Provisioning a PXI Controller to the NI Linux Real-Time Operating System

Publish Date: May 21, 2020 | 0 Ratings | 0.00 out of 5 | Print | Submit your review


This document provides instructions on how to convert a PXIe controller to the NI Linux Real-Time Operating System. It covers hardware and software compatibility, and it includes the instructions to partition and install the operating system.

Note: NI will remove support for Phar Lap for cRIO in the NI 2020 Software Release and for PXI in the NI 2022 Software Release. For more information, please see the Phar Lap RT OS EOL Road Map.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Controller BIOS Update - PXIe-8840 Quad-Core or PXIe-8880
  3. Host PC Software Installation
  4. Partition the Controller for NI Linux Real-Time
  5. Getting Started with the NI Linux Real-Time PXI Controller

1. Introduction

The following process is required to install the NI Linux Real-Time OS on supported PXIe controllers. This process works for provisioning controllers regardless of the controller’s current software or current operating system.

This partition process only applies to specific PXIe controllers. Refer to Real-Time Controllers and Real-Time Operating System Compatibility to determine if your PXIe controller supports NI Linux Real-Time. LabVIEW 2019 or later and the LabVIEW 2019 Real-Time Module or later support PXIe controllers running NI Linux Real-Time.

Note: For LabVIEW Communication System Design Suite provisioning instructions, refer to Provisioning a Real-Time Controller or USRP Stand-Alone Device for LabVIEW Communications.

 Additional Hardware

  • Monitor
  • Keyboard
  • Empty USB Storage Device


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2. Controller BIOS Update - PXIe-8840 Quad-Core or PXIe-8880

If you are migrating a PXIe-8840 Quad-Core controller or PXIe-8880 for the first time, you must update the BIOS on the controller to the BIOS version listed below or newer. For the PXIe-8861, a BIOS update is not necessary. You can find the latest BIOS version for your controller at the BIOS Download page.

PXIe Controller BIOS Update
PXIe-8840 Quad-Core 2.1.3f0 BIOS Update
PXIe-8880 2.1.2f0 BIOS Update

To install the BIOS update, follow the steps in Determining and Upgrading PXI and VXI Embedded Controller BIOS Versions.


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3. Host PC Software Installation

You will need to install software on a host computer in order to create the USB partitioning utility.  

  1. Install LabVIEW 2019 and the LabVIEW 2019 Real-Time Module.
  2. Plug your USB storage device into the host computer.  
  3. Launch NI Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX)
  4. Select Tools >> Create NI Linux RT Recovery USB Drive.
  5. Select your USB storage device under Drive.
  6. Select 7.0\standard_x64_recovery.iso under Disk Image.
  7. Select Format.
  8. Once complete, eject the USB from the computer.

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4. Partition the Controller for NI Linux Real-Time

  1. Plug your formatted USB and a keyboard into the PXIe controller.
  2. Restart the controller, and press Delete on the keyboard to enter the BIOS.
  3. In the Boot Configuration tab select LabVIEW RT Configuration. Then, select [NI Linux Real-Time] as the LabVIEW RT Operating System.
  4. In the Save & Exit tab, select Save Changes.
  5. In the same tab, select the UEFI: <USB drive name> under Boot Override. Note: This will reboot the controller and boot into the USB. If this USB does not work, attempt to use another USB.
  6. After the USB boots, you will be prompted with the option to partition the disk. Type y and press Enter.
  7. Once formatting is complete, remove the USB and reboot the controller by power cycling or by typing reboot and Enter.
  8. The controller should reboot into NI Linux Real-Time Safemode.
  9. If the controller does not boot into safemode, enter the BIOS and select LabVIEW RT as Boot Option #1 in the Boot Configuration tab.

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5. Getting Started with the NI Linux Real-Time PXI Controller

Now that NI Linux Real-Time is installed on the controller, you will need to format to the NI Linux RT Base Image and then install the necessary software components for your application. This process is different than previous workflows with PXIe controllers and with CompactRIO NI Linux Real-Time Controllers. Refer to Installing Software on NI Linux Real-Time PXI Controllers for installation steps.

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