Out of box the Windows based CompactRIO is similar to that of a new development computer in so much that it does not have any applications pre-installed. You will need to install the LabVIEW tools for your application development. You can install NI products either through the LabVIEW Platform DVD on a USB DVD optical drive, through a network installation, or through copying the LabVIEW installers to a USB drive. Since the CompactRIO is also built as a deployment platform, note that the cRIO-9081 only has 16GB of hard drive space which is not sufficient to install many tools beyond the LabVIEW Development System, LabVIEW FPGA Module (without compilation tools), and the NI-RIO driver as shown in Figure 2.
Installing the minimum LabVIEW development tools required locally on the cRIO-9081, with 16GB hard drive, leaves about 25% of the hard drive (3.8GB) for other application software and data logging.
If your application will require more than 16GB for the development tools, the cRIO-9082 includes a 32GB drive or you could consider remote development of your application. To learn more about the advantages and limitations of remote development see the next section of this document.
Another consideration for local development on the CompactRIO target is the need for remote FPGA compilation tools. As CompactRIO is primarily a deployment platform the hard drive space and memory size are not adequate for local compilation of FPGA applications. Instead to allow for local development on the CompactRIO, the FPGA compilation tools should be installed on a remote computer that is accessible from the CompactRIO across an Ethernet network. There are three options to obtain this remote compilation functionality:
- Use the LabVIEW FPGA Compile Cloud Service: This free service offloads the FPGA compilations to a high-performance server that National Instruments maintains. Sign up at ni.com/trycompilecloud.
- Install the LabVIEW FPGA Compilation tools on a computer: The LabVIEW FPGA license allows you to install just the compilation tools on a remote computer.
- Setup a LabVIEW FPGA Compile Farm: The LabVIEW FPGA Compile Farm toolkit includes the software required to setup a centralized farm of computers devoted to FPGA compilations for your organization.
To learn more about the initial configuration options for local development on the Windows based CompactRIO reference Local Application Development on Windows based CompactRIO.
The development process with LabVIEW directly installed on the Windows based CompactRIO is similar to that for any other Windows targets. As shown in Figure 3 below, you add the back plane FPGA as a target under the My Computer project target and create and debug VIs under each target. The only significant difference is when you click the run button to compile your LabVIEW FPGA application the compilation process will occur on a remote computer.
When developing locally on the CompactRIO the LabVIEW project explorer represents the FPGA target underneath the Windows CompactRIO target rather than as part of a separate networked target.
Deployment and Replication
In developing on the deployment hardware using the actual peripherals and I/O of the device, the process of moving to final deployment is straight forward. As with any other LabVIEW for Windows application, to distribute the application, you create and configure a Build Specification in the Project Explorer window. Running the build specification then generates the Windows executable that you will use in the deployment of your application.
To learn more about the overall configuration, development, and deployment process for local development refer to Local Application Development on Windows based CompactRIO.