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Determining and Upgrading PXI and VXI Embedded Controller BIOS Versions



Hardware: PXI/CompactPCI>>Controllers

Problem:
There are several different BIOS version numbers displayed when the embedded controller BIOS loads. I need to determine the BIOS version in my embedded controller to see if I need to upgrade it. How do I determine what version of the BIOS is running on my controller? How do I upgrade the BIOS?

Solution:
Determine the Current Version of the BIOS

Press the Delete key on your keyboard during the start up screen to enter the BIOS. The BIOS version will appear on the top of the screen in the main tab.

Note: Historically, two version numbers will appear: the first one is the Manufacturer's BIOS Version, and the second one is the National Instrument's BIOS version. The one that matters to you is the National Instrument's BIOS version, which is the one that gets upgraded.
For example, for the NI 8180 family of controllers (PXI-8186, PXI-8187), the NI 8171 family of controllers (PXI-8176, PXI-8175, PXI-8174, PXI-8185, PXI-8184) and the NI VXIpc-870B family of controllers (VXIpc-871B, VXIpc-872B), the BIOS version numbers that appear are:
  • PhoenixBIOS version, such as: PhoenixBIOS 4.0 Release 6.0.5
  • National Instruments version, such as: NI 8185 Controller BIOS Version 1.70
Updating the BIOS

Note: National Instruments does not recommend that you update your BIOS version unless you require functionality that a new BIOS provides. If you have questions, please contact National Instruments' support at ni.com/support

Depending upon the period of time that the controller was released, there are two different ways in which the BIOS is updated. Follow the set of directions applicable to your controller as it is listed in the tables below:

Method 1

  1. Download the BIOS for your controller:

    PXI Controller

    Download Link

    PXI-8101

    Drivers and Updates

    PXI-8102

    Drivers and Updates

    PXI-8104

    Drivers and Updates 

    PXI-8105

    Drivers and Updates

    PXI-8106

     Drivers and Updates

    PXI-8108

    Drivers and Updates

    PXI-8110

    Drivers and Updates

    PXI-8840

    Drivers and Updates

    PXIe-8101

    Drivers and Updates

    PXIe-8102

    Drivers and Updates

    PXIe-8105

    Drivers and Updates

    PXIe-8106

    Drivers and Updates

    PXIe-8108

    Drivers and Updates

    PXIe-8109

    Drivers and Updates

    PXIe-8133

    Drivers and Updates

    PXIe-8135

    Drivers and Updates

    PXIe-8820

    Drivers and Updates

    PXIe-8840

    Drivers and Updates

    PXIe-8840 Quad Core

    Drivers and Updates


  2. Unzip the files that you downloaded to your Desktop
  3. Insert a USB flash disk into one of your computer's USB slots.
  4. Allow for the operating system to identify the USB flash disk properly.
  5. Run CreateUSBUtilityDisk.exe and select Run. This program will automatically detect all the USB flash disks that are connected to your PC.
  6. Choose the USB you would like to use from the drop down menu.



  7. Select Make Bootable. The application will format the USB flash disk with a bootable DOS image FreeDOS and will automatically copy over the BIOS files that you have downloaded.
  8. Note: This will delete all information currently on the USB drive. You may need to run in Administrator mode for this step
  9. Select Ok to delete all the data that is currently on the USB drive. Close the application when finished by selecting Close.


  10. Insert the USB Drive into your controller Boot into your controller's BIOS by pressing Delete and ensure that the BIOS settings are configured correctly:

    Ensure that your controller has Legacy USB support Enabled. This allows you to boot from a USB device. This setting is found in the BIOS under Advanced»Integrated Peripherals»Legacy USB Support.

    If there is a LV RT tab in the BIOS, ensure that in this tab the Boot Configuration is set to Windows/Other OS. This will ensure that the USB drive will show up as a boot option.

    If you are using a PXI-8108, PXIe-8108, PXI-8101, PXIe-8101, PXI-8102, PXIe-8102 or PXI-8110, ensure that you have setup these additional settings:

    • Navigate to Advanced»SATA Configuration»SATA Mode Selection and select IDE
    • Navigate to Advanced»USB Configuration»Mass Storage Devices and select Auto
    • Navigate to Boot»Hard Drive BBS Priorities and move USB to the top of the list (Boot Option #1)
    • Navigate to Boot»Boot Option #1 and make sure USB is at the top of the list

  11. Reboot and enter the BIOS again.
  12. Ensure that your USB device is first in the list of bootable devices and reboot again.
  13. Boot into the FreeDOS Operating System from your USB boot disk where instructions will explain how to update your BIOS. The BIOS Readme also has additional information about performing this update.

Note: Do not interrupt the BIOS flashing process. Doing so can corrupt your BIOS and require an RMA.

Method 2

  1. Download the BIOS for your controller:

     PXI Controllers

    Download Link

    Other Controllers

    Download Link

     PXI-8170 Series

     FTP Download

     VXIpc-770 / 870b

     FTP Download

     PXI-8171 Series

     FTP Download

     NI 8352 / 8353

     FTP Download

     PXI-8184 / 8185

     FTP Download

     

     

     PXI-8186

     FTP Download

     

     

     PXI-8187

     FTP Download

     

     

     PXI-8195

     FTP Download

     

     

     PXI-8196

     FTP Download

     

     

     PXIe-8103

     FTP Download

     

     

     PXIe-8130

     FTP Download

     

     


  2. Unzip the files that you downloaded to your Desktop
  3. Insert a USB flash disk into one of your computer's USB slots.
  4. Reference  KnowledgeBase 355F5URA: Booting a PXI or VXI Controller from a USB Storage Device such as a USB Key to convert your USB Drive into a bootable USB Drive
  5. Reference the Readme file that will be found in the file that you unzipped in Step 2. In this Readme it will tell you what files to copy over to the USB drive, usually it is all the files that are found in that zip file.
  6. Insert the USB Drive into your controller
  7. Boot into your controller's BIOS by pressing Delete and ensure that the BIOS settings are configured correctly:

    Ensure that your controller has Legacy USB support enabled. This allows you to boot from a USB device. This setting is found in the BIOS under Advanced»Integrated Peripherals»Legacy USB Support.

    If there is a LV RT tab in the BIOS, ensure that in this tab the Boot Configuration is set to Windows/Other OS. This will ensure that the USB drive will show up as a boot option. Ensure that your USB device is first in the list of bootable devices and reboot again.

  8. Reboot and enter the BIOS again.
  9. Boot into the FreeDOS Operating System from your USB boot disk where instructions will explain how to update your BIOS. The BIOS Readme also has additional information about performing this update.

Note: Do not interrupt the BIOS flashing process. Doing so can corrupt your BIOS and require an RMA.



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Report Date: 12/19/2001
Last Updated: 05/30/2017
Document ID: 2GIGKD0Z

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