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DAQmx, FPGA/Scan Engine, and other hardware interfaces - General Question

Hi All -
I've had a handful of LABview projects over the last year and am starting to get a little more familiar with the tool. I've had some experience with a few different pieces of hardware like NI USB, NI cRIO, NI Ethercat, NI cDAQ, and NI PXI.  I'm seeking a general understanding of the various hardware platforms and the appropriate interfaces for each.

And, more specifically, sometimes I use DAQmx and sometimes Scan-Engine/FPGA, but I'm not sure why. How do I choose? Are there other interfaces that I should be aware of?  Obviously FPGA is an option if there is an FPGA device, but why can't you program FPGA with DAQmx?

Regarding RIO, I found one article that was somewhat helpful: "I just wanted to clear one thing up, NI Scan Engine is part of the NI-RIO driver, this is different to NI-DAQmx. NI-RIO (and Scan Engine) is for FPGA based products, such as the R-Series boards and the cRIO (Real Time Target). On these products you can't use DAQmx." (James Hillman) (

In terms of individual devices, is there a master list somewhere that shows the different hardware bases and which interfaces are appropriate? For example, I found this one for DAQmx (file:///C:/Program%20Files%20(x86)/National%20Instruments/NI-DAQ/readme.html#devSupport).  From my short experience, here is what I've run into so far:

NI USD (6343, 6501) - DAQmx
NI cRIO (with Controller)(9035) - Scan Engine
NI cRIO (EtherCAT)(9144) - Scan Engine
NI PXI (PXIe-1085 with controller PXIe-8840) - Scan Engine
NI PXI (PXI-1006 with PXI 8360 MXI Express Remote Control) - NI-Switch, FPGA,
NI cDAQ (9174) - ??


Maybe somebody has already written something up about this that you could just pass along?



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Message 1 of 3

Hello andy_3141593,


I am glad to hear you are interested in getting to know more about out products.


The best way for you to know which one uses FPGA, is through the readme file of the drivers.


For instance, if you go to the DAQmx readme file you can know which devices really support DAQmx.


Also, our cRIOs and PXIs can have DAQmx installed so that they can even work with DAQ devices, just to take into account. 



Message 2 of 3

Here's a block diagram that shows how DAQmx and RIO are different. In summary, DAQmx is an NI defined interface where as if you have an application where you need your own interface you need RIO.


And here's an attempt to make the RIO look a little more like DAQmx.

Message 3 of 3