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Support Question of the Week: How can I use LabVIEW with the Cheetah SPI Host Adapter to transfer large amounts of data at high-speeds?

I have an SPI device that supports continuous read/write, and its format is not standard. The size of data for this device is approximate 1Mbit. Because the format is not standard, I plan to use LabVIEW so I can modify the SPI header to match the device that will drive. I have been using the AardvarkTM I2C/SPI Host Adapter, but for the higher data rate of this device, it looks like I need to use the CheetahTM SPI Host Adapter to transfer the data. My questions:

  • What are the limitations of transferring large amounts of data with the Cheetah adapter?
  • Do you provide support for using LabVIEW with the Cheetah adapter?

Thanks for your questions! When using the Cheetah SPI Host Adapter, the amount of SPI bytes that you can send and receive are limited by the memory size that your application is allowed to allocate. On most systems, the allocated  amount is very large; there should be more than enough memory to support your requirements.


Cheetah SPI Host Adapter is a high-speed master SPI host adapter that provides faster communication and response Figure 1: Cheetah SPI Host Adapter


Yes, we do provide LabVIEW drivers for use with the Cheetah adapter and examples are provided.  SPI speeds of 0.1 MHz – 40+ MHz are supported. You can easily use these examples as a springboard for creating your own custom applications.  In addition to LabVIEW, we have additional software tools to interface with the Cheetah adapter:

  • The Cheetah API Software is also used to control the adapter, and to write a custom program to achieve the user goals. The API supports multiple languages (C, Python, Visual Basic, and C#) on multiple operating systems (Windows, Linux, and Mac OS), and includes examples. We recommend using the Python bindings as it is a simple language, and a good  option for scripting.
  • The Flash Center™ Software is full-featured GUI that provides tools to quickly erase, program, and verify SPI based EEPROM and flash memory chips. It has extensible XML parts library with built-in support for EEPROMs and serial flash chips from major manufacturers. You can select and then modify an XML file to match the requirements of a custom chip or a device that is not yet supported. The Flash Center software is regularly updated, continuously supporting more SPI devices.
  • The Cheetah GUI Software provides full access to all Cheetah adapter functionality, and eliminates the need to write custom software to control the adapter.

 To become more familiar with the Cheetah adapter and its SPI format, we recommend the knowledge base article Writing and Reading from SPI Flash Using Cheetah Adapter and Cheetah GUI. The article provides an example for using the adapter with the SPI flash memory device from STMicro, the M25P32.

The Cheetah SPI master adapter actively communicates on the bus, operates at high speed from 0.1 MHz to 50 MHz, can provide gapless shifting, and provides control over the timing of the data that is shifted out. For details about the Cheetah's signaling characteristics, please refer to section 2.5  of the Cheetah Host Adapter User Manual. For additional information, please refer to the following documents:

Cheetah SPI Host Adapter Quick Start Guide

Cheetah Host Adapter User Manual

Cheetah GUI Software User Manual

Flash Center Software User Manual

Total Phase Products

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We hope this answers your question. If you have other questions about our host adapters or other Total Phase products, feel free to email us at sales@totalphase.com or submit a request for technical support.