Test engineers have used open standard interfaces since 1975, when the IEEE approved IEEE 488, commonly known as GPIB. Since then, a spectrum of test-automation standards has appeared. These standards specify interface buses, modular formats, command languages, and software components. The breadth of choices makes the task of integrating instruments that use these different formats appear daunting. Fortunately, you can work through the challenges to develop automated test systems with improved throughput, measurement quality, and data analysis. This article on Test & Measurement World, explains how to use these standards to integrate modular and traditional instruments into a single test system, focusing on the controller interfaces and software required.
Follow the jump directly to the article which covers topics such as LAN, PCIe as well as an example of integrating two traditional LXI instruments with a PCIe-based modular chassis in hybrid test system.
Figure: Two LAN connections are typically needed in a hybrid test system. One controls the test instruments, while another communicates with the enterprise network. Interface cards create a Cabled PCIe connection to the modular chassis.
The article concludes that good instrument system design can allow a user to deploy the combination of traditional and modular instruments that best suits an application.