Instructor and Moderator: Bob Helsel, Executive Director of VXIbus, LXI, AXIe Consortia, and PXI Systems Alliance. Director of Services, IVI Foundation
Bob Helsel, Bode Enterprises – Introductions and Overview
Fred Blönnigen/Torsten Rissel, Bustec – VXIbus
Mike Dewey, Marvin Test Solutions – PXI
Reggie Rector, NI – PXI Express & PXImc
Chris Miller/Joe Mueller, Keysight Technologies AXIe
Joe Mueller, Keysight Technologies – IVI
Steve Schink, Keysight Technologies – LXI
Bob Helsel, Bode Enterprises – Q/A and Close
Description: The VXIbus Consortium was formed in 1987 with a charter of defining a multivendor instrument-on-a-card standard. Since that time, the Consortium has defined system-level components required for hardware interoperatibility. The IEEE officially adopted the VXI specification, IEEE 1155, in March 1993.
The VXIbus architecture is currently a well-established architecture used extensively in military, aerospace and commercial applications. However, many test engineers have no personal experience with it, or would like to brush up on its basics, as it will be around for another 10-20 years. We will cover the approval in 2004 of the VXI-1 Rev 3.0 spec, which again doubles the backplane speed to 160MB/s. And we will cover the approval of VXI 4.0 and its improvements in speed and flexibility. VXIplug&play standards are the software equivalent to the VXI hardware specifications, and are the definition to which all VXI drivers are now written. This software standard has formed the bedrock for many other software developments, such as Interchangeable Virtual Instrument (IVI) drivers.
PXI is a rugged PC-based platform for measurement and automation systems. PXI combines PCI electrical-bus features with the modular, Eurocard packaging of CompactPCI and then adds specialized synchronization buses and key software features. PXI is both a high-performance and low-cost deployment platform for applications such as manufacturing test, military and aerospace, machine monitoring, automotive, and industrial test. Developed in 1997 and launched in 1998, PXI is an open industry standard governed by the PXI Systems Alliance (PXISA), a group of more than 70 companies chartered to promote the PXI standard, ensure interoperability, and maintain the PXI specification.
This modular instrument standard rapidly gained acceptance and can be viewed as a companion standard to VXI, (or by some as a replacement). This hardware standard will be discussed in detail, as will its expected impact on the market. An update will be provided on Enhanced PXI specifications and their implementation, including Low Power Chassis. PXI Express and PXI MultiComputing will be explained with a review of PXI express products and their potential applications.
The Interchangeable Virtual Instrument (IVI) software standard, which has been extensively revised and expanded, will be covered with the latest information available. The IVI Foundation was founded in 1998 and incorporated in 2001. The purpose of the IVI Foundation is promoting specifications for programming test instruments that simplify interchangeability, provide better performance, and reduce the cost of program development and maintenance. IVI Instrument drivers have been available for about 14 years. New Specifications for Digital Test, Counter/Timer, and Signal Oriented test plus LXI triggering and sync will also be discussed.
The LXI Consortium is 13 years old now, and was formed to standardize the way instruments can be connected and controlled via the Internet in a Local Area Network. Extensions for discovery, triggering and synchronization, browser interface, initialization, and programming are all part of the extensions being considered in this standardization effort. We will introduce the latest release of the LXI Specification as well as the introduction of new LXI compliant products that are now available. The LXI Consortium is the first T&M standards organization to release a reference design, LXI Reference Design, V1.3.
An emerging test and measurement standard called AXIe, AdvancedTCA eXtensions for Instrumentation, is expected to find wide acceptance within the Automatic Test Equipment community as it offers many key benefits. It is expected that a large number of COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) signal conditioning, acquisition and processing modules will become available from a range of different suppliers. AXIe uses AdvancedTCA® as its base standard, but then leverages test and measurement industry standards such as PXI, IVI, and LXI, which were designed to facilitate cooperation and plug-and-play interoperability between COTS instrument suppliers. This enables AXIe systems to easily integrate with other test and measurement equipment. AXIe's large board footprint, available power and efficient cooling to the module payload allows high density in a 19" rack space, enabling the development of high-performance instrumentation in a density unmatched by other instrumentation form factors. Channel synchronization between modules is flexible and provided by AXIe's dual triggering structures: a parallel trigger bus, and radially-distributed, time-matched point-to-point trigger lines. Inter-module communication is also provided with a local bus between adjacent modules allowing data transfer rates up to 10 Gbits/s in each direction, for example between front-end digitizer modules and DSP banks. AXIe is a next-generation, open standard that extends AdvancedTCA® for general purpose and semiconductor test. First specifications were released in June 2010.
This comprehensive update on the development of commercial standards for the ATE community should not be missed by anyone concerned with current and future ATE systems design and integration.