Lab::VISA - Perl interface to National Instruments VISA library
This library offers a Perl interface to National Instruments' NI-VISA library.
With this library you can easily control the instruments in your lab (multimeters, voltage sources, magnet sources, pulse generators etc.) with Perl. You can perform complicated measurement jobs with just some Perl loops.
It comes even better: The general Lab::Instrument class reduces the communication overhead to minimal
query methods. And on top of this, there are specialized instrument classes (virtual instruments) such as Lab::Instrument::HP34401A, that offer even more high level comfort with methods as
read_voltage. Everything is prepared so that you can just start the measurement.
The Lab::Tools package offers classes to simplify the task to log data to files and to maintain this data.
This manpage describes the perl syntax of the API. Each function is explained with some sentences which I cited from . See this manual for further documentation on the library.
Installation instructions can be found in Lab::VISA::Installation.
A general tutorial for using Lab::VISA and assorted packages is located in Lab::VISA::Tutorial.
 NI-VISA Programmer Reference Manual. Part Number 370132C-01.
viClear() operation performs an IEEE 488.1-style clear of the device.
viClose() operation closes a session, event, or a find list. In this process all the data structures that had been allocated for the specified vi are freed. Calling
viClose() on a VISA Resource Manager session will also close all I/O sessions associated with that resource manager session.
($status, $instrDesc)= Lab::VISA::viFindNext($findList);
viFindNext() operation returns the next device found in the list created by
viFindRsrc(). The list is referenced by the handle that was returned by
($status, $findList, $retcnt, $instrDesc)= Lab::VISA::viFindRsrc($sesn, $expr);
viFindRsrc() operation matches the value specified in the
expr parameter with the resources available for a particular interface.
On successful completion, this function returns the first resource found (
instrDesc) and returns a count (
retcnt) to indicate if there were more resources found for the designated interface. This function also returns, in the
findList parameter, a handle to a find list. This handle points to the list of resources and it must be used as an input to
viFindNext(). When this handle is no longer needed, it should be passed to
The search criteria specified in the
expr parameter has two parts: a regular expression over a resource string and an optional logical expression over attribute values. The regular expression is matched against the resource strings of resources known to the VISA Resource Manager. If the resource string matches the regular expression, the attribute values of the resource are then matched against the expression over attribute values. If the match is successful, the resource has met the search criteria and gets added to the list of resources found.
All resource strings returned by
viFindRsrc() will always be recognized by
viFindRsrc() will not necessarily return all strings that you can pass to
viOpen(). This is especially true for network and
($status, $attrState)= Lab::VISA::viGetAttribute($object, $attribute);
viGetAttribute() operation is used to retrieve the state of an attribute for the specified session, event, or find list.
($status, $vi)= Lab::VISA::viOpen($sesn, $rsrcName, $accessMode, $openTimeout);
viOpen() operation opens a session to the specified resource. It returns a session identifier that can be used to call any other operations of that resource. The address string passed to
viOpen() must uniquely identify a resource.
For the parameter accessMode, the value
VI_EXCLUSIVE_LOCK (1) is used to acquire an exclusive lock immediately upon opening a session; if a lock cannot be acquired, the session is closed and an error is returned. The value
VI_LOAD_CONFIG (4) is used to configure attributes to values specified by some external configuration utility. Multiple access modes can be used simultaneously by specifying a bit-wise OR of the values other than
VI_NULL. NI-VISA currently supports
VI_LOAD_CONFIG only on Serial INSTR sessions.
($status, $sesn)= Lab::VISA::viOpenDefaultRM();
viOpenDefaultRM() function must be called before any VISA operations can be invoked. The first call to this function initializes the VISA system, including the Default Resource Manager resource, and also returns a session to that resource. Subsequent calls to this function return unique sessions to the same Default Resource Manager resource.
When a Resource Manager session is passed to
viClose(), not only is that session closed, but also all find lists and device sessions (which that Resource Manager session was used to create) are closed.
($status, $buf, $retCount)= Lab::VISA::viRead($vi, $count);
viRead() operation synchronously transfers data. The data read is to be stored in the buffer represented by buf. This operation returns only when the transfer terminates. Only one synchronous read operation can occur at any one time.
$status=Lab::VISA::viSetAttribute($vi, $attribute, $attrState);
viSetAttribute() operation is used to modify the state of an attribute for the specified object.
($status, $retCount)= Lab::VISA::viWrite($vi, $buf, $count);
viWrite() operation synchronously transfers data. The data to be written is in the buffer represented by buf. This operation returns only when the transfer terminates. Only one synchronous write operation can occur at any one time.
Not all API functions are supported. Only GPIB, serial and TCP/IP connections have been tested so far.
This module can also provide instrument connectivity from perl, but builds on top of GPIB instead of the higher level VISA. I could never make it work properly. It seems to be unmaintained for a while.
As the website states, the PyVISA package enables you to control all kinds of measurement equipment through various busses (GPIB, RS232, USB) with Python programs.
This project was indicated to me only recently by a Lab::VISA user. It looks very similar.
This is $Id$
This swig-based interface is
(c) 2004-2006 Daniel Schröer (c) 2007-2010 Daniel Schröer, Andreas Hüttel, Daniela Taubert, and others
It is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.
For the rest National Instruments or the VXI Consortium will probably have a word to say. See National Instrument's license for the NI-VISA library.