Getting Started

The purpose of this chapter is to walk you through the steps to successfully run our 'Hello World' remote control example. The example sends one command to your instrument and reads its response.

From all different operating systems and physical connections we choose the most common case: LAN connection on Windows OS. As a programming environment we take the one that is free to use – Python in PyCharm. Many of the described steps are universal and can be used in other cases as well.

Step 1: Set up LAN connection between your computer and your instrument

Objective: Working LAN connection

  • Connect your computer and your instrument to the same LAN network.
  • Use instrument’s menu to find out or adjust its IP address. Windows-based instrument IP address can be adjusted in the instrument menu or in Windows Control Panel -> Network and Sharing Center menu. For example, R&S RTO IP address menu: Setup button -> System
  • Make sure your instrument is reachable over LAN from your computer. To verify this, use e.g. ping test: Use WinKey + R, type cmd + ENTER to open Windows command console. Type ping <instrument_IP_address>, e.g: ping 192.168.2.2
  • Do not proceed further, unless you have the TCP-IP connection working properly.

Step 2: Establish a VISA connection to your instrument

Objective: Successfull *IDN? query with VISA Tester Tool

For R&S VISA:

  • Install R&S VISA for Windows on your computer. If you use GPIB connection, you have to use the matching VISA. For example, to use NI GPIB hardware, you must use the NI VISA.
  • Open R&S VISA Tester: Windows Start->R&S VISA-> RsVisaTester.
  • To the Resource field enter TCPIP::<instrument_IP_address>::INSTR, e.g. TCPIP::192.168.2.2::INSTR
  • Press Connect button.
  • In the Basics Tab, from the string combobox select a command *IDN?\n and hit the Query button.
  • The instrument responds with its identification string
  • See Chapter 3: VISA and VISA Tools for more details and screenshots.

For NI VISA:

  • Install NI VISA on your computer. If you use GPIB connection, you have to install NI-488.2 drivers in addition.
  • Open NI MAX, right-click on Devices and Interfaces -> Network devices and choose Create new VISA TCPI/IP Resource.
  • Select Manual entry of LAN Instrument, enter the instrument’s IP address into the field Hostname or IP address. Leave the LAN Device Name field empty.
  • Use Validate button to verify if the VISA connection can be successfully established.
  • Open VISA Test Panel, select the Tab Input/Output, select the command *IDN?\n and hit the Query button.
  • The instrument responds with its identification string
  • See Chapter 3: VISA and VISA Tools for more details and screenshots.

Step 3: Install Python PyCharm and RsInstrument

Objectives: working Python installation, working PyCharm environment, installed RsInstrument

  • Download and install Python 3.7 or newer (32-bit & 64-bit installer)
  • Download and install PyCharm (Professional or Community version)
  • Download Python Hello World example, extract it and open it as a project in Pycharm. A project in Pycharm is just a folder containing Python scripts: In Pycharm Menu File->Open and navigate to the folder containing the RsInstrument_HelloWorld_Example.py
  • In Pycharm Menu File->Settings->Project->Project Interpreter select the Python version you have downloaded. A typical Python3.7 path is: c:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Programs\Python\Python37
  • Install RsInstrument package. It is hosted on pypi.org:
    • In Pycharm Menu File->Settings->Project->Project Interpreter click on the '+' button on the top right
    • Type 'rsinstrument' in the search box
    • Install the version 1.2.0.25 or newer.
    • If you are behind a Proxy server, configure it in Menu File->Settings->Appearance->System Settings -> HTTP Proxy
  • Install RsInstrument outside the Pycharm by using pip.exe:
    • Start the command console: WinKey + R, type cmd and hit ENTER
    • Change the working directory to your instaled Python (adjust the user name and python version in the path):
      cd c:\Users\John\AppData\Local\Programs\Python\Python37\Scripts
    • install RsInstrument with the command: pip install Rsinstrument

Step 4: Run the Hello World script

Objective: Obtain the instrument's reponse in the variable 'idn_response' and see the communication log.

  • In the file Python_directSCPI_Hello_World.py adjust the resourceString1 IP address to to fit your instrument.
  • Start the script: Pycharm In the Project tree right-click on the Python_directSCPI_Hello_World.py and select Run 'Python_directSCPI_Hello_World'. Your instrument responds with an identification string that is stored in the variable 'idn_response'. The script outputs the string e.g.: 'Hello, I am Rohde&Schwarz,RTO,...' into the Python Console.
  • Open VISA Trace Tool (described in Chapter 3) and run the script again to see the log of the communication.

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