How to set up and control an LXI instrument from ATEasy

Knowledge Base Article # Q200194

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Summary Controlling an LXI instrument from ATEasy using an IVI-C driver
ATEasy can interface with a wide variety of software and hardware, allowing users to leverage a plethora of instrumentation and driver implementations from within their ATEasy applications.

One such interface is LXI which takes advantage of the speed, flexibility, and standardization of the Local Area Network and the TCP/IP protocol. ATEasy can communicate with network enabled instrumentation in one of the following ways:
  • Natively through IOTable based ATEasy drivers - An ATEasy driver can be created and its interface property set to WinSocket. This allows IOTable communication to be routed to the Local Area Netork via TCP/IP protocol.
  • By way of importing IVI-C .FP Function Panel files to automatically generate a fully featured ATEasy driver which calls a vendor supplied DLL
  • Using other type of software component (.NET, ActiveX, DLL, LabView, etc.)
This article will discuss the second option.

ATEasy can communicate with LXI (and other interfaces such as VXI, GPIB, etc.) instrumentation through the use of IVI-C drivers and the IVI/VISA hardware abstraction layer. The following steps will allow a user to automatically create an ATEasy driver for a particular LXI instrument, install all applicable libraries for IVI/VISA, configure VISA to recognize the LXI instrument, and finally to configure the ATEasy driver to interface with VISA.

Use the following procedure:
  • Ensure that the VISA layer along with the IVI shared components (1.5+) are installed. The IVI shared components can be found at: IVI Foundation Shared Components
  • Find and install the LXI compliant IVI-C driver package. This is usually available on the vendor’s website. Alternatively, the IVI Foundation Driver Registry can be searched at IVI Driver Registry
  • Import the .FP file from the IVI-C driver package into ATEasy. From the ATEasy menu, select Insert | Import .FP file (.fp). Enter a default name for the driver and then click the Browse button to browse for the .fp file. The .fp file is usually located in the instrument specific folder located in C:\Program Files\IVI Foundation\IVI\Drivers\    You can specify %VXIPNPPATH% in the path field before cllicking on the browse button to use the IVI-C path variable. Also make sure to mark the Convert VISA Basic Types to ATEasy Types checkbox.
IVI-C driver insert
IVI-C driver browse
  • Make sure the new driver is inserted in the driver folder of the system module as shown below.
Integrated Development Environment ATEasy Driver
  • Start NI-MAX (Measurement & Automation Explorer) in order add the LXI instrument to the database.
  • Right click on Devices and Interfaces and select Create New…
  • Select VISA TCP/IP Resource and click Next.
TCP/IP Resource
  • Select Auto-Detect of LAN Instrument and click Next.
  • Select the LXI instrument from the list of scanned network devices and click Next.
LXI Instrument list
  • Enter a descriptive alias. This alias will later be used in the ATEasy driver to address this particular instrument. Click Finish
VISA Alias
  • The LXI device will now appear in NI-MAX under Devices and Interfaces. Device specific information will be shown including the IP Address and hostname.
  • In ATEasy, right click on the driver shortcut and select properties. Click on the Misc tab and enter the LXI instrument’s alias into the ResourceName field (the Change button must be clicked to store the value).
Programming Properties
  • The new ATEasy driver can now be used to control the LXI instrument.
Test Development IDE
Article Date 4/27/2010 2:42:47 PM
Keywords LXI, VXI-11, LAN, network, ATEasy, IVI, IVI-C, VISA

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