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National Semiconductor Differential Sensor Board SP102S01RB Control with LabVIEW


This document outlines how to use the National Semiconductor SP1202S01RB Differential Sensor Evaluation Board with a LabVIEW FPGA implementation of the SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface) digital communication protocol. This example controls an ADC by way of SPI.

Device Overview

The National Semiconductor SP1202S01RB Differential Sensor Evaluation Board outputs digitized data data to a SPI serial interface accessed through connector J4 on the board.  The SPI signals needed for this example are SCLK, CS, SDATA (MISO).  For more information on the SPI bus, see Understanding the SPI Bus with NI LabVIEW .

Figure 1. J4 Connector for SP1202S01RB

Using NI RIO and LabVIEW FPGA with SPI Devices

This example uses a LabVIEW FPGA implementation of the SPI bus to communicate with the evaluation board.  There are two LabVIEW elements to this example.  The first is a LabVIEW FPGA interface that performs the SPI communication.  The second is a LabVIEW host API that interacts with the FPGA from a host PC or real-time processor.  We have chosen a CompactRIO system with an NI 9401 module to provide connection to the device.  The same example can be used with the NI Embedded Evaluation Toolkit along with your own custom designed PCB C Series Module .

For more information on the LabVIEW FPGA SPI implementation and the host API, refer to Implementing SPI Communication Protocol in LabVIEW FPGA .

Implementing an SPI Example in LabVIEW FPGA

Using the host API created for interacting with the LabVIEW FPGA SPI engine, it is relatively simple to communicate with the SP1202S01RB.  With the provided example, most of the configuration is provided and moving the program to a different FPGA target is fairly straight forward.

To run the program, open from cRIO_NatSemi_Example.lvproj.  This is the host interface to the FPGA SPI core interacting with the SP1202S01RB.  The program begins by opening a reference to the top-level FPGA VI and waiting for notification from the FPGA that it is ready for data.  Once the host VI receives notification, the SPI bus is configured for writing a command to the device.  This is done by setting the clock mode to 1 (CPOL = 0, CPHA = 0) and asserting CS 1 which is connected to CSb on the J4 connector.  By default, the configuration command will be to read the ADC value.  This command is then written to the FPGA VI, which sends the command to the ADC.

Figure 2. Block Diagram

Once this configuration has been completed, the host VI continuously sends the 16 bits needed for a sample to the device and reads back the data.  This data is converted into an integer number and plotted.  When the program completes, the FPGA VI is reset and the reference is closed.

Figure 3. Front Panel

To move the example to another target, create a new LabVIEW FPGA project and copy, Example_cRIO_Top-Level, and the two FIFOs from this example project.  Once the FPGA is recompiled and the correct connections are made, no further configuration is required.

Creating your own custom PCB with Sunstone PCB123

Sunstone Circuits' quick-turn printed circuit boards are an easy way to save time in the prototype stage when building custom C Series Module PCBs or NI Single Board RIO adapters from your WEBBENCH design.  With built-in pre-installed layout templates for NI C Series module PCBs, you can use PCB123™ to quickly create a C Series style prototype board from your WEBENCH design for fabrication.  PCB123 is a free pcb design layout tool from Sunstone Circuits.  Manufactured in the U.S, Sunstone Circuits can deliver custom C Series PCB modules in 2 to 6-layers in tin lead or silver (RoHS-compliant) finish.


Using a LabVIEW FPGA implementation of the SPI communication protocol, we can communicate with many distributed embedded sensors.  The SP1202S01RB is one of many embedded evaluation boards from National Semiconductor that use this common bus to return digitized data to a master for processing.  With LabVIEW FPGA and RIO hardware, or with LabVIEW desktop and a USB-SPI/I2C, it is easy to communicate to National Semiconductor evaluation PCBs.