PXI Modular Instrumentation

Pickering Interfaces to showcase turnkey microwave switching subsystems at Engineering Design Show (EDS) 2023

Pickering Interfaces will showcase its range of modular PXI, PXIe & LXI signal switching and simulation products for electronic test and verification, including a turnkey LXI microwave switching matrix demo, on stand H40 at Engineering Design Show (EDS) 2023, at Coventry Building Society Arena from October 11-12, 2023.

Established in 2012, the Engineering Design Show (EDS) is the UK’s biggest trade show dedicated to mechanical, electronics and embedded design. It aims to provide design engineers with direct access to the latest products, services and innovations available, helping them solve design challenges, discover technologies and get expert advice from more than 200 world-class suppliers. A comprehensive conference programme also provides plentiful opportunities for hands-on learning, networking and professional development.

Ideal for teams with limited engineering resources and applications that demand high performance, Pickering’s turnkey LXI microwave switch and signal routing subsystems offer flexible and configurable fully integrated solutions. Steve Edwards, Switching Product Manager at Pickering, comments: “Our engineers possess the deep switching expertise to understand your high-level requirements and translate your unique configuration and specification for microwave switching subsystems into well-defined and documented, fully integrated and supportable end products that will satisfy your demanding microwave testing needs.”

In addition to its flexible and configurable LXI microwave switch platform, Pickering will also highlight the following switching and simulation technologies on stand H40 at EDS 2023, at Coventry Building Society Arena from 11-12 October 2023:

  • PXI & PXIe programmable precision resistor, thermocouple and LVDT modules for sensor simulation
  • High density switching matrices, modular PXIe & LXI/USB chassis, and supporting cables & connectors
  • Diagnostic tools, including eBIRST Switching System Test Tools – designed to simplify fault-finding by rapidly testing the system and graphically identifying faulty relays

Pickering Interfaces to showcase LXI microwave switch & signal routing solutions at Aerospace Test & Development Show 2023

Pickering Interfaces, the leading provider of modular signal switching & simulation products for electronic test & verification, will showcase its turnkey LXI microwave switch & signal routing subsystems on booth #633 at Aerospace Test & Development Show, Hall 7, MEETT, Toulouse, France from September 19-20, 2023.

Aerospace Test & Development Show is the world’s only dedicated all-sector aerospace test & development international exhibition. It brings together manufacturers of aerospace components, complete aircraft, helicoptors, space exploration vessels, urban-and inter-urban passenger drones, and air-defence systems to discuss and showcase technologies, techniques and services that will reduce product failure, decrease product development cycles and costs, and improve performance and reliability. The international exhibition takes place in Toulouse, the European heartland of aviation research and development, and features over 100 of the world’s leading providers of test and development tools, technologies and services.

Outlining the turnkey LXI microwave switch & signal routing subsystems, Steve Edwards, Switching Product Manager at Pickering, explains: “We have the expertise and ability to turn your high-level requirements for a microwave switching subsystem into the fully integrated solution that you need. You provide us with your unique configuration and specification, and our engineers will work closely with you to provide a well-defined, fully integrated and supportable end product that will satisfy your microwave testing needs.” 

In addition to the turnkey LXI microwave switch & signal routing subsystems demo, Pickering will also highlight its signal switching and sensor simulation technologies for electronic test & verification – including a BMS (Battery Management System) test demo, featuring battery simulator, fault insertion and programmable resistor modules, and a PXIe chassis loaded with general purpose relay modules, and thermocouple and LVDT simulators – on booth #633 at Aerospace Test & Development Show, Hall 7, MEETT, Toulouse, France from September 19-20, 2023.

Pickering Interfaces stands behind its manufactured products with a standard three-year warranty and guaranteed long-term product support. Pricing and availability information is supplied on its website at: www.pickeringtest.com

Pickering Interfaces to showcase new MEMs-based RF multiplexers at European Microwave Week 2023

Pickering Interfaces, the leading provider of modular signal switching & simulation products for electronic test & verification, will showcase its extensive range of RF & microwave switching solutions, including the first modules in a new MEMS-based RF PXI/PXIe multiplexer family, on booth #605B at EuMW (European Microwave Week) 2023, at Messe Berlin Hub27 in Germany from September 19-21, 2023. 

European Microwave Week (EuMW) is an annual series of events that began in 1998, featuring three co-located conferences: the European Microwave Conference (EuMC); the European Microwave Integrated Circuits Conference (EuMIC); and the European Radar Conference (EuRAD). Also part of EuMW, the European Microwave Exhibition is the largest trade show dedicated to microwaves & RF in Europe, providing 8,000 m2 of exhibition space, around 4,000 visitors from around the globe, up to 1,700 conference delegates and in excess of 300 international exhibitors (including Asia and US, as well as Europe). It offers exhibitors an unrivalled opportunity to present RF & microwave products and technological developments, plus network with academics and professionals. It also provides a forum for discussing trends and exchanging technical information.

Ideal for wireless communications and semiconductor test, Pickering’s new RF multiplexer family is powered by Ideal Switch® from partner, Menlo Microsystems, which are among the first MEMS components on the market with the performance characteristics to support demanding RF testing requirements. Steve Edwards, Switching Product Manager at Pickering, comments: “The new MEMS-based RF multiplexers deliver vastly increased operational life (up to 300x), faster operating speed (up to 60x), and higher bandwidth (with no reduction in RF power handling) versus traditional EMR (electromechanical relay) alternatives. Insertion loss also remains comparable with EMR switches and much lower than solid-state.” 

In addition to the new RF multiplexer family in PXI/PXIe, Pickering will also highlight the following RF & microwave switching innovations on booth #605B at EuMW 2023, at Messe Berlin Hub27 in Germany from September 19-21, 2023:

  • New 110 GHz PXI/PXIe microwave switch – supporting 5G & semiconductor test
  • New Microwave Switch Design Tool – a free online tool for configuring flexible PXI & LXI microwave switch products
  • Flexible LXI microwave switch platform and turnkey services for LXI microwave switch & signal routing subsystems – including a custom 12×12 LXI microwave switching matrix demo
  • Also on show will be a selection from Pickering’s broad portfolio of other switches, along with its PXI, PXIe & LXI/USB modular chassis, simulation products, and cables & connectors

Pickering Interfaces stands behind its manufactured products with a standard three-year warranty and guaranteed long-term product support. Pricing and availability information is supplied on its website at: www.pickeringtest.com

New flexible PXI/PXIe microwave switching family from Pickering Interfaces delivers performance and test system optimisation

Pickering Interfaces, the leading supplier of modular signal switching & simulation solutions for use in electronic test & verification, today announced its new 40/42-890 family of modular, flexible PXI/PXIe microwave switches, bringing highly configurable RF switching solutions up to 110GHz to the PXI platform. Debuting at AUTOTESTCON, this new range will support the latest and most demanding RF and communications test requirements as operating frequencies continue to evolve to ever higher levels.

Ideal for test environments requiring high-frequency microwave switching, from radar, satellite, and short-range land-based secure communications to consumer electronics and 5G infrastructure, the new 40/42-890 microwave switch family provides highly configurable RF switching solutions up to 110GHz via the PXI platform, delivering flexibility, versatility, and test system optimisation. “This new PXI/PXIe family allows RF test engineers to select from and combine a wide range of high-performance microwave relay types to suit their exact application requirements while minimising chassis slot usage by combining multiple relay and connector types on a single module,” said Steve Edwards, Switching Product Manager at Pickering.

A full range of SPDT, SPnT, and transfer switch types are offered in PXI/PXIe, with terminated or unterminated ports at frequencies up to 110GHz – with options available in 50Ω or 75Ω impedance. RF test engineers can therefore specify the combination and topology of relays needed to create a bespoke solution tailored to their application requirements. Switching systems also benefit from reduced chassis slot count since multiple relay types can be combined in a single module. This helps minimise cost by combining the switch payload onto a smaller number of modules when compared to single switch type products.

This ability to combine a mix of relay types allows users to create larger and/or higher frequency multiplexers (MUXs) than offered via dedicated switches. For example, by combining two SP6T terminated and one SPDT relay, users can – with the addition of linking cables – create an SP12T terminated MUX rated to frequencies exceeding the 18GHz offered via dedicated switches. A range of predefined solutions are offered as standard in the 4x-890 family to illustrate the possibilities. With PXI or PXIe control interface options, test engineers also benefit from flexibility in chassis selection – and the Pickering connection division can provide a full range of cabling solutions to support the 40/42-890 range.

Each relay fitted to a 4x-890 module has associated front panel LED indicators to show the current energised path. This signal path indication provides a clear visual confirmation for verifying system operation, greatly simplifying the debugging of test application software. On-board relay counting is also offered, allowing the quantity of switching operations to be monitored as part of a test system predictive maintenance process. To facilitate rapid in-field repair, relay types that can be quickly replaced by simply withdrawing them through the front panel are used.

Test engineers can configure front panel layouts for the 4x-890 family using Pickering’s free web-based Microwave Switch Design Tool (MSDT), selecting panel size, relay types, LED indicators, cooling slots, images, and labelling. Once the various elements are added to the panel, the user can position them as required before submitting them to Pickering for production. Each custom build will be assigned a specific part number to provide traceability and ease the reorder process. 4x-890 modules are also supplied with soft front panels for each fitted relay, enabling manual control of the switches to simplify application software development and debug.

The 40/42-890 range is supplied with drivers that enable support across all popular software programming environments and operating systems, including Windows and Linux, as well as other real-time hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) tools.

New NI PXI Bundles now available from stock at Farnell

Farnell, is now supplying new PXI test and measurement bundles from NI.

Each high-performance bundle includes a PXI Instrument in a 5-slot PXI system that is controlled through a Thunderbolt USB-C port, making them an ideal, cost-effective way to automate high-quality measurements and testing with PXI. Direct connection to a laptop eliminates the additional cost of an on-board controller, providing an economic first-time investment into PXI. Each bundle includes one instrument, leaving four remaining slots to add instruments as testing needs evolve.

For more than 40 years, NI has developed automated test and measurement systems that help engineers solve the world’s toughest challenges. The company’s PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation (PXI) are the industry-standard and can be used to build high-performance, mixed measurement systems for validation and production tests. Combining multiple box instruments into a sub-compact single system, without compromise on performance, PXI software connectivity offers scalability and flexibility that enables users to customise measurements and simplify test development.

NI’s software environment for PXI, which includes LabVIEW and TestStand, allows engineers to easily customise testing procedures and data acquisition, analysis, and reporting to meet their specific needs. PXI’s high performance, value, modularity and software connectivity has seen it deployed across many industries including automotive, aerospace, electronics, semiconductors, life sciences and more.

The architecture of the PXI platform enables users to easily add or remove modules to meet their specific testing requirements. The PXI bundles are based on common applications and configured so that the user can also customise for their particular application by adding modules that fit their requirements. PXI portfolio includes oscilloscopes, source measurement units, LCR meters, waveform generators, digital multimeters and more—that can replace traditional box instruments and with which you can integrate PXI switches in a variety of topologies. 

Key benefits include:

  • Open industry standard: With more than 60 vendors offering PXI hardware, engineers have a wide range of options when it comes to selecting modules for their test and measurement needs.
  • High performance: NI PXI hardware utilises the latest technology, incorporating powerful multicore processors, FPGAs, and other technology to increase measurement range and performance.
  • Scalable: PXI’s architecture makes it possible to synchronise measurements across multiple modules or multiple chassis, enabling systems to grow as requirements change.

James McGregor, Global Head of Test, Tools and Production Supplies, at Farnell, said, “NI’s PXI offers unmatched modularity, flexibility and performance for creating custom test and measurement systems, allowing users to easily tailor their testing systems to their specific needs.

“These bundles are based on very common T&M applications yet allow the customer to add options to focus on the testing that is important to them.

“With a powerful software environment, users can rapidly develop, customise and confidently deploy testing procedures. This addition to Farnell’s portfolio expands and improves an already leading test and measurement range.”

The new NI PXI test and measurement bundles are now available from stock at Farnell in EMEA, Newark in North America and element14 in APAC.

Pickering Interfaces announces strategy for reducing test development time using simulation tools

Pickering Interfaces, a global supplier of modular signal switching and simulation solutions for use in electronic test and verification, today announced the company’s leading-edge hardware and software simulation tools. These tools enable test engineers to begin writing and verifying test program code today, freeing them from supply chain constraints.

This news comes on the heels of Pickering Interface’s 3-pronged approach to obsolescence, further underscoring the company’s commitment to customer success. 

Try Pickering Interface’s Simulation Software or request Simulation Hardware today: https://www.pickeringtest.com/products/software/pxi-lxi-simulation-tools

Speed Test System Development with Simulation

The software and hardware tools can simulate all Pickering PXI and LXI switching products and most of the company’s PXI simulation products, allowing for fast code development independent of application hardware.

With these simulation tools, test engineers can:

  • Mitigate Supply Chain Risks: Applications can be designed and developed without the presence of physical hardware, allowing engineers to begin working on a test system immediately – while waiting for hardware to ship.
  • Accelerate Development Time: Engineers can speed up the traditional waterfall development process and complete multiple development steps at once.
  • Debug Code without Physical Hardware: Engineers can pre-qualify equipment and test software code early in the development process – switch routes that could once only be verified and later debugged when hardware was available can now be verified before the hardware has arrived. By simulating switching and simulation modules before using physical components, engineers also minimise the risk of damaging costly test system hardware during verification.

“We want to remove every barrier engineers face in getting their test systems up and running,” said Noman Hussain, VP of Software at Pickering Interfaces. “With the Pickering Simulation tools, engineers can start evaluating hardware or testing code immediately. They can use these tools to easily select the optimum Pickering products for their test application. Then, the moment hardware arrives, they’re ready to deploy their test system.”

The PXI Simulation Software is now part of the standard Pickering PXI driver installation, while the LXI Simulation Software is a standalone windows application that can emulate Pickering’s switching and simulation products in virtual environment. Engineers can use both PXI and LXI software simulations to interact with their test programs.

The LXI Simulation tool (model 60-901) is a plug-and-play device, and engineers typically have it up and running within minutes. By simply connecting power and ethernet cords, downloading and installing free Pickering drivers and selecting the appropriate Pickering modules to test, engineers can run a simulation, and then easily re-program the tool to simulate different modules. These capabilities allow engineers to access thousands of modules within just a few clicks.

Interested in learning more? Download the Simulation Software or request a Simulation Tool today.