Components of an NI FlexRIO System

Publish Date: Aug 02, 2013 | 7 Ratings | 3.29 out of 5

Overview

NI FlexRIO instruments consist of FPGA modules that you can program with the NI LabVIEW FPGA Module and adapter modules that provide high-performance analog and digital I/O. The adapter modules are interchangeable and define the I/O available in the LabVIEW FPGA programming environment.    

Table of Contents

  1. NI FlexRIO FPGA Modules
  2. NI FlexRIO Adapter Modules
  3. Related Resources

Figure 1. NI FlexRIO instruments combine FPGA modules and adapter modules. 

 

1. NI FlexRIO FPGA Modules

NI FlexRIO FPGA modules feature PXI and PXI Express devices with Xilinx Kintex-7 FPGAs, onboard DRAM, high-performance NI application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), and an interface to NI FlexRIO adapter modules that provide I/O to the FPGA. The adapter module interface consists of 132 lines of general-purpose digital I/O directly connected to FPGA pins, in addition to the power, clocking, and supplementary circuitry necessary to define the interface. You can configure these 132 lines for single-ended operation at rates of up to 400 Mbit/s and differential operation at rates of up to 1 Gbit/s for a maximum I/O bandwidth of 66 Gbit/s (8.25 GB/s). All lines are routed with controlled-impedance, matched-length traces, and the differential pairs are routed together.

 Figure 2. NI FlexRIO FPGA modules offer peer-to-peer data streaming technology.

 

A unique feature of PXI Express NI FlexRIO FPGA modules is that they are capable of streaming data between modules at rates of 3 GB/s without routing data through the host chipset. Up to 16 such streams are supported, simplifying complex multi-FPGA communication schemes without taxing host CPU resources. For more information on this technology, refer to the white paper titled An Introduction to Peer-to-Peer Data Streaming.

 

Table 1 shows the different bus, FPGA, and memory options for the NI FlexRIO FPGA modules.

Model Bus/Form Factor FPGA FPGA Slices FPGA DSP Slices FPGA Memory (Block RAM) Onboard Memory (DRAM)
NI PXIe-7966R PXI
Express
Virtex-5 SX95T -2 14,720 640 8,784 kbits 512 MB
NI PXIe-7965R PXI
Express
Virtex-5 SX95T 14,720 640 8,784 kbits 512 MB
NI PXIe-7962R PXI
Express
Virtex-5 SX50T 8,160 288 4,752 kbits 512 MB
NI PXIe-7961R PXI
Express
Virtex-5 SX50T 8,160 288 4,752 kbits 0 MB
NI PXI-7954R PXI Virtex-5 LX110 17,280 64 4,608 kbits 128 MB
NI PXI-7953R PXI Virtex-5 LX85 12,960 48 3,456 kbits 128 MB
NI PXI-7952R PXI Virtex-5 LX50 7,200 48 1,728 kbits 128 MB
NI PXI-7951R PXI Virtex-5 LX30 4,800 32 1,152 kbits 0 MB

Table 1. NI FlexRIO FPGA Module Comparison

 

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2. NI FlexRIO Adapter Modules

Adapter modules from NI, National Instruments Alliance Partners, and third parties interface with NI FlexRIO FPGA modules through a card-edge connector that routes the necessary FPGA signals to the adapter module. You also can build your own adapter modules with the NI FlexRIO Adapter Module Development Kit (MDK).

 Figure 3. NI, National Instruments Alliance Partners, and third parties offer adapter modules that interface with NI FlexRIO FPGA modules.

 

NI FlexRIO Adapter Modules From National Instruments

NI FlexRIO adapter modules from National Instruments provide general-purpose I/O that you can use to customize your instrumentation without building custom hardware. They feature a simple FPGA-based programming interface that does not require HDL design knowledge, along with LabVIEW FPGA examples to get up and running quickly. View a full list of NI FlexRIO adapter modules.

 

Third-Party Adapter Modules for NI FlexRIO

Third-party adapter modules for NI FlexRIO expand the breadth of I/O in the product family and allow LabVIEW FPGA to enter a wider variety of application areas. These modules are both custom and application-specific. View a full list of third-party adapter modules for NI FlexRIO.

 

Custom NI FlexRIO Adapter Module Development

With the NI FlexRIO Adapter Module Development Kit (MDK), you can build your own NI FlexRIO adapter modules that are exactly tailored to your application. This process requires electrical, mechanical, analog, digital, firmware, and software design considerations. In addition to the interface described above, NI FlexRIO adapter modules are supplied with approximately 6 W of power, feature an onboard EEPROM for self-identification, and support the following I/O standards. Learn more about the NI FlexRIO Adapter Module Development Kit.

 

  1.2 V 1.5 V 1.8 V 2.5 V 3.3 V
LVTTL

LVCMOS

LVDCI

LVDS

Table 2. Supported I/O Standards on the NI FlexRIO Adapter Module Interface

 

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3. Related Resources

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