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I am using a PCI6503 card to do simple digital output.  I have been able to exercise the card in NIMAX, so I know it works.  The card will be used in automated testing, so I do not want to use Labview, etc.  I plan to write my code in C (or C++).  The best I can determine, VISA is the route I want to go.  In the documentation, I read if VISAIC, but this utility does not even show my card (it does find a serial port and a printer port.)  Can you tell me if I have missed some step in installation?  Please be explicit-I am new to NI products.

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The device has nothing to do with VISA. It is programmed with the DAQmx api and you have examples that get installed with the driver. Where did you get the idea that VISA was the api?
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If you are going to use C/C++, you will want to make sure you have DAQmx and Measurement Studio installed.  DAQmx is the driver for that card.


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I thought VISA was supposed to be a universal interface?  There is a description for creating a .inf file for a PCI device using a utility that comes with VISA.  The NI manuals were quite unclear.  Apparently I'm not the only one confused, as a web search will quickly show.

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Why do I need Measurement Studio?  Can I access the DAQmx driver directly?  Is there documentation of the DAQmx API?

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You are free to create a VISA interface of your own if you get low level details on the card from NI (unlikely) and are willing to spend some weeks/months writing your own driver. You are free to rewrite drivers for your video card if you get the same level of details from the vendor and are willing to spend the same amount of time.

To me, the manual for the card is quite clear that you use DAQmx. The product page says the same thing. I don't know what sort of Google search you used.

No, you are not required to use Measurement Studio. And documentation and examples are installed with the driver.
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Accepted by topic author Euticus

Hi Euticus,

 

You will want to use the DAQmx driver. VISA is more for low level instrument communication or writing custom device drivers. Please below for more information on VISA and using the driver with text based languages.

 

Measurement Studios is the NI extension of Visual Studios, and gives you built in access to the DAQmx functions and NI GUI objects. You don’t have to use it but it is worth the investment if you are going to be building applications in the future.

 

Also, I would recommend C# for developing your application if possible. NI has dropped supported for the C++ DAQmx API, and C# is better suited than C for the Windows environment (if you are using Windows).   

 

NI-VISA Overview

http://www.ni.com/tutorial/3702/en/

 

Using NI-DAQmx in Text Based Programming Environments

http://www.ni.com/tutorial/5409/en/#toc4

 

Text Based NI-DAQmx Data Acquisition Examples

http://www.ni.com/example/6999/en/

 

Getting Started with Measurement Studio

http://www.ni.com/pdf/manuals/373225c.pdf

 

Download NI Measurement Studio

http://www.ni.com/mstudio/download/

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