Load Prebuilt FPGA Bitfile on an NI EtherCAT Expansion Chassis NI-9144/45

Updated Jan 26, 2023



  • NI-9144
  • NI-9145
  • CompactRIO Chassis


  • LabVIEW
  • LabVIEW Real-Time Module
  • LabVIEW FPGA Module

I have compiled an FPGA VI  on my NI-EtherCAT Expansion Chassis  NI-9144 or NI-9145, and I got a Bitfile  . I would like to load this Bitfile in other EtherCAT FPGA targets I have without having to compile again an FPGA VI.

We have two options to load the prebuilt FPGA Bitfile on the EtherCAT FPGA target, the first one would be manually and the other would be programmatically.


To load the FPGA Bitfile you can use the following instructions:
  1. Right-click the NI 9144/9145 item in the Project Explorer and select Online Device State.
  2. In the EtherCAT:Online:State page, change the device state to Bootstrap and click the Download Firmware button.
  3. In the Download Firmware dialog box, navigate to the bitfile and click Download.

To use this method you will need a special VI. You can find the instructions and this VI in this link.

Additional Information

If you are trying to load the FPGA Bitfile manually and the Online Device State is grey out please check the following considerations:
  • Be sure the target controller and slave device are connected.
  • Be sure the target item in the project is assigned the correct IP address.
  • Be sure the EtherCAT master item is assigned the correct adapter. You can change the physical adapter on the General page of the EtherCAT Master Properties dialog box.
  • Be sure you have deployed the master settings by right-clicking the master item and selecting the Deploymenu.