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From Bob Helsel, Editor of the PXI Newsletter:

Welcome to the January 2015 edition of the PXI Newsletter.  Our intent is to educate and inform you about how the PXI standard is being used in modular test systems for a wide variety of industries.

In the New PXI Products section, we are showcasing PXI products recently released by members of the PXI Systems Alliance.

Our thanks go to VTI Instruments, the sponsor for this month's issue.

Visit for more information.


Main Article

The Living Lab – Structural Monitoring
With PXI Instruments & Virginia Tech
by Sam Gohdrati-Azadi, VTI Instuments


The development of Virginia Tech’s Goodwin Hall provided the Virginia Tech College of Engineering with a unique opportunity to conduct some of the most advanced research in topics such as structural health monitoring, building occupancy, patterns for improving sustainable development, and studies on floor vibrations on human health.

Goodwin Hall is the most instrumented building for vibrations in the world with over 240 accelerometers distributed throughout the building. What makes it truly unique however is that the instrumentation was mounted during the construction phase, with the accelerometers placed on structural steel on all levels.  This system will become a focal point for research in a variety of fields, including:

  • Structural Health Monitoring
  • Building Dynamics
  • Digital Signal Processing
  • Sensor network Design
  • Big Data Analysis


Selecting the Right Device Driver for PXI Hardware:


By Alan Hume
Software Manager – Pickering Interfaces

An ideal test system can be thought of as the sum of its parts—measurement and stimulus hardware, signal switching, cabling and possibly a mass interconnect system, UUT Power supply, External PC or embedded controller, Operating System (OS), and the programming environment. Each part is selected based on parameters such as UUT test parameters, physical dimensions, test times, and budgets.

But one element is missing from the above list – the hardware device drivers. Simply put, the drivers are the last layer between your programming environment and the test systems hardware. In the case of PXI, a VISA driver is required under the standard, so every PXI module will have one. So you should not have to choose, right? Well, Yes & No.



IDT Lowers Cost of Test by Adopting
a PXI Semiconductor Test System

"Traditional ATE systems require major costly retooling efforts on the test floor as generations of test systems become obsolete or unable to meet new test requirements, but the nature of the open PXI architecture of the STS helps us retain our original investment and build upon it, rather than throw it away. It provides the flexibility we need to reconfigure and grow our test platforms in parallel with our growing performance needs."
- Glen E. Peer, Integrated Device Technology Inc.

The Challenge:
Keeping pace with continuously increasing test performance requirements in a fast moving environment where device performance is constantly pushing the limits of ATE system capabilities and thereby accelerating tester obsolescence and driving test costs higher.

The Solution:

Using the open PXI architecture of the Semiconductor Test System (STS) to achieve the flexibility we needed and the ability to reconfigure and grow our test platforms in parallel with our rising performance needs as well as build on our original investment rather than throw it away like with traditional ATE systems, which generally require major costly retool of the test floor as generations of test systems advance.

Read more>>

7 Tips for Selecting PXI Test Equipment
for Wireless Applications

Submitted by Keysight Technologies

With the increasing complexity of RF components used in wireless products such as cellular phones, tablets, and wireless routers, wireless product design engineers face continued pressure to keep design and manufacturing costs low while adding more functionality. Design cost is usually a function of both equipment cost and the time it takes to complete the design. Manufacturing cost includes equipment cost, test time, rework, floor space, and the time it takes to develop tests. Design engi­neers must also consider the flexibility and longevity of their test platform to address needs through the product’s lifecycle.

A Keysight application note presents seven tips to help design validation and manufacturing test teams se­lect hardware and software that will accelerate design, increase test throughput, and ultimately lower the cost of test.

Read more>>

Thanks to all our readers.
Bob Helsel, Editor

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New PXI Products

The PXI platform continues its explosive growth with many new product introductions. New products introduced in the last three months include (listed in the order received):

FRPXIA3: the first in the world PXI In-System Programmer
SMH Technologies has recently developed the new universal programmer FRPXIA3: the first universal programmer in the world that support the PXI communication standard.

Pickering Interfaces’ New PXI High Power Solid-State Switch Modules
Pickering has announced two new PXI high power solid-state switch modules to its range of PXI switching solutions. Both offer 3 or 6-off SPST solid-state switches; model 40-184 is capable of handling 25A signals at up to 100V and model 40-185 is capable of handling 1.5A signals at up to 400V.

Keysight PXIe X-Series CXA-m Signal Analyzer (M9290A)
The M9290A signal analyzer delivers fully specified performance up to 26.5 GHz and provides best-in-class specifications in key areas such as sensitivity and dynamic range. 

Marvin Test Solutions Releases Industry Leading GX5296 Digital Test Instrument
Marvin Test Solutions has expanded its 3U PXI digital test product line with the introduction of the high performance GX5296 digital I/O instrument which delivers unrivaled timing, density, memory, and parametric measurement capabilities.

NI PXIe-5654 Fast-Switching RF Signal Generator
The NI PXIe-5654 signal generator features an ideal combination of exceptional phase noise and tuning time as low as 100 µs. These features address applications such as blocker testing/receiver desensitization, high-performance intermodulation distortion measurements and various electronic warfare applications. 

Cambridge Instruments 12 GHz Microwave Sources offer High Performance and Low SWaPCambridge Instruments has announced the commercial release of the QuantumWave, 4000 series of PXIe based, RF and microwave sources.  Three variants are available covering frequencies from 75 MHz to 12 GHz.  The 4062 and 4122 offer two independent low phase-noise synthesizers in a single width 3U PXIe module saving valuable chassis slot space. 

PXI-Express Cards for Avionics Test and Simulation from AIM
With the new ACE1553 and ACE429 PXI-Express modules, you have all the performance and capability for testing MIL-STD-1553 and ARINC429 avionics in a PXI-Express environment.  

ADQ1600TD - optimized for pulsed-data capture
The ADQ1600TD is a high resolution high sampling rate digitizer optimized for pulsed-data capture. Through the use of SP Devices' ADX interleaving technology it combines 1.6 GS/s sampling rate with 14 bits vertical resolution and thereby offers unmatched performance. 



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