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PCI to USB adapter for NI Multifunction DAQ

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Hi Everyone,


The other day at work, we were all talking about old hardware laying around from past projects that we gutted out.

Most of the hardware was older, NI PCI based DAQ cards.


It occurred to me that I had never seen or heard of a type of adapter that you can snap in an old PCI card into, and use it on a USB bus.  Then I started looking or it to see if it existed.


Well, pinch me... such a thing does exist!


My next questions would be (without spending the money):


Might it work with a PCI 6025E?

How would react in this adapter with NI-DAQmx?

Would it be recognized at all?

As a legacy card?

As a USB device?


Has anyone tried it or something like it?


Any insight, experience or info would be appreciated.



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Message 1 of 8
Accepted by topic author Braincramp

Ooops... sorry for posting without reading my own link!


That is just a kind of extender kit.  Not a bridge or adapter.

Also, it seems that the general opinion is that a PCI to USB bridge would be too slow.


Never mind!




However, if anyone has ever seen an animal like this, I would sure like to see it!

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Message 2 of 8

Hi everybody!!!


We are interested in it as well. We have some PCI-6221 (37 pin) daq cards plugged to PC's and we are now considering change this computers to laptops but we'd like to take advantage of the cards we already have. Do you know any system to do it? Has anyone tried as is mentioned in the post? Does it work? For us, it is not especially important the adquisition rate, if it works at 25kS/s instead of original 250kS/s could be good for us anyway.


Thank you very much!!!

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Message 3 of 8



frncsc & Braincramp,


This is probably more of an ideal solution with a moderate price:  A PCI to PCIe expansion system such as the PEX2PCI4 kit from Star Tech.


This system uses a more modern PCIe card to interface up to 4 legacy PCI cards.  There is also an optional laptop adapter for the PCIe mini adapter card (for laptops that are equipped) get the EC2PCI (see below)



~ Convert a single PCI Express slot to four additional external PCI slots without any driver or software installation required

  • External expansion enclosure simplifies swapping PCI cards, without ever having to move or take apart the main desktop/server
  • Backed by a 1 year warranty and free lifetime technical support

I may look into getting one of these... for under $500 it would be worth it to not have to buy all new DAQ cards!




The Dude


Message 4 of 8

Thank you The_Big_Lebowski ... by the way, what a great film 🙂


It's a little bit expensive for us because we'd need to plug 4 PCI cards in 4 different laptops. So, has anybody tried It's cheaper than the other solution but I don't know if it will work. Anybody has a different solution? To buy new usb's cards is not a solution for us ... 🙂


Thank you!



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The Dude Abides.


Well, it would be really a 'dream come true' if the products listed on the ARS Tech website work... HOWEVER:


Do some checking... I am not saying that the company is shady, but there is no listing of a physical mailing address, listing of location, no phone number for tech support (only a fax number) and there is not really a clear method of payment options listed.  Honestly, I think the website and products are made by just one guy (like in his garage or basement), and it isn't really a small or medium size company.


I dont even think I could get my company to pay for one, since our purchasing folks would immediatley red flag ARS for not having a physical mailing address listed.  They would have no idea where to send a purchase order.

(Would be great if I could convince my company would buy one to try it out!)


For the prices listed, I would love to try out that PCI to USB adapter personally,

but I don't want to be the first sucker that gets taken.


Secondly, I am not quite sure how NI-DAQmx / MAX would react to sticking an NI I/O board in it.


Example:  Say you have an old legacy PCI-6026E board (per Braincramp's original question), and you install it in the ARS PCI-USB bridge board, then try to interface it using USB... I'm not sure it would be recognized.  This is something that the Engineers at NI would have to validate.  I don't want to be the one that finds out it doesn't work, and is out money for a failed attempt.


If the guy(s) at ARS were smart, they would send one to NI for evaluation, and become some kind of partner.

NI Engineering could then tweak a driver to make them work.



I did some more checking on the ARS website, and he/they do claim to specifically support NI devices.


Therefore, your questions, along with the original questions of Braincramp are still valid, but may be addressed on the ARS website from the above link:


My next questions would be (without spending the money):

Might it work with a PCI 6025E?

How would react in this adapter with NI-DAQmx?

Would it be recognized at all?

As a legacy card?

As a USB device?


Again, im not saying that ARS Tech is a fly by night company, but....

Sometimes, when something is too good to be true... it usually is.


I did some looking and I cannot find ANYTHING like the hardware that ARS claims to have.  Nothing.

The closest is the PCI to PCIe bridge from Startech.


I know alot of companies (mine, included) have legacy NI boards laying around getting dusty.  Would be nice to put them back to work.

(Then again, there is no money in it for NI to help us resurect legacy boards... they want to sell new ones!)


Cheers & Beware of the Nihilists!


The Dude.

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Message 6 of 8

has anyone tried this and was succesful ?


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I just installed an old PCI-6251 card into a PCIex1 slot on my new Optiplex 3020 using the StarTech PEX1PCI1 card successfully.  No special drivers needed, NI-MAX sees the card right away, worked great.


**Only bad thing was with the adapter card in there the full height PCI-6251 did not fit into the computer case ...  nothing I couldn't take care of with a pair of tin snips.  My case might be a little weaker than before - but it doesn't look like it will fall apart. 🙂


I did need a cable to connect from the SATA power available in my box to the 4-pin "LP4" power connector on the card.


Message 8 of 8