Using the PXI Advisor to Customize the Rack Layout of an ATE Core Configuration

Publish Date: Jun 07, 2018 | 0 Ratings | 0.00 out of 5 | Print | Submit your review


This whitepaper provides instructions on how to use the PXI Advisor to customize instrumentation and rack layout of an ATE Core Configuration to accelerate system design, reduce integration burden and risk, and reduce time to deployment for an automated test system. Note: Technical information on the ATE Core Configurations can be found on the Under the Hood of the ATE Core Configurations whitepaper.

Table of Contents

Navigating the Advisor

Selecting Instrumentation and Accessories

Selecting and Customizing the ATE Core Configuration

Chassis Placement

Importing Additional PXI Systems

HMI Display Options

Mains Voltage and Fan Kit Selections

Placement of Rack Components and Accessories

Required and Optional Accessories

Tips, Tricks, and FAQ


Navigating the Advisor


Figure 1: PXI Advisor starting point


Note that you can switch between a PXI-only version and an ATE Core Configuration enabled version of the Advisor.  The ATE Core Configuration enabled version has a new tab called “ATE Core Configuration”:

Figure 2: PXI Advisor with 'ATE Core Configuration' tab


Selecting Instrumentation and Accessories


Figure 3: The NI PXI Advisor now supports the ATE Core Configurations.


The first step to configuring a rack layout of an ATE Core Configuration is to select the PXI chassis and appropriate instrumentation to include in the system.  This starts by selecting the system controller.  If a rack-mounted controller is selected (e.g. NI RMC-835x), its mounting location can be selected within the ATE Core Configuration tab.  Other controllers (embedded or remote) will reside within the PXI chassis.

Figure 4: PXI Systems can be controlled by Embedded, Remote, or Rackmount Controllers


Next, select all the PXI-based equipment using the Modules tab.  While typically the vast majority of selections within this tab will be PXI modules (e.g. NI PXIe-40xx Digital Multimeters), there are many rackmount items included such as module terminal blocks (e.g. RM-4339).  If any rackmount equipment is selected within the Modules tab, its mounting location can be selected within the ATE Core Configuration tab. However, due to fragility, some items will not be mounted and shipped inside the rack. These items will be shipped separately.


Figure 5: NI will factory install rackmount equipment such as module terminal blocks.


Finally, use the Chassis tab to select the desired PXI Chassis.  Within the Options/Accessories tab, you’ll see selections for the AC power cord and Rack Mount Kits.  When you select an ATE Core Configuration, it will automatically add these accessories, so you do not need to add them.


Figure 6: PXI Chassis rack mount kits and power cables are automatically included when an ATE Core Configuration is selected.


Figure 7: RMX-412x 1U Programmable Power Supplies (750W/1500W) are available to be mounted in any ATE Core Configuration.


Also note that the RMX-1005x Power Distribution Units (PDUs) are offered on the Options/Accessories tab.  Since all ATE Core Configurations include the appropriate PDU, so there is no need to select these unless they are desired for spares.


Selecting and Customizing the ATE Core Configuration


Figure 8: Select PXI Chassis rack location and orientation.


After the instrumentation has been identified, it’s time to select the appropriate ATE Core Configuration model and customize the rack layout.  On the ATE Core Configuration tab, select the model that matches the system and facility power requirements and equipment space requirements.  For more details on each model, see the Under the Hood of the ATE Core Configurations whitepaper.

The first section within the Customize Rack Layout tab is for Chassis Placement.  Select the rack unit (RU) location, desired mounting rail to install the chassis, and whether the chassis should be mounted flush or recessed from that rail.  Note that any components installed to the middle or rear rail will be rear-facing in the rack. 

The PXI Advisor includes rules to ensure that location selections do not mechanically interfere with one another or with fixed components of the ATE Core Configuration such as the PDU or Power Entry Panel.  After location selections are made, chassis identify themselves as <Occupied> and thermal keepouts are included to protect airflow as needed.  For additional details on chassis airflow, see the user manual for the specific model.

For multi-chassis configurations, additional (child) PXI configurations can be imported with unique sets of instrumentation – simply configure them separately with a unique PXI ConfigurationID and import them here.  Accessories for child systems are not automatically included like they are for the main (parent) PXI system, so rackmount kit(s), power cables, Ethernet cables, and grounding cables should be manually added in the Optional Accessories section.  Any additional rackmount components within the child configuration (e.g. RMX-412x Programmable Power Supplies or rackmount module terminal blocks such as the RM-4339) will not be included in the dropdown for rack layout, but an NI sales representative can ensure these items are factory installed in appropriate locations.


Figure 9: Import additional PXI configurations with unique sets of instrumentation and select location orientation.


Next, select the preferred Human Machine Interface (HMI) option.  Remember to select a rack location that has sufficient RU space prior to selecting an option.

Since the 3U adjustable arm and 10U, flush-mounted TSM-1017 options take up minimal rack depth, equipment can still be mounted behind these items in the rack.

Figure 10: Multiple HMI options are available for the ATE Core Configurations.


Next, select the Mains Voltage that will be used and Fan Kit Option desired.  The mains voltage options are defined by the ATE Core Configuration model selected and is used to identify the UPS model (if desired). 

There are two top fan kit options available (both utilize 24VDC directly from the PDU).  More details on the dissipative load can be found in the Under the Hood of the ATE Core Configurations whitepaper.  General Rule: Unless deploying to a high-temp ambient environment, consider the low-power fan kit.

Now that the PXI Chassis (one or many) and HMI options have been placed into the rack, locations for all other equipment can be chosen in the Placement of Rack Components and Accessories section.  Note that certain RU are defaulted such as the EPO Panel and PDU which are not modifiable due to their integration as part of the pre-built / certified / stocked ATE Core Configuration part number.

When a slot is enabled and dropdown selected, you’ll see several rack accessories such as shelves, keyboard and storage drawers, and filler panels available – as well as any previously selected rackmount instruments such as the RMX-41xx Programmable Power Supplies, or rackmount module terminal blocks.


Figure 11: The ATE Core Configuration has fixed locations for PDU and EPO Panel (1). Aside from that, locations can be selected for PXI systems and HMI (2), as well as rack accessories and previously selected instruments (3).  2U Uninterruptible Power Supplies are only available in RU1-2 due to weight.


When locations are selected for rackmount items, any required accessories such as rackmount kits, power cables, Ethernet cables, and grounding cables will be added to the Required Accessories section.  As the items are added, the PXI Advisor will also assess the weight and center-of-mass and automatically include ballast plates that will ensure the system meets IEC 61010 Tip/Pull stability tests.  NI will factory install and verify connections of these required accessories. 

Aside from adding shelves or support equipment for 3rd party devices directly in the rack layout, power cables and other items can be added in the Additional Accessories section.


Tips, Tricks, and FAQ

Tip: While they don’t show up in the ATE Core Configuration tab, cRIO/cDAQ Configurations can be installed in an ATE Core Configuration.  Please speak with your local NI sales expert to configure.

Tip:  If you’re creating a multi-chassis configuration, only include HMI information and additional rackmount products such as RMX-412x Programmable Power Supplies or NI 826x RAID Arrays in the parent configuration to simplify rack location selection.

Tip: Having issues with a specific configuration (layout change or new requirement)?  You can remove the entire ATE Core Configuration section in the Summary tab and start over with a different ATE Core Configuration.

Tip: Have the system configured the way you like, but want to get a system image?  Contact your NI sales rep to review your configuration and create an ATE Core Configuration System Report.

FAQ: What is the UPS option for High power configuration? Currently, there is no option.

FAQ: How do you decide which Core configuration to choose? This is based on two main factors: how much space you need and what are the power requirements for the contents of the rack. To determine the power requirements, a power budget should be calculated.

FAQ: How do I add a RMX Power Supply? The RMX Power Supply options are located on the Chassis>>Options tab. Once the supply is selected, it will be available via drop down menu on the ATE Core Configuration>>Customize Rack Layout tab. Please note, that on this page(Chassis>>Options) the only thing you add that will be rack mounted is the RMX Power supply. Anything else chosen on this page will ship separately and will not be placed in the rack.

FAQ: Which Ethernet switch is in the rack and can it be replaced? No, it cannot be replaced. The Ethernet switch can be found here.

FAQ: Could you elaborate on the PXI Orientation? There are various Mounting Rail and Alignment combinations:




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