USB X Series DAQ Overview

Publish Date: Apr 27, 2017 | 12 Ratings | 3.83 out of 5 | Print



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NI X Series devices are the most advanced multifunction DAQ devices ever created by National Instruments. Designed for performance, they feature enhancements to address your most demanding test and measurement application needs.

X Series devices for USB include up to 32 analog inputs, four analog outputs, 48 digital I/O lines, and four counters, with sampling rates from 500 kS/s to 2 MS/s.

  View specifications and pricing



To extend what is possible with a single multifunction DAQ device, USB X Series devices include two key technologies: NI-STC3 timing and synchronization technology and NI Signal Streaming technology.

NI-STC3 Timing and Synchronization

  • Coordination of the timing and triggering of the analog, digital, and counter subsystems
  • Four 32-bit counters for event counting, pulse generation (PWM), frequency and encoder measurements, and more
  • 100 MHz timebase for generating sample clocks and five times better resolution than previous devices

NI Signal Streaming

  • Patented technology that ensures high-speed bidirectional data transfer over USB
  • Message-based instructions and device-side intelligence
  • Concurrent analog, digital, and counter operations


Learn more about NI Signal Streaming.


The following table lists the key specifications of USB X Series DAQ:

NI Product 16-Bit Analog Inputs Max AI Sampling Rate (1 channel) Aggregate AI Throughput
(all channels)
16-Bit Analog Outputs Digital I/O
NI USB-6341 16 500 kS/s 500 kS/s 2 24
NI USB-6343 32 500 kS/s 500 kS/s 4 48
NI USB-6351 16 1.25 MS/s 1 MS/s 2 24
NI USB-6353 32 1.25 MS/s 1 MS/s 4 48
NI USB-6361 16 2 MS/s 1 MS/s 2 24
NI USB-6363 32 2 MS/s 1 MS/s 4 48
NI USB-6356 8 Simultaneous 1.25 MS/s/ch 10 MS/s 2 24
NI USB-6366 8 Simultaneous 2 MS/s/ch 16 MS/s 2 24

Table 1. Compare the key specifications of USB X Series DAQ products.


USB X Series devices introduce a redesigned, extruded aluminum enclosure with an easy-access magnetic lid. This lid keeps signal wiring secured and shielded and can be opened easily when needed. The underside of the lid has a device-specific pinout label so you can quickly determine the corresponding screw terminals for a given channel. 

Figure 1. USB X Series devices feature a completely redesigned mechanical enclosure and include an easy-access lid with device-specific pinouts.

The enclosure also includes a lockable USB port to prevent accidental removal during operation. You can separately purchase DIN-rail and wall-mount accessories for USB X Series.

Figure 2. USB X Series devices are also available in a board-only form factor that is intended for high-volume OEM applications. These devices include standard 34-pin and 50-pin IDC connectors for easy mating to a daughter board.

By taking advantage of NI Signal Streaming technology, NI is able to make simultaneous sampling available in multifunction USB devices for the first time ever, with the USB-6356 and USB-6366. These two devices can sample at 1.25 MS/s and 2 MS/s on each of eight analog inputs and include 32 or 64 MS of onboard memory. The high sampling rates on all channels make these devices ideal for portable ultrasonic test and transient recording applications. Long-term, continuous operation of these devices is dependent on the host PC, sampling rate, and channel count.

Simultaneous sampling devices also preserve the phase relationship of your input signals because the multiple-ADC architecture eliminates the need to multiplex among input signals.

One of the biggest benefits of using a PC-based DAQ device is that you can use software to fully customize the functionality of your measurement system to meet your exact application needs. You interact with a USB X Series device with the flexible, comprehensive NI-DAQmx driver software. All National Instruments DAQ devices use this driver, which means that you can easily reuse code in a new USB X Series application.

You can call into the NI-DAQmx driver software from a variety of programming environments, including NI LabVIEW, C/C++, Microsoft Visual Basic .NET, and C#.NET. To help you quickly get started, NI-DAQmx includes a dialog-based wizard, the NI DAQ Assistant, which you can use to acquire and generate analog data with no programming. For additional user control and flexibility, NI-DAQmx also provides a comprehensive API with functions and property nodes. 

Figure 3. NI-DAQmx includes a dialog-based wizard called the NI DAQ Assistant, which you can use to easily acquire and log data to disk.

NI-DAQmx now includes a high-speed, easy-to-use method for writing all acquired data to Technical Data Management Streaming (TDMS) files with a Logging tab in the DAQ Assistant and a Configure Logging function for users programming with the API.

You can also choose X Series devices for PCI Express and PXI Express. Using one of these internal PCI buses offers advantages such as reduced latency and the ability to expand the number of channels in your measurement system.

Learn about all X Series devices and how to select between USB, PCI Express, and PXI Express.

Watch the X Series overview webcast.

View USB X Series specifications and pricing.

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