NI introduces 1st products for laptop control of PXI/CompactPCI

By Control Engineering Staff August 25, 2005

Engineers now can control a PXI/CompactPCI system from a laptop computer using new National Instruments ExpressCard MXI and PCMCIA CardBus interfaces. This new capability is said to be ideal for portable and mobile applications, such as in-vehicle data logging, machine condition monitoring, and field tests including RF spectral monitoring, in automotive, military/aerospace, and other industries. NI demonstrated the capability during the Aug. 16 kickoff keynote to its NIWeek 20005 in Austin, TX. (PXI stands for PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation, an open specification from the PXI Systems Alliance .)

NI ExpressCard MXI (NI PXI-ExpressCard8360) offers direct control of PXI/CompactPCI systems from laptop computers with an ExpressCard slot. ExpressCard is the next-generation laptop interface standard on many new laptop computers. The standard works with USB 2.0 and PCI Express, and host slots accept modules that use either interface. ExpressCard MXI uses the PCI Express interface for maximum bandwidth performance. With the NI PXI-CardBus8310 interface, engineers can control PXI/CompactPCI systems from a PCMCIA CardBus slot, on most existing laptop computers. The new interface gives engineers the option of using laptop computers they currently own to control PXI/CompactPCI systems.

Interfaces are transparent to software applications and drivers. NI PXI-ExpressCard8360 is priced from $1,099, and NI PXI-CardBus8310 is priced from $1,499.

—Mark T. Hoske, editor-in-chief, Control Engineering,