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Right now, you can simulate the I/O from an FPGA target. Timing features and other hardware-specific VIs are not executed, but the code still functions and allows you to debug certain aspects of it without working through the compile process. It would be similarly helpful if you could simulate the real-time controller, or a cRIO in scan mode, with simulated IO. Again, the resultant VI will not be truly realtime, but it would allow useful development without having constant access to the cRIO.
In some critical installations, it is absolutely unacceptable for the cRIO to be able to "go to sleep" (as it can do now) and be unreachable via its Ethernet connection, especially when it runs out of real-time in the software. Currently when a cRIO becomes unresponsive, it requires manual intervention to kill power, push buttons, and/or set DIP switches, etc. to bring it back to life. Our company is dealing with cRIOs that are located in places that are very difficult, expensive and time consuming to reach.
I strongly recommend that NI add, Ethernet accessible, hardware based reset/restart functions to the cRIO. These functions should be completely separate from current cRIO software and hardware and should allow remote control of the cRIO power supply, and setting of the dip switches and reset buttons mounted on the cRIO front panel. NI-MAX should be enhanced to allow a user to remotely control cRIO reboots via these functions.
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