Remote I/O is a low-cost, modular system used for simple tasks while a controller handles advanced tasks such as image processing, motion control, and high-speed or specialty measurements. You may have also heard this form factor called block or slice I/O.
Remote I/O is generally installed in a cabinet. Depending on your I/O needs and how distributed your system is, your remote I/O system will likely be installed either in the same cabinet as your controller or in a separate cabinet located near your I/O point. In both cases, the remote I/O system is controlled from an NI real-time controller connected via EtherCAT (Figure 2).
Figure 1. Common system configurations for remote I/O are (A) installed in a central control cabinet next to your controller and (B) installed in a cabinet near the I/O.
How Does Remote I/O Compare to Other I/O from NI?
Often, advanced control or measurement systems have two categories of I/O – (1) high-speed, high-precision, high-accuracy, or specialty measurements, and (2) basic, slow I/O. The first category can be addressed with C Series I/O modules. The second category can be addressed with C Series or remote I/O modules. Each of these I/O options has its strengths (Table 1).
Table 1. A comparison of different I/O options offered by NI.