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Python for LXI Instrument Control

by Eric Jacobsen, Keysight Technologies

I was asked to help a customer resolve an issue for a python script they were using.  The customer was using MACs and did not want the complication of installing VISA for all of their test systems. In the process of resolving the customer issue I found python to be a very useful language for implementing tests.  I then used python to write a script that is use to watch the memory usage of an instrument under tests to check for memory leaks.  It proved to be very efficient way to implement this test and log the data for analysis. 

LXI provides the connection and standards to provide connectivity to instruments.  Python is a language for quick prototyping of solutions. Python is also a very portable language that runs on many OS’s. 

This article provides a detailed explanation of the LXI standards used for sockets and telnet and an explanation of an example of a python script that controls an instrument.



LXI Reference Design: Support


The LXI Reference Design will be introduced to members of the LXI Consortium by early Fall, and it will offer instrument vendors a number of benefits such as reducing time to market, lowering the cost of implementation of the LXI interface, and improved quality.

However, to ensure that the vendors realize these benefits, the LXI Consortium will implement an ongoing support plan. This support plan will help vendors, but it will also ensure the quality and reliability that users of LXI instrumentation have come to expect.

Elements of the support plan include:

  • Presentations and videos on how to get the full value from the reference design software.
  • An LXI Vendor Forum that will share questions and answers on technical issues regarding the implementation of the reference design.
  • Access to the LXI Reference Design Working Group, which oversees, improves, and maintains the reference design.
  • Access to TSEP, the company that developed the reference design with the LXI Consortium.
  • Defect management and maintenance releases.
  • LXI implementation of a virtual instrument model for testing.

The release of the LXI Reference Design will be announced through a press release, on the LXI website at www.lxistandard.org, and in the LXI Newsletter.


IVI Web Forum Question and Answer


Answered by Kirk Fertitta, Pacific Mindworks
for the
IVI Web Forum

Note:  Offering an IVI driver is a requirement for all LXI-conformant instruments.  The IVI Web Forum is hosted by the IVI Foundation.  You can sign up at www.ivifoundation.org.


Where can I find the IVI VISA shared components?

I am trying to set up things after reinstalling a computer. One thing I am missing right now is this file: Program Files\IVI Foundation\VISA\VisaCom\GlobMgr.dll, needed for a Visual Studio project. After a lot of searches, it seems that it should be provided by the "IVI VISA shared components", however the "IVI shared components" available here do not provide the file.
Could you please point me in the right direction? The many examples I have found assume that this file is already installed, but I could not find how the installation is done. Thank you in advance!


The VISA Shared Components are not installed by the IVI Shared Components. The VISA Shared Components are installed by a specific vendor's VISA implementation, such as NI VISA or Keysight VISA. Many people mistakenly believe that installing the VISA Shared Components allows you to communicate with instruments -- they do not. You must have a full VISA installation to perform instrument communication. They exist as a separate installer to allow VISA vendors (e.g. NI and Keysight) to integrate them into their VISA implementations.

So, just download the installer for whichever VISA you intend to use and the VISA Shared Components will get installed as part of that vendor's installation.



Thanks to all our readers.
Bob Helsel, Editor



New LXI Products

The LXI Consortium has certified more than 2711 instruments in over 281 product families since the specifications were first released in September 2005. Some of the recent LXI product introductions are highlighted below:

HiTech HTLX2920 16-channel High Power Switch Module
HTLX2920 is an LXI-based 16-channel BASE-CALSS high power switch module which is composed of 16 high power SPST (Single Pole Single Throw) switches.

USWI C3 Plug-in Controller & CPU
Today's satellite communication, ATE and broadcast applications demand reliability and stability. Our extensive C3 development process has resulted in an elegant and dependable platform.

Kikusui PBZ Series Intelligent Bi-Polar Power Supplies
The PBZ series is a bipolar type DC regulated power source that can continuously change both + and – polarities passing through 0 without changing the output terminal.

Keysight B2987A Electrometer/High Resistance Meter
World’s only graphical electrometer that allows you to confidently measure small currents with 0.01 fA (0.01 x 10-15 A) resolution and large resistances of up to 10 PΩ (10 x 1015 Ω).

TTI MX Series - Multi-output compact power supplies for bench or system
315 watts triple outputs with range switching - USB, RS232, GPIB & LAN interfaces (LXI compliant)

Keithley Model 2280S-32-6 Precision Measurement DC Power Supply, 32V, 6A
The Series 2280S Precision Measurement, Low Noise, Programmable DC Power Supplies can source stable, low noise voltages as well as monitor load currents over a wide dynamic range from amps to nanoamps.

Rohde & Schwarz FSW Signal & Spectrum Analyzer
Frequency range from 2 Hz to 8/13.6/26.5/43.5/50/67 GHz (with external harmonic mixers from Rohde & Schwarz up to 110 GHz)

VTI Instruments EMX-2500 LXI-PXI Controller
- Industry's first gigabit Ethernet Remote controller for PXI express mainframes
- Up to 100 MB/s sustained throughput



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