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From Bob Helsel, Editor of the PXI Newsletter:

Welcome to the February 2017 edition of the PXI Newsletter.  Our intent is to educate and inform you about how the PXI standard is being used in modular test systems for a wide variety of industries.

In the New PXI Products section, we are showcasing PXI products recently released by members of the PXI Systems Alliance.

Our thanks go to Pickering, the sponsor of this month's issue.

Visit for more information.


PXI in Multiport Device Test Applications

Submitted by Keysight Technologies

Driving down the cost-of-test is a high priority in high-volume component manufacturing. Engineers continually look for ways to increase the number of components tested in a shorter amount of time. Furthermore, components have become more complex and have more connecting ports that require characterization. Test instruments and signal integrity software have evolved to address those needs and test instrument vendors continue to push for even more sophisticated improvement.

This article highlights the advantages and key capabilities of multiport PXIe vector network analyzers (VNA) and the advantages they provide in a PXI test systems to improve high-volume production measurement throughput.

Initially, network analysis was used specifically for 2-port S-parameter measurements. Since then, VNAs have evolved to provide much more capability, including the ability to test power splitters, mixers, differential devices and became more actively used in test systems for measurements. Another large application space for VNAs is signal integrity testing of high speed digital interconnects. Backplanes, PCB’s, cable and connectors are transmitting gigabit data rates that create microwave transmission line effects.



Mass Interconnect and Fixturing

Submitted by National Instruments


Defining a test strategy is critical to reducing cost and maximizing the efficiency of your product development and manufacturing organizations. Gain best practices from the Fundamentals of Building a Test Systemguides to understand the recommended process for building test systems from start to finish. Ensure you have the fundamentals to build a smarter test system that is built to address your needs today and in the future. Mass interconnects and test fixtures are where the rubber meets the road for automated test systems. After determining your instrumentation, the number of switches you need, and the location that your switches will reside in the test system, the next step is to choose a suitable mass interconnect system and design an appropriate fixture that seamlessly mates your DUTs to the rest of the system.


A mass interconnect system is a mechanical interconnect designed to easily facilitate the connection of a large number of signals either coming from or going to a DUT or DUT fixture. Rather than connect each signal one by one, a mass interconnect system connects and disconnects all signals at once. For automated test systems, a mass interconnect system usually entails some interchangeable mechanical enclosure through which all signals are routed from instruments, typically in a test rack, to the DUT, making it easy to quickly change DUTs or to protect the cable connections on the front of the instruments from repeated connect and disconnect cycles. This guide will outline best practices for choosing the right mass interconnect and fixturing for your test system.


Five Test and Measurement Predictions for 2017

By Larry Desjardin, Modular Methods

It’s a brand new year! And you know what that means- new year resolutions, hitting the gym, and making predictions for the year to come!

This blog, Test Cafe, is focused on modular instrumentation and other disruptive architectures. But it’s time to step back and look at T&M (test and measurement) as a whole to choose some of the interesting trends for the year to come. Here are my Top 5 predictions for 2017.

Industry succumbs to MADness.  No, I’m not talking crazy.  MAD as in mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures.  I expect some significant ones this year.  Why? Just look at financials of many of the players.  Slow growth but quite profitable. In fact, you can argue that the industry hasn’t grown as a whole since 2012.


Thanks to all our readers.
Bob Helsel, Editor

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New PXI Products

The PXI platform continues its explosive growth with many new product introductions. New products introduced in the last three months include (listed in the order received):

M924xA PXIe Modular Oscilloscopes
The Keysight M9241A, M9242A and M9243A oscilloscopes provide up to 1 GHz of analysis bandwidth including probing and analysis tools. This is a full-featured oscilloscope (not a digitizer with an oscilloscope soft front panel) and utilizes Keysight's InfiniiVision benchtop oscilloscope technology and hardware in a PXI format.

Astronics Test Systems introduces new PXIe Arbitrary Waveform Generator
Recently Astronics announced a new PXIe-1802 Arbitrary Waveform Generator in a compact, robust PXI form factor for aerospace, defense, communications, and other high-reliability applications.

Fibre Channel & Gigabit Ethernet Instrument
AIT's new PXIe-FCETH instrument is a PXI Express module that is capable of being used as either a Fibre Channel or Avionics Ethernet test instrument. The module can be reconfigured, by the user, to operate each of it's two network interfaces as either Fibre Channel or Ethernet.

NI PXIe-4480
The PXIe-4480 is designed for high-bandwidth audio, acoustic, and vibration measurements. It provides six channels of dynamic signal acquisition, and you can use one of four gain settings to configure your input range.

SignalCore High Performance 6 GHz RF Downconverter
SignalCore’s high performance triple stage heterodyne 100 kHz to 6 GHz downconverter is cost effective, compact and designed for seamless RF integration. Its output IF frequency can be tuned to center between 100 MHz and 500 MHz, and also selectable for 1250 MHz.

Pickering Interfaces New High-Density PXI Matrix Range – 40-52
The 40-520 family of high-density PXI matrices is available in 22 different configurations with up to 256 crosspoints. The choice of six bus widths (x16, x12, x8, x6, x4 and x2) enables competitively priced solutions using Pickering Electronics instrumentation quality reed relays.


China is Hungry for PXI!

By Bob StasonisPickering Interfaces

The demand for technical conferences and seminars is very active in China.  For the past three years, Members of the PXI Systems Alliance (PXISA), together with assistance from the PXISA marketing committee, have held successful “mini” trade shows and conferences in mainland China in that we call “The PXI Show”.  On average, thirteen companies displayed their PXI products and eleven companies presented papers on PXI Apps.

Demand is very high as we usually had to turn away attendees.  For example, over four events last year, we had a total of about 800 attendees.  But we had to turn away over 550 persons because of lack of space!

At each location, we have an exhibit room and another for papers.  It is run for one day in each location.  The questions from attendees are very good and all the exhibitors seem to appreciate the energy.

What is unique about the PXI Shows is the “level playing field”.  Each exhibitor, large or small gets 4 meters of table space.  No huge booths, so all companies get equal opportunity.  In addition, all exhibitors get the contact info of all attendees.  So, every company gets the chance to show their wares.

As I write this, I am getting ready for the 2017 PXI Shows.  There are two in April (Beijing and Shanghai) and two in September (Chengdu and Shenzhen).  Go to for more details – just be sure that your browser translates Chinese characters.


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