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From Bob Helsel, Editor of the PXI Newsletter:

Welcome to the July 2014 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


Controlling a Hardware-in-the-Loop Grid Simulator for the World’s Most Powerful Renewable Energy Test Facility

by J. Curtiss Fox, Mark McKinney, ClemBen Gislason
Duke Energy eGRID Director, Clemson University Restoration Institute

The Challenge:
Providing energy companies and graduate students a state-of-the-art facility to test both the mechanical and electrical characteristics of a hardware innovation prototype for any energy resource on a utility scale (up to 15 MW) in a controlled and calibrated environment before deploying it on the actual grid.

The Solution:
Delivering high-speed deterministic DAQ, control, and communications for a 15 MVA hardware–in-the-loop (HIL) grid simulator using PXI.

In 2009, the Department of Energy (DOE) awarded the Clemson University Restoration Institute (CURI) the largest DOE grant ever issued to build the world’s most powerful mechanical test facility for wind turbine nacelles up to 15 MW, which is three times larger than the largest nacelles in use today. These nacelles house the core generating components of a turbine and bear tremendous stress from the rotating blades; therefore, this equipment must be rigorously tested prior to deployment to minimize repair costs. The DOE is counting on wind power to provide 20 percent of US energy by 2030, and this facility supports this objective. 

As energy companies and graduate researchers work to advance rapid access to technology innovations, they must have access to state-of-the-art electrical testing capabilities, as well. Therefore, the DOE issued a separate grant to provide these capabilities for a 15 MW grid simulator in what is now the Duke Energy Electrical Grid Research Innovation and Development (eGRID) center. With the addition of this 15 MW eGRID, companies can test both the mechanical and electrical characteristics of hardware prototypes for any energy resource on a utility scale in a controlled and calibrated environment before deploying them on the actual grid. 

The eGRID offers advanced electrical testing of multi-megawatt devices. To achieve this, the grid simulator required the following:

  • Sophisticated communication systems capable of communicating between multiple protocols in multiple time domains
  • High-speed deterministic DAQ capable of providing timestamped high-resolution data for offline analysis and real-time data to ensure grid simulator control system stability
  • Easily reconfigurable and expandable systems for multiple testing scenarios
  • A complete human machine interface (HMI) for easy control of the entire system




The PXI Show - China


  • Talk to technical specialists from the world's leading PXI suppliers and system integrators
  • Learn more about PXI through informative technical seminar presentations
  • Experience first hand the latest developments in PXI hardware & software

The PXI Show is a Technical Seminar and Exhibition focusing exclusively on the world's most popular modular T&M and Automation platform. Conceived and organized by a consortium of T&M professionals, the show offers design, test & production managers, and engineers a unique forum to learn about the latest developments in PXI from the industry's leading experts. The event also presents a perfect opportunity for networking with both peers and suppliers in a relaxed and informal setting.

  • Locations – Beijing & Shanghai
  • Dates – The week of August 18th. 

For more information, visit



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):

ADLINK PXIe-3985 Embedded Controller For Hybrid PXI Express-based Testing Systems
Featuring 2.4GHz quad-core Intel® Core™ i7-4700EQ processors (3.4GHz maximum in single-core, Turbo Boost mode) for maximum computing power and up to 16 GB of 1600 MHz DDR3L memory, ADLINK’s PXIe-3985 utilizes four separate computing engines on a single processor to enable simultaneous execution of numerous independent tasks.

VTI Instruments EMX-4250 – PXI Express Multi-Channel Dynamic Signal Analyzer for Noise, Vibration and Harshness Testing
The EMX-4250 is a high density, "smart" PXI Express multi-channel dynamic signal analyzer (DSA) capable of sustaining 24-bit simultaneous sampling across all channels, up to 204.8 k Samples/Second.

Agilent’s PXI-based Multi-Channel Test Solution
Provides insight into LTE/LTE-Advanced designs and offers a convenient GUI for quick implementation of LTE/LTE-A multi-channel signal analysis and signal generation systems.

Chroma ATE High Precision Source Measurement Unit (SMU) 52405e Series
Chroma ATE, one of the world leading suppliers of electronic test, measurement and automation production, has announced the SMU cards in its line of PXI Express products. The 52405e is a high precision source measure unit with dual SMU channels.

Pickering Precision Resistor PXI modules
Pickering Interfaces has introduced an expanded range of precision resistor PXI modules. The 40-297 has been expanded to increase the number of different versions available from 6 to 42 while the new 40-293 offers a lower cost and lower density option for systems requiring fewer resistor simulation channels.

National Instruments PXI-1470 Phase Matrix 26.5GHz PXI Vector Signal Analyzer
National Instruments (NI) introduces the NI PXI‑1470, a PXI-based 26.5 GHz vector signal analyzer (VSA).  This is the latest addition to the NI RF-hardware family of fast, flexible, and accurate RF hardware powered by NI's LabVIEW software to meet the ever-increasing demands of the RF and microwave industry.  The NI PXI‑1470's frequency coverage is between 50 MHz and 26.5 GHz and includes hardware-filtered preselection circuitry for multi-signal and high-power environments. 


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