Controller advances graphical system design - Embedded.com

Controller advances graphical system design

Austin, Texas—Instrumentation house National Instruments (NI) releases a realtime controller in collaboration with Freescale Semiconductor and Wind River . NI's CompactRIO cRIO-9012 controller, priced starting at less than about $1500, is based on Freescale's MPC5200 Power Architecture processor and Wind River VxWorks RTOS (realtime operating system).

This collaboration can help simplify embedded system development through graphical system design. The technique combines open software and COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) programmable hardware in a single unifying platform.

Melding Three Company's Wares

NI says its cRIO-9012 controller uses technologies from all three companies to deliver more memory and non-volatile disc space, as well as more DSP (digital signal processing) and faster streaming. This can serve logging and networking applications better than the company's cRIO-9002 precursor controller.

A word about CompactRIO. It's an embedded control and acquisition platform powered by graphical system design. It's intended for applications where small size, low cost, and reliability are crucial. CompactRIO is powered by National Instruments's LabVIEW FPGA (field programmable gate array) and LabVIEW Real-Time technologies. These give you the ability to define and develop custom embedded systems.

Freescale's 400-MHz Processor

For its part, Freescale's 400-MHz MPC5200 processor, containing an integrated FPU (floating-point unit), is suited for networking, media, industrial control, and automotive applications. The MPC5200, programmed with National Instruments's LabVIEW Real-Time Module, gives the cRIO-9012 controller up to four times the processing performance, and nearly two times lower dissipation than its forerunner.

Running on the MPC5200, Wind River VxWorks's RTOS gives you a fault-tolerant file system that provides reliable data logging. This makes it possible to operate the controller for long periods of time in remote applications using a battery or solar power.

Shared Variables

The NI LabVIEW Real-Time Module provides shared variables for simplified network communication between distributed systems, as well as NI's latest LabVIEW Project which streamlines code control and application deployment to multiple CompactRIO systems.

As such, the cRIO-9012 realtime controller embedded system is suitable for applications such as machine control and monitoring, in-vehicle logging, and embedded system prototyping. It should serve well in a variety of industries, such as automotive, military, industrial equipment, energy, and environmental.

Using a standard architecture and COTS components, graphical system design will also help you streamline your development process, and more quickly prototype and deploy new designs—without the need to build custom embedded systems for every project. The openness of the graphical system design approach also gives you the opportunity to incorporate state-of-the-art technologies from multiple vendors.

FPGA Customization

You can also customize a Xilinx FPGA chipset in the reconfigurable chassis. You can take advantage of the graphical programming tools in LabVIEW to target the VxWorks operating system and the Xilinx FPGA. This combination in a single platform makes graphical system design a methodology for embedded system design.

The combination of the VxWorks RTOS, LabVIEW rapid development programming tools, and the CompactRIO platform, provides device software engineers with a foundation for design, so they can focus on a complete system.

For more details contact Ernest Martinez at National Instruments, 11500 N. Mopac Expwy., Austin, Texas 78759-3504. Phone: 800-258-7022. Fax: 512-683-9300. E-mail: info@ni.com

National Instruments , 800-258-7022, www.ni.com/compactrio

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