[time-nuts] General Purpose Instrument Troubles

Daun Yeagley daun at yeagley.net
Fri Nov 26 15:19:02 EST 2004

Hi Bill

One of the things that was added to 488.2 were the "common" commands, like IDN?,
*RST, etc.
So your 1992 doesn't understand those commands, and therefore will not respond.
It's possible that if you sent it and IDN? that the relatively primitive command
parser in the instrument probably choked, and may even lock it up.  Make sure
you send only those commands that the instrument understands.  (At HP, we called
the commands common at that time "R2-D2" commands, as they were usually one or
two letter mnemonics with a numeric parameter appended for most command
structures).  The newer instruments understand a more descriptive and English
like language, which has also been pretty much standardized by the consortium.
This "language" is called SCPI, which stands for "Standard Commands for
Programmable Instruments".
Hope that helps.

Daun Yeagley

-----Original Message-----
From: time-nuts-bounces at febo.com [mailto:time-nuts-bounces at febo.com]On
Behalf Of Bill Hawkins
Sent: Friday, November 26, 2004 2:28 PM
To: Discussion of precise time and frequency measurement
Subject: [time-nuts] General Purpose Instrument Troubles

Have a Racal-Dana 1992 counter with a GPIB interface.
Also have a National Instruments 488.2 ISA bus card with
software dated July 2000, with PDF manuals. Found a PDF
manual for the 1992 on the net and focused on the GPIB

Hooked them up with an IBM 365 PC running Win98. NI 488.2
controller sees the 1992. 1992 reacts when NI sends ID
string, but nothing else works - all result in timeout.

1992 manual says it is using 1978 vintage GPIB, and I cannot
find the ID string that the NI controller is using.

I suspect that my problem is compounded incompatibilities.
Is 488.2 compatible with the earlier 488?

Any insight appreciated.

Bill Hawkins

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