. For example, you can measure the
                                         Now Available in PCI                              voltage drop across the battery with the NI FlexDMM and LabVIEW as you
                                           Awarded the Test & Measurement                  switch in different loads for a period of time, as depicted in Figure 2. Point 1
                                           World 2006 Best in Test honor, the              corresponds to the moment when a 1 mA preload is connected to the battery.
                                           NI PXI-5922 flexible-resolution digitizer        Point 2 corresponds to the moment when the 100 mA load is connected, and
                                           features the highest resolution of any          point 3 shows the moment where this load is removed. You then use Ohm’s Law
  digitizer on the market. This digitizer, capable of sampling from 24 bits at             (V = IR) to compute the internal resistance. Using pairs of preload and loads,
  500 kS/s to 16 bits at 15 MS/s, is now available in PCI.                                 you can trend the internal resistance of a battery under real-world conditions
                                                                                           to predict battery life. I
  To view a seven-minute demo of the PXI-5922 digitizer, visit
  and enter nsi6109.                                                                       To learn more about battery testing or view the corresponding NIWeek
                                                                                           keynote video, visit and enter nsi6108.

National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •                                                                                                  11
NI in Academia

Bridge the Gap with the Integrated Laboratory
This series on National Instruments in academia features ways that NI
collaborates with universities worldwide to enhance engineering and science
research and education.

                                         National Instruments and
                                         Electronics Workbench offer an
                                         integrated laboratory to help
                                         educators bridge the gap between
theory and real-world applications. Electronics Workbench Multisim
helps students learn circuit theory, while hardware and software such as
National Instruments LabVIEW and the NI Educational Laboratory Virtual
Instrumentation Suite (NI ELVIS) help students visualize theoretical
concepts in the real world through measurements.

                                                                                    Figure 2. Students can use NI LabVIEW to easily compare simulated and measured data.

                                                                                     circuits has lagged behind, as has the technology to do so. Most laboratories use
                                                                                     a traditional benchtop approach, including bread-boarding with measurements
                                                                                     using oscilloscopes, function generators, and digital multimeters. In some cases,
                                                                                     a PC-based interface board controls these instruments, but that model lacks
                                                                                     the flexibility to compare simulations with measurements from actual circuits.
                                                                                     Often, students are forced to take measurements with a pen and paper and
                                                                                     manually compare them to simulations – a painstaking process.
                                                                                         Using Electronics Workbench and NI products together creates a richer,
                                                                                     more engaging learning environment, one in which students can bypass the
                                                                                     inefficiencies of the dated benchtop approach. Educators can enhance the
                                                                                     simulation capabilities in Electronics Workbench Multisim by using real-world
Figure 1. Electronics Workbench Multisim provides 3D, interactive CAD viewing
                                                                                     data captured by LabVIEW software to drive virtual circuits. A microphone
capabilities of NI ELVIS hardware.
                                                                                     virtual instrument used to provide real speech waves to a filter circuit is
   Circuit design, SPICE simulation, and circuit analysis tools such as              one example.
Multisim give students and educators a powerful, user-friendly platform                  Students also can use Multisim simulated data to drive real-world devices
for teaching, learning, and project work. Most electronics curricula use             with LabVIEW– using the speaker virtual instrument included with Multisim
simulation tools in both the classroom and the lab to prepare students for           to output sound waves, for example. In addition, educators now can use
                                                                                                                 virtual instruments created in LabVIEW within
     Simulation results from Multisim quickly import into LabVIEW                                                the Multisim environment as an alternative to the
                                                                                                                 ready-made instruments provided.
     in native file formats so students can easily compare predicted                                                  Simulation results from Multisim quickly import
     (simulated) and actual (measured) results.                                                                  into LabVIEW in native file formats so students can
                                                                                                                 easily compare predicted (simulated) and actual
the professional world. With its unique combination of pedagogical features          (measured) results. The extensive LabVIEW analysis functions provide an
and commercial-level functionality, Multisim is a leading simulation product         easy and intuitive method for determining relevant circuit characteristics
in the educational marketplace.                                                      such as gain, overshoot, -3 dB points, and more.
    NI LabVIEW has become a widely adopted software tool for virtual                      NI ELVIS is a prototyping environment with variable power supplies that
instrumentation in both education and industry. The LabVIEW virtual                  serves as an oscilloscope, a function generator, a Bode analyzer, and more.
instrumentation paradigm is an ideal platform to develop instructional               Students can control NI ELVIS with a PC using the included software or with
curricula and to further scientific research. In a laboratory course setting,         custom LabVIEW virtual instruments, taking the measurements they need
students perform various experiments that combine measurement, automation,           quickly and easily. Educators can use the powerful, virtual, 3D ELVIS Multisim
and control. Any tools or systems used under these conditions must be flexible        environment to teach students how to use NI ELVIS and build their circuits
and adaptable. In a research environment, virtual instrumentation provides           in the real world. I
the necessary flexibility for researchers to adapt systems to meet unpredictable
and changing needs.                                                                  For more information about Electronics Workbench, visit
    While simulation software is now widely used in both classrooms and              and enter nsi6110.
laboratories, emphasis on incorporating and comparing simulations to actual

12                                                                                National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •
                                                                                                                                               Product In-Depth

New LabWindows/CVI 8.0 – Develop, Run, and Deploy Faster
                                                                                                                              rich database functionality, and interacting
                                                                                                                              directly with Microsoft Windows API methods
                                                                                                                              including those for viewing CPU use and
                                                                                                                              logging errors.

                                                                                                                              Run Applications Faster
                                                                                                                  LabWindows/CVI 8.0 offers direct connectivity
                                                                                                                  with third-party optimizing compilers, so you can
                                                                                                                  run applications faster. By simply recompiling
                                                                                                                  existing, unmodified code with the new optimized
Figure 1. NI LabWindows/CVI 8.0 provides faster development, execution, and deployment while continuing to        compiler support, you can greatly decrease
offer backward compatibility with previous versions.                                                              test times and increase throughput. NI ships
                                                                                                                  LabWindows/CVI with compiler templates for
Since 1987, National Instruments LabWindows/CVI has delivered the latest tools        Intel, Borland, and Microsoft optimizing compilers. With these new
and technologies for ANSI C programmers, including windows and graphical              templates, you never have to leave the LabWindows/CVI development
user interfaces for DOS, automatic code generation and function panels,               environment to create release builds using these third-party compilers.
and ActiveX integration. The software’s latest release, NI LabWindows/CVI                 LabWindows/CVI 8.0 also features faster running analysis libraries. The
Version 8.0, continues the National Instruments commitment to longevity               linear algebra functions now incorporate the Intel Math Kernel library that
and innovation with new features specifically designed for developing,                 uses vector instructions appropriate for the given processor and highly tuned
executing, and deploying test and measurement systems faster. All features            blocked algorithms that efficiently manage memory. Also, LabWindows/CVI
are based on standard ANSI C, providing test engineers the reliability                uses BLAS/LAPACK algorithms to decrease computation time for linear
and reusability to maintain test systems for decades.                                 algebra functions and provide more accurate results.

Develop Code Faster                                                                                Deploy Systems Faster
The latest version of LabWindows/CVI offers new built-in libraries you can                         After you have written your code and created optimized executables, you
easily use in your test systems, including more engineering analysis routines                      can deploy complete test systems using the improved system deployment
and a comprehensive Microsoft .NET library.                                                        utility and directly target real-time hardware.
    LabWindows/CVI 8.0 features more than 80 new analysis libraries,                                   With the improved system deployment utility, you easily can create
including those for windowing, signal processing, linear algebra, curve fitting,                    Microsoft installer (MSI) packages for your systems. Most importantly, this
and special functions. With these built-in functions, LabWindows/CVI                               new utility helps you create a single installer that includes device drivers such
protects you from writing and optimizing low-level analysis functions.                             as NI-DAQmx and NI-VISA, in addition to hardware configuration settings.
Instead, you can quickly use ready-to-run libraries designed specifically                           You also can use the utility to automatically create shortcuts, validate OS
for test and measurement applications.                                                             versions, install the LabWindows/CVI run-time engine, set registry keys and
    With LabWindows/CVI, you also can take advantage of the latest                                 software versions, and specify distribution media size such as CD or DVD.
Microsoft .NET technologies to invoke methods and set and get properties                               To run your applications more reliably, take advantage of LabWindows/CVI
from .NET assemblies. .NET assemblies are the building blocks of all .NET                          connectivity to real-time hardware targets. Without leaving the LabWindows/CVI
applications; thus, LabWindows/CVI programmers can use this functionality                          development environment, you now can specify the IP address of your PC or
to call Web services such as those for sending automated e-mails, accessing                        PXI real-time target and automatically deploy your application across Ethernet.
                                                                                                   As a result, your code runs reliably and deterministically, which is ideal for
                                                                                                   extended tests and control applications.

                                                                                                   A Commitment to Longevity and Innovation
                                                                                                   With the latest release of LabWindows/CVI, you now can develop, execute,
                                                                                                   and deploy test systems faster. Most importantly, LabWindows/CVI 8.0
                                                                                                   continues to provide backward compatibility with previous versions,
                                                                                                   helping to ensure test systems last for decades. I

                                                                                                   To participate in an online Web event or download LabWindows/CVI 8.0
                                                                                                   for evaluation or purchase, visit and enter nsi6111.

Figure 2. Create installers that include device drivers and directly target PC and PXI hardware.

National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •                                                                                                13
Special Focus: Accelerating Embedded Sys
From consumer electronics to industrial machinery
and automotive computers, the engineers that
design embedded systems are working in a fiercely
competitive global market. The risks and potential
rewards are great. A successful product could see
production volumes in the millions of units per
year while a failure could spell disaster for a
company with thousands of development hours
at risk. While competitive pressure to get products
to market faster continues to increase, embedded
systems are growing more sophisticated and
complex. It now takes longer than ever to complete
new designs. A 2005 Embedded Market Study by
CMP Media indicates that more than half of all
projects release at least three months late and the
average time to complete a new design has reached
a record 15 months. Most embedded project
failures cite overall complexity and inadequate or         Figure 1. NI LabVIEW provides key technologies for improving embedded system design.
changing specifications.
    To help design teams tackle an increasingly complex job and get products             Design
to market more quickly and reliably, virtual instrumentation technology is               Embedded system design is a multidimensional process that involves electrical,
evolving to provide a comprehensive set of tools for embedded system design,             software, and mechanical engineering. For example, a modern photocopier is
prototyping, and deployment. The National Instruments LabVIEW high-level                 an advanced machine that includes hundreds of sensors; dozens of actuators;
graphical programming language and PC-based commercial off-the-shelf                     and a variety of software subsystems such as control loops, networking, and
(COTS) hardware can assist with every stage of development – from the earliest           self-diagnostics. To simulate the behavior of this complex system, you can
stages of design and simulation, to prototyping the system with real-world               use native LabVIEW system identification, simulation, and control design
I/O signals and hardware, to deploying the embedded software on a chosen                 capabilities to create a model and develop your control algorithms. LabVIEW
processor target.                                                                        also provides interoperability with a variety of third-party tools for circuit
    To manage more complicated design requirements, teams are spending                   design, simulation, mechanical/CAD, and embedded software development.
more time on software development and switching to more sophisticated                    Depending on the target, LabVIEW applications can include text-based
processors. CMP Media reports that the main processor in about half of all               C code, VHDL, MathScript, or DLL calls.
designs is now a 32-bit device rather than an 8- or 16-bit device. This trend                Signal processing and digital filter design are key embedded system
toward 32-bit microprocessors makes it easier to use code created with the               technologies because they are necessary to derive meaningful information
help of high-level design tools because 32-bit devices have a large instruction          from sensors. Real-world sensors encode information in complex signals.
set that is more like a PC. By combining design, prototyping, and deploy-                For example, the position and speed of a paper roller might be transmitted in
ment technology in a single graphical programming toolchain, NI LabVIEW                  the voltage waveforms of a sine-cosine encoder. For reliable control of paper
speeds development for a wide variety of embedded processing devices.                    tension in the photocopier, the sensor interface subsystem must accurately
This article explores key LabVIEW 8 tools and capabilities for accelerating              interpret these signals and correct for noise, attenuation, and other practical
embedded system design.

         LabVIEW Technology                                              Compilation Method                                       Target Operating Systems                                                Common Hardware Targets
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Desktop, laptop, CompactPCI/PXI,
         Development System                                          Native LabVIEW compiler1                                      Windows, Linux, Mac OS
                                                                                                                                                                                                industrial PCs, single-board computers
               LabVIEW                                                                                                                                                                       All of the above plus NI Compact FieldPoint,
                                                                     Native LabVIEW compiler1                                           Phar Lap ETS, RTX
           Real-Time Module                                                                                                                                                                      CompactRIO, Compact Vision System
                                                                                                                                  Palm, Windows Mobile for
         LabVIEW PDA Module                                     Cross-compiler, third-party tools1                                                                                          Handhelds, cell phones, touch panel displays
                                                                                                                                   Pocket PC, Windows CE2
                                                                      VHDL code generation,                                                                                                             CompactRIO chassis, PCI/PXI
        LabVIEW FPGA Module                                                                                                         N/A (result is hardware)
                                                                    integrated Xilinx ISE tools1                                                                                                       R Series intelligent DAQ devices
     NI LabVIEW Embedded Module                                   C code generation, integrated
                                                                                                                                  VisualDSP++ Kernel (VDK)                                       600 MHz ADI Blackfin DSP/MPU hybrid
      for ADI Blackfin Processors3                                     ADI VisualDSP++ tools1
          LabVIEW Embedded                                              C code generation,                                            eCos, VxWorks, UNIX,
                                                                                                                                                                                                     Any 32-bit microprocessor or DSP
          Development Module                                           third-party compiler4                                           Windows (any OS)
 1OEM-ready:   Compilation is fully automated and no knowledge of the third-party toolchain is required. 2 Windows CE support for select devices. 3 The first public beta version was announced August 2005. 4 Requires knowledge of a third-party toolchain.

Table 1. LabVIEW 8 targets a wide variety of embedded devices.

14                                                                                                                                   National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •
stem Design
  issues. LabVIEW offers sophisticated digital filter design and validation                 As shown in Table 1, LabVIEW includes native embedded targeting
  tools to speed development for both floating- and fixed-point devices.                 technology for general-purpose PCs, real-time industrial systems, handheld
                                                                                       and portable devices, FPGAs, DSP/MPU hybrids, and arbitrary 32-bit
  Prototype                                                                            microprocessors. The list of hardware targets programmable with LabVIEW
  Prototyping is the process of taking algorithms and embedded code developed          has expanded greatly in recent years as the core technologies are woven
  during the design stage and connecting them to the real-world system and             more tightly into the fabric of the language. All of these heterogeneous
  environment. Prototyping helps get new designs to market more quickly                computing devices are programmed using a consistent graphical
  and reliably because you can begin more important engineering work earlier           development experience.
  in the process and assist teams in refining goals and requirements.                       LabVIEW provides an array of COTS hardware targets that you can use as
      LabVIEW makes it easier than ever to connect algorithms and logic                OEM-ready subsystems in embedded designs. NI and third-party vendors such
  to real I/O signals because it includes built-in support for virtually any           as Analog Devices have performed extensive validation and testing on these
  type of sensor or actuator. In addition to traditional PC-based I/O modules,         OEM-ready hardware targets. To get you up and running quickly and reliably,
  field-programmable gate array (FPGA)-based intelligent data acquisition               LabVIEW provides specialized cross-compilation, linking, and debugging
  (DAQ) devices are increasing in popularity for prototyping. You can customize        engines for each target.
  intelligent DAQ devices to perform the type of I/O and signal processing
  operations found in very specialized hardware devices. Reconfigurable FPGA            Graphical System Design
  hardware technology is at the core of the National Instruments CompactRIO            The National Instruments graphical system design platform combines
  embedded prototyping and deployment system. See the NI CompactRIO                    LabVIEW programming with COTS measurement and embedded hardware
  feature box (below) for details.                                                     targets to help your development teams design, prototype, and deploy systems
                                                                                       more quickly and reliably. By embracing PC-based technology, these tools make
  Deploy                                                                               it easier to connect design and simulation code to real-world signals. As the list
  Deployment is one of the most challenging parts of the development process           of OEM-ready embedded targets grows, LabVIEW developers can benefit from
  because it involves combining all of the design components into an integrated        an increasingly automated development process. Stay tuned – the future looks
  working system that must be robust, cost-effective, and reproducible in high         bright for virtual instrumentation in embedded design. I
  volumes. Traditionally, engineers had to rewrite most of the software from the
  design and prototyping stages in the low-level syntax of the embedded device.
  Portability also was a major challenge for low-level code. Now, you can easily                                                                     Brian MacCleery
  move the same LabVIEW graphical source (G code) among embedded targets.                                                                      Embedded and Control
  You also can translate LabVIEW G code to ANSI C for portability into any                                                                   Senior Product Manager
  third-party toolchain. The new LabVIEW Embedded Development Module                                                               
  takes this a step further by opening the native code generation and cross-
  compilation engines so advanced developers can create board support                  To view FREE tutorials and learn more about how LabVIEW 8 is accelerating
  packages for any microprocessor and OS.                                              embedded design, visit and enter nsi6112.

                                                         NI CompactRIO Embedded Prototyping and Deployment System
                                                         CompactRIO delivers a general-purpose rapid prototyping platform that combines a reconfigurable digital
                                                         hardware backbone with a real-time processor and modular peripheral I/O. The rugged system features
                                                         highly automated LabVIEW development tools to speed prototyping and deployment. The real-time OS
                                                         and floating-point processor support almost the entire array of LabVIEW technical computing functions,
                                                         including advanced analysis libraries and dynamic simulation models. NI and third-party vendors provide
                                                         a wide variety of I/O and communication modules. A user-programmable FPGA offers a customizable
                                                         digital back-end.
                                                            “CompactRIO is like the Swiss army knife of embedded systems because it combines a variety of
                                                         I/O options with a processor and FPGA,” said David Hill, a certified developer at “We validate
                                                         our logic execution engine using pure LabVIEW code so it’s portable to any embedded device. Knowing
                                                         the algorithms are going to execute the same on different platforms is a big advantage. Our customers
       NI CompactRIO combines a real-time OS with        are thrilled by how much this technology is speeding the development and FDA approval of new
       reconfigurable digital logic and plug-in I/O.      medical devices.”

  National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •                                                                                   15
Product In-Depth

FPGA Technology Replaces Multiple In-Vehicle Test Systems
Automotive manufacturers are known for performing extensive validation                   Creating Custom Hardware with LabVIEW FPGA
testing. Performing temperature testing on seat warmers, monitoring chassis              You can customize reconfigurable FPGA hardware to perform the type
vibration during harsh test runs, and measuring the G forces exuded on                   of I/O and signal processing operations found in very specialized hardware
the passenger during crash tests are a few examples of test procedures car               devices. FPGAs contain a matrix of reconfigurable gate array logic circuitry.
manufacturers complete to ensure safe product deliveries to the consumer.                When you configure an FPGA, the internal circuitry creates a hardware
Unfortunately, running numerous tests often correlates to learning and using             implementation of the desired application. FPGA technology offers many
a variety of new test equipment. The National Instruments CompactRIO                     advantages, including custom I/O timing and synchronization; up to 20 MHz
platform provides substantial new capabilities for in-vehicle testing.                   control loop rates; the reliability of dedicated hardware; and hard, real-time
    NI CompactRIO is a rugged, high-performance system that incorporates                 digital signal processing and analysis.
an embedded field-programmable gate array (FPGA) so you can customize a                       Traditionally, engineers needed extensive knowledge of hardware design
single hardware platform to meet a variety of in-vehicle application challenges.         tools and languages such as VHDL to program FPGAs. The FPGA in
                                                                                         CompactRIO is programmed with National Instruments LabVIEW graphical
                                                                                         development tools so you can easily customize and reconfigure the FPGA
                                                                                         within CompactRIO. When the system functionality needs to change, you
                                                                                         simply download new NI LabVIEW code to the FPGA and change the
                                                                                         “personality” of CompactRIO.

                                                                                         Stand-Alone and Networked Operation
                                                                                         The CompactRIO controller also contains an embedded real-time processor
                                                                                         for intelligent, reliable, and stand-alone operation; includes Ethernet and serial
                                                                                         ports for connection to host computers and peripherals; and runs LabVIEW
                                                                                         Real-Time software for deterministic control, data logging, and analysis.
                                                                                         Because of its dual 9 to 35 V (6 to 35 V during operation) power supply inputs,
                                                                                         you can power CompactRIO directly from a vehicle battery. The controller
                                                                                         contains up to 512 MB of nonvolatile memory for in-vehicle data logging.

                                                                                         Small, Rugged Package for Any Environment
Sampling rates for in-vehicle applications represent a large range – between 20 S/s      The mechanical design of CompactRIO creates a system that withstands the
for temperature logging and 200 kS/s for crash tests.
                                                                                         rigors of any in-vehicle testing environment, such as the dry heat of the Arizona
                                                                                         proving grounds. CompactRIO maintains a small size, low power consumption,
One System, Multiple Applications                                                        and a wide -40 to 70 ºC operating temperature range along with a variety of
The technical requirements of each in-vehicle application – such as sampling             industrial certifications and ratings. The platform is rated for up to 50 g of
rates; response times; and signal conditioning, processing, and analysis – have          shock and up to 2,300 Vrms isolation (withstand) and has international safety,
resulted in a variety of custom in-vehicle test systems. For example, sampling           EMC, and environmental certifications.
rates for in-vehicle applications range from 20 S/s for temperature logging to              With the embedded FPGA, real-time operating system, and standard
200 kS/s for crash tests (see figure).                                                    graphical programming environment of CompactRIO and LabVIEW, you
    Using FPGA technology, CompactRIO meets these in-vehicle application                 can easily create any in-vehicle test, control, and design application. The
challenges, eliminating the need for custom hardware and multiple test systems.          high-speed and synchronization capabilities of the FPGA, combined with
You can use CompactRIO for low-speed, accurate temperature measurements                  a rugged form factor and a wide range of I/O modules, makes CompactRIO
and then quickly reprogram the system to meet the performance and control                the ideal platform for any in-vehicle application. I
needs of rapid prototyping. Additionally, you can perform low- and
high-speed measurements within the same system to conduct different                      For more information on the benefits of FPGA technology and a detailed
tests in parallel. Before the introduction of CompactRIO, no single system               listing of new CompactRIO modules in the full-length version of this article,
could meet the requirements of all these applications.                                   visit and enter nsi6113.

                                                          New NI CompactRIO I/O Modules
                                                          Seven new National Instruments CompactRIO I/O modules feature 32-channel analog inputs, strain and
                                                          current measurements, and more. Build a compact, 256-channel analog input measurement system with
                                                          NI CompactRIO and the new NI 9205 32-channel analog input module.

                                                          To read the CompactRIO I/O module application note, visit and enter nsi6114.

16                                                                                    National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •
                                                                                                                                   Product In-Depth

PXI RF Platform Approaches Theoretical Noise Floor Limit
                                                                                      Extended Testing and Monitoring Capabilities
                                                                                      When used with the National Instruments PXI-5660 RF vector signal
                                                                                      analyzer, the new NI PXI-5690 RF preamplifier extends the testing and
                                                                                      monitoring capability of the PXI-5660 down to -165 dBm, very close to
                                                                                      the theoretical limit at room temperature. This is essential for applications
                                                                                      measuring low-level illegal or intruding signals that frequently are buried
                                                                                      in the noise. The PXI-5690 also can programmatically bypass its gain
                                                                                      by switching to a direct path; this functionality extends the testing and
                                                                                      monitoring capabilities of the PXI-5660 by shifting the dynamic range
                                                                                      to easily monitor both very weak and very strong signals.

                                                                                      New Addition to the PXI RF Platform
                                                                                      The new PXI-5690 is a two-channel device covering the frequency range
                                                                                      from 100 kHz to 3 GHz. Channel 0 features a 5 dB noise figure with fixed
                                                                                      gain at 30 dB. Channel 1 offers programmable gain and direct path capa-
The new NI PXI-5690 RF preamplifier lowers the noise floor of the NI PXI-5660           bility. NI ships the PXI-5690 with the necessary cables to connect to the
RF vector signal analyzer to -165 dBm.                                                PXI-5660, so you can quickly and easily configure your system. You can
                                                                                      purchase the PXI-5690 separately or bundled with the 32 and 64 MB
With the rapid increase in wireless services available today, the RF spectrum is      versions of the PXI-5660. I
becoming more crowded. Sometimes these signals show up where they do not
belong, whether by accident or by design. Effective RF spectrum monitoring            To view the RF and Wireless Communications Summit E-Kit with
requires, for example, a test system capable of seeing well below the typical         presentations on communications technologies from industry experts,
noise floor of most spectrum analyzers.                                                visit and enter nsi6115.

NI Releases Comprehensive Vision Software Suite
From counting cells to inspecting automotive parts,
                                                                   1 Create golden                                                    2 Check subsequent
the new National Instruments Vision 8 Development                      template or label.                                                 labels for quality.
Module provides all of the tools necessary to acquire
images, prototype inspections, and program complete
vision applications. The NI Vision 8 Development
Module features three components – NI Vision
Acquisition; NI Vision Assistant; and hundreds of
image processing and machine vision functions for
National Instruments LabVIEW, NI LabWindows/CVI,
Microsoft Visual Basic, C++, and .NET.
     New updates to the vision libraries include
specialized tools to inspect and verify the quality of                                                                 3 Locate and highlight
packaging labels, printed characters, and DataMatrix                                                                     errors and defects.
symbols. Notable among these new tools is the golden        You can accurately validate the quality of printed labels and stamped logos with the new golden template
template comparison algorithm, which inspects labels        comparison algorithm.
and packaging. The algorithm learns an acceptable (or
“golden”) example of the product and compares this example to subsequent                     Along with new algorithms, the Vision 8 Development Module includes
images. It accurately and reliably detects defects such as scratches, tears, and        the NI Vision Acquisition and NI Vision Assistant components. With Vision
misprints, even in poor lighting and with bad alignment.                                Acquisition, you can acquire images from any NI frame grabber or camera
     You also can use the new Vision 8 Development Module with optical                  that supports the IEEE 1394 (FireWire®) specification without purchasing extra
character verification (OCV) to ensure that characters print correctly. For              driver software. With Vision Assistant, you can prototype your application with
example, OCV is a valuable tool for verifying that lot, date, and product               hundreds of vision functions before writing a single line of code. Once you
codes print correctly onto pharmaceutical, food, beverage, and personal care            develop and benchmark a working script, Vision Assistant automatically
product labels and packages. You also can verify the quality of DataMatrix              generates ready-to-run LabVIEW diagrams or LabWindows/CVI, C/C++,
codes by applying a grade (A to F) in accordance with the Association for               or Visual Basic code. I
Automatic Identification and Mobility (AIM) Bar Code Print Quality
Guideline, also known as ISO 16022. This type of verification provides                   To obtain a complete list of new features or download a FREE evaluation of
a quantitative measure of bar code quality so you can check the printed                 the Vision 8 Development Module, visit and enter nsi6116.
2D codes against a quality standard.

National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •                                                                                    17
Product In-Depth

New NI TestStand 3.5 – Industry-Leading Features for Test
NI TestStand Version 3.5 helps you quickly develop and deploy automated
test systems. NI TestStand reflects the National Instruments commitment to
delivering industry-leading test management software to provide you with a
commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution for meeting today’s test challenges –
from the growing complexity of devices to the increasing demand for higher
throughput and reduced costs. The latest version of NI TestStand offers
several new features for automating and managing tests, such as streamlined
deployment, password protection for sequence files, Automatic Test Markup
Language (ATML) report generation, and requirements management support.

Streamlined Test System Deployment
With the improved deployment utility in NI TestStand 3.5, you can deploy
your test system software, including test modules, driver software, run-time
engines, and configuration files, in one distribution package and installer.
You also can include new National Instruments LabVIEW 8 project libraries
in NI TestStand workspace files to improve file organization and deployment
in large automated test systems. These test system deployment improvements                With NI TestStand 3.5, you can password protect sequence files to prevent
help ensure that you install all of the necessary software, including I/O drivers,        unwanted changes.
on the deployment station, so you can achieve a shorter time to first test and
reduced downtime.                                                                         satisfies specific requirements. These requirements are commonly defined in
                                                                                          requirements documents created in requirements management software tools,
Password-Protected Sequence Files                                                         such as Telelogic DOORS, IBM Rational RequisitePro, and Microsoft Word
Test managers face the challenge of ensuring test sequence integrity. Changes to          and Excel.
sequences, steps, and test limits have a dramatic impact on test result validity.             NI TestStand 3.5 includes built-in fields for notating product and unit
With NI TestStand 3.5, you can limit user ability to edit sequence files. Once a           requirements at the workspace, project, sequence file, sequence, and step levels.
developer locks a sequence file with a password, users cannot edit file contents            You can make the format of the string values that represent your requirements
on disk or in the sequence editor unless they have a password. Additionally,              conform to third-party requirements management packages. For example,
developers can prevent general viewing of internal sequence file and                       consider a fuel injector in an automobile. In your requirements document,
step-type information.                                                                    you are likely to have several requirements for the fuel injector. In NI TestStand,
                                                                                          you can tag a step that tests the fuel injector with one or more strings specifying
ATML Report Generation                                                                    that the step is covering the associated requirements. In addition, you can use
ATML is an emerging set of XML-based schemas that provide a standard                      the NI TestStand API to retrieve or specify requirements values directly.
for sharing test information. National Instruments actively contributes to
the definition of the schemas by partnering with the ATML working group.                   COTS-Based Solution for Test
With NI TestStand 3.5, you can collect test data and automatically generate               With the latest version of the fast, flexible, and reliable NI TestStand test
XML reports that comply with the release candidate of the Test Results                    executive creation and management environment, you can take advantage
schema to help ensure standard data interfacing between test systems.                     of several new features for automating and managing test systems to help
                                                                                          ensure that your COTS-based solution meets today’s test challenges. I
Requirements Management
There is a growing concern among engineers in many automotive, aerospace,                 To learn more about new features in NI TestStand 3.5 or download
and medical organizations about how to best ensure that their test coverage               FREE trial software, visit and enter nsi6117.

                                            New USB I2C and SPI Interface
                                            The National Instruments USB-8451 provides inter-integrated
                                            circuit (I 2C) and serial peripheral interface (SPI) communication
                                            for testing, validating, and programming consumer electronics
                                            devices such as analog-to-digital converters and EEPROMS.
                                            NI-845x driver software provides high-level, easy-to-use
                                            NI LabVIEW functions for rapid application development.

     To learn more about the NI USB-8451, visit and enter nsi6118.

18                                                                                     National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •
                                                                                                                                  Instrument Drivers

Benchtop Measurements in Seconds from NI and Tektronix

                                    Figure 1. Improve your benchtop measurement productivity with NI SignalExpress Tektronix Edition.

From verifying a prototype to troubleshooting a circuit, many measurements             Edition, represents the industry-leading vision of National Instruments and
do not need full automation and are better performed interactively. However,           Tektronix toward improving benchtop measurement productivity through
the majority of these measurements require analysis beyond what the                    virtual instrumentation,” said Dr. James Truchard, National Instruments
instrument can provide, so connection to a computer is still necessary.                president, CEO, and cofounder.
In a 2005 National Instruments and Tektronix design engineer survey,
87 percent of the respondents reported that they perform some type of                  Live Analysis and Reporting
offline analysis on their acquired data and 74 percent stated that they would           Offline analysis typically requires saving the instrument data to a file and
prefer an entirely interactive approach to controlling multiple instruments            importing it into another application, such as Microsoft Excel, to create
on the benchtop from a PC.                                                             an algorithm for analysis. This process can be tedious and often results in a
    To address these needs, National Instruments teamed up with Tektronix to           delay between the time you acquire and measure the data to the time you
release NI SignalExpress Tektronix Edition, optimized for the new DPO4000              calculate results.
oscilloscope from Tektronix. SignalExpress Tektronix Edition combines the                  SignalExpress Tektronix Edition provides more than 200 different
interactive SignalExpress drag-and-drop environment with the USB, GPIB,                measurement, processing, analysis, and reporting operations that you can apply
and Ethernet/LAN connectivity of the Tektronix DPO4000 and AFG3000                     to live data as you acquire it, so you can perform distortion, tone, transition,
series instruments so you can connect, generate, acquire, analyze, and                 and many other measurements interactively and see results instantly. When you
document your measurements quickly and easily.                                         need post-analysis or documentation of the results, SignalExpress Tektronix
                                                                                       Edition can automate saving the data to file, or you can simply drag and drop
                                         USB Plug-and-Play                             the data into Microsoft Excel, Word, and other applications.
                                         Oscilloscope Connectivity
                                          Featuring USB plug-and-play                  Benchtop Connectivity and Control
                                          connectivity based on the USB Test           Connecting and controlling multiple instruments from one PC user interface
                                          and Measurement Class (USBTMC),              is nearly impossible without programming a custom application. Freeware
                                          the DPO4000 and SignalExpress                tools from instrument vendors typically work with only a few instrument
                                          Tektronix Edition give you the               models and therefore require learning and running multiple applications
                                          ultimate benchtop oscilloscope-to-PC         to control an entire benchtop.
                                          connectivity experience. Immediately             SignalExpress Tektronix Edition remedies this challenge with built-in
                                          after connecting the DPO4000 to              compatibility with the Tektronix TDS3000 and DPO4000 oscilloscopes and
Figure 2. Windows XP automatically        the PC via the USB cable, the PC             AFG3000 arbitrary/function generator, as well as with NI plug-in hardware
detects the Tektronix DPO4000 and         detects the oscilloscope and shows an        and more than 300 common stand-alone instruments. This compatibility
AFG3000, which SignalExpress              autoplay dialog. A single mouse click        removes the guesswork involved in connecting instruments to a PC
Tektronix Edition can then control.
                                          connects SignalExpress Tektronix             and facilitates increased measurement productivity by creating a virtual
Edition to the DPO4000 to begin capturing and displaying live measurement              benchtop for interactive, PC-based instrument control, acquisition,
data from the oscilloscope onto the PC immediately. You then can control the           analysis, and documentation. I
DPO4000 either from the PC or directly from the oscilloscope, and manage
setting and data synchronization easily with the single press of a button.             To learn more about SignalExpress Tektronix Edition by viewing a short
    “The PC-standard I/O connectivity on the DPO4000, featuring the USB                product demonstration video, visit and enter nsi6119.
plug-and-play oscilloscope-to-PC integration with SignalExpress Tektronix

National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •                                                                                   19
LabVIEW Zone

Help Define the Next Version of LabVIEW
                                                                                                                       LabVIEW 8 User Group
                                                                                                                       LabVIEW user groups are organizations of people
                                                                                                                       who regularly meet and share their common
                                                                                                                       interest in LabVIEW. Members include techni-
                                                                                                                       cians, test engineers, university professors,
                                                                                                                       computer scientists, and people from countless
                                                                                                                       other professions. More than 100 LabVIEW user
                                                                                                                       groups are registered worldwide. You can visit
                                                                                                                       LabVIEW Zone to find a user group in your area.
                                                                                                                           LabVIEW 8 introduces the largest new
                                                                                                                       feature set of any LabVIEW release. A number
                                                                                                                       of LabVIEW 8 presentations are available on
                                                                                                                       LabVIEW Zone to help you share these features
                                                                                                                       with your user group.

                                                                                                                       To download LabVIEW 8 user group presen-
                                                                                                                       tations, visit and enter nsi6121.

Visit LabVIEW Zone to ask technical questions and share your ideas on how to improve NI LabVIEW.

Customer feedback is critical when planning new products and product                      Beta Program
features. A customer conversation with a field engineer shared with a product              Provide feedback on features under active development by participating
manager often results in a new feature. In addition to this type of informal              in National Instruments beta programs. Feedback in the program ranges
feedback, you can provide opinions and suggestions on National Instruments                from bug reports to usability suggestions. NI engineers incorporated
LabVIEW software and other NI products via a number of more direct                        usability suggestions, including revisions to the structure of the new
avenues, including:                                                                       Project Explorer window, made during the LabVIEW 8 beta program
  • Discussion Forums                                                                     into the final product.
  • Product Suggestion Center
  • Beta Program                                                                          Developer Blogs
  • Developer Blog                                                                        National Instruments employees use Weblogs, or blogs, to share their NI
  • LabVIEW Developer Feature Brainstorming Forum                                         product and technology expertise. Blogs give insight into why and how
                                                                                          NI designs its products. Developers use their individual blogs to solicit
Discussion Forums                                                                         feedback on features and technology areas they are researching or actively
Use the NI Discussion Forums primarily to receive technical support on NI                 working on. For example, NI Senior Software Engineer Brian Tyler recently
products via the online community. The NI Discussion Forums also include                  announced his new role as the LabVIEW team lead who works on Microsoft
message boards for job postings, general nonsupport-related topic discussions,            .NET technology integration, soliciting your feedback at the same time.
and product-specific forums.
    The NI LabVIEW discussion forum averages more than 4,500 posts a                      LabVIEW Developer Feature Brainstorming Forum
month, making the task of picking out specific feature suggestions difficult.               The latest addition to is the LabVIEW Developer Feature
Active discussion forum members have initiated a monthly thread to capture                Brainstorming Forum. LabVIEW R&D engineers solicit direct feedback
potential bugs in a single thread. NI offers a number of additional avenues               on new features and technologies under consideration. These potential
to specifically provide direct product feedback.                                           features may be under consideration for a future version or may be in active
                                                                                          development, and NI engineers solicit feedback to make design trade-offs
Product Suggestion Center                                                                 and to hold virtual brainstorms with you on LabVIEW features. I
Use the product suggestion center (PSC) to recommend improvements
to existing features or to suggest new features for NI products. The NI R&D               For links to each of the above feedback methods, visit
organization manages the PSC, and R&D managers regularly review                           and enter nsi6120.
suggestions and incorporate them into feature planning.

20                                                                                    National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •
                                                                                                                                         Product In-Depth

Linux Meets Virtual Instrumentation
In recent months, Linux and its easily recognized
mascot Tux have been popping up more and more
in trade publications and in the public media. This
attention has reached beyond IT staff, Linux zealots,
and self-proclaimed tinkerers, generating curiosity
about Linux among a more general population.
This article briefly addresses the advantages and
disadvantages of using Linux for measurement and
control applications and introduces resources and
products for developers using Linux.

What Is Linux?
Simply put, Linux is an operating system. Like other
operating systems, its primary task is to help one or
more users make the most of computer processors                 Figure 1. National Instruments supports LabVIEW 8 and more than 200 data acquisition (DAQ), signal conditioning,
and I/O hardware to accomplish computing tasks.                 and instrument control products on Linux.
The most significant difference between Linux and
the other two most popular operating system families – Windows and                          The “Open-Source” Risk
Macintosh – is that Linux is available at no cost and the source code is freely             The dark side of the open-source advantage is that there is currently not much
available. These differences have proved to be a double-edged sword for test,               standardization between existing Linux distributions. Anyone can create his
measurement, and control application developers.                                            or her own customized version of Linux. Currently, different companies and
                                                                                            communities maintain more than 300 distributions of Linux. The good news is
Is It Really “Free”?                                                                        that there are a handful of leaders, but the variances among distributions can
Yes, it is true – Linux is available at no cost. Download it, install it, and, within       differ widely, with each distribution typically focusing on specific optimizations
a couple of hours, you can run Linux on an x86-based desktop, laptop, or                    such as ease of use for the end user, footprint, or stability during embedded
PXI controller in the development lab. The savings grow with each licensing                 execution. This can make understanding the differences among distributions
fee you avoid paying on a deployed instance of the application.                             daunting and finding the best distribution challenging.
    In addition to being available at no cost, Linux is also “open-source”                      The absence of standards also prevents many software and hardware
software. It is both written and distributed under the GNU General Public                   vendors from providing reliable support for Linux distributions. Before
License (, making the source code freely available and                          choosing to develop systems based on Linux, check to make sure that hardware
distributable to the public. Developers can modify and recompile the available              and software vendors can provide support for your system’s components.
source code, to achieve ultimate flexibility. If needed, a developer can even
create an application-specific version of Linux to meet bleeding-edge system                 Creating Virtual Instruments on Linux
requirements, such as small, installed footprint or added support for key                   As a leader in PC-based measurement and automation, National Instruments
hardware components.                                                                        offers software and hardware products for creating virtual instruments on
    The decreased cost and flexibility of Linux particularly interest companies              many computing platforms and operating systems, including Linux. In addition
and organizations that have been long-time UNIX houses and are looking to                   to the newest release of NI LabVIEW 8, National Instruments offers driver
transition away from UNIX. With the similarity of Linux to UNIX, many of                    support for more than 200 measurement hardware devices on supported
these groups have realized the aforementioned benefits while minimizing                      distributions of Linux.
the difficulty of switching operating systems.                                                   ANSI C and LabVIEW 8 development is now available using supported
                                                                                            devices, including all DAQ, signal conditioning, dynamic signal acquisition,
                                                                                            and switching hardware supported by NI-DAQmx driver software for Linux;
                                                                                            digital multimeters using NI-DMM driver software for Linux; high-speed
                                                                                            digitizers using NI-SCOPE software for Linux; arbitrary waveform generators
                                                                                            using NI-FGEN software for Linux; and GPIB and instrument control devices
                                                                                            using NI-488.2 software. National Instruments also offers Linux installation
                                                                                            support on select PXI and VXI system controllers. I

                                                                                          To learn more about the complete National Instruments offering for Linux
                                                                                          developers and get answers to frequently asked questions, visit
                                                                                          and enter nsi6122.

Figure 2. A Linux distribution is a unique grouping of a Linux kernel, graphical user
interface, application software, and installer.

National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •                                                                                           21
Developer’s View

DIAdem 10.0 DataFinder Revolutionizes Test Data Search
Internet search engines such as Google and Yahoo have dramatically impacted
how we work, making information on every subject instantly available. Our
engineering bookshelves are no longer populated with rows of product
specification guides because this information is now online, up to date, and easy
to access. Yet when it comes to managing test and measurement data, we are
largely living in the Stone Age. We routinely lose data files, thus requiring
duplicate test runs, and we spend excessive amounts of time locating files.
Moreover, searching for trends across multiple datasets and locating data based
on key identifiers, which is functionality useful for all technical professionals,
unfortunately has been reserved for only those who have made significant
investments in building customized data management systems.
    The challenges involved in building and maintaining scalable data
management systems have forced many companies to continue managing
their critical data assets by using primitive file and folder naming conventions.
National Instruments recognizes the challenge and has developed revolutionary
technology that brings the power of Internet search to your test data.

New DIAdem DataFinder Technology                                                           Figure 2. DIAdem 10.0 is doing for test data what the Google search engine has
For the past 15 years, National Instruments DIAdem has built a strong                      done for general information search.
reputation as offline analysis and reporting software, helping engineers and
scientists streamline critical information extraction from their test data. With            Behind the Scenes
the DIAdem DataFinder, a new component in NI DIAdem Version 10.0, you                       The DIAdem DataFinder uses the NI technical data management (TDM)
can perform Internet-like searches across all your data files, regardless of                 data model as its internal data structure. TDM files, written natively using
format. Simply install DIAdem, point to the location of your data files, and                 NI LabVIEW data storage VIs, DIAdem, or LabWindows/CVI storage functions,
seconds later, you can search for your files similar to the way you search for               provide three levels of hierarchy to structure your test data – file, group, and
information on the Internet. In addition to the simple information search,                  channel levels. TDM splits the measurement information and attribute
you can use the advanced search interface to mine for data based on specific                 information into separate files, one that contains all the measurement data
attribute conditions. For example, you can mine for all tests in which Part                 in a binary form and an XML header to manage the structure and attributes.
Number = ABC, Test Status = Failure, and Test Type = Shock Test. After                      The combination of binary and XML makes TDM files fast, portable, flexible,
locating these files with the DataFinder, you can use DIAdem 10.0 for further                and search ready. Having a rich set of attributes increases the range of possible
analysis and reporting. Using the DIAdem DataFinder not only makes                          search conditions. The LabVIEW data storage VIs provide the easiest way
finding your test data easier, but you also now can establish relationships                  to document your test data in LabVIEW, making it search ready.
and uncover anomalies you previously could not distinguish.
                                                                                            DIAdem DataFinder – Search Tools for Your Test Data
DataPlugin Technology                                                                       The DIAdem DataFinder is revolutionizing how engineers and scientists
Many companies have developed test file formats that capture essential test                  work with data. Not only can you locate the data you need to work with faster,
information in header files. NI DataPlugin technology reads in the attributes                but you now have the ability to search for patterns and trends that were not
from any arbitrary, binary, or ASCII file into the DIAdem data index so                      previously possible when your data was saved in flat files scattered across the
you can search your custom file formats and legacy data. You also can use the                lab. Adopting the TDM file format and the DIAdem DataFinder increases
DataPlugin wizard in DIAdem 10.0 to automatically generate DataPlugins for                  the value of your collected data and has a dramatic impact on shortening
ASCII files or use the programmer’s API to create your own DataPlugin using                  the product development cycle. I
the DIAdem VBScript interface.

                                                                                                                                                           Tom Ferraro
                                                                                                                                    DIAdem Product Marketing Manager

                                                                                            To learn more about the DIAdem DataFinder, watch online tutorials,
                                                                                            read application notes, participate in a live Web event, and download
                                                                                            a FREE evaluation version, visit and enter nsi6123.

Figure 1. The NI DIAdem 10.0 DataFinder uses NI DataPlugin technology to make all data
files available for search, regardless of format.

22                                                                                       National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •
                                                                                                                              Customer Solutions

Creating a PXI-Based RF Spectral Monitoring System
By Daotian Yang, Chengdu Huari Telecommunications Company                             the PXI-1042 eight-slot
                                                                                      PXI chassis.
The Challenge: Developing a solution for spectral monitoring of RF                        Because our new
signals inside and outside government-regulated frequency bands.                      system uses an open
                                                                                      software-defined radio
The Solution: Using National Instruments software and hardware to                     platform, we now can
develop an enhanced wideband radio receiver and monitoring system.                    perform standard and
                                                                                      custom measurements
Chengdu Huari Telecommunications Company (Huari Telecom), a major                     that previously required
developer and manufacturer of radio directional finding systems in China,              several dedicated, stand-
required a solution for spectral monitoring, directional finding, and signal           alone instruments. We also
identification. We set out to design a software-defined radio platform                  can make system updates
system for enhanced functionality of monitoring signals inside and outside            to meet the future needs
government-regulated frequency bands while pinpointing the source                     of wireless standards,         Huari Telecom developed a software-defined
                                                                                                                     wideband radio receiver and monitoring system
of transmissions or interference.                                                     which is critical as wireless
                                                                                                                     based on the NI PXI-5660 RF vector signal analyzer.
    We developed the HR-100, a patent-pending wideband radio receiver                 standards rapidly change.
and monitoring system based on the National Instruments PXI-5660 RF                       The system recently passed the validation test of the China Radio
vector signal analyzer. We can use the system as both a radio receiver                Administration Bureau, the most authoritative governmental institute
and an RF vector signal analyzer to monitor modern wideband digital                   for radio management. I
telecommunication signals and conventional narrowband analog
broadcast signals.                                                                    To read the full-length customer solution, visit and
    The system comprises the NI PXI-5660 RF vector signal analyzer,                   enter nsi6124.
the PXI-8187 2.5 GHz Pentium 4 embedded PXI controller, and

CompactRIO Optimizes PLC Automation in Steel Rolling Mill
By Clark Hummel, Intergrated Industrial Systems                                       we use a gamma ray sensor that requires high-speed, accurate analog I/O
                                                                                      along with advanced processing to convert the signal from the sensor to metal
The Challenge: Updating a PLC architecture from the ground up using                   thickness. Unfortunately, the PLCs used to automate the rolling mills do not
off-the-shelf, programmable automation controller (PAC) hardware.                     offer the high-speed analog I/O and processing required.
                                                                                           The NI CompactRIO PAC provided the reliability and ruggedness of a PLC
The Solution: Increasing production and quality of steel rolling mills                for the harsh environment and critical nature of the control system, along with
using the National Instruments CompactRIO PAC for improved efficiency                  the high-speed analog I/O and signal processing capabilities we required.
and accuracy.                                                                         The analog input modules in CompactRIO connect to gamma-based
                                                                                      thickness sensors so we can customize the I/O rates and synchronization
At Intergrated Industrial Systems (I 2S), we have used programmable logic             with the embedded field-programmable gate array (FPGA) of CompactRIO.
controllers (PLCs) for years to automate our rolling mills. To increase the           The data received from the sensors is then processed in the CompactRIO
efficiency and quality of our steel mills, we implemented a gamma gauging              real-time processor using built-in National Instruments LabVIEW Real-Time
system to more accurately control the thickness of metal. Within these systems,       function blocks to convert the data from the sensors to an accurate thickness
                                                                                      measurement. The data is then transmitted over Ethernet to networked PLCs.
                                                                                           With its embedded FPGA and real-time processor, CompactRIO can
                                                                                      perform all of the I/O and signal processing and insert a high-accuracy
                                                                                      thickness measurement into Ethernet packets without slowing down the
                                                                                      PLC control loop.
                                                                                           With NI LabVIEW graphical programming tools, we quickly programmed
                                                                                      the FPGA and real-time processor in CompactRIO. Because CompactRIO
                                                                                      and our PLCs are Ethernet-based, we successfully integrated the CompactRIO
                                                                                      PAC with our control systems to optimize our rolling mills with minimal
                                                                                      changes to our existing control architecture. I

Each rolling mill networks three NI CompactRIO PACs to existing PLC architecture to   To read the full-length customer solution, visit and enter nsi6125.
add advanced I/O and processing.

National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •                                                                                      23
Services and Support

NI Developer Suite Expands to New Application Areas
The National Instruments product platform spans many application areas.
From simple temperature monitoring to sophisticated simulation and
control systems, NI has the software and hardware tools necessary to make
you successful quickly. Sometimes the most challenging part with any
application is deciding what tools you need to complete the project. For
software, NI Developer Suite is a bundled set of development tools created to
help solve this challenge. In the past, NI Developer Suite included three options
to address different customer applications – NI Developer Suite Standard for
general-purpose applications, NI Developer Suite Test for automated test
applications, and NI Developer Suite Control for industrial monitoring and
control applications. As the National Instruments platform grew, these three
groupings left out many applicable NI software areas. NI Developer Suite              National Instruments software spans across automated test and measurement,
now includes almost the entire NI software platform and provides a more               industrial monitoring and control, and system design. NI Developer Suite bundles
                                                                                      the software tools you need so your application never outgrows your software.
modular approach for ordering flexibility.

More Software at a Better Value                                                        Modular Flexibility
NI Developer Suite offers National Instruments software with exceptional               In addition to including more products, NI Developer Suite is now a more
savings. NI Developer Suite bundles are priced at a 20 to 60 percent savings over      modular product, offering flexibility for “mixed” applications. When creating
purchasing the software components individually. The advantage of the new              an NI Developer Suite system, you purchase NI Developer Suite Core,
model is that more products are now included in several new application                which contains all the general-purpose software tools you need such as
bundles, so you can take advantage of the cost savings as well as all the other        NI LabVIEW, LabWindows/CVI, Measurement Studio, and SignalExpress,
NI Developer Suite benefits for more of your NI software. The new products              as well as general-purpose toolkits such as the Report Generation and
include National Instruments DIAdem, the LabVIEW FPGA Module,                          VI Analyzer toolkits. Then, depending on your application, you select from
SignalExpress, vision software, and more. Instead of separately purchasing             any of the application bundles or deployment targets. With this approach,
these products, include them as part of your NI Developer Suite system, and            you can create an NI Developer Suite system that meets your application
all your products can follow the same maintenance and support schedule.                needs even if your application calls for a mix of different areas such as
                                                                                       automated test and vision inspection.

     Maximize Your NI Hardware Usage                                                   Software Maintenance with Updates
     with Hardware-Based Training                                                      Four Times per Year
     Hands-On Training. Recommended Programming Techniques.                            NI Developer Suite remains the ultimate software service from NI. To keep
                                                                                       your software current, NI automatically sends you software updates four
     NI hardware-based courses are designed to help you quickly maximize               times per year with the latest versions of all software products included in
     your use of NI hardware and lower development costs. Learn programming            your NI Developer Suite package. To help ease the transition to new projects,
     techniques to effectively control and configure your application hardware.         NI Developer Suite subscribers receive increased access to technical support
     Consult with experienced instructors on how to best implement your                and a discount on NI training services. You get live, on-demand access to
     application requirements. Practice hands-on exercises with direct access          more than 300 NI applications engineers via phone and e-mail to assist in
     to NI hardware and software to lower your learning curve. Hardware-based          developing your solutions. Additionally, maintain your technical edge by
     courses include:                                                                  taking advantage of a 10 percent discount on National Instruments training
     • Data Acquisition and Signal Conditioning (three days)                           courses and materials. I
     • LabVIEW and PXI Modular Instruments (three days)
     • Real-Time Application Development (three days)                                  To configure your NI Developer Suite system, visit and
     • Machine Vision and Image Processing (three days)                                enter nsi6126.
     • Motion Control Fundamentals (two days)
         National Instruments offers courses at NI offices worldwide, regional
     training centers, or your facility.

     For detailed course outlines or a course calendar, visit
     and enter nsi6127 or call (800) 890 2062.

24                                                                                  National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •

Use OASIS, NI RF Module for Spectrum Monitoring
National Instruments Alliance Partner                                                                            technologies, and applications, including
Summitek Instruments has announced that                                                                          broadband over power lines, patient monitoring
its OASIS spectrum monitoring software is                                                                        systems, homeland security, public safety
compatible with the National Instruments                                                                         interoperability, and efficient spectrum use.
PXI-5660 RF vector signal analyzer.                                                                              By purchasing OASIS as an off-the-shelf product,
     With OASIS, you can use the NI PXI-5660                                                                     you can make measurements immediately without
for spectrum monitoring and interference                                                                         having to spend time and money on additional
identification tasks without the need for                                                                         software development. Further, you do not
additional software development. The latest                                                                      have to worry about software development or
OASIS release provides PXI-5660 users a robust,                                                                  maintenance. Because Summitek Instruments
off-the-shelf spectrum monitoring solution that is                                                               supports the code, you can spend your valuable
easy to use and helps you quickly achieve results.                                                               time addressing a wide range of spectrum
     OASIS transforms the PXI-5660 into a              OASIS displays the signal in a 3D waterfall view as well  management issues instead of generating or
                                                       as a user-generated emission mask for alarm reporting.
comprehensive spectrum management tool. With                                                                     maintaining custom software.
optional OASIS components, you can perform                                                                            Summitek Instruments also offers a complete
intermodulation analysis studies and direction finding, view emitter locations          line of spectrum monitoring and interference mitigation tools for wireless
on a map, determine emission mask compliance, manage license databases,                providers and spectrum users. The Spartan s-parameter measurement
and perform other complex functions. OASIS extends PXI-5660 capabilities               software offers component manufacturers an automated test solution
so you can view multiple frequency ranges simultaneously or, in the case               to reduce costs, improve operational efficiencies, increase data quality,
of multiple PXI-5660 RF vector signal analyzers, remotely control the                  add capability, and increase software reliability and usability on their
instruments under one user interface. The end result is improved network               manufacturing lines. I
performance, increased profitability, and more customer satisfaction.
    OASIS benefits a wide variety of existing and emerging issues,                      To download a FREE brochure, visit and enter nsi6128.

NovaSim Simulates and Automates HIL Component Test
NI Alliance Partner MicroNova introduces NovaSim, a hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) family of solutions that offers
a comprehensive range of product applications for automotive industry use. Applications include convenience
(body/chassis), infotainment, and power train electronics. You can easily adapt NovaSim to the current requirements
of car manufacturers and their suppliers.
     With the NovaSim broad test coverage and thorough test proficiency, you can create test systems that meet your
high quality standards. The NovaSim Compact-HIL is a simulator for mobile employment with high packing density.
The NovaSim Fullsize-HIL for stationary employment is designed for the development of cars and car components
and is equipped with expanded features such as fault and load simulation. This high-end system provides excellent
test modeling and automation performance. Both systems are based on NovaSim RT, and you can easily adjust them
to meet your exact requirements.
     The NovaSim catalog includes several standard components based on National Instruments hardware. The heart
of the system is the National Instruments PXI-7831R reconfigurable I/O module programmed to be the engine-HIL
board for electronic control unit (ECU) testing. The system also uses NI signal conditioning hardware and an
NI Controller Area Network (CAN) interface. The highly integrated, programmable engine-HIL board is the latest
development in the NovaSim family. It delivers amazing performance parameters in detecting and generating
fast engine signals. With its measurement precision, you can improve ECU test quality.
     In one application, NovaSim uses the FPGA on the NI PXI-7831R to test the ECU in a BMW 12-cylinder
hydrogen-powered concept car. The system uses the National Instruments LabVIEW platform to generate the
real-time code as well as the graphical user interface for function control and parameter visualization and
the programming of the CompactRIO CAN module based on the NI 9853 CAN interface. I

To view “Orazio Ragonesi and Stephan Ahrends, Hardware-in-the Loop Simulation,” a portion of the NIWeek 2005
keynote presentation, and read the “MicroNova Uses LabVIEW FPGA for Exact and Comprehensive Engine
Simulation” customer solution, visit and enter nsi6129.
                                                                                                                            NovaSim offers full-size and compact
                                                                                                                            systems for HIL testing in stationary
                                                                                                                            and mobile applications.

National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •                                                                                  25

V I Engineering Offers Rechargeable Battery Test System
V I Engineering, a Select National Instruments Alliance Partner, has developed a configuration-ready platform
for simultaneous aging, burn-in, and discharge/recharge of lithium ion batteries. This platform performs
power cell conditioning and electrical property confirmation for up to 450 units in 15 varying lots in a
single batch. You easily can configure the platform for almost all stored power devices, including Ni-CAD,
Ni-MH, and lead acid batteries, plus capacitors, super capacitors, fuel cells, and more. The unique features
and flexibility of this product provide unparalleled performance, accuracy, and flexibility in a proven,
ready-to-install package.

Integrated Components
Housed in a single cabinet, the product incorporates very accurate, high-speed commercial off-the-shelf
(COTS) technology, such as PXI and laboratory-grade ovens, paired with various custom load boards, fixtures,
and trays to suit each customer’s specific battery, electrical, size, and quantity requirements. The system uses an
NI PXI-4072 LCR meter to perform in-process battery impedance measurements. An NI PXI-4071 FlexDMM
provides the extremely high-resolution measurements necessary to calculate compensation parameters for
the in-process voltage and current measurements. The system also includes an NI PXI-8464 CAN interface
to communicate to the custom circuit boards and an NI PXI-6031E multifunction I/O module to acquire
in-process voltage and current. A variety of alternate instruments may be recommended based on specific
accuracy requirements.

Reliable and Scalable Software
The underlying system functionality is derived from a highly scalable and reliable software application
developed with National Instruments LabVIEW 7.1 software. V I Engineering created the system architecture
with graphical object-oriented programming, which decouples functionality to allow the application to scale
effectively. Examples of this scalability include:
   • Independent, programmable control of current, voltage, load, and power for each channel
                                                                                                                     This single cabinet provides power cell conditioning,
   • Ability to run multiple battery profiles in a single run with mixed lots                                         testing, and data acquisition capabilities.
   • Ability to scale 50 to 2,000 channels by making simple configuration changes
   • User-defined sampling duration and time
    The entire software application, which V I Engineering developed, verified, and validated per                     For more information, visit and
Food and Drug Administration guidelines for production systems, includes a built-in system self-check                enter nsi6130.
and compensation routine for each individual channel. I

Certified Alliance Partners Validate Their Expertise
National Instruments is pleased to announce that, as of January 1, all of               • NI Demanding Certification –
the current NI Alliance Partners at the member level have achieved certifi-                In many areas where there
cation. In most cases, this required Alliance Partners to have at least one               currently are numerous
NI Certified Developer or NI Certified Architect on staff. In addition, some                companies already participating
Alliance Partners qualified through product certification (for example,                     or interested in the Alliance            Look for the Certified Alliance Partner
motion, sensors, and instrument drivers).                                                 Partner program, NI sponsor              logo when considering consulting and
                                                                                                                                   integration services.
                                                                                          teams have begun to use
The Need for Alliance Partner Certification                                                certification as part of the
NI adopted certification for all Alliance Partners for the following reasons:              registration and renewal process.
• Customers Demanding Certification – Over the last couple of years, there
  has been a growing demand from NI customers to identify companies                     Finding a Certified Alliance Partner
  that have NI software experience and expertise. Faced with common                     You can find a list of certified Alliance Partners and search for specific
  phrases like “I am a LabVIEW expert” and “I know LabVIEW,” customers                  developer certifications (for example, LabVIEW, LabWindows/CVI,
  recognize that NI certification can differentiate expertise in NI products,            and NI TestStand) by visiting and entering nsi6131. Each
  namely LabVIEW, LabWindows/CVI, and NI TestStand.                                     company profile includes the number of individual certifications that
• Partners Demanding Certification – In fact, many Alliance Partners                     the company holds. I
  (usually those that already had certification) have suggested that
  NI mandate certification in the Alliance Partner program.

26                                                                                   National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •

Attend NI Events Online and in Person
Learn about new products and keep pace with                                               National Instruments Worldwide Trade Show Calendar
emerging trends by attending an NI event. Check out         Start      End      Show Name                       Location                               City       State/Country
live and on-demand Web events from your home or             1/18/06   1/20/06   ELECTROTEST Japan               Tokyo Big Site                        Tokyo          Japan
office, or travel to one of several locations to attend      1/21/06   1/26/06   Photonics West                  San Jose Convention Center          San Jose        California
the PXI Technology and Applications Conference.             1/22/06   1/25/06   SolidWorks World                Caesars Palace                      Las Vegas        Nevada

                                                            1/25/06   1/27/06   ERTS                            Centre de congrès Pierre Baudis      Toulouse        France
Web Events on Demand                                        2/6/06    2/6/06    American Astronomical Society   Marriott Wardman Park Hotel        Washington          DC
National Instruments offers more than 200 FREE
                                                            2/8/06    2/10/06   APEX                            Anaheim Convention Center            Anaheim        California
Web event on-demand topics for access anytime,
                                                            2/8/06    2/10/06   SEMICON Korea                   COEX                                  Seoul           Korea
anywhere. Take advantage of this convenient way
to get technical product information straight               2/14/06   2/16/06   Embedded World                  Messezentrum Nürnberg               Nürnberg        Germany

from the experts. Featured topics include:                  2/28/06   3/2/06    TI Developers Conference        The Hyatt Regency Dallas              Dallas          Texas

  • Introduction to LabVIEW                                 3/6/06    3/9/06    CHIFA 2006                      Bazhou Export Trade Center          Guangzhou         China
  • Introduction to LabVIEW Real-Time                       3/8/06    3/11/06   AIMEX                           COEX                                  Seoul           Korea
  • What’s New in LabVIEW 8, Parts I and II                 3/9/06    3/11/06   WIICA 2006                      Wuhan International Expo Center      Wuhan            China
  • What’s New in LabVIEW 8 Real-Time                       3/12/06   3/16/06   Pittcon                         Orange County Convention Center      Orlando         Florida
  • What’s New in LabWindows/CVI 8.0
                                                            3/21/06   3/23/06   National Manufacturing Week     Stephens Convention Center          Rosemont         Illinois
  • Practical Signal Processing Analysis and Math
                                                            3/26/06   3/28/06   Engineering Deans Institute     Fairmont Hotel                    San Francisco     California
    in LabVIEW 8
  • Discover the Power of PXI for Measurement             National Instruments is exhibiting at a number of upcoming worldwide trade shows. Visit the NI booth to speak with
    and Automation Applications                           an NI engineer and view a live product demonstration.

Live Web Events                                                                              PXI Technology and Applications Conference
Both live and on-demand Web events provide 45 minutes of product                             The 2006 PXI Technology and Applications Conference is your opportunity
information and demonstrations presented by a company expert; however,                       to learn about the open, industry-standard PXI platform for test, control,
by attending a live event, you have the opportunity to participate in an                     and design. Members from the PXI Systems Alliance (PXISA), PXI system
interactive Q&A session following the presentation.                                          integrators, and PXI end users are hosting the PXI Technology and Applications
   Beginning in January 2006, NI is broadcasting live a new five-part                           City             Date        Conference. These FREE full-day events offer
series on predictive maintenance. Topics include:                                              Dallas           3/28/06     engineers, managers, and technicians in design,
  • Asset Management Techniques and Trends                                                     Orlando          4/13/06     validation, test, and control case study
  • Tips for Automating Thermography                                                           Detroit          4/18/06     presentations, networking opportunities
  • Online Vibration Monitoring                                                                Chicago          4/20/06     with colleagues and industry experts,
  • Ultrasonic Sensing                                                                         Toronto          4/27/06     hands-on technical trainings, and sessions
  • Power Quality Measurements                                                                 Irvine            5/9/06     about the latest modular PXI platform
   NI records and posts all live events to the Web event on-demand archive for                 San Jose         5/11/06     technologies. Highlights include introductions
access after the live broadcast. National Instruments is committed to continually              Albuquerque      5/16/06     to PXI systems, PXI specifications, practical
providing you with relevant information in a timely and convenient way. I                      Denver           5/18/06     guidelines for PXI system integration, and
                                                                                               Phoenix          5/23/06     customer solutions. Beginning March 28,
To learn more about Web events, including the on-demand archive, live                          Juarez           5/30/06     this 15-city North American tour includes
Web event schedule, and predictive maintenance Web event series, visit                         Tijuana           6/2/06     events in the United States, Canada, and and enter nsi6132.                                                                 Minneapolis       6/8/06     Mexico. Do not miss the opportunity to
                                                                                               Baltimore        6/13/06     understand the benefits of PXI, how it works,
                                                                                               Boston           6/15/06     and why it is beneficial to your company. I
  Present at NIWeek 2006
  Participate in NIWeek 2006 by presenting a conference session or by                        To obtain more information on the PXI Technology and Applications
  entering the Virtual Instrumentation Applications Paper Contest. Both                      Conference and register online, visit and enter nsi6133.
                                            activities highlight your industry
                                            and technical expertise in a setting
                                            that reaches more than 2,500
  attendees and nearly 70 editors. The presentation submission deadline is
  February 17, and the paper contest submission deadline is March 10.

  For more details on this opportunity with National Instruments, visit and enter nsi6134.

National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • •                                                                                               27
Technology Outlook

New Isolation Technologies Ensure Safety at Lower Cost
It is a dangerous world out there. Transients, hazardous high voltages, and         new isolation components to achieve high-speed isolated measurements.
electrical noise are constantly attacking your data acquisition and control         For instance, the NI PCI-6230 multifunction data acquisition board offers
equipment. Your equipment and, more importantly, your data may need                 60 V continuous isolation for eight analog input and four analog output
protection against these potentially harmful sources. Isolation can provide         channels and can sample at 250 KS/s.
this safety by physically separating the unsafe part of the circuit from the rest
of the data acquisition system. It also can improve measurement accuracy by         Determining Product Safety
preventing ground loops and rejecting common mode voltages. With new                Some manufacturers specify data acquisition device isolation based on
isolation technologies, you can meet these needs without spending a lot or          individual component isolation ratings. This is misleading because the isolation
hampering performance.                                                              for a complete data acquisition device can be different from the isolation rating
                                                                                    of its components. Device isolation depends on PCB trace separation, the
                                                                                    spacing between high- and low-voltage circuits, and the distance between
                                                                                    I/O connector pins and pins/traces to ground. Additionally, several other
                                                                                    factors, such as protection covers and keyed connectors for high-voltage
                                                                                    PCI boards, go into making data acquisition products safe. The best practice
                                                                                    is to look for safety certification by an independent third party, such as UL,
                                                                                    CSA, TUV, and others. These organizations evaluate products based on
                                                                                    established safety standards that ensure the product is safe to use. I

                                                                                    To learn more about isolation and isolated NI products or read application
                                                                                    notes and an article on the benefits of isolation, visit and
                                                                                    enter nsi6135.

High-speed digital isolators on data acquisition devices provide more accurate
and safer measurements.
                                                                                                      Online Information
New Isolation Technologies                                                                            and Resources
New high-speed digital isolation components are helping to lower the cost
                                                                                      • For a complete listing of recent newsletter issues in PDF format,
and increase the performance of industrial analog data acquisition devices.
                                                                                        other resources, and new product information, visit
Traditionally, optocouplers have been a common digital isolation method.
                                                                                        and enter newsletter.
Newer digital isolation technologies, such as the iCoupler from Analog
Devices, make use of chip-scale transformers to offer several channels of             • For inquiries, requests for permission, or changes of address,
isolation in a small package. These components employ high-speed CMOS                   e-mail the Managing Editor at
technology for increased data rates. They also are smaller than optocoupler
                                                                                      • To subscribe to our FREE semimonthly, customized e-mail newsletter,
circuits and significantly reduce power consumption.
                                                                                        NI News, visit
   New National Instruments industrial data acquisition devices such as                                                                  BUY ONLINE!
the C Series modules, used in CompactRIO and high-performance USB                                                                     
devices, and isolated multifunction plug-in PCI and PXI devices use these


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