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From Bob Helsel, Editor of the PXI Newsletter:

Welcome to the October 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.


Improve PA/FEM Component Test Efficiency


Submitted by Keysight Technologies

RF power amplifiers (PAs) and front end modules (FEMs), essential to all wireless devices, require power configuration and bandsetting using serial bus interfaces. The increase in variety of RF protocols and its impact on the complexity of serial communications has prompted the MIPI alliance to develop an RF front end interface (RFFE) specification to standardize the communications framework of the serial bus interface. The resulting RFFE specification is a key part of PA/FEM characterization and validation test.

Engineers use various methods to characterize and validate PA/FEM serial bus performance and IO pin parametric performance. These methods, including extensive bus timing and logic level margin testing are described further in this article.

Key test issues

The MIPI RFFE communications interface, a fast and efficient 2-wire serial bus that runs in a master/slave configuration, provides speed, bi-directional IO and many other capabilities. Test solution flexibility, critical to testing these serial interfaces, may be enabled by a digital stimulus and response instrument with key configurable features such as bi-directional bus support, edge timing control, and programmable logic level control. Other requirements include support for long fixture lines and flexible DUT response terminations, as well as easy to configure and use for different wireless devices.

For wireless component design validation, the test instrument needs to operate as the serial interface master supporting bi-directional bus transactions at high bus rates of ≥ 50 MHz and using high speed pattern generators to change bus direction within a single bus cycle. Time margin testing requires a solution with seamless configuration of pattern edge settings relative clock-to-data edge placements and multiple clock rate settings. Features such as logic level drive and threshold level control allow engineers to set specific bus voltage levels during test and perform level margin test. Cable delay compensation and programmable receiver terminations can help to address cable propagation time that is significant compared to the bus data period and caused by longer fixture cables between the test solution and device under test.



R Series for PXI Express: High-Performance Technology for Custom Digital Applications

Submitted by National Instruments

R Series multifunction RIO devices feature user-defined, onboard processing for complete flexibility of system timing and triggering. Instead of a fixed ASIC for controlling device functionality, R Series hardware uses a user-programmable FPGA to make all analog and digital I/O channels configurable for application-specific operation. Using the LabVIEW FPGA Module, you can create your own hardware personalities for intelligent data acquisition, closed-loop control, digital communications protocols, sensor simulation, and inline signal processing without in-depth knowledge of hardware description languages.

For more than a decade, engineers and scientists have used R Series devices and the LabVIEW reconfigurable I/O (RIO) architecture to augment their PC-based systems to provide the performance, reliability, and determinism that their applications require. This white paper covers PXI Express digital I/O R Series devices, the latest high-performance technology in the R Series family that you can use for your custom digital application.


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):

Innovative Integration PXIe XMC x8 Lane Adapter
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.

Pickering Interface PXI High-Density Precision Programmable Resistors (model 40-297)
Pickering Interfaces continues to expand its range of PXI High-Density Precision Programmable Resistors with the addition of eight new models of its 40-297 high-density precision resistor module series, increasing the maximum resistance range to 22.3 MΩ.

Keysight M9420A PXIe VXT Vector Transceiver
The best solution for a specific problem is a focused tool you simply fine-tune. The new Keysight M9420A VXT PXIe vector transceiver is purpose-built for rapid solution creation and faster throughput in manufacturing test of wireless components and IoT devices.

NI PXIe-7822R Reconfigurable Digital I/O Module
The NI PXIe-7822R digital reconfigurable I/O (RIO) module features a user-programmable FPGA chip for onboard processing and flexible I/O operation. You configure all functionality using LabVIEW graphical block diagrams and the LabVIEW FPGA Module.

Aemulus Holdings Berhad Amoeba 4600

Flexibility is a highly sought feature in ATE testers today as the Product Lifecycle for Semiconductor ICs are shortened with periodic launch of new consumer gadgets. As consumer are looking to minimize Capex spending while looking at a longer life cycle test platform, PXIe based ATE testers yields the primary choice.

SignalCore’s High Performance 20 GHz Signal Source PXIe (SC5510A)
SignalCore’s high performance 20 GHz VCO-based synthesized signal source is cost effective, compact and designed for seamless integration. With frequency spanning 100 MHz to 20 GHz (1 Hz resolution), low phase noise of -118 dBc/Hz at 10kHz offset @ 10 GHz carrier, and amplitude step resolution of 0.01 dB over a -30 dBm to +7 dBm output range, this product is ideal for R&D, academic, military and commercial applications.


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