Archive for the ‘compactrio’ Category

We just introduced new additions to NI reconfigurable I/O (RIO) technology – a reconfigurable Camera Link frame grabber, a motion module for the NI CompactRIO platform, and six new custom brushless DC motors.


Ideal for advanced inspection and imaging applications, the NI PCIe-1473R frame grabber is a PC-based embedded vision board that combines FPGA technology with a Camera Link interface. The new frame grabber’s onboard FPGA can be programmed with the NI LabVIEW FPGA Module for custom image processing and analysis in real time. It also features a high-bandwidth 850 MB/s Camera Link bus to support a range of Camera Link configurations and includes Power over Camera Link (PoCL) wireless capabilities, removing the need for additional cables or external power supply.


For advanced motion control challenges, the NI 9502 motion drive module for CompactRIO can power brushless, stepper or brushed servo motors directly with NI C Series modules to provide a compact, highly customizable motion drive solution. With 4 A continuous/8 A peak current, multiple commutation modes and direct connectivity with our six new three-phase brushless DC motors and integration with LabVIEW FPGA, the NI 9502 helps engineers implement proprietary custom drive control algorithms, eliminating the need for custom firmware from a drive manufacturer.


Check out the frame grabber at and learn more about the drive modules and motors at

The writing's on the (water) wall: this week's LabVIEW demo unites art and science, and it is a match made in heaven. Imagine shimmering sprays of water against a backdrop of colorful light. With just the click of a mouse, the streams speed up, slow down, spell out names, trace intricate patterns, and draw beautiful things like hearts, smiling faces, and the initials NI. The engineers at Optimation Technology designed this über cool writing waterfall for trade shows and conferences, and it's currently making a splashy appearance at NIWeek 2011.


The waterfall uses NI CompactRIO (cRIO-9073), and its user interface was written with NI LabVIEW software. The power of LabVIEW allows its user to transform input data into liquid art by simply drawing his cursor on the computer interface. CompactRIO has much more capacity than the current application requires, so the team has a ton of room for future innovations. If you're currently at NIWeek, be sure to check out this cool demo in the Embedded Control Product Showcase on the NIWeek expo floor!




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NI has expanded its reconfigurable I/O (RIO) platform with the addition of the highest performance and first multicore CompactRIO systems and smallest NI Single-Board RIO devices.




The new NI cRIO-908x systems feature an Intel® Core™ i7 dual-core 1.33 GHz processor and up to a Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA to deliver the highest processing power of any CompactRIO product. The controllers can be configured with a Windows Embedded Standard 7 OS configuration, which gives you access to a broad ecosystem of Windows-based software and integrated graphics, or a real-time OS for reliable, deterministic performance. The systems provide a variety of high-performance peripheral connectivity including two Gigabit Ethernet ports, a MXI Express port, four USB ports, RS232 and RS485 serial ports and a new CPU eXpansion Module (CXM) that makes it possible to add custom connectivity and expansion to CompactRIO using industry standard protocols.


For high-volume and OEM applications, the new NI sbRIO-9605/06 devices are sized from less than 102.87 mm x 96.52 mm and offer greater customization and I/O support than previous versions. The devices feature a 400 MHz processor and Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA to provide reliability and performance at a low price point. The devices also offer built-in peripherals such as RS232, CAN, USB and Ethernet. Additionally, the new devices feature a high-density and high-bandwidth connecter that gives you direct access to the FPGA and processor as well as the ability to add peripherals for further customization.


NI RIO technology combines LabVIEW with commercial off-the-shelf hardware to simplify development and shorten time to market when designing advanced control, monitoring and test systems. NI RIO hardware, which includes CompactRIO, NI Single-Board RIO, R Series boards and PXI-based NI FlexRIO, features an architecture with powerful floating-point processors, reconfigurable FPGAs and modular I/O. All NI RIO hardware components are programmed with LabVIEW to give you the ability to rapidly create custom timing, signal processing and control for I/O without requiring expertise in low-level hardware description languages or board-level design.


Visit to learn more about the cRIO-908x systems and to learn more about the new NI Single-Board RIO devices.

In third-world countries, remote villages without access to the power grid must rely on diesel or petroleum generators for electricity. This means they can warm and light their homes only if they have access to these limited resources. Engineers at Windlift develop portable airborne wind energy (AWE) technology for post-conflict reconstruction, disaster relief, and third-world development. Using the dynamic duo of  NI CompactRIO embedded systems and NI LabVIEW software, Windlift designed a system to provide renewable energy to villages in post-war Afghanistan.


AWE technology uses a flexible airfoil, tethered to a base station, to capture power from the wind. With its tethers spooled onto a large drum, the airfoil is actively flown downwind of the base station. As the airfoil flies away from the ground station, its tethers unspool from the drum and drive it to turn a generator. The electrical power produced by the generator is then transmitted to a battery bank and stored. All of these devices interface with CompactRIO through a controller area network (CAN) bus.



Up, Up, and Away…

Windlift AWE System During First Flight Test


The Windlift team is currently in the final stages of testing the AWE system prototype. Fortunately, thanks to the seamless interface between CompactRIO and LabVIEW, the transition from the current manual system to an automated system will be an easy one, requiring only a simple software update. The AWE system is just another example of how NI products are helping improve life across the globe.


>> Check out another sweet app that used LabVIEW to help make the world a better place.

>> Attention all do-gooders: Have you ever used NI products to innovate for those in need? Share your story with us in the comments below!

Armed with NI LabVIEW software, CompactRIO, and PXI hardware, researchers at the University of Zagreb in Croatia have established the Laboratory for Renewable Energy Sources, or LARES. We all know that green is the way to be, but as the demand for clean energy grows, the need to make it efficient and readily available does as well. To meet such demands, LARES conducts research on controlling and storing wind, hydrogen, and solar energy.


Let’s get the nuts and bolts straight. LARES is a microgrid consisting of a custom-made wind turbine, an electrolyzer and fuel cell stack for hydrogen production, and solar panels. It was designed to investigate and develop microgrid algorithms to control specific energy sources. Designing these control algorithms can be tricky, because the amount of energy produced by renewable sources is often unpredictable. The algorithms require many control loops and real-time hardware operation on a millisecond time scale. That’s a definite need for speed. With the help of NI products, the LARES engineers laid the foundation for virtual power plant control and made green energy a more reliable power source for the future. Captain Planet would be proud.


Check out their mean, green set-up:



      Wind Chamber with Wind Turbine and Powerful Blower     




                                                                            Hydrogen-Based Energy Source Consisting of Hydrogen Storage,                                                                            

Fuel Cell, Valves, and Measurement Equipment



>> Check out the full case study here.