12-13-2019 10:24 PM
I have a new-to-me NI 4050 multimeter in PCMCIA format in an old Dell laptop running LabView 2014 SP1 under Win-XP/SP3. The Test Panel shows the 4050 is working. All I want to do is to measure and record a DC voltage but I have no idea how to begin programming in LabView. All of the references I’ve seen assume I already know what I’m doing, which I do not. Some guidance would be appreciated; a canned routine that I could just run would be even better.
01-02-2020 10:27 AM
There are two things you'd need to learn:
a) LabVIEW / G programming. G is the graphical programming language, LabVIEW is the IDE: https://www.ni.com/getting-started/labview-basics/
b) The NI-DMM API, which is the programmatic driver API for using the instrument. For this, I advise looking at the examples bundled with the driver.
G is a neat and powerful language. But if you do not want to learn it, you should know that you can use NI-DMM from C.
NI-DMM also works from C# and Python, but I can't guarantee that you can use them with your older NI-DMM driver version. I do believe it's worth a shot, and Python might be your best bet. https://pypi.org/project/nidmm/
> a canned routine that I could just run would be even better.
The bundled examples would provide just that. But if you don't need programmatic control, just use the Soft Front Panel.
Be aware that the NI PCMCIA-4050 is an old, obsolete device that doesn't work on new OSes nor with new NI-DMM versions.
01-02-2020 02:57 PM
Thank you for the advice, which I am taking to heart. I am aware that my 4050 is old and obsolete and knew that when I bought it (inexpensively). Since my use is purely a hobby, the NI equipment doesn’t have to be up to date or useable with newer applications. All I need to do is to read a voltage once per [time unit] and write the data to a text file for later importing into Excel. The 4050 has sufficient range and resolution for what I want to do. The Soft Front Panel allows me to read any of the 4050’s abilities but not to record them; clearly, I can do that with any good voltmeter. The G programming is far more capable than I need, obviously.
My programming experience ended with AppleSoft BASIC, which tells you everything you need to know. If I were 13 years old I’m sure I’d be in much better shape as regards programming languages but alas, I’m 73. I’m still capable of learning, of course, but have to budget my time, especially for my hobbies. Perhaps I’d be better off hiring that 13-yo kid to do the work for me!
01-02-2020 04:41 PM
Your application sounds very simple.
What version of LabVIEW and of NI-DMM do you have?
01-02-2020 06:01 PM
I downloaded LabView 2014 SP1, which appears to be the last version of LabView that will run with the 4050 or on a Win-XP machine (or both, I forget which). As you know, these “trial” versions come with a 5-day license that can be extended. However, when I tried to extend the license, following instructions, the web site would not extend the license. Since then, the trial period has expired so I have no operating version of LabView. I am considering simply purchasing the program without evaluating it.
• I have version 15.2.0 of NI-DMM Soft Front Panel. It runs correctly and allows me to view whatever the 4050 is measuring.
• I have version 15.0.0f0 of NI Measurement and Automation Explorer. It allows me to run the Test Panel and appears to do what it is supposed to do.
• I have VirtualBench_DMM Measurement but of course it will not run without a working copy of LabView. It is supposed to run under LabView 14.0.1.
The above convinces me that the NI hardware works, communicates with my ancient Dell Latitude D830 Win-XP SP-3 laptop, and will do what I need it to do if I can get a working copy of LabView and learn how to use it.
Thank you for helping.
01-02-2020 07:03 PM
Update: In today’s mail I received the book, “LabVIEW 2009 Student Edition” by Robert H. Bishop including the DVD. I haven’t installed any software from the DVD yet and will begin by reading some of the book.
01-03-2020 09:36 AM
Update #2: LabVIEW 2009 has been successfully installed on my ancient laptop and activated/licensed with NI using the materials in Robert Bishop’s book (referenced previously). I am learning LabVIEW (slowly). So far I cannot locate a procedure or command to read the 4050 card but it must be in there somewhere. Once I figure out how to tell LabVIEW to look at the card I should be OK. Hints from group members would be appreciated.