FieldPoint 2000 family continues to grow for intelligent networks - Embedded.com

FieldPoint 2000 family continues to grow for intelligent networks

National Instruments' LabVIEW-based distributed I/O system for measurement and control uses a variety of nodes and the family continues to expand.

The latest modules added to the FieldPoint 2000 range are the industrial FP-SG-140 strain gauge module and the FP-AI-102 12bit resolution, 120 V input range distributed I/O unit.

FieldPoint 2000 enables engineers to use National Instruments LabVIEW embedded on compact industrial measurement I/O nodes to build real-time distributed monitoring and control systems. Using these nodes, engineers can create reliable, stand-alone measurement and control solutions.

With LabVIEW graphical programming, engineers can create customized applications that they can download to a real-time operating system running on a dedicated processor in the

Each of these intelligent nodes can act as an independent component in a networked system and still communicate with a host Windows computer. Engineers also can integrate the modules into existing systems via Ethernet, and connect to or communicate with RS-232 serial devices.

FieldPoint consists of a variety of modular analog and discrete I/O and several network interfaces for distributed I/O across Ethernet, serial, Foundation Fieldbus, and wireless networks.

FieldPoint I/O modules combine quality I/O and signal conditioning with direct connectivity to a variety of sensors, including voltage, current, RTDs, thermocouples, relays, and pulse generation. FieldPoint modules are available with either 8 or 16 channels as well as dual-channel modules for more granular signal connectivity.

With 16bit resolution, the FP-SG-140 is designed for accurate strain measurements in a variety of applications, such as machine and structural monitoring and control. This module interfaces with a variety of transducers, such as load cells and pressure sensors, as well as standard full, half, and quarter bridge strain gauges.

The FP-SG-140 gives users programmable bridge completion for full and half-bridge configuration and the option to program each of its eight channels with a different excitation level of 2.5, 5, or 10 V. Each analog input channel has a software-enabled comb filter that users can set to reject frequencies above 15, 60, or 240Hz. This strain gauge module also uses FieldPoint Explorer, a software configuration utility with simple, pull-down menus to configure the operating mode of each analog input channel.

With the FP-SG-140, users can interface with LabVIEW, Lookout, LabWindows/CVI, or any OLE for process control (OPC) client to create custom measurement applications with shorter set-up time and increased flexibility. This strain gauge module works with all FieldPoint network modules, including the new FieldPoint 2000 family of intelligent, Ethernet-based network modules that support LabVIEW Real-Time for programming embedded measurement and control applications. The FP-SG-140 also integrates with other types of FieldPoint modules to monitor and control sensors, thermocouples, and relays.

The FP-AI-102 is an 8-channel analog input module for the FieldPoint I/O system. It can be used to monitor analog input signals from a variety of sensors and transmitters, including inputs up to 120V. It is suitable for battery pack and fuel cell testing, high-voltage measurements, and automotive 42V applications. Each channel can be configured individually via software for voltage inputs.

With the FP-AI-102 and National Instruments software, users now can directly measure high-voltage process signals without the challenge of designing custom signal conditioning systems.

The FP-AI-102 high-voltage analog input module works with all FieldPoint network modules, including the FieldPoint 2000 Family. Embedded stand-alone measurement and control applications can be mounted next to, and connected with, high-voltage signals commonly found on industrial machinery.

When launched the FieldPoint 2000 Family consisted of the FP-2000 and FP-2010 (FP-20xx) Ethernet network modules, each of which controls a user-configurable bank of I/O modules. These individual nodes, programmed with LabVIEW Real-Time, can perform machine monitoring, data acquisition, data processing, and programmable distributed control.

The FP-20xx has data storage capability that enables it to acquire and store data for postprocessing or retrieval. The user has access to both RAM for temporary storage and nonvolatile flash memory for permanent data storage. The access to nonvolatile flash memory is done via the LabVIEW file I/O functions, which use the convenient file system of the modules. For example, the FP-20xx network modules can acquire data for a period of several days, run a signal analysis function to determine its statistical importance, and finally send the compiled data to a host system. Or it can continuously process and send data, and then store it temporarily if any networking problems occur.

The FP-20xx can receive and send both measurement data and control parameters. If using a network and it fails to respond, the nodes can be programmed to perform whichever procedures are necessary to shut down safely. Or it can continue independent operation, responding to changing system parameters, and storing data in nonvolatile flash memory until the network begins to function again. The FP-20xx can also monitor and the built-in RS-232 serial port to carry on communication if the network fails.

The serial port can also be used as a means of communicating to the host in remote applications where Ethernet is not available. For example, the FP-20xx can use the serial port to talk to a radio modem, such as GSM, in order to communicate back to the host.

The FieldPoint modules can be mounted in the FP-ENC1 industrial enclosure for protection from harsh and dirty environments. The FP-ENC1 can house one network module and up to four FieldPoint I/O modules, which mount on a DIN rail in the rear of the enclosure. AC power can be converted into DC power for FieldPoint systems using one of four power supplies. Each power supply can power an entire bank of FieldPoint I/O modules, or you can use multiple power supplies to maintain bank isolation. The PS-1 is a wall-mount adapter, while the PS-2 and PS-3 are power supply 'bricks' with a universal IEC power input. The PS-4 is a DIN rail-mountable 24V power supply.

Also available is the FP-TB Series which consists of universal terminal bases for the FieldPoint I/O system that can accept any FieldPoint I/O module and provide convenient screw or spring terminals for field wiring connections. When installed, FieldPoint terminal bases also form the local bus that carries communications and power to the I/O modules.

The SRM6000 is a spread-spectrum modem that converts a FieldPoint I/O system into a wireless I/O and data acquisition system. The radio modem is designed specifically for reliable wireless communications in industrial environments with good noise immunity and range using frequency hopping spread spectrum technology. Because the radio modem uses the 902 to 928MHz band, it can be operated without an FCC or DOC site license. Pre-configured to work with FieldPoint I/O systems and software, the SRM6000 radio modem simplifies the implementation of wireless systems. It transmits up to 20miles with line-of-site antennas.

Also available are a number of dual channel modules. With a variety of signal types, including analog I/O voltage and current, RTDs, and discrete input and output, dual-channel modules provide a good solution for lower channel count I/O systems. Dual-channel analog input modules have 2-channel inputs, with an ability to have one differential channel per module. Up to six dual-channel modules can be installed on a single FP-TB-10 dual-channel terminal base. Dual-channel modules can coexist with 8 and 16-channel FieldPoint modules in the same FieldPoint bank.

LabVIEW Real-Time module 6.1

The LabView Real-Time Module 6.1 provides improved networking and control-loop performance for device level control. The module enables LabVIEW code to be embedded in intelligent hardware targets including the FieldPoint 2000 family and PXI solutions.

The latest version of LabVIEW Real-Time includes PID tools that are optimized for multiple control loops which improves performance.

The 6.1 module has improved networking speeds that enable data to be shared with other systems up to ten times faster than with the previous version of LabVIEW Real-Time.

A patent-pending point-by-point analysis technique is used to increase throughput and improve real-time response by using a memory of past input data and continuously adapting to new data.

LabVIEW 6.1 also contains a remote panels feature that ease remote monitoring and control. It is used with the datalogging and supervisory control Module 6.1 to control machine monitoring or data logging applications anywhere.

PXI controllers for real-time

Real-time systems capable of executing control loops up to 40 kHz are possible with the NI 8176 RT and NI 8175 RT embedded controllers.

The NI 8176 RT controller has a 1.2 GHz processor and runs LabVIEW Real-Time control applications up to 300% faster than other real-time controllers and up to 28% faster than the PXI 8170 RT, previously NI's most powerful real-time controller.

The NI 8175 RT, is built on the same architecture as the NI 8176 RT and contains an 866MHz processor.

Both of the embedded controllers come ready-to-run with an embedded LabVIEW Real-Time run-time engine and feature built-in 100 BaseTX Ethernet for open network connectivity.

Engineers can create customized, integrated applications with the LabVIEW Real-Time Module and then download the applications to either of the controllers for guaranteed deterministic performance.

Because the controllers include built-in support for hardware I/O, engineers can combine them with a variety of PXI plug-in modules – from data acquisition, signal conditioning, dynamic signal acquisition, motion control, and serial and CAN connectivity – and even interface with third-party PXI/CompactPCI plug-in modules through NI-VISA software.

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