National Instruments M Series

The M Series manufactured by National Instruments is comprised of Multifunction DAQ Devices, which have as many as 80 analog input channels, 48 maximum lines of digital input/output, as many as four analog output channels, as well as two counters. There are several types of devices included in the M Series National Instruments, including: low-cost, industrial, bus-powered, high-accuracy, and high-speed. The low-cost, high-speed, and bus-powered families are not compatible with signal conditioning. However, the industrial family is compatible with low-pass filter signal conditioning and the industrial family is compatible with isolation signal conditioning.  The families in the M Series also have differing platforms. The low-cost instruments are on PXI, USB, and PCI platforms. The bus-powered devices are solely the USB platform. Next, the industrial devices are for the PCI and PXI platforms. The high-accuracy instruments are also for the PCI and PXI platforms. Lastly, the high-speed devices are on the PCI, USB, and PXI platforms.



Another important piece of information to know about the M Series National Instruments is that each of the plug-in devices in this series contains the RTSI bus. The RTSI bus utilizes a ribbon cable or the PXI bus to direct timing and trigger signals among a minimum of two instruments in a single system. The RTSI bus allows users to synchronize analog input, counter/timer, digital input/output, and analog output functions.

The M Series by National Instruments contains “multifunction” devices, meaning that each device has the capabilities of as many as six different devices. These capabilities include those of the following devices: oscilloscopes, counter/timer devices, digital multimeters, high-speed digital I/O devices, and arbitrary waveform generators. The M Series DAQ Devices can sample at a rate as fast as 1.25 million samples each second with 16-bit resolution. This sample rate decreases slightly to 1 MS/s when sampling multiple channels at a time. In addition, digital signals can be clocked in and out with the use of an onboard or external clock at a rate of 10 MHz maximum. This feature eradicates the necessity of a high-speed digital I/O device. M Series devices can additionally be synchronized with other PCI or PXI devices for even more features and capabilities.

The National Instruments M Series Multifunction DAQ Devices come equipped with LabVIEW SignalExpress LE software. The National Instruments LabVIEW SignalExpress software is an interactive measurement software designed for swiftly obtaining, assessing, and showing information from hundreds of DAQ devices. One of the most beneficial aspects of LabVIEW SignalExpress is that it does not necessitate programming, making it simple to use. Furthermore, every M Series DAQ Device comes equipped with NI-DAQmx measurement services and additional software. NI-DAQmx contains the DAQ Assistant, which is a utility that arranges DAQ application without programming. NI-DAQmx also allows users to swiftly arrange and obtain measurements.

Many of the M Series devices have been classified as mature by National Instruments, but the PCI-6221, PCI-6229, PCI-6238, PCIe-6251, and others are still available for purchase at Apex Waves.