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From Bob Helsel, Editor of the LXI Newsletter:

Welcome to the May issue of the LXI Newsletter!  Our goal is simple – to keep you aware of how LXI has made test system development easier.  By standardizing and extending LAN, LXI offers you new possibilities in test systems—local, remote, distributed, time-aware.  After all, it’s about your time.

LXI Product List
When you go to the LXI Product List, you will be able to narrow your search results by Class, Category, Product, and Vendor, so you can find what you need very quickly. All of the 1755 LXI compliant instruments are listed along with related cables, terminators, and software products.

In this issue, Tom Sarfi of VTI Instruments explains how LXI Extended Functions can expand system capability. Neil Forcier from Agilent Technologies shows the power of LXI in controlling systems remotely with a smart device. And Stefan Kopp, LXinstruments, takes a brief look at the typical instrument firmware structure and then discusses an alternative to building your own embedded platform from scratch. In the new LXI products section, we highlight a selection of recently introduced instruments. 

For more information, go to http://www.lxistandard.org.


How LXI Extended Functions
Expand System Capability

By Tom Sarfi
VTI Instruments

It took years for Ethernet and the Web to transform the way we work. Now it’s time for both to transform test systems. That’s why more than 52 leading test and measurement companies support LXI (LAN eXtensions for Instrumentation) and offer more than 1,750 different products. LXI makes LAN instruments better, enabling you to create new types of test systems, including local, remote, distributed, and time-aware.

The open LXI standard goes beyond GPIB to provide additional capabilities that help you reduce the time it takes to set up, configure and debug test systems. And LXI lets you leverage the time and effort you’ve already invested in system software and architecture.

What is LXI?

LXI is an open standard that specifies how to use Ethernet to connect test instruments and build test systems.


Embedded Controller and Firmware for LXI: Why reinvent the wheel?

By Stefan Kopp
Software Development

In one form or another, embedded controllers are found in every LXI instrument. Often seen as a mere necessity (not a valuable feature), the development effort going into the controller and its firmware is frequently underestimated. This article takes a brief look at the typical instrument firmware structure and then discusses an alternative to building your own embedded platform from scratch: reusing existing (off-the-shelf) firmware building blocks.

LXI: zooming into focus for smaller players

Since its inception in 2005, the LXI standard has seen overwhelming success in the market. The standard was initially driven by major players who had already been offering LAN-based instruments for some time. Such companies typically design their own platform solutions for instrument connectivity and reuse them for various product lines.

Nowadays, with LXI becoming ubiquitous, more and more smaller, specialty manufacturers desire to jump on the bandwagon. After all, the power of Ethernet is attractive to everyone, and embedded controllers with Ethernet are available at low cost. Why not do it right in the first place, and design the instrument according to the LXI standard?


Thanks to all our readers.
Bob Helsel, Editor

VTI sponsor

Download the latest EX1200 Series LXI Switching and Instrumentation brochure


New LXI Products

The LXI Consortium has certified more than 1740 instruments in over 223 product families since the specifications were first released in 2005. Some of the recent LXI product introductions are highlighted below:

Agilent E4982A LCR Meter, 1 MHz to 3 GHz
The E4982A LCR Meter provides the best performance for the passive component manufacturing such as SMD inductors and EMI filters, where impedance testing at high frequencies (1 MHz to 3 GHz) is required. Not only for the manufacturing, the E4982A can also be utilized for R&D, quality assurance with the powerful functions such as list measurements.

Tektronix AWG7000 Arbitrary Waveform Generator
Uncompromised performance with ultimate flexibility. The AWG7000 Series Arbitrary Waveform Generators, with up to 24 GS/s and 10 Bit vertical resolution, deliver the industry's best signal stimulus solution for ever-increasing measurement challenges. This allows for easy generation of very complex signals, complete with controllable jitter, noise and other signal impairments.

Keithley’s Model 2651A High Power System SourceMeter®
Designed for characterizing high power electronics, providing the industry’s widest current range, which is critical for applications such as testing high brightness LEDs (HBLEDs), power semiconductors, DC-DC converters, etc.

Rigol Technologies DS4000 Digital Oscilloscopes
Versatile, high performance oscilloscopes featuring bandwidths between 100MHz and 500MHz, sample rates up to 4GSa/s, and up to 4 analog channels.



Controlling LXI Instrumentation
with Smart Devices

Neil Forcier
Agilent Technologies

You are on your way to catch a flight to India where you will help an important customer integrate your company's solar-powered base station into a rural area near Bangalore. As you board the plane, you want to check the status of ongoing environmental tests being performed in your lab on an updated base station especially designed for hot and humid rural climates. You whip out your iPhone and connect to your Agilent 34972A LXI data acquisition unit and read the results from the most recent temperature scans. Everything checks out, so you raise the temperature of the chamber via the digital control module on the DAQ unit. You power down your smart device for take-off and settle in for a long flight.

Is it a reality or a pipedream?

The LXI (LAN eXtensions for Instrumentation) instrument I/O standard was built upon the ubiquitous Ethernet or LAN network standard, the same standard that makes the Internet possible. Because of its Ethernet foundation, one big advantage LXI offers is the flexibility engendered by distance between a computer or controller and the LXI instrument to which it is connected.



©2012 LXI Consortium, Inc.
PO Box 1016; Niwot, CO 80544