Data Acquisition Idea Exchange

About Data Acquisition Idea Exchange

Have an idea for new DAQ hardware or DAQ software features?

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Modern Upgrade for ExpressCard-8360

ExpressCard slots are getting rare on Laptops these days - this idea is requesting a replacement please on a more modern bus e.g. thunderbolt3 / USB-C...


Yes my development day to day computer is a laptop. In production will deploy to dedicated PC.



Member Cranky

Thunderbolt 1 and 2 have been around for a while. Thunderbolt 3 is a different physical connector (USB-C) but seems to be the "way of the future" for PCs. Apple has supported TB 1 & 2 on most of their laptops, but I think it's very uncommon on a PC. My suggestion would be to pursue TB 3, as it is the current replacement for peripheral access to the PCIe bus.

Member NI_1424

Any specific steps or drivers I need to include.  I have the Echo ExpressCard Pro Thunderbolt Adaptor that I am trying to connect to a NI-PXIe-1073 chassis.  The adaptor is recognized under the computers Device Manager but doesn't connect to the chassis.  Note I am starting the chassis before I start the computer with everything connected.


Thanks, Dave

Member BigBri

I mentioned doing something like this to one of the NI field guys and he said that switching to USB 3 or USB-C would be a significant change in how the hardware interacts with the PC requiring new drivers for all the current PXI hardware. Evidently, there are some advantages in being directly connected to the system bus (things like DMA) that you'd give up moving to USB. 

Member NickTrim

Thanks for you comment BigBri. 

What this would mean going forward PXI will be tied to either an embedded or desktop PC. 

In link above there is a Thunderbolt to PCMCIA adaptor that apparently works. So if it can provide a "virtual" PCMCIA slot via Thunderbolt, then you think NI could get something working that does not involve rewriting all the drivers.


Member Cranky

USB 3.0 is a communication protocol. USB-C is a connector type. The USB-C connector/specification has data lines for LOTS of different protocols, including Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.0. The issue with the loss of ExpressCard is that ExpressCard can share the PCIe bus from the motherboard, whereas USB cannot. Thunderbolt 1, 2 & 3 all share the PCIe bus. There's really no driver updates needed when you use the PCIe bus. For reference, the hardware setup listed in my previous post works without any driver rewriting because the TB3 to TB2 adapter passes the bus lines to the TB2 to ExpressCard34 adapter, which passes the PCIe bus lines to the MXI kit.


All of that said, there is a solution under development that NI should be releasing soon.