Connecting Instruments via Ethernet/LAN

  • Attach one end of the Ethernet cable to the Ethernet port on the stand-alone instrument and the other end to Ethernet port on the target machine.

Ethernet/LAN Configuration

Use the following video tutorials or the document below to assist you in completing this task:

Configuration in Windows

Configuration in Linux

Configuration in Mac OS X

This section walks through the steps for configuring your Ethernet-based instrument with NI-VISA on a Windows-based computer. At this point, NI-VISA should already be installed on your computer.

1. Testing the Connection to Your Ethernet Device

Your instrument should be connected to your network. You should also be able to "ping" your device. Do this by following these steps:

a. Open a command prompt (Start/Windows 7 icon) and then type "cmd" in the empty field. Click on the "cmd" program that appears to open the command prompt.

Figure 1. Command Prompt in Windows

b. In the Command Prompt window, type "ping xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx:yyyy" and press "Enter" (where xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx is the IP address of your instrument and yyyy is the port). You may not need to include a port number.

Figure 2. Ping Response

If you get a response like the one in Figure 2 (with replies coming back), then you can communicate to that Ethernet device from your PC and you are ready to start configuring the device in Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX).

2. Configuring Your Ethernet Device in MAX

At this point, MAX should be open with the My System tree expanded. Next, expand Devices and Interfaces and right-click on Network Devices. Note that a Create New VISA TCP/IP Resource... button has appeared. Left-click this button to continue creating the new VISA resource for your instrument.

Figure 3. Creating a New VISA Resource in MAX

You then need to choose either VXI-11 LAN Instrument or Raw Socket. Raw Socket lets you communicate with an Ethernet device over a specific port number. VXI-11 LAN Instrument is used for instruments that conform to the VXI-11 LAN Instrument specification.

If you are using a VXI-11 LAN instrument, you have the option to:

  • Search your network for that device (first radio button: Auto-detect) or
  • Add it by IP address (second radio button: Manual entry)

If you select Raw Socket, you have the choice of entering an IP address and port number (third radio button).

Figure 4. Choosing VXI-11 or Raw Socket

Once you input the required information for your particular instrument, you then have a new VISA TCP/IP Resource added in MAX. You can use the Communicate with Instrument tool to test the communication with your device. Simply send any command the device should recognize, and see if you get the appropriate response in return. If not, you may have entered the Set Up information incorrectly or your instrument may not be working properly.

When you have completed your configuration and verified communication with the instrument, you need a fast way to progress from interactive mode to programming mode so you can immediately begin writing your tests without a tedious transition process. The best way to achieve this is by using instrument drivers.

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