National Instruments Emulating Obsolete Equipment

Development and in-service time for avionics equipment normally run into decades with mature equipment still requiring test and maintenance facilities. But this same long in-service time means that test equipment initially built for pre-production testing and subsequent through life test and repair is also becoming obsolete. Particularly when bespoke designed test equipment has been used.

In the past, dedicated test equipment was built for a specific piece of avionics equipment simply because more flexible systems were not available. In more recent times, flexible and programmable test environments have been produced, but even in those cases, companies will stop producing or maintaining the items once they are no longer profitable. emulating

Here is where Apex Waves can help. We specialize in the supply and repair of mature and obsolete test equipment. All NI products come with a 1-3 year warranty, free ground shipping, and expedited shipping options available. If you need a part quickly, let us know and we will help get your system running as fast as possible!

An interesting and different way of looking at obsolescence and how to cope is to treat old dedicated test equipment simply as a black box.  This was the approach taken by Tandel Systems in conjunction with National Instruments when thinking about replacing one part of a radar test system. The challenge was to replace an obsolete Beam Steering Controller (BSC) within a radar test system. With limited documentation available and the OEM no longer available, they had to get creative.

Using modules from the National Instruments PXI series, including the Reconfigurable I/O PXI-7811R module, the PXI-6529 DAQ module, and the PXI-8101 Controller module, they devised a method to emulate the BSC. The DAQ module was used to record the signals sent to and from the BSC. The I/O module was used to emulate the discrete interfaces. Lastly, the controller module, along with LabVIEW application software, provided a UI emulating the controls on the original BSC. The PXI Reconfigurable Modules are perfect for emulating older custom systems that are no longer supported. Apex Waves can supply and maintain obsolete modules that will have the right interfaces for your system.

For example, the PXI-8108 PXI Controller has been announced as obsolete by National Instruments, but is still available for purchase and repair from Apex Waves. Featuring a Core 2 Duo processor with 6 MB of level 2 cache, 1 GB of RAM as standard, and an 80 GB hard drive, this model has plenty of processing power. Should you need more, the PXI-8108 can be supplied with an upgrade to 4 GB RAM. The module is supplied with a pre-installed OS which is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, and Win 7. The NI PXI-8108 is supplied with integrated graphics that can provide sharp 3D images and fast rendering. One great feature of the module is the ability to run both a VGA and a digital display simultaneously, or 2 VGA monitors through a single DVI-I video connector. A video splitter will be required to allow the operation of two monitors and Apex Waves can advise on your requirements. The module is supplied with the NI-VISA and NI-488.2 drivers. Although BIOS setup can be configured, the supplied default setup works for most configurations, making installation simpler.

Apex Waves specializes in obsolete and mature equipment from a range of manufacturers, including National Instruments. The NI PXI-7811R Module is in the end-of-life state with National Instruments but is available from Apex Waves for purchase and repair.

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