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R.I.P. Compact FieldPoint

I knew our favourite automation controller, the cFP-2220, is set to be unavailable from 2016, but for some reason I still expected it to be programmable in LabVIEW 2014. As far as I can see the plug has now been pulled for good. Smiley Surprised  2013 was the last version with support for the cFP.

 

Unfortunately there are no alternatives available from NI that really replaces the cFP-2220 for our use Smiley Sad

It had dual ethernet, 4 serial ports, a compact form factor, and a very low power usage (it said 6.1 Watts on the package, but in reality it only needed about 3,5). We even got NI to supply a DIN-rail for it, because we never really needed anything but the controller.

 

With the single board RIOs we hoped we would get a good alternative to the cFP-2220, but none of them have dual ethernet. Some have a few serial ports, but without everything they are just not good enough. You can find RIOs with dual ethernet, and even serial ports and low power consumption...and cool stuff like Linux RT - but then the form factor is way bigger than the cFP. We cannot embed a cRIO-9068 for example into our instruments. It's huge.Smiley Frustrated Getting enough serial ports is also much more work than it used to - FPGA coding, a backplane and extra modules - just to get back to the same number of ports we had in-built and ready to use in the old 2220.

 

R.I.P Compact Fieldpoint.:womansad: You were a good companion. Hopefully someday a worthy successor will come along.

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Message 1 of 17
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Where did you see that LabVIEW 2014 doesn't support fieldpoint?

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Message 2 of 17
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Hello Mads,

 

Let me seperate the questions you had.

 

1) Concerning the support of Fieldpoint in NI LabVIEW 2014.

At this moment the latest driver is 13.1 which added support for NI LabVIEW 2013S91:
http://www.ni.com/download/ni-fieldpoint-13.1/4709/en/

 

This one was released (as far as I can remember) at around the same time as the the 6.1 driver (which added support for NI LabVIEW 2013).

This happened in the beginning (February/March) of 2014 with the new Device Drivers releases:

http://digital.ni.com/public.nsf/allkb/4963D01CA676456B86257CEC0051E4C9?OpenDocument

 

Therefore, I would not expect to see a release with support for NI LabVIEW 2014  before February/March 2015.

I cannot make an official statement about when it will/would be released, but for the coming months I would not expect a release that supports NI LabVIEW 2014.

However, if the driver follows the same (or a similar) release date schedule as last year, then I would not yet start the "cFP funeral".

 

 

2) Concerning the form factor issues you experience with other hardware:
- Do you need any additional IO, aside from your serial ports and dual ethernet?

- Which "size" of controller would fit inside your devices?

Kind Regards,
Thierry C - CLA, CTA - Senior R&D Engineer (Former Support Engineer) - National Instruments
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Message 3 of 17
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Hi Thierry,

 

It's good to hear that it's too early to begin the funeral. We've usually upgraded to the latest version of LabVIEW right away and have not noticed such a lag between the Fieldpoint drivers and LabVIEW. A bit impractical, but it's better than not having the support at allSmiley Happy

 

Dual ethernet and 2 or more serial ports covers our needs as long as the size and power usage is comparable (or smaller/lower) to the cFP-2220. It is having all of these requirements met in the same product that seems to pose a problem. We could perhaps live with having to use two sbRIOs to get dual Ethernet for example, but it complicates the design a lot and the power usage becomes a problem. If you need a Mezzanine card to get enough serial ports, two sbRIOs with two Mezzanine cards would start to be quite big as well.

 

The System on Module that is on its way will not be as out of the box as we would like, but perhaps it will cover the requirements. The full specs are not out yet..

 

Regards,

Mads

 

 

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Message 4 of 17
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Hello Mads,

 

How are you currently getting your secondary serial port with the cFP-2220.

I just took had a look back at the one locally at our office.

As far as I see it only has one serial port and dual ethernet ports.

 

Therefore my questions are:

- How are you currently getting/achieving your second ethernet port?

- Are you using a backplane? If yes, then which type?

 

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Kind Regards,
Thierry C - CLA, CTA - Senior R&D Engineer (Former Support Engineer) - National Instruments
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Message 5 of 17
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The cFP-2220 has 2 ethernet ports, 3 x RS-232 and 1 x RS-485. No backplane, the controller itself has all the IO we need.

 

(The only weakness is that the second ethernet port does not have default gateway and DHCP functionality, ideally it should have identical capabilities as the primary port, which is the case for the Linux-based RIOs now, but they fall short on the other requirements. We prefer RS-485 over RS-232, so sometimes we need to use an RS-232 port with a converter to get two 485's now).

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Message 6 of 17
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Hello Mads,

 

You are fully correct.

I was indeed mistakingly assuming that you required 2 (or more) RS-485 ports instead of the RS-232 serial ports.

I shouldn't have assumed anything concerning this.

 

One thing I was wondering:

- Have you already brought up this concern regarding future replacements with one of my (Field or Internal) sales colleagues?

It might be interesting to have a talk with one of them concerning thi possible (future) issue.

I just want to make sure that a good transition path is available for the future.

Kind Regards,
Thierry C - CLA, CTA - Senior R&D Engineer (Former Support Engineer) - National Instruments
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Yes I have been in touch with the local sales reps. So far there does not seem to be a transition path from NI for this use case.

 

The available paths fail to meet our list of requirements.

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Message 8 of 17
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Hello Mads,

 

Can you by any chance send me the name of the local sales engineer you were in contact with? (via a private message)
This way I can get in touch with him/her and  make sure they are aware of the worries you have concerning future replacements.

 

In this case it indeed seems like the System on Module is the most suitable replacement based on the currently available public information.

I am referring to what is mentioned in the following overview page concerning the Development kit:

http://www.ni.com/white-paper/52314/en/

 

Is the size limit in all three directions or is it rather in 2 of the 3 dimensions? (eg. only height and width, but not depth)

 

Kind Regards,
Thierry C - CLA, CTA - Senior R&D Engineer (Former Support Engineer) - National Instruments
If someone helped you, let them know. Mark as solved and/or give a kudo. 😉
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Message 9 of 17
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Oh, they are aware of it. They've even given me notice when something that resembles what we need show up, and we meet a few times a year as well to discuss future possibilities. But so far there has always been one or two critical drawbacks with the new alternatives. So we have been testing out SBCs as an alternative. I like the system package/ecosystem we get with the PACs from NI though.

 

About the SOM - I see that the development kit has dual Gigabit...so I am assuming that the SOM itself will support dual Ethernet...(?). 

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Message 10 of 17
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