What is VirtualBench?

Publish Date: Feb 14, 2017 | 1 Ratings | 5.00 out of 5 | Print


VirtualBench plays a key role in reducing the cost and footprint of test and measurement systems by consolidating five of the most commonly used instruments into one device without compromising the performance of each instrument. Combined with a modern software experience and simple programming interface, VirtualBench creates new efficiencies for engineers interacting with benchtop test equipment or developing low-cost automated test systems. The VirtualBench hardware family currently consists of three models most easily designated by oscilloscope analog bandwidth: 100, 350, and 500 MHz. These models allow the VirtualBench family to serve a wide range of applications and price points in academic labs, hardware characterization/debug benches, and automated test systems.

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Table of Contents

  1. Five Benchtop Instruments. One Unified Interface.
  2. VirtualBench Model Comparison
  3. Detailed View of VB-8054
  4. Key Features
  5. NI-VirtualBench Driver Software
  6. Learn More about VirtualBench

1. Five Benchtop Instruments. One Unified Interface.

Figure 1: VB-8054 alongside VirtualBench Windows software application

  • Software: Includes VirtualBench application, API support for LabVIEW and text-based languages, shipping examples, and detailed help files
  • Up to 500 MHz mixed-signal oscilloscope with protocol analysis
  • Arbitrary waveform generator with up to 40 MHz sine output
  • 5 ½ digit DMM with 300 V input range
  • Three-channel programmable DC power supply, up to 3 A
  • Eight general-purpose digital I/O lines
  • USB, Ethernet, and WiFi connectivity to Windows and Apple iPad software applications


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2. VirtualBench Model Comparison



(Available now)


(Available now)


(Coming soon)

Mixed-Signal Oscilloscope (MSO) with Protocol Analysis


100 MHz

350 MHz

500 MHz


2 Analog, BNC

4 Analog, BNC

34 Digital

34 Digital

Sample Rate

1 GS/s

1.5 GS/s/channel

2 GS/s/channel

Digital Multimeter


5 ½ Digits

Input Range

300 V, Category II Isolation

Measurement Functions

DC voltage, AC voltage, DC current, AC current, resistance, diode, continuity

Arbitrary Waveform Generator

Max Frequency

20 MHz (sine)

40 MHz (sine)

Waveform Types

sine, square, ramp/triangle, DC, arbitrary

DC Power Supply

Channel 1

0 to 6 V, up to 1 A

0 to 6 V, up to 3 A

Channel 2

0 to -25 V, up to 0.5 A

0 to -25 V, up to 1 A

Channel 3

0 to 25 V, up to 0.5 A

0 to 25 V, up to 1 A

Digital I/O


8 Channels

Logic Levels

5 V compatible TTL input, 3.3 LVTTL output



USB and WiFi

USB, WiFi, and Ethernet


10 in. x 7.5 in. x 2.9 in.

12 in. x 8 in. x 3.7 in.

Interactive Software 

Windows (7 SP1 and later), iPad (iOS 9 or later)

Programming API

LabVIEW, ANSI C, and Python1

1Python wrapper is community-developed and not officially supported by NI

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3. Detailed View of VB-8054

Figure 2: Front and back detailed view of VB-8054

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4. Key Features

Unified Software Interface

The VirtualBench application requires zero installation and can load automatically via Windows Autoplay when connected through USB. The integrated view of all five instruments allows you to import/export instrument configurations for easier replication of test conditions. VirtualBench also includes software capabilities like digital phosphor density maps for displaying multiple acquisitions simultaneously, XY mode for plotting channels against one another, and hands-free smart capture for automatic data capture of repeated stable waveforms. In order to future-proof any VirtualBench investment, free software and firmware updates are provided as new features are released. These features, in addition to the consolidated interface, help engineers streamline their approach for benchtop characterization and validation.

Figure 3: Export screenshots and data using one-click buttons or the hands-free smart capture feature.

Figure 4: Use measurement indicators to quickly characterize signals like this sine glitch. Choose to display common measurements like amplitude, max/min, RMS, period, and frequency indefinitely beneath the scope graph.

Figure 5: Simplify your measurements using intuitive configuration menus. The configured pulse width trigger reliably captures the displayed signal glitch.

Figure 6: Debug your system more easily by leveraging the built-in protocol decoder alongside the other instruments on the same time scale. The zero registered on the “DAC1” SPI line is likely the culprit of the glitch shown.

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5. NI-VirtualBench Driver Software

Application Programming Interface (API)

In addition to the VirtualBench application, the NI-VirtualBench driver includes a best-in-class API that works with a variety of development options such as LabVIEW and C. The driver also provides access to help files, documentation, and online examples you can use as a starting point for your application.

Figure 7: Example LabVIEW code to take a DMM reading on the VirtualBench.

Figure 8: Example LabVIEW code to take an oscilloscope measurement on the VirtualBench.

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6. Learn More about VirtualBench

To learn more about the capabilities of VirtualBench, you can watch the series of instructional videos linked through the image below.

Additional Resources

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Download the VirtualBench Application Software for Windows

Download the VirtualBench App for iPad

See VirtualBench in Action

Automating VirtualBench in LabVIEW

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