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Interfaces deliver direct laptop control of PXI/CompactPCI

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NATIONAL Instruments (NI) has introduced the industry's first products for laptop control of PXI/CompactPCI. Engineers can now directly control a PXI/CompactPCI system from a laptop computer using new NI ExpressCard MXI and PCMCIA CardBus interfaces.

This new capability is suitable for portable and mobile applications, such as in-vehicle data logging, machine condition monitoring and field tests including RF spectral monitoring, in a variety of industries including automotive and military/aerospace.

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 that comes standard on many new laptop computers.

The ExpressCard standard works with both 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. ExpressCard MXI delivers up to 110MB/s of sustained throughput between PXI/CompactPCI systems and laptop computers.

With the NI PXI-CardBus8310 interface, engineers can directly control PXI/CompactPCI systems from a PCMCIA CardBus slot, available on most existing laptop computers. The new interface gives engineers the option of using the laptop computers they currently own to control PXI/CompactPCI systems.

Both interfaces are transparent to software applications and drivers. With embedded controllers or desktop computers with remote controllers, engineers can implement the new laptop control solutions without changing existing software written for use with PXI/CompactPCI systems.

The ExpressCard MXI and PCMCIA CardBus interfaces provide a software-transparent link to the PXI/CompactPCI system, delivering software compatibility with all drivers and application development environments. For example, engineers can use them with the NI LabVIEW graphical development environment and NI modular instruments to develop portable, high-performance field test systems.

Engineers also can use the interfaces with dc-powered chassis, data acquisition modules and the NI SignalExpress interactive measurement environment to create mobile data loggers.

The ExpressCard MXI and PCMCIA CardBus interfaces work with modular instruments, data acquisition modules and bus interfaces from National Instruments, as well as modules from the more than 65 members of the PXI Systems Alliance and additional CompactPCI module vendors.

NI offers essential technologies for test, which combine high-performance hardware, flexible software and innovative timing and synchronisation technology for test and design applications.

NI modular instruments offer accurate, high-throughput measurements from dc to 2.7GHz.

The product family includes:

* High-resolution digitisers (up to 24 bits, up to 200MS/s)

* Signal generators (up to 16 bits, 200MS/s)

* Digital waveform generator/analysers (up to 400Mb/s)

* Digital multimeters (up to 71/2 digits)

* RF vector signal generators and analysers (up to 2.7GHz)

* Dynamic signal analysers (up to 24 bits, 204.8kS/s)

* Switching (multiplexers, matrices and general purpose).

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