NI Introduces CompactRIO Module Development Kit for Embedded Systems

12/2/2004 - Engineers now can extend the National Instruments CompactRIO reconfigurable embedded system platform by creating their own custom I/O modules for applications requiring unique and specialized I/O signal types. By using the new CompactRIO Module Development Kit, embedded system developers can access the low-level electrical architecture of their CompactRIO systems and design unique I/O, communication or control modules. They then can use NI LabVIEW to program the CompactRIO reconfigurable FPGA chipset to communicate with their new custom module circuitry at rates exceeding 40 million bits per second.

“We selected CompactRIO as the platform for a new line of standardized instruments due to its size, speed and reconfigurable FPGA hardware,” said C. Allen Weekley, senior development engineer at Anaheim-based Alpha Technics, a manufacturer of high-precision temperature instruments and sensors. “In just eight weeks, we were able to use the CompactRIO Module Development Kit to implement our own high-precision instrument modules and a LabVIEW FPGA interface for calibrating smart probe temperature sensors.”

CompactRIO is a small, rugged, high-performance industrial control and acquisition platform that uses LabVIEW FPGA reconfigurable I/O (RIO) technology to deliver a highly customizable embedded control and measurement system. The CompactRIO Module Development Kit delivers all the tools engineers need to build a customized module, including custom CompactRIO module development software, the CompactRIO Module Development Kit user manual and the licensed right to develop and manufacture custom CompactRIO I/O modules. The CompactRIO Module Development Kit also includes a set of CompactRIO module housings with a variety of connector options and is ideal for end users, OEMs and system integrators working with highly specialized measurements such as fuel injector drivers or high-precision temperature probes.

“The CompactRIO Module Development Kit made it extremely easy for us to develop three custom I/O modules, including a fuel injector driver module for automotive engine control unit prototyping,” said Carroll G. Dase, president of Drivven, Inc., an automotive control and data acquisition solutions provider. “CompactRIO and the module development kit deliver a powerful universal prototyping system that control design engineers can use to quickly implement highly customized embedded systems using off-the-shelf tools.”

In conjunction with the release of the new CompactRIO Module Development Kit, NI also introduced the charter group of precertified CompactRIO module developer companies, an additional resource for customers wanting to outsource the development of custom CompactRIO modules. The five precertified CompactRIO module design houses include:

For more information on the CompactRIO Module Development Kit and precertified CompactRIO module developers, readers may visit

About National Instruments
National Instruments ( is a technology pioneer and leader in virtual instrumentation – a revolutionary concept that has changed the way engineers and scientists in industry, government and academia approach measurement and automation. Leveraging the PC and its related technologies, virtual instrumentation increases productivity and lowers costs through easy-to-integrate software, such as the NI LabVIEW graphical development environment, and modular hardware, such as PXI modules for data acquisition, instrument control and machine vision. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has more than 3,100 employees and direct operations in 41 countries. In 2003, the company sold products to more than 25,000 companies in 90 countries. For the past five years, FORTUNE magazine named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.

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