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FPGA-based PXIe Digital Oscilloscope is part of National Instruments’ new wave of Software Designed Instruments

by Xilinx Employee ‎08-06-2014 01:03 PM - edited ‎08-06-2014 04:12 PM (33,601 Views)

This is NI (National Instruments) Week in Austin, Texas and as part of the festivities, the company has rolled out four new test and measurement products in its Software Designed Instrument line of PXIe T&M products. Today’s announcement was the NI PXIe-5171R 250MHz, 250Msamples/sec, 14-Bit, Software Designed Oscilloscope. This instrument features four or eight channels of high-speed, 14-bit analog data acquisition at capture rates of 250 Msamples/sec. The device is reconfigurable thanks to the inclusion of a Xilinx Kintex-7 FPGA coupled with the company’s integrated LabVIEW and LabVIEW FPGA design software. Through LabVIEW, you can configure the instrument to perform real-time, in-line signal processing, protocol decoding, and advanced triggering.

 

 

NI PXIe-5171E Software Designed Oscilloscope.png 

 

Here’s a video demo by Charles Schroeder, NI’s Director of RF and Wireless Communications, and Christian Gindorf, NI’s Product Manager of Digitizers, right off of the keynote stage of today’s NI Week introduction:

 

 

 

 

As Christian demonstrates, the real-time nature of FPGA processing coupled with a GUI-based interface based on LabVIEW gives the new oscilloscope very sophisticated triggering, demodulation, and spectrum-analysis features. You can modify the oscilloscope’s behavior to suit your application using the LabVIEW graphical design software to build just about anything you might imagine—T&M-wise.

 

To illustrate how central the FPGA is to this instrument’s design, here’s a block diagram taken from the NI data sheet:

 

 

NI PXIe-5171E Software Designed Oscilloscope Block Diagram.png

 

 

Note that the Kintex-7 FPGA controls the timing on the analog data-acquisition channels in addition to handling DRAM access, communicating over the PXIe bus, managing the acquisition triggering, and performing any required signal processing. This kind of programmability and flexibility allows National Instruments and its customers to expand, augment, or enhance the instrument’s operation whenever needed. Unlike conventional instrument boxes which might be redesigned every few years, use of the FPGA to control all oscilloscope operations permits the instrument to be reconfigured with LabVIEW and LabVIEW FPGA in minutes, hours, or days depending on the complexity of the modification.

 

The three other Software Designed Instruments announced this week are:

 

 

 

 

Like the NI PXIe-5171R Software-Designed Oscilloscope, these three additional Software Designed Instruments are all based on Xilinx Kintex-7 FPGAs.

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About the Author
  • Be sure to join the Xilinx LinkedIn group to get an update for every new Xcell Daily post! ******************** Steve Leibson is the Director of Strategic Marketing and Business Planning at Xilinx. He started as a system design engineer at HP in the early days of desktop computing, then switched to EDA at Cadnetix, and subsequently became a technical editor for EDN Magazine. He's served as Editor in Chief of EDN Magazine, Embedded Developers Journal, and Microprocessor Report. He has extensive experience in computing, microprocessors, microcontrollers, embedded systems design, design IP, EDA, and programmable logic.