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Troubleshooting IVI, VISA, and the Quick-Control Interfaces

Virtual Instrument Software Architecture (VISA) is an industry standard defined by the IVI foundation for communicating with instruments regardless of the interface.

The IVI standard defines an open driver architecture, a set of instrument classes, and shared software components. With IVI you can use instruments interchangeability into multiple systems using standardized code.

You can use the Quick-Control Oscilloscope for any oscilloscope that uses an underlying IVI-C driver. You can use the Quick-Control Function Generator for any function generator that uses an underlying IVI-C driver. You can use the Quick-Control RF Signal Generator for any RF signal generator that uses an underlying IVI-C driver.

Supported Platforms

VISA is supported on these platforms:

  • Linux® 64-bit

  • macOS 64-bit

  • Microsoft® Windows® 64-bit

IVI is supported on these platforms:

  • Microsoft Windows 64-bit

The Quick Control interfaces are supported on these platforms:

  • Microsoft Windows 64-bit

Adaptor Requirements

IVI-C

Instrument Control Toolbox™ software supports IVI-C drivers, with class-compliant and instrument-specific functionality.

IVI® class-compliant drivers support common functionality across a family of related instruments. Use class-compliant drivers to access the basic functionality of an instrument, and the ability to swap instruments without changing the code in your application. With an IVI instrument-specific driver or interface, you can access the unique functionality of the instrument. The instrument-specific driver generally does not accommodate instrument substitution.

For IVI-C drivers, you can use IVI-C class drivers and IVI-C specific drivers. Device objects you construct to call IVI-C class drivers offer interchangeability between similar instruments, and work with all instruments consistent with that class driver. Device objects you construct to call IVI-C specific drivers directly generally offer less interchangeability, but provide access to the unique methods and properties of a specific instrument.

Other things to note:

  • IVI-COM is no longer supported, because of the removal of 32-bit MATLAB®.

  • Using an IVI driver with icdevice requires generating a MATLAB instrument driver (MDD) with makemid or using a prebuilt MDD driver.

  • The IVI Foundation maintains a registry of drivers sortable by instrument model and driver type. See http://www.ivifoundation.org/registered_drivers/driver_registry.aspx.

Before you use IVI drivers in MATLAB, install:

  • VISA

  • IVI Shared components

  • Required IVI drivers

IVI-C Wrappers

The IVI-C wrappers provide an interface to MATLAB for instruments running on IVI-C class-compliant drivers.

To use the wrapper you must have the following software installed.

  • Windows 64-bit

  • VISA shared components

  • VISA

  • National Instruments® compliance package NICP 4.1 or higher

  • Your instrument driver

Quick Control Oscilloscope

You can use the Quick-Control Oscilloscope for any oscilloscope that uses an underlying IVI-C driver. However, you do not have to directly deal with the underlying driver. You can also use it for Tektronix® oscilloscopes.

To use the Quick-Control Oscilloscope for an IVI-C scope, you must have the following software installed. Most components are installed by the Instrument Control Toolbox Support Package for National Instruments VISA and ICP Interfaces. To install the support package, see Install the National Instruments VISA and ICP Interfaces Support Package.

  • Windows 64-bit platforms

  • VISA shared components (installed by the support package)

  • VISA (installed by the support package)

    Note, the examples use Agilent® VISA, but you can use any version of VISA.

  • National Instruments IVI compliance package NICP 4.1 or later (installed by the support package)

  • Your instrument’s device-specific driver. If you do not already have it, go to your instrument vendor's website and download the IVI-C driver for your specific instrument.

By default, the driver used is Tektronix ('tektronix'). If your instrument is not supported by the default driver, specify a particular IVI-C Scope driver using the driver property on the oscilloscope object.

Note

As of release R2015a, most of these components are installed for you when you install the National Instruments VISA and ICP Interfaces Support Package. See Install the National Instruments VISA and ICP Interfaces Support Package.

Quick Control Function Generator

You can use the Quick-Control Function Generator for any function generator that uses an underlying IVI-C driver. However, you do not have to directly deal with the underlying driver.

To use the Quick-Control Function Generator for an IVI-C fgen, ensure the following software is installed. Most components are installed by the Instrument Control Toolbox Support Package for National Instruments VISA and ICP Interfaces. To install the support package, see Install the National Instruments VISA and ICP Interfaces Support Package.

  • Windows 64-bit platforms

  • VISA shared components (installed by the support package)

  • VISA (installed by the support package)

    Note, the examples use Agilent VISA, but you can use any vendor’s implementation of VISA.

  • National Instruments IVI compliance package NICP 4.1 or later (installed by the support package)

  • Your instrument’s device-specific driver. If you do not already have it, go to your instrument vendor's website and download the IVI-C driver for your specific instrument.

By default, the driver used is 'Agilent332x0_SCPI'. If your instrument is not supported by the default driver, specify a particular IVI-C Function Generator driver using the driver property on the fgen object.

Note

As of release R2015a, most of these components are installed for you when you install the National Instruments VISA and ICP Interfaces Support Package. See Install the National Instruments VISA and ICP Interfaces Support Package.

Quick Control RF Signal Generator

You can use the Quick-Control RF Signal Generator for any RF signal generator that uses an underlying IVI-C driver. However, you do not have to directly deal with the underlying driver.

To use the Quick-Control RF Signal Generator for an IVI-C RF signal generator, ensure the following software is installed. Most components are installed by the Instrument Control Toolbox Support Package for National Instruments VISA and ICP Interfaces, but you can also install them separately. To install the support package, see Install the National Instruments VISA and ICP Interfaces Support Package.

  • Windows 64-bit platforms

  • VISA shared components (installed by the support package)

  • VISA (installed by the support package)

    Note, the examples use Agilent VISA, but you can use any vendor’s implementation of VISA.

  • National Instruments IVI compliance package NICP 4.1 or later (installed by the support package)

  • The device-specific driver for your instrument. If you do not already have it, go to your instrument vendor's website and download the IVI-C driver for your specific instrument.

Note

As of release R2015a, most of these components are installed for you when you install the National Instruments VISA and ICP Interfaces Support Package. See Install the National Instruments VISA and ICP Interfaces Support Package.

Configuration and Connection

  1. Make sure that you have the correct instrument driver installed for your device. Refer to your device documentation and the vendor website.

  2. Make sure that your device is supported in Instrument Control Toolbox. See Is My Hardware Supported?.

  3. Make sure that Instrument Control Toolbox recognizes your device, by using the instrhwinfo function with the visa interface name. For example:

    instrhwinfo('visa')
    ans = 
        InstalledAdaptors: {'agilent'}
           JarFileVersion: 'Version 2.8.0'

    The VISA library should be listed. If it is not, make sure it is installed and it is a supported version.

    You can also make sure your instrument is listed, by using instrhwinfo with the adaptor and vendor name, then looking at the ObjectConstructorName field.

    visainfo = instrhwinfo('visa', 'agilent')
    visainfo.ObjectConstructorName
    
    ans = 
        'visa('agilent', 'ASRL1::INSTR');'
        'visa('agilent', 'TCPIP0::172.31.57.119::inst0::INSTR');'
        'visa('agilent', 'TCPIP0::hostname.net.com::inst0::INSTR');'
    

    If the instrument is not listed, it is not configured properly in your vendor’s VISA configuration utility. Each vendor has its own utility. See the table in “VISA Supported Vendor and Resource Names” at the end of this topic for a list of the vendor utilities.

  4. You can also use instrhwinfo to find information on installed IVI drivers and shared components. For example:

    instrhwinfo ('ivi')
    ans = 
                  LogicalNames: {'MainScope', 'FuncGen'}
                    ProgramIDs: {'TekScope.TekScope','Agilent33250'}
                       Modules: {'ag3325b', 'hpe363xa'}
    ConfigurationServerVersion: '1.6.0.10124'
      MasterConfigurationStore: 'C:\Program Files\IVI\Data\
                                 IviConfigurationStore.xml'
                   IVIRootPath: 'C:\Program Files\IVI\'

    Modules refer to IVI-C drivers.

    Logical names are associated with particular IVI drivers as defined in the IVI Configuration Store, but they do not necessarily imply that the drivers are currently installed. You can install drivers that do not have a LogicalName property set yet, or drivers whose LogicalName was removed.

    Alternatively, use the Test & Measurement Tool to view the installation of IVI drivers and the setup of the IVI configuration store. Expand the Instrument Drivers node and click IVI. Click the Software Modules tab. (For information on the other IVI driver tabs and settings in the Test & Measurement Tool, see IVI Configuration Store.)

  5. You can create an ivi object or a visa object to communicate with your instrument. For instructions on creating an IVI object, constructing an IVI configuration store, and configuring communication using an IVI-C class compliant interface, see Reading Waveforms Using the IVI-C Class Compliant Interface.

    You can create a VISA object to use with different instrument types. For example, create a VISA-serial object connected to serial port COM1 using National Instruments VISA interface.

    v = visa('ni','ASRL1::INSTR');

    If you do not get an error, the object was created successfully. If the resource name does not exist, you will get an error. Check that the resource name is correct in the vendor configuration utility. See the table in the next section.

  6. Make sure you can connect to the remote host, using the fopen function with the object name.

    fopen(v);

    If you do not get an error, the connection was made successfully.

  7. When you have connected, you can communicate with your device. If you have problems sending or receiving, you may need to configure communication settings. If you are using VISA, check steps listed for the interface you are using, such as TCP/IP, Serial, etc. Make sure you are using the correct instrument command. Look in the instrument’s documentation to see what commands it recognizes. Verify that communication works using the vendor utility.

VISA Supported Vendor and Resource Names

When you use instrhwinfo to find commands to configure the interface objects, you must use valid vendor or resource names. The supported values for vendor are given below in parentheses after the vendor name. These are their utilities.

VendorConfiguration UtilityTesting ConnectionDebug Utlity
Agilent Technologies® VISA ('agilent')Agilent Connection Expert (ACE)Tools > Interactive IOTools > IO Monitor
National Instruments VISA ('ni')Measurement and Automation Explorer (MAX)Tools > NI VISA > VISA Interactive ControlNI Spy (external application)
Tektronix VISA ('tek')Open Choice Instrument ManagerOpen Choice Talk ListenerOpen Choice Call Monitor
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