The cRIO Hardware Platform
The cRIO system is a rugged form factor which incorporates a realtime controller with a Xilinx FPGA to give a high performance reconfigurable system.
A cRIO system is often described as headless - this means that it can operate without a user interface and given the realtime OS & FPGA control you can be sure that the system will be reliable. It won't be subject to windows updates or operators using the machine to browse the internet - it's a ruggedised industrial IO platform and it excels in this field.
Similar to the cDAQ chassis a cRIO platform is available in 4 and 8 slot variations - or even 0 when used as a standalone ruggedised PC.
The CPU is integrated into the chassis unlike the PXI platform where a separate controller can be added therefore it is not possible to update along the way. However for most applications the PC is designed to run a RTOS and therefore performance is often not such an issue.
Like the cDAQ platform there are many different modules available including:
Accelerometers (for acceleration and vibration measurements)
Analogue Voltage Signals (for DC and AC voltage measurements)
Analogue Output Signals (for generating DC and AC voltages)
Current Signals (for current measurements and 4-20 mA current loops)
Digital Input Signals (for TTL and industrial digital logic levels)
Digital Output Signals (for TTL and industrial digital logic levels)
Quadrature Encoders (for position measurements)
Strain Gages (for stress, strain, and other bridge-based measurements)
Thermocouples (for temperature measurements)
When combined with the CRIO chassis these can be used in a deterministic manner allowing deterministic code operation and safety critical systems to be developed. Including the a reprogrammable FPGA further extends the possibility of this already very versatile platform.