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Remote Communication using VISA

Last Updated: Dec 29, 2015 02:10PM PST

Rigol test and measurement products designed since 2010 are designed for compatibility with National Instruments™ VISA runtime environment. For instruments older than that contact your local RIGOL applications team.

This article is a description of VISA driver options and interfaces for RIGOL instruments.

UltraSigma Communication Software: RIGOL's UltraSigma software installs the necessary drivers, enables easy identification of instrument on any interface, and gives user's a way to send commands and receive both data and images from their RIGOL instrument. It is our recommended tool for learning how the instruments operate over the bus as well as quick debugging.

You can download it free from here.

If you don't want to install UltraSigma, you can read on to learn about other VISA installations that will work with your instrumentation.

VISA (Virtual Instrument Software Architecture) Two common forms of VISA are available for use with Rigol devices: NI-VISA™: The Virtual Instrument Software Architecture (VISA) is a standard for configuring, programming, and troubleshooting instrumentation systems comprising GPIB, VXI, PXI, Serial, Ethernet, and/or USB interfaces. VISA provides the programming interface between the hardware and development environments such as LabVIEW™, LabWindows™/CVI, and Measurement Studio for Microsoft Visual Studio™. NI-VISA™ is the National Instruments implementation of the VISA I/O standard. NI-VISA™ includes software libraries, interactive utilities such as NI Spy and the VISA Interactive Control, and configuration programs through Measurement and Automation Explorer for all your development needs. NI-VISA™ is standard across the National Instruments product line. With NI-VISA™, you can feel confident that your software development will not become obsolete as your instrumentation interface hardware needs evolve into the future. Source: (http://www.ni.com/visa/)

Obtain NI-VISA™: NI-VISA™ runtime can be obtained from the download section at http://www.ni.com/visa/. Currently NI-VISA™ is available for 64/32-bit Windows, 32-bit Linux and Mac OS-X platforms.

Agilent IO VISA (now Keysight):
Major Features:
 Connection Expert - automatically scans and configures your instrument IO
 IO Monitor - trace IO traffic on your instruments
 Interactive IO - send commands to instruments and read responses
 Interactive LXI - interactively send and receive LXI events and managing instrument clocks
 VISA Open Report - helps troubleshoot instrument connections for systems with multiple VISA installations
 IO Libraries now supports some 64 bit OS environments as well as Windows 7® OS. See datasheet for full technical requirements

Benefits:
 Works with the most popular IO Libraries including; Agilent or NI VISA, SICL, VISA COM or NI-488.2
 Auto discovery of instruments from any vendor
 Works with the most popular T&M software applications including Agilent VEE Pro, MATLAB®, NI LabVIEW, Microsoft® Visual Studio®
 Automatic detection of other vendors IO Libraries and configuration to use both of them regardless of install order. Source( http://www.agilent.com)

Interfaces
When using VISA, the commands used with an instrument are the same regardless of the interface used, so any programming example or the programming manual can get you started controlling an instrument.

RS-232 Serial Communication: A serial connection can be used to communicate with Rigol devices equipped with a serial port. Some instruments have RS-232 programming examples available on line. Check your product web page for more information.

GPIB Communication: GPIB is an industry standard communication bus used on many test systems still in use today. Many Rigol units are equipped with a GPIB port, while many of our scopes can have a GPIB option added by purchasing the USB-GPIB model.

TCP/IP Communication: Communication over Ethernet, LAN, or TCP/IP is gaining popularity among test equipment system builders as well as lab users. LXI (LAN eXtensions for Instruments) is a standard method of defining communication for instruments over Ethernet that makes communication more convenient, but one of the advantages of Ethernet is that you can use it to program an instrument natively from any modern programming language without requiring any drivers. View a LAN example to see how to send and receive commands with instruments directly over TCP/IP or view the LAN with VISA examples to see how to use a VISA layer to communicate over LAN. More and more Rigol products are becoming available with LXI communication standard. Rigol currently has products in every category that can be controlled in this way.

Agilent IO Connect and Agilent IO VISA are products and/or copyright of Agilent Technologies

NI-VISA™, LabVIEW™, LabWindows™/CVI, and Measurement Studio are trademarks and/or copyright of National Instruments

Visual Studio®, Visual Basic®, and Visual C® are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corp

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