25 Years of PXI- A History

PXI-4071 Card in front of a full PXI -1045 chassis

PXI is a robust platform that is powered by software and PCI electrical-bus characteristics with CompactPCI’s modular, Eurocard design. For over 2 decades, this high-performance and inexpensive deployment platform has been useful for a wide variety of applications across an expansive range of industries- including the military, aerospace, and industrial industries. The capabilities of PXI in test, measurement, control, and data acquisition applications set the industry standard- but how did it get to this point?

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PXI and PXIe Compatibility

Closeup side view of PXI-5105

The PXI and PXI Express chassis portfolio from National Instruments includes a wide range of size and performance options, as well as additional features to ease system interface and usage. The variety of options to fit specific needs is one of the reasons that the NI PXI and PXIe are industry leaders for automated testing and measurement. However, understanding the compatibility differences between the two can often lead to some confusion.

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National Instruments PXI Chassis Part 2

As mentioned in the National Instruments PXI Chassis Part 1 Blog Post,  NI PXI Chassis have many beneficial features. A feature not yet discussed is the timing and synchronization capabilities of these models. PXI Chassis have a 10 MHz system reference clock, star trigger bus, slot-to-slot local bus, and a PXI trigger bus. Furthermore, PXI Express Chassis also have a 100 MHz differential system clock, differential star triggers, and differential signaling. The system reference clocks can phase-lock-loop or PLL to a higher stability clock source than that which is offered on the backplane of the chassis. The result is that PXI modules with higher sample rates can better align their samples across numerous devices.

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National Instruments PXI Chassis Part 1

The National Instruments PXI Chassis are designed for measurement and automation applications, hold PXI modules, and link the modules with a high-performance backplane that provides synchronization and timing features. PXI Chassis deliver cooling, power, and a communication bus for I/O modules or modular devices. These modules can be controlled from an external PC or an embedded controller, with any of National Instruments software tools. These Chassis are compatible with PXI hybrid, PXI Express, and PXI modules.

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