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Matlab Options for Programming Labview R-series FPGA card.

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Lloyd
Lloyd on 6 Jul 2011
Answered: Kiran Kintali on 26 Jun 2020
Our group uses a National Instruments PCI-7833R data acquisition card to operate an existing instrument. The card has an on-board FPGA (Xilinx Virtex II-3M). It currently works well running custom Labview software. Unfortunately, the people responsible for getting the system up and running have since moved on, and most of the remaining group members are only vaguely familiar with the Labview environment. On the other hand, our group as a whole is quite comfortable using Matlab.
I looked around briefly and most of the promising Matlab options (xPC targets, Data Acquisition Toolbox, Instrument Control toolbox) do not support our data acquisition card. I'm not confident that I have the necessary skills or appropriate references to program the driver myself.
What additional options do we have if we would like to port operation of our instrument to Matlab?
Thanks in advance for your help.

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Answers (3)

Grant
Grant on 12 Jul 2011
What are you using the PCI-7833R for? What extra functionality are you needing on top of what is working already?
The productivity gains and hardware integration of LabVIEW completely make up for the time needed for you to learn a new environment and would save you the time of trying to port it into MatLab yourself (which I'm not confident can be done successfully).
I personally learned LabVIEW in a week during college for a research project. I used YouTube videos and example code and was able to integrate FPGA code and custom .m files (did you know you can use your custom .m files in LabVIEW with the MathScript RT Module? No need to redo code that already spent time to get working!) with the DAQ code already done for me in LabVIEW. There are better ways to learn LabVIEW than what I had available to me but poor college students have poor ways I guess :)
Instead of wasting time figuring out how to port working LabVIEW/FPGA code to MatLab, why don't you let me teach you how you can easily learn LabVIEW? There are documents online (<http://www.ni.com/labview/technical-resources/>) for getting started with LabVIEW but drop me a line and I will work to get someone to personally teach you and anyone else that would like to sit in what your LabVIEW code is doing, and how to expand the functionality using models of computation you are already comfortable with (.m files), and what else you are capable of doing using the over 900 built in signal analysis (engineering and science) functions? You don't need to reinvent the wheel. I can teach you how you can use the domain expertise you already have (MatLab but just as easy for C or C#) within the ultimate system design software for measurement and control, NI LabVIEW.
I'm actually not looking to push product (seriously) on you but just one engineer (Aerospace) reaching out to help another not waste time and money. We already work so hard to solve tough engineering challenges that any extra time spent not solving the actual issue is a waste of time (something art majors are used to). Let's get you back on track. Let me know how I can help.
Grant Heimbach LabVIEW Product Manager grant.heimbach@ni.com

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Jack Erickson
Jack Erickson on 25 Jun 2020
NI has worked with MathWorks to publish a tutorial for using the output of HDL Coder to import into LabVIEW FPGA.
This tutorial is available here:
This is the first version of the tutorial, so we are interested to learn how well it works for you. If you have feedback, please send it along via the "Contact" button in my Community Profile.
Thanks
Jack Erickson
HDL Coder product marketing

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Kiran Kintali
Kiran Kintali on 26 Jun 2020
Please let us know if this tutorial is somethign that can be used in your case.
Regarding your FPGA board / workflow:
>> National Instruments PCI-7833R data acquisition card to operate an existing instrument. The card has an on-board FPGA (Xilinx Virtex II-3M)
You can build a custom board and reference FPGA workflow using HDLCoder custom reference designs. See links below.
Custom Reference Design
Create your own custom reference design for integrating the generated IP core into the target SoC device, Speedgoat board, or the standalone FPGA boards
You can create your own custom reference design in MATLAB® and use HDL Coder™ to integrate the IP core into your reference design.
Board and Reference Design Registration System
You can define custom boards and custom reference designs so that they are available as target hardware options in the SoC workflow. Custom boards and custom reference designs use the same system that HDL Coder™ uses for predefined board and reference design targets.Board, IP Core, and Reference Design Definitions
A reference design is the embedded system design that your generated IP core integrates with. The board is the SoC platform.
For a custom board or custom reference design, you can define different kinds of interfaces:
  • AXI interface: an interface between your generated IP core and an AXI4 or AXI4-Lite interface.
  • External IO interface: an interface between your generated IP core and an external interface.
  • Internal IO interface: an interface between your generated IP core and another IP core in the reference design.
After you integrate your reference design and IP core in an embedded system design project, you can program the board with the embedded system design.

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