Having trouble reading HPIB instrument consistently in a GPIB system 
Author Message
 Having trouble reading HPIB instrument consistently in a GPIB system

I have a couple HP 5328A Universal Counters that I am trying to
communicate with.  At the moment i am simply using interactive control
(ibic), but will eventually be using labview 7 to build a soft front
panel.  The problem is that reading from the machine is very
inconsistent.  I can get a reading if I make about 20-30 ibrd() calls
while shifting the GPIB cable around in the back of the counter.  I
get the same behavior from two different counters so I find it hard to
believe the HPIB option on the instrument is at fault.  The cable has
been tested on another instrument and worked flawlessly.  There is no
sign of any damage or corrosion to the connections.

Another point that may help is that once a succesful read is made,
each succesive read is also successful, even if i keep jiggling the
connection.  However, I cannot write to the instrument a second time
(using ibwrt()).  When I do try a write operation after a successful
read, I get an ENOL (No Listeners) error.  Yet another source of
frustration is the even more inconsistent behavior of the RQS bit and
the status register of the instrument.  I have seen the RQS bit
generated as well as the correct status register contents (used
ibrsp(): serial poll) when the reads are successful, but only once or
twice.  I have not even been able to get this status requesting
behavior on 10% of my successful reads.

Here are my specs:
instrument vintage: ~1980

I'm stuck.  Any input is appreciated.

Sat, 19 Nov 2005 06:23:24 GMT  
 Having trouble reading HPIB instrument consistently in a GPIB system
Hi Chris,

sounds a little bit like LabWindows - I have no idea how it works. I
have the impression, that you do not fulfill the protocol, that is
needed for this instrument (missing EOL or something like that).
I found a LabVIEW driver for HP 53181A RF-frequ.counter at NI website.
Maybe you should try to use it ( or adapt ) for your instrument. You
do not need to invent the wheel again....


Sat, 19 Nov 2005 17:08:02 GMT  
 Having trouble reading HPIB instrument consistently in a GPIB system
Can you post a your ibic commands? Just the initialization, the
original ibwrt and then the results of a successful ibrd as well as
one that isn't successful. That might get some more eyes looking at
what you're doing.

Sat, 19 Nov 2005 21:42:15 GMT  
 Having trouble reading HPIB instrument consistently in a GPIB system
I have tried writing the EOS char along with each write as well as
making sure the EOS char is the correct one for the device.  Nothing
seems to be affecting the device's behavior.


Sun, 20 Nov 2005 00:28:44 GMT  
 Having trouble reading HPIB instrument consistently in a GPIB system
This is the sequence I usually use:

ibwrt "PT"
ibrd 17

All that is usually returned is CMPL for the clear and write and ERR,
TIMO, CMPL for the read.

The "P" initializes the device into a default state and the "T"
triggers it.

Some more inconsistent behavior since original post:
I turned the instrument on this morning with ibic still running and
set up to connect to the counter.  I issued an ibclr() command and the
RQS bit was set properly.  The contents of the status register where
also correct when serial polled (ibrsp()). I next tried an ibrd(),
which failed due to timeout.  After this the RQS bit would not set,
the status register did not get set properly, and the reads were all

Any more thoughts?
Thanks for the help,

Sun, 20 Nov 2005 00:23:59 GMT  
 Having trouble reading HPIB instrument consistently in a GPIB system
Despite the cable working on another instrument, I'd replace it anyway
- at least
as an experiment.  Cables can break.

Also make sure that you are not exceeding total cable lenghts in your
maximum instruments, and all connected instruments are turned on.

Sun, 20 Nov 2005 02:00:19 GMT  
 Having trouble reading HPIB instrument consistently in a GPIB system
I have since tried another cable, but to no avail.  The cable is about
one meter and there is only one device in the system.

thanks for the input,

Sun, 20 Nov 2005 03:36:03 GMT  
 Having trouble reading HPIB instrument consistently in a GPIB system

When you trigger the device does it continually generate data you can
read? From your original description it sounded like you could keep
reading and so that's the impression I have. If that's the case you
may not be able to write to the device since it's busy with that

One thing to try is to follow the ibic sequence from this page:
http://www.ni.com/support/gpib/max/ibic.htm Wondering if calling ibsic
etc might help.

The other thing I would try is to send just an id query command and
see if you can send that and get that working. If that works then the
issue is with the PT command sequence.

Also, if you turn off the instrument and then issue your command
sequence for the first time does it always work or is that
intermittent ... is there any pattern to when you get TIMO versus


Sun, 20 Nov 2005 09:45:51 GMT  
 Having trouble reading HPIB instrument consistently in a GPIB system

When I trigger the device, it will only output once on all functions
except one.  The one function that works is a check function that
outputs 10 all the time.  Everything else needs to be reinitialized
and a hard reset needs to be performed.   I tried the sequence of
commands in the link which gave me a little more insight into
initializing the machine, however it did not do much for solving my

This is a HPIB device and does not support ID queries to my knowledge.
The PT sequence is a problem I have found, but cannot figure out why
because that is what the manual says the instrument will understand.
For some reason a single asterisk will give an output, but only once.
Also, the only command so far that is generating a service request are
the addressing commands.

Anyway, I have been talking with Agilent and hopefully I will post
what got this thing working for your interest.  Thanks for the


Sun, 27 Nov 2005 00:33:04 GMT  
 [ 9 post ] 

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