Dual Monitors with the DVI Connection on Embedded PXI Controllers and Industrial Controllers

Updated Oct 23, 2018

Reported In

Hardware

  • PXI-8105
  • PXI-8106
  • NI-3100
  • NI-3110
  • PXIe-8130
  • PXIe-8135

Issue Details

How do I set up dual monitors using the DVI connection on my embedded or industrial controller?

Solution

You may use a splitter to send the signal to a DVI monitor as well as a VGA monitor for mirrored or extended desktops. To configure dual desktops, use either the Display Properties in Windows XP and 2000, Display Setting in Windows Vista / Windows 7, or the Intel Extreme Graphics Utility. 

Note: NI offers a DVI splitter cable tested with our PXI and Industrial controllers. As a result, you should only use a DVI splitter purchased from NI, since the performance of 3rd party DVI splitters is not guaranteed. The NI part number for the DVI splitter is 780868-01. 

In the event that you are having trouble configuring multiple monitors, try these troubleshooting steps:
  • PXI-8105/8106
    • Update the Intel 950 display adapter drivers to the latest version for either the PXI-8106 or PXI-8105.  Early versions of the driver (pre v1.3.3) will allow only one monitor to be used at a time.
    • Note: Intel 950 GMA (Graphics Media Accelerator) is the graphics core within the 945 GMCH that runs the display/graphics.
    • If only the VGA monitor is working, make certain that the DDC Routing is set correctly in the BIOS.  To do this, navigate to Advanced»Integrated Peripherals»Monitor DDC.  Verify that Monitor DDC is set to DVI.  Analog monitors will work when DDC Routing is set to DVI and CRT, however, DVI monitors will not function when DDC Routing is set to CRT.
  • NI 3100/3110
    • The NI 3100/3110 industrial controllers have the same graphics core (GMA-950) as the PXI-8105/8106 so troubleshooting steps will be similar.
  • PXIe-8130
    • The PXIe-8130, by factory default, should allow the use of extended monitors through DVI-I Splitter. With the current BIOS available, v1.3, there is no setting available to disable this feature. 
    • Verify that all monitors work separately, specifically the monitor using the DVI port. Changing connections to different monitors may also require a reboot of the system to enable the necessary output lines. 

Additional Information

If you are still experiencing issues, check the manual for the controller's graphic's card to ensure that the size of the output does not exceed what the card can produce. For example, the 8135 can feed a resolution up to 3840x2400. If you exceed that distortion will occur. 

If your application requires more than two displays, a 3rd party compact PCI video card can be added to the PXI chassis. There are many compatibility issues and National Instruments does not test/support more than 2 monitors. Reference the following KB on using more than two monitors for more information.

The DVI connection has several implementations but it will use one of the following three connectors.
  • DVI-D  (digital only)
  • DVI-A  (analog only)
  • DVI-I    (integrated digital & analog) 

DVI-I Connector

The most popular implementation being DVI-I single and dual link. The DVI-I includes pins for analog signals found on a VGA connector as well as pins for the native digital signals in one connector. The DVI single link connector uses one transmitter while dual link uses two transmitters to increase the power of transmission and improve signal quality which is necessary to use larger displays. A single link connection can support a resolution of 1920 x 1200, while a dual link can support a resolution of 2560 x 1600.

The DVI-I connection on PXI controllers use a DVI-I (single link) connection and the graphics chipset supports two displays in mirrored or extended mode by using a DVI-I to DVI-D/VGA splitter. The DVI-I splitter allows one DVI and one VGA monitor to be connected to the PXI controller.

DVI-I Splitter

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