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Relay cards designed for automated test systems

Posted: 04 Nov 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:switching solutions  PXI  automated test 

National Instruments Corp. expands its NI SwitchBlock line of high-density switching solutions for PXI systems with eight new relay cards. The cards are designed specifically for demanding automated test systems with large numbers of channels to offer an intuitive option for switch configuration, routing, programming and maintenance in a variety of test applications in military and aerospace, transportation and for general-purpose automated testing.

The NI SwitchBlock cards offer additional simultaneous connections and new differential measurement capabilities for high-channel-count switching applications. Engineers can choose from the expanded selection of NI SwitchBlock cards to create a custom matrix of relays that meets their specific requirements.

The set of new relay cards includes multiple two-wire switches for differential measurements and 16-row switches that give engineers an increased number of simultaneous connections for large switching applications. All cards take full advantage of the NI SwitchBlock architecture, which simplifies connectivity through internal column expansion. The NI SwitchBlock comprises an expandable carrier that accommodates up to six relay cards while occupying just four slots in a PXI chassis. Engineers can combine up to four NI SwitchBlock carriers to create internally routed matrices with as many as 8,832 crosspoints in a single PXI chassis.

The cards also integrate with NI Switch Executive switch management software to give engineers the ability to graphically configure their switch systems one relay at a time for total control, or automatically route signals across multiple relay cards simply by specifying end-points. This high level of abstraction helps engineers to quickly and efficiently begin developing their application. By combining NI Switch Executive with NI LabVIEW system design software, engineers can abstract numerous route groups to easily configure, programme and maintain large matrix configurations. All NI SwitchBlock solutions also include the new NI Switch Health Centre software, which increases long-term system reliability by automatically running onboard diagnostics that verify relay continuity and display relay count information.

Additionally, engineers can combine the NI SwitchBlock with mass interconnect solutions from MAC Panel and Virginia Panel, which offer a single rugged connection point between multiple NI SwitchBlock connectors and a test fixture. This further simplifies wiring for large matrix configurations and helps engineers streamline hardware integration and reduce test setup time.

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