Resources for NI CompactRIO and NI Single-Board RIO Custom Design

Publish Date: Aug 01, 2017 | 1 Ratings | 5.00 out of 5 | Print | Submit your review


You have many resources to reduce time-to-application with NI CompactRIO and NI Single-Board RIO. NI reference designs are application-oriented examples from NI systems engineers that include ready-to-run code. Board-level reference designs include templates, in common board layout and schematic capture format, for modules and adapters to CompactRIO and Single-Board RIO.

Table of Contents

  1. NI Reference Designs
  2. Board-Level Reference Designs
  3. Printed Circuit Board Fabrication Providers
  4. C Series Module Developers Kit

1. NI Reference Designs

NI Reference Designs are application-oriented examples from NI systems engineers based on proofs of concept that NI creates for its customers. Unlike shipping examples that demonstrate product features, reference designs demonstrate how to design and integrate systems. NI publishes these examples to share its application recommendations with the user community.  See NI Reference Designs to learn more.

The following application classes are common system-level use cases for NI products. 

Automated Test Measurement-driven test applications
Dynamic Test Simulation/control-driven test applications
Monitoring and Logging Low-speed data acquisition, monitoring, and logging applications
Dynamic Monitoring High-speed data acquisition and signal processing applications
Control Real-time control applications
Single-Shot Acquisition High-performance DAQ and logging applications


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2. Board-Level Reference Designs

NI Multisim and NI Ultiboard

Use National Instruments board-level design tools to customize your CompactRIO and NI Single-Board RIO design platform. To define custom C Series modules, accessories, breakout boards, or connectors, you can use the schematic capture of NI Multisim software and the integrated layout of NI Ultiboard software. The ease of use of Multisim, paired with the flexibility of Ultiboard, provides a cost-effective set of tools to begin defining printed circuit boards (PCBs). 

C Series Module Design:

  1. Multisim Simulation and Ultiboard Layout Reference Design: Freescale three-axis acceleration sensor module
  2. Digital Sensor Interface Reference Design: Simulation and example design layout for HCT595
  3. Layout Templates for C Series Module Design
  4. Digital Sensor Adapter Board Reference Design: Sensor IC interface board for C Series module

NI Single-Board RIO Device Design:

  1. Introduction to NI Single-Board RIO Add-On Board Design
  2. Daughter Card for NI Single-Board RIO: NI Multisim & Ultiboard Reference Design
  3. NI Single-Board RIO FAQ: CAD Drawings, LCD, and Character Displays

To learn more about the National Instruments board-level design flow, refer to the following resources:

  1. Download a 30-Day Evaluation of Multisim
  2. Learn about the Best Practices in Design
  3. Go to


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3. Printed Circuit Board Fabrication Providers

Sunstone Circuits Quick-Turn Prototype Board Fabrication

Sunstone Circuits' quick-turn printed circuit boards are an easy way to save time in the prototype stage when building custom C Series Modules or NI Single Board RIO adapters.  With built-in pre-installed layout templates for NI C Series  modules, you can use PCB123™ to quickly create a prototype board for fabrication.  PCB123 is a free pcb design layout tool from Sunstone Circuits.  Manufactured in the U.S, Sunstone Circuits can deliver custom C Series module printed circuit boards in 2 to 6-layers in tin lead or silver (RoHS-compliant) finish.




Download PCB123 with included NI C Series module templates from Sunstone Circuits


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4. C Series Module Developers Kit

The NI cRIO-9951 MDK Suite helps users, OEMs, and system integrators develop custom modules to meet unique system needs. The kit includes CompactRIO module development software and the CompactRIO Module Development Kit user manual. Additionally, the kit features housing module shells and testing to the NI CompactRIO electrical hardware power specification. Testing by National Instruments does not include any electromagnetic certification (EMC) or safety certification testing. Purchase the module development kit and sign the distribution agreement if you wish to resell or market your module individually or stand-alone.

Learn more about Understanding Certification and Export Compliance for Custom C Series Modules before your design.

Originally Authored By: Greg Crouch, National Instruments

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