How Can I Customize the FPGA of NI Second-Generation Vector Signal Transceivers?

Updated May 18, 2022

Reported In


  • PXIe-5840
  • PXIe-5841
  • PXIe-5820
  • PXIe-5830
  • PXIe-5831


  • LabVIEW FPGA Module
  • RFmx



Issue Details

I am an experienced user of NI VST (First Generation), i.e., NI PXIe-564xR. FPGA of these vector signal transceivers can be programmed by adding the target in the project and using Instrument Design Libraries (IDL). However, for second-generation VST, i.e., NI PXIe-584x, NI PXIe-582x, and PXIe-583x, I am unable to add the target to the project or find IDL. How can I customize the FPGA of the second-generation vector signal transceiver?


Vector Signal Transceiver Instrument Design Libraries (IDL) are not available for second-generation vector signal transceivers. Advanced users can request Instrument Driver FPGA Extensions for low-level FPGA programming by contacting NI Technical Support.

FPGA Block Diagram
VST FPGA Acquisition and Generation

If the request is accepted, the user will be provided with a detailed document explaining the hardware setup, software setup, required driver files, procedure and caveats to allow FPGA customizations. The instrument driver FPGA source code is the starting point for creating your own instrument driver FPGA extensions.

Additional Information

When to Create an Instrument Driver FPGA Extension
For the majority of use cases, NI recommends using the pre-compiled reference FPGA image provided with NI-RFSA, NI-RFSG, and NI-RFmx. Modifying the reference FPGA image is only recommended for use cases requiring functionality not realizable with the following methods:
  • Acquiring IQ records and generating IQ waveforms using NI-RFSA, NI-RFSG, or NI-RFmx with or without data processing on the host controller. Please see the VST Specifications documents for achievable data rates.
  • Streaming and processing IQ data using an NI FlexRIO FPGA Module and Peer-to-Peer streaming. Please see the VST Specifications documents for achievable data rates. This is the recommended option where FPGA IP is required. Though, a limitation here may be in the latency for some applications.
  • Using pre-compiled instrument driver FPGA extension examples for the VSTs. Available examples include streaming (RF and high-speed digital), power servo, RTSA, etc.

Customizing the FPGA using Instrument Driver FPGA Extensions requires an advanced level of knowledge of NI FPGAs and years of experience programming in LabVIEW FPGA. Recommended minimum training and necessary topics to cover before requesting and/or programming the VST FPGA: Directions to add custom code along with the instrument driver code are explained in the document provided after the request is accepted.