This reference design provides engineers with the various files and background to define their own daughter card for NI Single Board RIO. All files and designs are available for NI suite of design tools: NI Multisim capture and simulation, and NI Ultiboard layout and routing. By using this reference design you have a foundation for your own custom designs, with pre-defined connectors, layouts and examples, which will assist you in quickly using NI tools to define your own custom hardware for Single-Board RIO.
This is one in a series of articles and resources available for you to do custom design, which includes:
Each NI Single-Board RIO integrates an embedded real-time processor, a high-performance FPGA, and onboard analog and digital I/O onto a single board. All I/O is connected directly to the FPGA, providing low-level customization of timing and I/O signal processing. The FPGA is connected to the embedded real-time processor via a high-speed PCI bus. LabVIEW contains built-in data transfer mechanisms to pass data from the I/O to the FPGA and also from the FPGA to the embedded processor for real-time analysis, post-processing, data logging, or communication to a networked host computer.
Depending upon your application, domain specific signal conditioning may be necessary to effectively complete your design. Such an accessory can also facilitate the interfacing of signals from the Single-Board RIO card to an external source. For example, you may need to breakout a measurement into separate signals to interact with different elements of a system.
Such custom interfaces, or circuitry can be deployed in the form of a daughter card, or expansion card. This additional circuitry provides you as the designer with a compact, yet specific design to acquire and condition electric signals.
The image below (Figure 1) shows an example of the Single-Board RIO. Highlighted in yellow, we see the FPGA onboard the system. Highlighted in red we see the multi-port analog/digital connectors, which are where daughter cards can interface to the embedded platform.
Figure 1 - Single-Board RIO Platform
For this reference design, we are able to use NI suite of circuit prototyping tools: NI Multisim capture and simulation, as well as NI Ultiboard layout and routing. Multisim is an easy-to-use capture environment, which augments the design process with accessible simulation. Ultiboard is a flexible environment to layout PCBs, and export industry standard Gerber files for prototype fabrication.
As NI tools, we are able to provide additional references and materials that will make your design efforts easier, quicker and simpler. Within this reference design you will find a complete set of files including:
This reference design outlines the methodology to create your own daughter card for the sbRIO-9601/9602 platform. (Figure 2).
Figure 2 - Completed Daughter Card Design for Single-Board RIO
Although this design reference library is intended to be as accurate as possible and has been checked by Application Engineers at NI, it is always recommended to closely check documentation provided with the hardware purchase. It is always suggested that you reference materials associated with NI hardware to verify correct pin assignments and to check correct layout guidelines and pin spacing.
Alongside other design references such as those for breakout boards, C-Series Modules and CompactRIO expansion boards, this design reference contains a library of ready-made schematic symbols, PCB layouts (including board outlines), as well as the database of components for custom design. The purpose of these materials is to aid engineers in being able to leverage the quick and flexible nature of NI design tools (Multisim, Ultiboard, sbRIO) to easily prototype their own platforms.
Download the attached for your content: 8213_design_files.zip.
This zip folder contains:
As with most design tools, as you embark upon creating a custom design you require symbols and landpatterns for the components that will define your design. Components are the building block of any prototype, and engineers will often spend hours ensuring that the pin mapping, and land pattern definitions are accurate to ensure design effectiveness.
As a part of this reference design a database expansion for NI Multisim and NI Ultiboard is provided, with accurate (and design verified) symbols and landpatterns which will interface to the connectors on the Single-Board RIO platform.
The components for Single-Board RIO custom design is provided in the sbRIO_Connectors.prz and UsrComp_S_SB-RIO.usr files. To add the components to your work environment:
The mating connectors in the Multisim database (also known as P2, P3, P4 and P5) constitute the connectors that you will need to design for, in order to interface to the low level digital input/output (I/0) on the Single-Board RIO. These connectors are found on a variety of current sbRIO-96XX families.
Depending on the engineer, and the schematic that is being designed, a number of different forms of these connectors have been made available to make design flexible.
Each connector (P2, P3, P4 and P5) on a design consists of various ports. By symbolically breaking the connector into separate ports, you are able to better handle the design on a schematic, thereby wiring up the circuitry to the mating connector in a far more modular fashion.
The following connectors (Figure 3) show how the P2 is broken out into 4 subsections – Port 5, Port 6, Port 2 (partially shown, as it is shared with a connector section) and Power.
Figure 3 - Port Based Breakdown of Single-Board RIO Connector
The symbol below (Figure 4) shows the connector in its entirety by having all ports joined as one. This style allows you to visualize all of the individual pin connections on the appropriate mating connector (in a similar fashion as when you physically prototype a design). Note that on this style of connector you will have multiple connections to ground and VCC.
Figure 4 - Single-Board RIO Connector
Connections to individual Port/Line combinations are designated by PX.DY, where X = Port Number and Y = Line Number as specified in the sbRIO user manual documentation.
Each of the above symbols (whether chosen to be as a single connector symbol or as multiple ports) map to a landpattern (or footprint) which represents the actual physical dimensions of a real connector on a PCB. The following (Figure 5) shows you the PCB landpattern and the 3D representation of the PCB mating connector for these pins.
This connector must be oriented on the bottom side of your custom board as it will connect your custom daughter card designs to the Single-Board RIO platform. The connector is called a Conn_50pin_IDC_Female_Vert in the NI Ultiboard database.
Figure 5 - Mating Connector Landpattern and 3D View
If you wish to learn more about the connectors, example files and templates available for Single-Board RIO design, please consult the Custom Daughter Card Design for NI Single-Board RIO with NI Multisim and Ultiboard article. With this content, you will be able to gain access to all of the various files that have been created, which are your starting point to daughter card design for this platform.
The remainder of this article will provide you with the files needed for a completed daughter card design.
Throughout this document we have spoken about component databases, schematic templates and PCB layouts. All of these are fundamental starting points for your design needs.
In this section of the reference design we however can focus on completed designs, which are ready to be immediately fabricated. With a few changes, or alterations, you can even take these reference designs and make them appropriate for your own custom designs.
With the following reference design, contained in the following file: 8213_design_files.zip, you will find:
This design is a simple counter, which uses the FPGA and Real-Time Processor onboard the Single-Board RIO to light a pattern across a bank of 8 LEDs. This design is similar to a CompactRIO custom module design that is also available as a reference design (to learn more click here to view the online article).
This is a simple, yet functional design that can help you to leverage the Single-Board RIO’s compact and effective design on a custom daughter card.
The reference design has been broken into various multi-page schematics that allow us to access to various ports effectively. We have utilized the “port” based breakdown of the connector symbols in this reference design.
To open the schematic:
Figure 6 - Multisim Design Toolbox
Figure 7 - Multisim Schematic Guide
Figure 8 - HCT595 LED Counter Circuit
Figure 9 - Digital Input Ports
Figure 10 - Unused Analog Ports
These simple schematics define the complete reference design. With a complete design, we simply need to take a look at our completed PCB layout.
As mentioned previously the schematic is but one half of a complete design. There is also the layout for us to consider.
To open the layout file:
This relatively simple design (Figure 11) has already routed the various signals from the digital I/O mating connectors on the SB-RIO 960x board to the LEDs. There are also appropriate connections to the screw terminals on the outside edge of the board.
Figure 11 - Ultiboard Layout
To view the 3D properties of the board, we can use the 3D view in NI Ultiboard: Select Tools > View 3D.
The 3D representation of the board appears (Figure 12 and 13), and you can use your mouse to rotate the board 360 degrees in all directions. By using the rotation feature, you can see both the top side of the board with the LEDs and screw terminals, as well as the bottom side with the various connectors to mate with the Single-Board RIO design.
Figure 12 - Daughter Card Top View (3D)
Figure 13 - Daughter Card Bottom View (3D)
For the design all of the various Gerber files that are needed have been generated, allowing you to very easily send your information to the board fabrication house for prototyping. These files are in the Gerber RS-274x standard (the industry standard), and provide PCB manufacturers with a layer-by-layer guide to the design and manufacture of your PCB.
We are now ready to begin exporting our completed file to our fabrication house, in this case Sunstone Circuits. We need to very simply:
Figure 14 - Export Dialog Box
Figure 15 - Gerber File Export
For NI prototyping, Sunstone Circuits is a member of the Circuit Design Ecosystem. By sending Sunstone Circuits the above Gerber files to their online quick-turn service, you can be guaranteed your finished prototype in as little as a few days. Through our partnership, we have order integration, meaning that Sunstone has a previous knowledge of our circuit files and technology, making the prototype stages simpler.
Navigate to this click to receive a quote on your design and have Sunstone fabricate your prototype.
To learn more about Sunstone Circuits view our 3rd Party Design Network page here.
Figure 16 - 3rd Party Design Network
With Multisim, Ultiboard and the various resources available on ni.com, you have the tools to architect custom designs such as daughter cards, C-Series modules, accessories and connectors to complete your NI design platforms.
To learn more about board-level design with Multisim and Ultiboard: