PXI Standard & Specifications

Overview and notes about the PXI standard and the PXI Systems Alliance, PXISA, that controls the specifications.

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PXI is an open standard and is run by an organisation with interested member companies. In this way, PXI meets the needs of users suppliers alike.

The format for open standards works well within industry, allowing users to be able to source equipment from a variety of suppliers. This not only benefits the users, but also the manufacturers as it increases the overall size of the market that they can address.

PXI Systems Alliance PXISA

The PXI system is currently governed by the PXI Systems Alliance, PXISA.

This alliance consists of an organisation that has over 50 member companies and was originally founded in 1998.

The aim of the PXISA is to promote the PXI standard, ensure interoperability, and maintain the PXI specification.

PXI is an open specification and as a result, it is possible for any vendor to build PXI products.

It is also worth noting, that PXI is based upon CompactPCI, the standard regulated by the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group PICMG. As a result, PXI modules can reside in the same PXI system without any conflict because interoperability between CompactPCI and PXI is a key feature of the PXI specification.

Standard history

The PXI standard can be traced back to 1993 with the release of the PCI specification on which PXI was later to be based. Realising that the PCI standard could be used for controlling test and data acquisition instrumentation, National Instruments developed a scheme based upon the PCI standard but modified for the needs of the test instrumentation industry. The first release of the PXI standard was issued in 1997.

The standard is an industry open standard and it is now managed by the PXI Systems Alliance. With the open architecture, and based around the PCI specification, this has enabled PXI technology to grow very rapidly. As a result a large number of products using the technology are available and the system has become a universal technology for the test and measurement and data acquisition sectors.

With the popularity of PXI, work continued to improve the system. This resulted of the release of the Issue 2 of the standard in 2000, and this was followed by a further revision in 2003 of issue 2.1.

With technology and standards moving forwards, while costs were reducing, the PXI standard kept in line. Using the PCI Express standard, the PXI standard was updated to provide PXI Express. This enabled a lower cost variant to be added to the family.

Read more about . . . . PXI history & timeline.

PXI standard & specifications

The PXI standard has a number of specifications associated with it. These are given numbers PXI-n, where n is the number of the individual specification. There are several specifications included and these cover both PXI and PXI-Express

PXI Standard Specifications
Specification reference Details
PXI-1 Hardware Specification
PXI-2 Software Specification
PXI-4 Module Description
PXI-5 PXI Express Hardware Specification
PXI-6 PXI Express Software Specification
PXI-7 MultiComputing Hardware Specification
PXI-8 MultiComputing Software Specification
PXI-9 PXI and PXI Express Trigger Management Specification

The PXI standard and specifications are worked upon to ensure that they are up to date and revisions and updates are issued by the PXISA periodically.

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