XNET Cluster I/O Name

NI-XNET Hardware and Software Help

Edition Date: November 2018

Part Number: 372841U-01

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Each database contains one or more clusters, where the cluster represents a collection of hardware products all connected over a shared cabling harness. In other words, each cluster represents a single CAN network or FlexRay network. For example, the database may describe a single vehicle, where the vehicle contains a Body CAN cluster, a Powertrain CAN cluster, and a Chassis FlexRay cluster.

Use the XNET Cluster I/O name to select a cluster, access properties, and invoke methods. For general information about I/O names, such as when to use them, refer to NI-XNET I/O Names.

User Interface

When you select the drop-down arrow on the right side of the I/O name, you see a list of all clusters known to NI-XNET, followed by a separator (line), then a list of menu items.

Each cluster in the drop-down list uses the syntax specified in String Use. The list of clusters spans all database aliases known to NI-XNET. If you have not added an alias, the list of clusters is empty.

You can select a cluster from the drop-down list or by typing the name. As you type a name, LabVIEW selects the closest match from the list.

Right-clicking the I/O name displays a menu of LabVIEW items and items specific to NI-XNET.

The XNET Cluster I/O name includes the following menu items (in right-click or drop-down menus):

  • Browse For Database File: If you have an existing CANdb (.dbc), FIBEX (.xml), AUTOSAR (.arxml), LIN Description File (.ldf), or NI-CAN (.ncd) database file, select this item to add an alias to NI-XNET. Use the file dialog to browse to the database file on your system. When you select OK, NI-XNET adds an alias to the file. The alias uses the filename, such as MyDatabase for a file path of C:\Embedded\Vehicle5\MyDatabase.dbc. If the alias is not unique, NI-XNET appends a number per LabVIEW conventions (for example, MyDatabase 2). After adding the alias, you can select the objects in that database from any NI-XNET I/O name.
  • New XNET Database: If you do not have an existing database file, select this item to launch the NI-XNET Database Editor. You can use the NI-XNET Database Editor to create objects for the database and then save to a file. When you save the file, the NI-XNET Database Editor also adds an alias. Therefore, after you save from the editor, the clusters in the database become available in the XNET Cluster I/O name drop-down list.
  • Edit XNET Database: If you selected a cluster using the I/O name, select this item to launch the NI-XNET Database Editor with that cluster's database file. You can use the editor to make changes to the database file, including the cluster.
  • Manage Database Aliases: Select this menu item to open a dialog for managing aliases. You can review your list of aliases and associated file paths, remove an alias (without deleting the file), and add new aliases.

If you are using LabVIEW Real-Time (RT), you can right-click the RT target within LabVIEW Project and select the Connect menu item. This connects to the RT target over TCP/IP, which in turn enables the user interface of NI-XNET I/O names to operate remotely. If you open the Manage dialog while connected to an RT target, the dialog provides features for reviewing the list of databases on the RT target, deploying a new database from Windows to the RT target, and undeploying a database (removing an alias and file from RT target).

String Use

Use one of two syntax conventions for the string in the XNET Cluster I/O name:

  • <alias>.<cluster>
  • <alias>

The first syntax convention is the most complete, in that it contains the name of a database alias, followed by a dot separator, followed by the name of the cluster within that database. Use this syntax with FIBEX files, which contain multiple named clusters.

The second syntax convention uses the database alias only. This is supported for CANdb (.dbc), LDF (.ldf), and NI-CAN (.ncd) files, which always contain a single unnamed cluster.

Lowercase letters (a–z), uppercase letters (A–Z), numbers, underscore (_), and space ( ) are valid characters for <alias>. Period (.) and other special characters are not supported within the <alias> name. Because the <alias> is used as the filename portion of an internal filepath (that is, absolute path and file extension removed), it must use the minimum file conventions for all operating systems. The alias name is not case sensitive.

Lowercase letters (a–z), uppercase letters (A–Z), numbers, and the underscore (_) are valid characters for <cluster>. The space ( ), period (.), and other special characters are not supported within the cluster name. The cluster name must begin with a letter (uppercase or lowercase) or underscore, and not a number. The cluster name is limited to 128 characters. The cluster name is case sensitive.

For FIBEX (.xml) and AUTOSAR (.arxml) files, the <cluster> name is stored in the database file. For CANdb (.dbc), LDF (.ldf), or NI-CAN (.ncd) files, no <cluster> name is stored in the file, so NI-XNET uses the name Cluster when a name is required.

You can use the XNET Cluster I/O name string as follows:

  • XNET Create Session (Frame In Stream, Frame Out Stream, Generic) VI: The stream I/O sessions transfer an arbitrary sequence of frames on the cluster, so only the XNET Cluster is required for configuration (not specific frames). The Generic instance provides advanced features to pass in database object names as strings, including the cluster. Within Create Session, NI-XNET opens the database file, reads information for the cluster, and then closes the database.
  • Open Refnum: LabVIEW can open the XNET Cluster I/O name automatically. Wire the I/O name to a property node or VI, and the refnum is opened prior to the first use.

Refnum Use

You can use the XNET Cluster I/O name refnum as follows:

  • XNET Cluster Property Node: The XNET Cluster property node provides information about its contents, such as the list of all XNET Frames. This property node is the most common use case for the XNET Cluster I/O name, because it provides the features needed to query and/or edit the cluster contents in the database file.
  • Create (ECU, Frame): If you are creating a new database, call this VI to create a new XNET ECU or Frame within the cluster.


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