[time-nuts] General Purpose Instrument Troubles

Daun Yeagley daun at yeagley.net
Fri Nov 26 17:49:56 EST 2004

That's a good point.  The military, in their *infinite* wisdom, (and before the
days of SCPI) wanted their own programming commands to use with "ATLAS" (I think
is the special programming language they used), and if you wanted to sell into
that environment, you had to have compatible commands. If memory serves me
correctly, it was call "CIIL" which was an acronym that stood for something like
Common Instrument Interface Language.  The Idea here was to be able to swap in
any vendors product without having to make any programming changes.  It was a
major pain for the equipment vendors, as it required it's own special command
parser.  We (HP) had several instruments that could be used in this mode.
Fortunately, this became one of the major drivers for implementing SCPI, and the
instrument vendors finally prevailed.

Brooke, I took a look at your website from the links you had..  Boy did that
bring back a lot of memories from days past. When I first started with HP (as an
HPIB specialist), the HP 9825 was king, but the HP-85 came out within months of
my joining the company (1979). BTW, the code name was "Capricorn".  Lived
through the whole realm of the series 200 and 300 computers, and still have a
series 300 and some accessories. Thanks for the memories.


-----Original Message-----
From: time-nuts-bounces at febo.com [mailto:time-nuts-bounces at febo.com]On
Behalf Of Hubert v. Bonhorst
Sent: Friday, November 26, 2004 5:36 PM
To: bill at iaxs.net; Discussion of precise time and frequency measurement
Subject: Re: [time-nuts] General Purpose Instrument Troubles

I do not think your problem is with the GPIB control or GPIB itself.
Probably your 1992 was originally sold to the miitary. Sometimes you even
find NSN on it. If this is the case the counter speaks a very special
language to control it. It has nothing to do with its native commands.
Internal to the counter you will find a GPIB board with some jumpers on it.
Have a look in the service manual and change to native code, After that
everything works perfect. If you have any result, please confirm by mail.
I do no longer have this counter, but it is a good instrument
Best regards
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill Hawkins" <bill at iaxs.net>
To: "Discussion of precise time and frequency measurement"
<time-nuts at febo.com>
Sent: Friday, November 26, 2004 8:27 PM
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
> stuff.
> 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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> time-nuts at febo.com
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