The Worldwide Publication for Measurement and Automation | First Quarter 2006
NI LabVIEW and PXI Reduce Microsoft
Xbox 360 Test Time 50 Percent
Use a Single Software Tool for HMI
and Logic Programming
LabVIEW 8 Delivers a Flexible, Open
Platform for Math
The Integrated Laboratory
DIAdem 10.0 DataFinder Revolutionizes
Test Data Search
Accelerating Embedded System Design
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
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 email@example.com. 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.com, 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 • firstname.lastname@example.org • ni.com
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 ni.com/info and enter nsi6102.
National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • email@example.com • ni.com 3
NI LabVIEW – Open Connectivity from A to Z
continued from page 1
Open Connectivity Requires Seamless
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.
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, (ni.com/labviewzone) 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 • firstname.lastname@example.org • ni.com
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 email@example.com
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 ni.com/info 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 • firstname.lastname@example.org • ni.com 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
method options. TPC-2006 Windows CE .NET 4.2 5.7 in.
Controllers and NI PACs
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 • email@example.com • ni.com
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.
Compact FieldPoint and HMIs
3X the Performance at the Same Price Marketing Engineer
New National Instruments Compact FieldPoint controllers – firstname.lastname@example.org
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 ni.com/info and
To conﬁgure a new Compact FieldPoint system, visit ni.com/info and enter nsi6104.
National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • email@example.com • ni.com 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 • firstname.lastname@example.org • ni.com
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 email@example.com
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 ni.com/info
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 • firstname.lastname@example.org • ni.com 9
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 ni.com/info
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 ni.com/info and enter nsi6106.
10 National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • email@example.com • ni.com
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 ni.com/info
and enter nsi6109. To learn more about battery testing or view the corresponding NIWeek
keynote video, visit ni.com/info and enter nsi6108.
National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • firstname.lastname@example.org • ni.com 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 ni.com/info
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 • email@example.com • ni.com
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
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 ni.com/info 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 • firstname.lastname@example.org • ni.com 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.
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 • email@example.com • ni.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 ni.com/info 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
“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 BioAccel.com. “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 • email@example.com • ni.com 15
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 ni.com/info 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 ni.com/info and enter nsi6114.
16 National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • firstname.lastname@example.org • ni.com
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 ni.com/info 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 ni.com/info and enter nsi6116.
2D codes against a quality standard.
National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • email@example.com • ni.com 17
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
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 ni.com/info 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 ni.com/info and enter nsi6118.
18 National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • firstname.lastname@example.org • ni.com
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.
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 ni.com/info and enter nsi6119.
plug-and-play oscilloscope-to-PC integration with SignalExpress Tektronix
National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • email@example.com • ni.com 19
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 ni.com/info 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 ni.com 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 ni.com/info
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 • firstname.lastname@example.org • ni.com
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 (www.gnu.org), 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 ni.com/info
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 • email@example.com • ni.com 21
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.
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 ni.com/info 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 • firstname.lastname@example.org • ni.com
Creating a PXI-Based RF Spectral Monitoring System
By Daotian Yang, Chengdu Huari Telecommunications Company the PXI-1042 eight-slot
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
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
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 ni.com/info 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 ni.com/info and enter nsi6125.
add advanced I/O and processing.
National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • email@example.com • ni.com 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 ni.com/info 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 ni.com/info
and enter nsi6127 or call (800) 890 2062.
24 National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • firstname.lastname@example.org • ni.com
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 ni.com/info 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 ni.com/info 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 • email@example.com • ni.com 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,
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
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 ni.com/info 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
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 ni.com/info 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 • firstname.lastname@example.org • ni.com
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
ni.com/info 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 ni.com/info 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
ni.com/info and enter nsi6134.
National Instruments • (888) 279 9833 • Fax: (512) 683 9300 • email@example.com • ni.com 27
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 ni.com/info and
High-speed digital isolators on data acquisition devices provide more accurate
and safer measurements.
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 ni.com/info
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 ni.com/news.
New National Instruments industrial data acquisition devices such as BUY ONLINE!
the C Series modules, used in CompactRIO and high-performance USB ni.com/products
devices, and isolated multifunction plug-in PCI and PXI devices use these
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