Archived: Real-Time NI Embedded Vision System FAQ

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This document answers questions pertaining to the real-time NI Embedded Vision Systems, their features, and how you can use them. For more information about NI Embedded Vision Systems, visit



What are the highlight specifications of NI Embedded Vision Systems?

  • Fanless industrial design (no moving parts)
  • Real-time machine vision system
  • High-performance 1.66 GHz Intel Core Duo multicore processor
  • 1 GB solid-state drive (see memory storage expansion options)
  • 2 GB DDR2-667 memory
  • Built-in DVI video output for viewing images and results
  • 0 to 45 °C extended temperature range
  • Extensive camera connectivity for GigE Vision, IEEE 1394 (EVS-1464RT only), Base-configuration Camera Link (EVS-1463RT only):
    • First system to support GigE Vision cameras on a real-time OS
    • Color, line-scan, infrared, high-resolution, high-frame-rate


What applications are suitable for NI Embedded Vision Systems?

The EVS-1464RT and EVS-1463RT are ideal for:

  • Inspections using multiple cameras, such as when you use multiple cameras to inspect an object from various angles. 
  • I/O intensive applications because the systems have a high field-programmable gate array (FPGA)-enabled I/O channel count and a wide range of connectivity options.
  • Inspections requiring large image sizes with the systems' 2 GB DDR2 RAM.
  • GigE Vision and Camera Link line-scan applications for inspecting continuous webs and inspecting objects on a rotating axis.
  • More complex and higher-speed inspections with its high-performance multicore processor. 
  • Critical industrial vision applications where a Windows PC is not reliable enough. 

Specific applications include:

  • High-speed sorting
  • Packaging inspection 
  • Precision assembly verification 
  • Thermal imaging
  • Web inspection
  • Surface inspection



Which connectivity options do the NI Embedded Vision Systems offer?



What is the benefit of the solid-state drive?

With a solid-state drive, you can perform your inspections and read and write data reliably without worry. Because the drives do not rotate like traditional hard disk drives, there is no risk of damage from ambient vibrations and you will not need to replace the drives as a maintenance measure. Also, National Instruments real-time systems use the Reliance power-safe file system format by default, greatly reducing the risk of flash corruption that is significantly higher with a traditional FAT file system.


Can you expand beyond the 1 GB solid-state drive?

The 1 GB solid-state drive is fixed, but you can add nonvolatile storage on NI Embedded Vision Systems using CompactFlash removable storage, USB mass storage devices, and IEEE 1394 external drives (NI has developed custom drivers for using IEEE 1394 drives in real-time OSs). 


What is the benefit of a real-time OS?

With a real-time OS, the processor and resources are entirely dedicated to the application that is running. The deterministic nature of real time ensures that time-critical tasks are handled on time, thus making the system more reliable. Typically, real-time systems have minimal interference from user interaction, which ensures that the critical tasks are prioritized.

Another benefit of real-time OSs is that they are not subjected to IT updates like other networked Windows PCs.


Camera Connectivity

Which types of cameras can I use with NI Embedded Vision Systems?

With dual IEEE 1394b bilingual and Gigabit Ethernet ports, you can acquire from multiple IIDC-compliant IEEE 1394 and GigE Vision cameras using the EVS-1464RT. You can use the EVS-1463RT to acquire from multiple GigE Vision cameras as well as one Base-configuration Camera Link camera. With the camera connectivity on both systems, you can use specialty image sensors such as line-scan, infrared, and color as well as more common monochrome and area-scan cameras. 


How many IEEE 1394 cameras can I connect?

You can simultaneously power and acquire from up to four IEEE 1394a and b cameras and further expand beyond the number of IEEE 1394 ports using hubs, external power sources, and a round-robin (multiplexed) acquisition method for additional cameras.


How many GigE Vision cameras can I connect?

You can connect as many GigE Vision cameras with external power sources as the bandwidth permits for the frame rate, pixel depth, and resolution of the cameras.



Which software do I need for NI Embedded Vision Systems?

To acquire images from GigE Vision and IEEE 1394 cameras, you need NI-IMAQdx, and for Camera Link devices you need NI-IMAQ, both of which are included in the NI Vision Acquisition Software driver package that comes with NI Embedded Vision Systems. 

To create machine vision applications, you have two options: 1) Configure an NI Embedded Vision System with the easy-to-use menu-driven Vision Builder for Automated Inspection (AI), a stand-alone software environment, or 2) Program the system for more advanced customization using the LabVIEW graphical programming environment with the LabVIEW Real-Time Vision Development Bundle (includes NI Application Builder and the LabVIEW Real-Time and Vision Development modules). 

If you are interested in taking advantage of the reconfigurable digital I/O on the EVS-1464RT, you also need to use the LabVIEW FPGA Module

If you want to use the secondary Gigabit Ethernet port for EtherCAT deterministic Ethernet communication, then you also need NI-Industrial Communications for EtherCAT 1.2 or later.



Which software versions are compatible with NI Embedded Vision Systems?

The Vision Development Module 8.6 and later and Vision Builder AI 3.6.1 and later.


What can I do with Vision Builder for Automated Inspection (AI)?

With Vision Builder AI, you can easily configure, benchmark, and deploy a vision system that addresses most vision applications, from pattern matching and code reading to presence detection and precision alignment and classification. This software includes a deployment interface for quick deployment and can set up complex pass/fail decisions to control digital I/O devices and communicate with serial or Ethernet devices such as PLCs, PACs, and HMIs.


Can I use text-based languages like C, C++, Visual Studio, or .NET to program real-time NI Embedded Vision Systems?

Because NI Embedded Vision Systems are real-time systems, you must program them using the Vision Development Module from within LabVIEW only. The text-based capabilities of the Vision Development Module API do not apply to real-time systems. You can also configure the systems using the Vision Builder AI environment. 


Do I need deployment licenses to deploy the application I created on NI Embedded Vision Systems?

Run-time licenses (for Vision Builder AI and Vision Development Module applications) are included and automatically active with the real-time NI Embedded Vision Systems.


Industrial Connectivity

Which industrial connectivity options are included on NI Embedded Vision Systems?

NI Embedded Vision Systems can communicate with PACs, PLCs, HMI displays, and other automation devices through Ethernet protocols such as TCP/IP and Modbus/TCP and through RS232 protocols such as serial and Modbus serial.

The vision systems also feature built-in digital I/O and MXI-Express to synchronize an inspection and send part failure notifications. The EVS-1464RT and EVS-1463RT include TTL and optoisolated digital I/O lines for turning LEDs on or off, driving mechanisms that sort parts, alerting operators when a part has failed, or using PWM to control a motor to sort the parts. More advanced users can also reconfigure the FPGA behind the I/O lines on the EVS-1464RT for more customized I/O, timing, and triggering.

Real-time NI Embedded Vision Systems are also EtherCAT master devices, offering a simple way to integrate single-point I/O, including motion drives and I/O expansion devices. In addition, MXI-Express connectivity on all NI Embedded Vision Systems provides deterministic integration for waveform data and supports a variety of I/O in high-channel-count systems.


Are there real-time video display and HMI capabilities? Can I view images and results and interact with my inspection using an HMI or monitor?

NI real-time vision systems feature built-in drivers to output video through a built-in DVI port, so you can view images and pass/fail results from the inspection with a monitor or HMI. You can programmatically change all of the user-definable image overlays to create custom user displays.

Also, a simple Web browser on any Windows CE, XP, or XP Embedded touch panel can act as an operator interface (HMI) for selecting inspections, updating parameters, or training a new part. In addition to being a Web server, the EVS-1464RT and EVS-1463RT can be configured when programmed with LabVIEW to host Web services for streaming data.


What can I do with the FPGA on NI Embedded Vision Systems?

The EVS-1464RT (only) has an FPGA directly connected to the digital I/O lines. If your application requires precise timing or custom I/O behavior, you can use the LabVIEW FPGA Module to reconfigure the digital I/O lines to achieve additional functionality such as custom triggers, timing, PWM outputs, encoder-based queued pulse generators, customer digital protocols, and high-speed counters. This functionality is available only in the LabVIEW environment.



Is it possible to secure an NI Embedded Vision System on the enterprise network?

You have several ways to secure the connection to an NI Embedded Vision System on your company’s network to prohibit users from modifying the system. One way is to configure your real-time application to accept only connections from certain IP addresses to view inspection results and to password protect the configuration settings. For more complex security management, National Instruments offers the NI MES-3980 managed Ethernet switch that you can use to manage which Ethernet connections are allowed through and to assign priorities to particular connections. 


Which compliance certifications do NI Embedded Vision Systems have?

Compliance certifications include CC, C-Tick, and RoHS. For a full list, see the certification/compliance section in the data sheet.


I am not sure that the EVS-1464RT or EVS-1463RT can fulfill my needs. Which other systems should I consider?

If you want to perform other tasks such as stream to disk or complex motion or data acquisition from the same system, consider the PXI platform. PXI offers higher-performance processing such as quad-core processors. If you are simply looking for more storage and a Windows OS, consider the Windows 7 version of the NI Embedded Vision Systems that offer the same connectivity options but with an 80 GB hard disk drive.