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Controller enables graphical system design

Posted: 16 Nov 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:National Instruments? Freescale? Wind River? CompactRIO? cRIO-9012?

<a href=NI's CompactRIO cRIO-9012 controller" ALIGN="RIGHT">

Instrumentation house National Instruments (NI) has released a realtime controller in collaboration with Freescale Semiconductor and Wind River. NI's CompactRIO cRIO-9012 controller, priced starting at less than about $1,500, is based on Freescale's MPC5200 Power Architecture processor and Wind River VxWorks RTOS.

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

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 and faster streaming. This can serve logging and networking applications better than the company's cRIO-9002 precursor controller.

Integrated FPU
Freescale's 400MHz MPC5200 processor, containing an integrated floating-point unit (FPU), is suited for networking, media, industrial control and automotive applications. The MPC5200, programmed with NI'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 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.

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

As such, the cRIO-9012 real-time 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.

Graphical system design
Using a standard architecture and COTS components, graphical system design will also help streamline the development process, and more quickly prototype and deploy new designswithout the need to build custom embedded systems for every project. The openness of the graphical system design approach also gives the opportunity to incorporate state-of-the-art technologies from multiple vendors.

A Xilinx FPGA chipset can be customized in the reconfigurable chassis. The graphical programming tools in LabVIEW can be used to target the VxWorks OS 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 a foundation for design, so they can focus on a complete system.

The new CompactRIO cRIO-9012 controller is priced at $1,499.

- Alex Mendelsohn
eeProductCenter




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