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From Bob Helsel, Editor of the PXI Newsletter:

Welcome to the March 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 National Instruments, the sponsor for this month's issue.

Visit for more information.

Main Article

The First Gen 3 PXI Embedded Controller
and Chassis in the Industry

by Larry Desjardin, Modular Methods

Here at the Test Cafe blog, I cover the happenings in the test-and-measurement market from an industry and architectural perspective. You can find plenty of product announcements elsewhere. At Test Cafe, it is the architecture that counts—and what it may mean for you, the test engineer. Recently I covered the future of bench instrumentation and likely form factors. I’ve covered acquisitions too, and how that affects strategies of the test vendors. Sometimes, specific product announcements trigger my interest.

Such is the case with the latest PXI introduction from National Instruments. NI has just announced the first Gen 3 PXI embedded controller and chassis in the industry. Gen 3 refers to the speed of the PCIe (PCI Express) backplane data fabric that is inherent to PXI.


Designing a PXI Instrument for Testing & Simulation of
 an Avionics Ethernet System

Troy Troshynski, Avionics Interface Technologies

More and more aircraft systems are turning to the use of Ethernet based networks in order to cope with the demand for higher data volumes while at the same time controlling costs and complexity. Ethernet based networks take advantage of a common and ubiquitous technology that comes with a built-in ecosystem of tools and equipment.  Additionally, because this technology is so commonly used also outside of aerospace and avionics, there are a wealth of human resources and expertise available with knowledge of the technology.

Avionics applications which utilize Ethernet based networks differ from more traditional Local Area Network (LAN) applications in some key ways.  For LAN applications, plug-and-play operation is a key driving feature. Network operators want to be able to plug in new network nodes and have them automatically join to the network and become operational. Avionics networks are different because they are very statically configured and new network nodes are only added during upgrades to the aircraft systems. As a result, Avionics applications of Ethernet networks are typically very streamlined in terms of the protocol stacks used between the network interface and the client applications using the network services. For example, Avionics applications typically don’t utilize services like Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) or many of the services provided by Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) because these types of protocols are used over Ethernet to support the plug-and-play and dynamic network configuration services which are not required.

Read more>>


Leveraging LXI for a Distributed PXI Express Ground Vibration Testing System for Commercial Aircraft

Submitted by VTI Instruments

Ground Vibration Testing (GVT) plays an important role in the verification process of structures, including aircraft. GVT testing for aircraft includes the basic dynamic responses needed to update the Finite Element Analysis (FEA), as well as full scale flutter tests required to validate structural instabilities for safety reasons. Completions of such tests are required before first flight to determine flight worthiness.

As GVT can often be expensive and time consuming, aircraft manufacturers are always looking for quicker and more efficient systems to validate and ensure the safety of their aircraft. When a large aerospace manufacturer was faced with upgrading a legacy test system, VTI was selected as the provider of a new solution. This case study will focus on methods and technology used by VTI Instruments to provide a precise, efficient GVT system.

Read more>>

Evolving From Multi-Core to Many-Core Processors

From Automated Test Outlook 2015

Submitted by National Instruments

In the test and measurement industry, faster processor clock rates have traditionally reduced test time and cost. Though many companies, especially those in semiconductor and consumer electronics, have benefited from upgrading the PCs that control test hardware, the days of depending on faster clock rates for computational performance gains are numbered.

Faster clock rates have an inverse correlation to processor thermal dissipation and power efficiency. Therefore over the last decade, the computing industry has focused on integrating multiple parallel processing elements or cores instead of increasing clock rates for increasing the computing performance of CPUs. Moore’s law states that transistor counts double every two years, and processor vendors use those additional transistors to fabricate more cores. Today, dual- and quad-core processors are common in desktop, mobile, and ultra-mobile computing segments, and servers typically have 10 or more cores.

Traditionally, the test and measurement industry has relied on computers with a desktop and/ or server class of processor for higher performance. As recent sales trends indicate, the desktop segment of the computing industry is shrinking. From Q3 2013 to Q3 2014, Intel saw a 21 percent increase in notebook platform volumes but only a 6 percent increase in desktop volumes.

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):

Pickering Interfaces Expands Range of 16 Amp PXI Switching Solutions
16 Amp PXI power multiplexer (model 40-662) – available in seven configurations ranging from 4-off 2:1 multiplexers to 1-off 16:1 multiplexer.
16 Amp PXI power matrix (model 40-552) – available in four configurations with matrix sizes of 8x2 and 4x4 and the ability to expand the matrix size with the Y-Axis loop-thru connections. For example, 8x4, 12x4, 16x4, etc. (with 4x4 matrices) or 16x2, 24x2, 32x2, etc. (with 8x2 matrices).

NI PXIe-1085 18-Slot 3U PXI Express Chassis - Up to 24 GB/s
Featuring PCI Express Generation 3 technology, the NI PXIe-1085 is designed for high-throughput applications. It is capable of 8 GB/s of per-slot bandwidth and 24 GB/s of system bandwidth, enabled by PCIe x8 Gen 3 links to every slot. 
•  PXI Express with PCIe Gen 3 Technology
•  16 hybrid slots; 1 PXIe system timing slot; 1 System Slot

Keysight High-Speed, Multi-Site PXIe Digital Stimulus/Response
A new high-speed, 16-channel PXIe digital stimulus/response module (M9195A) was introduced featuring a powerful pattern cyclizer technology enabling unique on-the-fly pattern creation for single site or 4 independent multi-sites.

Avionics Interface Technologies New PXIe ARINC 664 and Avionics High Speed Ethernet Test Instrument
Building upon AIT’s complete suite of high speed ARINC 664 and Avionics Ethernet test tools, the new PXIe-664 provides dual 10/100/1000 Mbit Ethernet interfaces and supports testing and simulation of ARINC 664 and other high speed avionics Ethernet networks.

GuideTech’s GT668PXIe CTIA
GuideTech’s GT668PXIe CTIAContinuous Time Interval Analyzer” 4M m/s with 0.9pS resolution delivering new capabilities & much higher performance. The GT668PXIe CTIA is the successor GT658CTIA, which are in use worldwide at scientific labs, Satellite Tracking, Semiconductor Test, Optical Test,  monitoring of atomic clocks, production test, etc... 


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