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himan

Desktop PC as LabVIEW Real-Time Target

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Hi,

I have a LabVIEW real time based application.

Currently I am using PXI 8108 in RTOS mode with following cards:

1. PXI 6259

2. PXI 6514

3. PXI 6723

4. PXI 6608.

 

While running my Real Time exe (developed using LabVIEW) in RT 8108, the CPU usage is 8-10%.

I am not using any timing and synchronization feature of PXI.

 

Can I use a high quality desktop PC converted as real time target along with PCI cards for this application? will there be any issue related to performance?

 

Thanks.

Himan

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I'm not sure about NI's opinion about this, my feeling is that they don't want their RT OS installed on desktop computers, I imagine it would be a lot of effort for them to support the various hardware configurations outhere.

That said, if you can manage to install RT OS + LabVIEW on a desktop computer and get it to work I don't think NI will run after you but they probably won't support you if you run into bugs.

 

There might be another path you can go : virtualization but I know nothing about it.

 

To answer your last question, I don't think performance would be an issue.

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Thanks for the reply.

 

I meant if I buy "LabVIEW Real-Time ETS Deployment License Bundle for Standard PC's" (NI P/N: 779751-03) from NI and convert a desktop PC into a Real Time Target and deploy my application.

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You should be able to run everything on a PC configured as an RT target.  Just make sure that the equivalent PCI versions of the cards you need are supported under LabVIEW RT.  If they are, then you should be good to go.

 

The biggest issue with using desktop PC's with LV RT is that the Ethernet chipset may not be supported under LV-RT.  Check this with the NI utility (there is a utility you can load onto a USB stick to test whether your PC will work with LV RT) or on their website documentation about the various chipsets supported with each version of LVRT, and you should be OK.

 

Neville.

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You should be able to run everything on a PC configured as an RT target.  Just make sure that the equivalent PCI versions of the cards you need are supported under LabVIEW RT.  If they are, then you should be good to go.

 

The biggest issue with using desktop PC's with LV RT is that the Ethernet chipset may not be supported under LV-RT.  Check this with the NI utility (there is a utility you can load onto a USB stick to test whether your PC will work with LV RT) or on their website documentation about the various chipsets supported with each version of LVRT, and you should be OK.

 

Neville.

Yup. LAN is usually the issue. Also. Different LV versions work only with certain processors - Something to bear in mind if you are trying to leverage an old PC sitting around.

Requirements for Desktop PCs as LabVIEW Real-Time Targets

 

 

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Hi,

Thanks all for the valuable reply.

 

Just want to add one more point about my LV RT application.

 

I am running total 10 different timed while loops in parallel for different processes; out of which 3 timed loops are running at 10 ms (1 loop for data acquisition), 3 loops at 20 ms and remaining loops at 50 ms.

 

Can a good quality Desktop PC converted to as an RT target handle these many fast running loops?

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The PXI systems leverage commercial processors so they are not necessarily any more powerful than a desktop. From a hardware perspective you just have to consider quality. Your average desktop PC is designed to run < 8 hrs a day for a few years but the PXI systems are designed for 24/7 running. They may also feature additional real time elements such as hardware watchdogs and lower jitter setups. Not to say there aren't also PCs that can do that but not your standard consumer grade PC. If that is not required for your application I expect you will be fine.

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The above said application is meant for an industrial automation project pwhich runs 24/7.

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The above said application is meant for an industrial automation project pwhich runs 24/7.

 

Then you have to consider if you can live with time for the system to be not working while you replace components that have failed at some point. If that is possible you can just make sure to keep some spare parts around and replace them as they fail. If uninterrupted 24/7 operation is mandatory then even the PXI solution isn't a save bet but definitely a more likely one, to work like that once the system is deployed and not modified anymore.

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You sure you need RT? Don't over complicate things.
I would suggest the 24/7 running is the requirement for real time. The OS (and associated tools) are designed for that type of reliability. What it doesn't do is make your code run any faster so as you say the performance suggested should be possible on Windows or Real Time.

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I would suggest going with a fanless industrial PC with either compactflash or SSD instead of a hard drive if you want reliable 24/7 operation.  Fully enclosed (no vents).  Use heatsinks as directed for mounting.  There are dime a dozen manufacturers out there.  Be sure to check the temperature and vibration specs on the units. 

 

Another potential failure point for industrial systems are cables and connectors.  Make sure connectors are lockable type or have some sort of attachment to prevent them coming loose with vibration.  Its things like these that differentiate a $500 desktop PC from a reliable industrial PC.

 

And LabVIEW RT is much more reliable than Windows.

 

Neville.

Edited by Neville D

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