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From Bob Helsel, Editor of the PXI Newsletter:

Welcome to the May 2016 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 Keysight Technologies, the sponsor for this month's issue.

For more information, visit


PXI – Continued Success Delivering High-Performance, Functional Test Solutions


By Loofie Gutterman, President, PXISA
and President, Marvin Test Solutions

(First published in Electronic Product Design & Test magazine)

PXI is now in its 18th year as a standard and we continue to see the PXI platform expanding into ever broader applications. Once considered a solution for only low cost and non-complex test applications, PXI products and solutions have evolved considerably.

Today, PXI-based solutions are delivering the performance and capabilities required for testing mission critical, high performance devices, modules, subsystems, and systems for a wide range of applications including military, medical, automotive, semiconductor, and the aerospace markets. The many advancements in digital, RF, and microwave PXI instrumentation have all contributed to PXI’s ongoing success, growth, and acceptance in the functional test market. Performance test solutions based on PXI have become the rule rather than the exception for most test applications ranging from manufacturing and depot testing through portable field and
flight-line test applications.


Alternative to Custom Mechatronic Test Development

Submitted by Keysight Technologies

Automotive and transportation test system are different from most device test solutions because they require a combination of mechanical, electronic and software technologies, known in the industries as “mechatronic” test solutions. The mechatronic test capabilities are required to test electronic control units (ECUs) such as electronic parking brakes, anti-lock brakes or power steering. The ECUs are tested in true-to-life simulated environments. Typical measurement and control instruments include digital I/Os for open/short tests on ECU connector pins, or to determine ECU pin states, and digital multi-meters for resistance and voltage measurements. High power loads and switches are also needed to emulate different types of automotive source and sensor signals. Beyond measurements, automotive test systems must also communicate with the ECUs to verify functionality using the controller area network (CAN) bus serial protocol.  These unique test needs are often addressed by test development engineers with a custom solution. Engineers, who are faced with the ever growing demands to reduce cost by minimizing overall test size, reducing test development time, test time itself, and test re-configurability are learning to take advantage of what modular, (i.e. PXI, AXIe, VXI and VME) test systems have to offer.

This article discusses how the unique needs of automotive mechatronic test can be addressed with a modular test solution.



Building a High Performance Data Acquisition System
in a PXIe Chassis Using XMC Modules

Submitted by Innovative Integration - A Molex Company

When designing a high performance data acquisition system, a significant decision is what chassis form factor to use. A rackmount 19-inch chassis comes to mind as a good generic solution, and the PXIe version seems like a good candidate as it is standardized, reasonably priced, and available from multiple vendors. The only significant concern is that native PXI/PXIe modules are generally aimed at the testing market, which means they tend to have lower throughput, with less processing power than needed in high performance data acquisition systems.

This concern can be addressed by XMC modules which provide a universe of high performance data acquisition functions, featuring higher sample rates, and greater processing power with on board FPGA’s, than typical PXI/PXIe modules. An XMC module can be incorporated into a PXIe chassis using a PXIe to XMC Adapter which plugs into the chassis and is a carrier for the module.



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):

Keysight M9169E PXI Switchable-Input Programmable Step Attenuator Module, DC to 50 GHz
In addition to connectorized standalone attenuators, Keysight Technologies, Inc. also offers PXI step attenuator modules that operate across a broad frequency range of DC to 50 GHz. The M9169E is a 3-port PXI programmable step attenuator module with a switchable path.

NI PXIe-4081 DMM
The PXIe-4081 is a 7½-digit high-performance PXI Express digital multimeter (DMM) that provides the measurement capability found in two common test instruments: a high-resolution DMM and a digitizer.

Innovative Integration PXIe XMC x8 Lane Adapter Overview
The PXI Express to XMC module adapter allows a standard 75 x 150mm PCIe XMC module to be used in a PXI Express slot. The XMC module must be VITA 42.3-compatible and may support up to eight PCI Express lanes. The adapter is completely transparent to PCI Express. 

VX Instruments PXI Express Arbitrary Waveform Generator Family PXIe722x
VX Instruments expands their Flexible Configurable PXI Platform (FlexCPP) based device family with the PXI Express interface (FlexCPeP).

VPC Snap-In-Modular (SIM) VTAC
VPC introduces its Snap-In-Modular (SIM) VTAC right angle insert. Capable of speeds of 10+ Gbps, the VTAC right angle insert is ideal for a variety of applications that require a high speed PCB solution.

beltronic-IPC  18-Slot PXI-Portable
After launching our PXI-8S Portable in 2015 we are now announcing the production release of our new PXI-18S Portable built to be used in military and industrial areas which call for this kind of robust and reliable system complying with the MIL-810 STD.The unit is capable to operate on 110 to 230V AC or 18V DC to 36V DC.

MAC Panel SCOUT mass interconnect for Pickering BRIC 8
SCOUT is a PXI connectivity solution specifically designed to deliver the full performance of a PXI test system that needs mass interconnect to an ITA or Fixture. MAC Panel recently announced a DAK (Direct Access Kit) adapter for the Pickering BRIC 8.  


Highly Parallel Wafer Level Reliability Systems with PXI SMUs

Reliability testing has long served as a method of ensuring that semiconductor devices maintain their desired performance over a given lifetime. As IC manufacturers continue to introduce new and innovative processes with decreasing device geometries, they need to ensure the additional complexity from these changes does not affect the long-term reliability of their ICs.

Additionally, major technology trends in autonomous driving, cloud-based data storage, and life sciences are forcing IC suppliers to provide higher assurances of product reliability to their customers who work on mission-critical applications. 

These two trends are driving semiconductor manufacturers to vastly increase the amount of reliability data they collect and analyze while decreasing the cost of test. When faced with this problem of more data at a lower cost, many reliability engineers find they cannot solve it using traditional reliability solutions, so they are turning toward modular, flexible solutions that can scale to fit their needs. 



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