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From Bob Helsel, Editor of the PXI Newsletter:

Welcome to the May 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 Avionics Interface Technologies (AIT), the sponsor of this month's issue.

Visit for more information.

Fundamentals of Building a Test System:
Switching and Multiplexing

Submitted by National Instruments


Many automated test applications require routing signals to a variety of instruments and devices under test (DUTs). Often the best way to address these applications is to implement a network of switches that facilitate this signal routing between the instrumentation and the DUTs. Switching not only handles this signal routing, but it is also a low-cost way to increase
the channel count of expensive instrumentation while increasing the flexibility and repeatability of your measurements.

When adding switching to an automated test system, you have three main options: design and build a custom switching network in-house, use a stand-alone box controlled via GPIB or Ethernet, or use a modular platform with one or more instruments such as a digital multimeter (DMM). Switching is almost exclusively used alongside other instruments, so tight integration with those instruments is often a necessity. An off-the-shelf, modular approach can meet these integration challenges inherent in most common test systems. This guide will outline best practices for integrated switching and multiplexing into your test system.

Switching Architectures

Switching can be a cost-effective and efficient option for expanding the channel count of your
instrumentation, but it is not always the best option. There are four main types of switching

1. No Switching
2. Switching in Test Rack Only
3. Switching in Test Fixture Only
4. Switching in Test Rack and Test Fixture

The following table outlines the strengths and weaknesses of all four switching architectures.



Addressing Today’s Challenges of High-Speed Interconnect Test

Submitted by Keysight Technologies

Achieving high volume production test or R&D prototype test of high-speed interconnects, such as cables, backplanes, PCBs and connectors requires a fast, automated physical layer test system. Engineers need a test system that can keep up with the latest technologies and use leading edge test equipment and software. Fast paced manufacturing test requires a system with user definable flexibility, and a user-friendly interface to simplify test configurations and execution for signal integrity engineers. Breakthrough technologies have increased computer and network system’s data rates resulting in interconnection design updates adding to the complexity of physical layer test.

This article describes the challenges and needs for physical layer test today and in the near future.

Signal integrity engineers are discovering new test challenges as the development of next generation computer and communication system exceed data rates of multiple gigabits per second. Processors and SERDES chip sets, within these systems, are expected to operate beyond Giga hertz clock frequencies. Demand for higher data rates resulted in several physical layer design changes including signal routing for higher data rates and higher bandwidth per pin in high-speed serial bus designs by transitioning from parallel bus structures to serial bus structures. Design engineers are also implementing differential circuits instead of single-ended circuits in order to maintain channel signal integrity, minimize effect of cross talk, and enable maximum data rate throughput.


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):

GaGe 16-bit RazorMax Express Digitizer series
The high-speed GaGe 16-bit RazorMax Express Digitizer series is now available from DynamicSignals in a new 3U PXIe Gen3 x8 single slot form factor. The 1st and only current available PXIe Gen3 based digitizer providing unprecedented speed and resolution for the latest PXIe Gen3 platform.

NI PXIe-54x3 Arbitrary Waveform Generator FamilyThe new PXIe-5413, PXIe-5423, and PXIe-5433 arbitrary waveform generators deliver -92 dB of spurious-free dynamic range and 435 fs integrated system jitter while providing precise waveform adjustment when used with a dedicated standard waveform generation engine.

OpenATE PA32S, 3U PXI Module, designed for  MEMS Sensor device Testing
PA32S provides high-performance analog, digital, counter / timer and I2C / SPI functionalities on a single board; enhances SCAN/SRD modes to save execution time significantly during data log / capture.

Keysight M9336A PXIe I/Q Arbitrary Waveform Generator
The high performance M9336A PXI AWG provides creation for complex wideband waveforms with three 540 MHz bandwidth channels, 16-bit resolution, and 1.28 GS/s in a single slot module.

Instrumental Systems
The FMC121cP is a high performance FPGA carrier card complied with ANSI/VITA 57.1. Depending on design version it can fit CompactPCI or PXI or PXIe 3U systems. All the interface options are closely coupled to fast on-board memory resources. 

AMETEK VTI Instruments’ EMX-70XX Series of Precision Programmable Resistor Ladders
AMETEK VTI Instruments continues to expand their core ATE PXI Express (PXIe) card lineup. The EMX-70XX series can be used to simulate sensors, potentiometers, thermocouples, pressure sensors, strain gauges, and more.

FlashRunner FRPXIA3 integrates In-System Programming function in the PXI system
FlashRunner PXIA3 is the new PXI module for Gang In-System Programming. FlashRunner PXI is based on FlashRunner technology, the fast and reliable programming system for flash-based microcontrollers and serial memories. 

Circuit Check 6000 Series Rotary Handler for PXI Based ATE
Rotary table based product handlers used in production help minimizes load and unload times for an operator, because the device-under-test (DUT) automatically moves to the next cell within the station as each DUT is loaded.

Pickering Interfaces Expands Range of High-Density 2 Amp PXI Multiplexers (40-614)
The 40-614 range is available in 20 different configurations and was designed for signal routing in Automatic Test Equipment (ATE) and data acquisition systems. The range uses high-quality electromechanical signal relays allowing each channel to switch current up to 2 Amps and voltage up to 200VDC/140VAC. 


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