PXI RF Modules is a PC based expandable RF and Microwave test and measurement platform. PXI Modules are the PCI eXtension modules for Instrumentation.
PXI modules are used to build measurement and automation systems by providing an interface by bus standards. RF PXI modules are used to acquire data and images, and synchronize devices, to generate accurate results for a variety of measurements in the RF and Microwave domains.
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In this RF PXI Module article, we will cover,
RF PXI System consists of three main sections and the associated software for its operation. The hardware sections of the PXI system are PXI Chassis, PXI System Controller, PXI RF Modules.
The PXI Chassis is the backbone of the system, consisting of slots to insert the RF PXI modules and each slot consisting of high performance and rapid communication interface with each other. These chassis will provide power supply and cooling for each RF PXI module and will have 8 to 12 slots in a raw and overall dimension will be either 3U or 6U. Users can easily plug and play the PXI card into the chassis as per the requirements.
The PXI chassis will have either an internal embedded controller or an external controller interface module in slot 1, which allow the communication to an external PC, which will act as a controller. Using an external standard PC for controlling is a cost-effective solution than an internal embedded controller.
RF PXI Modules are available for different test requirements, which will acquire a wide variety of data and measure the various parameters like current, voltage, frequency, power etc. PXI RF Modules are also available for generating various waveforms and cards are available for the switching applications. PXI chassis can be configured with various RF PXI Modules to meet the various test and measurement requirements.
The PXI hardware sections like its chassis, PXI RF Modules require internal or external software for control and operation. In general, PXI chassis will not have any front panel controls, entire operations are controlled and monitored in remote PC or monitor in the case of internal controller. The PXI software can be easily installed on any PC and the entire test and measurement can be remotely controlled over the interface to the chassis.
There are many RF and Microwave PXI modules are available for generating various waveforms, acquiring RF signals and for switching the signals for various test and measurement requirements. Following are a few of the prime PXI modules used in the RF and microwave test and measurement applications, which can be plugged into a standard PXI chassis.
The PXI RF Attenuators modules are available for the fixed RF attenuation and for the variable RF attenuation. Most of the PXI modules will have two channels of attenuators, one will be fixed and the other will be a programmable attenuation path. By using these types of cards the range of programmable attenuation can be extended by connecting the RF ports in series.
PXI RF Combiners modules are used to combine two RF signals and provide the RF signal which is the result of the combination of two input signals. Combiner PXI cards will have two input ports and one output RF port.
The PXI Data Storage module is used to acquire and record high-speed data and also used to move data between various test setups. These PXI data storage modules can supplement the storage capacity of the PXI system controller. The PXI Data Storage Module are available with various speed, sizes and options.
The RF PXI Multiplexer modules offer reliable, high-speed switching capabilities for the input signal to various outputs. The PXI Multiplexers help to simplify RF signal rooting in test and measurement systems.
PXI RF Switches modules are used to rout RF signals between various devices and instruments or devices under test. These switching modules will have handshaking features to synchronize the operations with various PXI instruments.
PXI RF Switch Matrix is used for the switching of multiple channels for routing multiple signals between multiple DUT in a single instance. PXI RF switch Matrix modules are organized as rows and columns of the switchs for switching any channel to any other channel. In an RF switch matrix configuration, multiple inputs can connect to multiple outputs, which will be a limitation in PXI RF Multiplexer.
PXI RF Relay Modules are of single-pole double-throw (SPDT) switching assemble with a terminated one port. PXI RF Relay modules will work as a relay in an RF chain and offer minimum reflections of RF signal and it will help to protect instruments. PXI based RF Relay Modules will have excellent insertion loss, isolation and voltage standing-wave ratio (VSWR) features.
PXI RF signal analyzers are expandable and flexible single test solutions which will have the features like low phase noise, excellent dynamic range, low noise floor, high second-and third-order intercepts etc. These modules are easy to integrate for a broad range of test and measurement applications including spurious and harmonics measurements, adjacent channel leakage ratio etc.
PXI Signal conditioning modules are used to provide the scaling, excitation, and buffering for the specific signals to improve functional attributes of RF and microwave signals.
PXI signal generators modules will generate various types of RF and microwave signals for applications that required an RF signal sources. These modules are used to test RF circuits, RF communications systems, radar systems, electronic warfare etc and also works as an RF signal source for any RF and microwaves systems.
The PXI RF Signal Transceiver modules combine a vector signal generator and analyzer with FPGA-based, high-speed serial and parallel digital interfaces, real-time control and signal processing units for meeting the transceiver's requirements. PXI Signal Transceiversare was available from baseband to mmWave range for test and measurement applications.
PXI based RF Synthesizer will work as a source of RF signals in a specific range. It will work as a analogue RF Signal Generators with limited features and functionality. These PXI Synthesizer modules will support various frequency outputs and can be easily tuned as per the system requirements.
PXI Vector Network Analyzers modules will have full S-parameter measurement capabilities. These PXI modules with the control cards, support automatic precision calibration and will be a cost-effective solution for the lab validation and production environment device characterization. These PXI Vector Network Analyzers modules can be easily upgraded to extend the test and measurement capabilities for device test and characterization.
PXI based RF models offer flexible options for test and measurement applications. The system architecture will be easily reconfigurable and expandable as per the needs of the test requirements. These PXI test systems are generally used for data acquisition, design validation, production testing in the various RF and microwave domain including 5G, Radar systems simulation and testing, radios communication systems, design of RF components like cables, antennas, semiconductor devices etc.
Type of chassis with required PRX RF modules and its supporting operating frequency range is the prime specifications that need to consider in the selection of a PXI based RF test and measurement instruments.
Type indicates the type of RF PXI modules required for the test and measurement applications. During the selection of a Chassis need to check the availability of the required number of slots for the current and the future requirements. In a chassis, the availability of the internal protection features needs to check for the safety of other test and measurement instruments.
Operating speed and the data transfer rate of the internal data bus of the chassis need to check for the suitability of the operation. Higher the speed, the better for the applications.
The frequency range of operation of each PXI module needs to verify to match the test requirements. Need to select the PXI cards as per the operating range of the device under test.
RF Connector of each PXI module needs to consider for avoiding the requirements of further adapters in the loop, as it will degrade the performance of the entire system. RF connectors need to match with the RF connectors of the DUT.
Warranty and the ageing accuracy of each PXI module in the RF domain need to consider for confirming the usability of the PXI modules for a long period of operation.
PXI based RF module platforms are the proven PC-based test and measurement solution for measurement and automation test systems requirements. PXI based platform will have an internal power supply source, cooling arrangements, and a communication bus to each module, within the same enclosure.
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