Using a PC to Control a PXI Embedded Controller

Updated Apr 18, 2024



  • PXI Controller


  • PXI OS for Embedded Controllers


  • PXI Platform Services

Operating System

  • Windows
  • LabVIEW Real-Time (NI Linux Real-Time)

Some applications require to control the NI hardware in a PXI chassis from a desktop PC or a laptop. However, there are some important considerations when a PXI Embedded Controller is connected to the chassis. The methods will depend on if the controller has a Real-Time OS or a Windows OS. This document covers these scenarios to achieve this task.

Using an Embedded Controller with Windows: 

If your controller has a Windows operating system, the only option is to use the Windows Remote Desktop feature, but notice that the applications will still be running in the PXI Embedded controller and not in the PC or laptop.
  • Use Windows Remote Desktop: All currently supported Microsoft Windows Operating Systems incorporate remote network control technology into the Windows Operating System. Using Windows Remote Desktop, you can log in to a computer remotely, with the Windows desktop user interface passed over the network. Detailed information on the configuration of Remote Desktop will vary by OS and can be found in the Related Links section of this article. 
Note: If you need to run the application on a PC or laptop, it is better to consider a PXI Remote Control Module instead of a PXI Embedded Controller with Windows, which are developed to work as an embedded system without a PC. 

Using an Embedded Controller with a Real-Time OS: 
You can remotely control a PXI system with an embedded controller over the internet or local area connection from any computer, including a laptop as long as your PXI controller has a Real-Time OS. This controller may be connected to the internet via the Ethernet connection or directly connected to another computer using a crossover Ethernet cable. Using a crossover Ethernet cable allows direct peer-to-peer network communication between your laptop computer and the PXI embedded controller without the need for switch or other network hardware.
  • Create a Stand-Alone Real-Time Application: NI has a wide range of PXI Embedded Controllers for use with LabVIEW RT. With LabVIEW RT, you download LabVIEW code from a host computer (for example, the laptop) to the PXI Embedded Controller. You can then configure the embedded controller to run the RT code on startup by Creating Stand-Alone Real-Time Applications (Real-Time Module). You would use the laptop for user interface control and configuration changes.
Using Virtual Network Computing (VNC): 
Most PXI applications will use Windows or LabVIEW Real-Time (RT), however, under certain circumstances, it may be necessary to run another OS. If you are using an OS other than Windows or LabVIEW RT then it may be necessary to use a Virtual Network Computing (VNC) program. Many versions of VNC are available online as freeware and run on a variety of host and client operating systems. No specific VNC program is recommended or supported by National Instruments. As with all software, it is up to the end user to determine the suitability for their system.