LabVIEW and drivers simplify instrument control

National Instruments Corporation (UK) Ltdvisit website


National Instruments is simplifying instrument control by offering the NI Instrument Driver Network (IDNet), which it describes as the industry's largest source of instrument drivers, and easy-to-use software optimised for instrument control including NI LabVIEW, LabWindows/CVI and Measurement Studio for Microsoft Visual Studio. The company's comprehensive software suite designed for instrument control helps engineers and scientists achieve more with their instruments and save time by getting them to their first measurements faster.

IDNet offers more than 7500 instrument drivers that make it easy to connect to and control standalone instruments from more than 275 vendors including Tektronix, Agilent Technologies and Rohde & Schwarz. From IDNet, engineers and scientists can download LabVIEW Plug and Play, LabWindows/CVI Plug and Play and Interchangeable Virtual Instrument (IVI) instrument drivers certified by NI and control thousands of instruments, including the latest GPIB, PXI, USB, Ethernet and LXI instruments, from NI software. National Instruments is also expanding its driver support beyond traditional instruments to hardware such as environmental monitoring sensors and wireless sensor networks.

In addition to IDNet, LabVIEW simplifies instrument control because it provides a high-level graphical programming interface that is easy to use, offers extensive support with certified instrument drivers and includes other time-saving configuration and troubleshooting tools. LabVIEW reduces application development time with integrated wizards such as the Instrument Driver Finder (IDFinder), which helps engineers and scientists instantly locate instrument drivers and example code on IDNet and install them into the LabVIEW palette for immediate use. LabVIEW and the Instrument Driver Finder significantly reduce time to first measurement by helping users get up and running without ever having to leave the LabVIEW environment.

Industry-standard I/O programming

All NI instrument drivers are built using the Virtual Instrument Software Architecture (VISA), an industry-standard I/O programming interface that abstracts away the underlying bus communication for a consistent programming experience, regardless of the instrument bus used. NI-VISA, the National Instruments implementation of the VISA I/O standard, further simplifies and accelerates instrument control by providing resources such as NI Spy, an interactive utility that helps engineers and scientists troubleshoot their applications faster by displaying detailed function calls and data and timing between the software and instrument.

LabVIEW and NI-VISA also include the NI Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX), a configuration utility that makes it possible to manage all hardware from one central location. MAX offers the option to assign aliases to specific instruments, which simplifies the task of adding and replacing instruments within automated test systems. Additionally, NI-VISA now delivers enhanced LXI standard support by providing auto-discovery of LXI instruments. With this capability, any LXI instrument added to the configuration is automatically detected in software and made available for immediate measurements.

If the required instrument driver cannot be found, the NI software development environments feature built-in capabilities for direct I/O communication through interfaces including VISA, GPIB, serial and Ethernet. All three NI development environments deliver an interactive Instrument I/O Assistant to help engineers and scientists quickly establish communication with their instruments, perform simple instrument I/O tasks or generate code for use in creating their own instrument drivers.

Find out more about National Instruments' instrument control software at and download an evaluation version of LabVIEW at Visit to access the more than 7500 instrument drivers on NI IDNet. Alternatively, use the form on this page to request a callback or more information about LabVIEW.

30 April 2009

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