Integrating AXIe and PXI

Frequent readers of this blog are familiar with AXIe, ATCA Extensions for Instrumentation.  In many ways it is a supersized version of PXI, a modular architecture that also employs PCIe (PCI Express) but offers larger board area, power, and cooling.  For all these reasons it is often referred to as the “big brother” of PXI.

AXIe’s format is optimized for horizontally placed modules, with airflow moving efficiently from one side of a rack to the other.  This enables power dissipation of 200 watts per slot.  The deeper format also allows large single board instrument designs that sport high speed digital and analog circuitry without facing the signal integrity issues presented by multi-board designs.  All these factors combine to give AXIe very favorable power and circuit density per rack inch.  These are key factors why TEvAgilent, and Guzik have deployed high speed digital, digitizers, and arbitrary wave generators on AXIe.

While AXIe brings these advantages to the market, it is still a young standard and has nowhere near the product breadth of PXI. PXI is sufficient for many, if not most, instrument types and has wide industry adoption.  Fortunately, users don’t have to choose between one or the other and can integrate both into a test system, using the product capabilities of each.  How? Read how to integrate both into a single test system in my latest blogpost here.

By Larry DJ

Modular Instruments – Do they have any limitations?

Perhaps the most common question asked of me is to identify the measurement limits of modular standards like PXI, VXI, or AXIe.  Is there some fundamental frequency limit, parametric accuracy limit, or other measurement limitation that keeps traditional instruments as the only solution for a particular application?

Are there measurement limitations to modular instruments? My short answer is “very few, and becoming fewer”.  My long answer is here.

By Larry DJ