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Editor’s Pick: PXIe-5164 Oscilloscope

Tony LockwoodDear DE Reader:

Remember the mad scientist in some old horror movie doing stuff in his laboratory that panicked the villagers? And remember all those antique lab instruments with lots of knobs and glowing gauges? You had no idea what most of the instruments did. Anyway, if you’re starting to get the feeling that your test bench looks something like the set in a ’30s sci-fi flick, today’s Pick of the Week is for you.

At a Glance: NI PXIe-5164 Oscilloscope

  • PXI platform-based; two channels; 3.2GB per second streaming data rate.
  • Delivers 100 Vpp maximum input range at 1 gigasample per second; 14 bit resolution.
  • Handles fast signals requiring 400 MHz of analog bandwidth.
  • Can also resolve small signal details in the presence of large signals.
  • Comes with a user-programmable FPGA and 1.5GB on-board memory.

Learn more here.

National Instruments (NI) recently introduced its new PXIe-5164 oscilloscope. This is not your granddad’s typical box oscilloscope. But, for you aerospace and defense test engineers nursing along a 30-year-old box for the sake of staying consistent with its filter or trigger settings, it could help you solve backward compatibility issues while ensuring your test systems adapt to future designs. And if you’re doing energy, semiconductor and automotive testing, the PXIe-5164 handles high voltages, provides high speeds and can help you ferret out those small signal details normally lost in the noise.

The skinny is that the PXIe-5164 is a reconfigurable oscilloscope that can perform multiple instrumentation roles for you. It provides capabilities for high-voltage measurements and high levels of amplitude accuracy. Its configurability means that it has a built-in FPGA (field programmable gate array) chip that you can program directly with tools like the LabVIEW FPGA module. That characteristic enables you to develop custom signal processing and control algorithms as your needs change from project to project. It should also let you retire some of that old gear hanging around.

The PXIe-5164 is built on the open, PC-based modular PXI architecture. It slips into a slot in a chassis that’s tuned for measurement and automation applications. The PXIe-5164 brings these kind of capabilities to the job: two simultaneously sampled 14-bit channels providing 1 GS/s (gigasamples per second) with 400 MHz bandwidth, two Category II-rated channels with voltage input range to 100 Vpp (peak-to-peak voltage) with programmable offsets allowing measurements up to 250 V and a 3.2 GB/s (gigabytes per second) streaming data rate.

The PXIe-5164 features 400 MHz of bandwidth, 14 bits of resolution, 250 volts of measurement range and a user-programmable FPGA (field-programmable gate array). Image courtesy of National Instruments.

The PXIe-5164 oscilloscope features 400 MHz of bandwidth, 14 bits of resolution, 250 volts of measurement range and a user-programmable FPGA (field-programmable gate array). Image courtesy of National Instruments.

You can learn more about NI’s PXIe-5164 oscilloscope from today’s Pick of the Week write-up. Make sure to hit the link at the end of the main text and read the white paper. It has a ton of technical details, including some interesting comparisons of the PXIe-5164 to a typical box oscilloscope.

Thanks, Pal. – Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, DE

About Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Digital Engineering's Editor-at-Large. Contact him via de-editors@digitaleng.news.