Real-Time Measurement and Control

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adding a USB port to cRIO-FRC II


I am trying to learn labview RT/FPGA programming on my own time with the intention to "sell" my employer on funding development of a datalogging solution for noise/vibration built around the cRIO platform.  To do this I bought (at my personal expense) a cRIO-FRCII since the specs are almost identical to a cRIO-9076 since this is likely what I would recommend for my employer to purchase (I'm aware the boards are not identical - but similar).  So my interest currently is educational until such time as I feel I can demonstrate feasibility (certainly the hardware can do it but I need to be sure I can deliver as well in a reasonable amount of time).


Question: the cRIO-FRCII onboard storage is limited.  I somewhat naively thought I might be able to solder a USB port on and utilize the Freescale MPC5125YVN400 onboard USB controller.  Upon opening the FRCII there is an open spot on the PCB for a USB receptacle and the chassis frame will fit a usb port (just have to remove the sticker.  However, I checked the pins for the USB and there is no power.  So it looks like the cRIO-9076 share the same PCB but that at least some components might be missing to enable......hopefully caps or resistors.


Does anyone have any experience adding a USB port to one of these boards? or have circuit diagrams for the cRIO-9076 and cRIO-FRCII so I can try to deduce the differences........?  Any help would be appreciated.


I know I could just buy a used cRIO-9076 but I don't want to be out of pocket another $1k for my own education ........Thanks.

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Update for posterity:

The MPC5125YVN400 interfaces with USB via the UTMI+ Low Pin Interface (ULPI) Specification.  This requires an external physical layer (PHY) transceiver.  Based on the fact that this would not have been required for the cRIO-FRC II this is likely the most significant absent part.  There are at least two vacant surface mount locations on the board: one 32 pin chip and one 36 pin chip.  It might be as "easy" as installing the right PHY chip in one of those two locations......but probably beyond my capabilities without knowing more details.  Might have to settle for a network stream as a demo (or shell out for a 9076).  Unless someone has helpful info they can share.  Thanks.

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Some comments:

  1. I do not recommend altering the cRIO board in any way. The current cRIO models all come with USB, so I hope this is not a problem if your company decides to go through this route.
    1. Maybe you can consider a USB to Serial (RS-232) adapter? I am unsure how that would work for you device, though.
  2. The cRIO-FRC was, indeed, very similar to the 907X models. However, consider these are old, and NI does not sell them anymore. I recommend exploring the cRIO-905X series if you want a budget option that already comes with Linux RT as the roboRIO does (the 907X ran VxWorks).
  3. Consider the software compatibility with these devices before taking a decision. The cRIO-FRC is not supported since the 2014 LabVIEW and drivers version. This means that trying to use it with, say, LabVIEW 2020 would not work. Same restrictions will be there for the 907X. Learn more here: Software Support for CompactRIO, CompactDAQ, Single-Board RIO, R Series, and EtherCAT 

Good luck with your project!

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