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LabVIEW / Mass Spectrometer Setup

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Good afternoon,


I began progamming in LabVIEW only a few weeks ago, so I apologize if I use terminology or describe something incorrectly.  I recently began a post-doctoral position, and my first project is integrating a SRS mass spectrometer with a catalyst desportion instrument we bought.  It's extremely convenient that LabVIEW modules are provided for the mass spec in question (  As such, programming is much easier.  However, I am having difficulty in figuring out how to initialize the mass spec unit.


Basically, I would like to have a USB-6000 receive a current from the instrument (the purpose of the current is to mark when the mass spec should turn the filament on) and from this input, initialize and run the mass spec.  To accomplish this, would I be better served to use SignalExpress with the mass spec VIs, or use LabVIEW with the SignalExpress input (IVI DMM Acquire)?  Or am I completely off base and will need to use DAQmx software?


Thank you.

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Message 1 of 8

Your link does not work. How does the mass spec communicate with the computer? How does the other instrument communicate? What models are these instruments? The more specific your questions and more complete the information you provide, the better the responses will be.



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Message 2 of 8

My apologies, the link is .  The mass spec (SRS RGA 300) will be connected to the PC through a RS232 cable, whereas the instrument (a Quantachrome Autosorb iQ) has no real connection to the mass spec but to the computer through an ethernet cable.  The signal to activate the mass spec (a +10V bias across two pins in an internal RS232 cable which I will end up splicing out to the USB-6000) I would like to send to the computer, and have LabVIEW / SignalExpress then turn on the mass spec.  I think the setup makes sense, but I am not certain on the LabVIEW end of things.

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Message 3 of 8

I feel I should clear something up for you...


DaqMX is a driverset. It is the way to let LabVIEW or CVI communicate with your hardware.

Signal Express uses DaqMX drivers.


In LabVIEW programming, there are really two main ways that you will communicate with your hardware.  DaqMX drivers, or IVI-type VISA drivers. Other methods are possible, but most hardware supports one of these two.


I know it doesn't really answer your question at all, but hopefilly it will make your searching easier.

Message 4 of 8

With your fixed link and extra information, this is going to be communicating with your hardware via VISA. I think you would be hard pressed to get Signal Express to work for you.


If you are having issues initializing (and have followed their LabVIEW examples), something you may want to check is your RS-232 connection parameters.  Make sure your baud rate, parity, etc is set up correctly to communicate with your hardware.

Message 5 of 8
Accepted by topic author TJames

Thank you for the additional information.


1. The mass spec apparently communicates via an RS-232 serial port or ethernet.

2. The other instrument communicates via ethernet.

3. What you describe as "an internal RS232 cable" is more likely a cable with DB-9 or DB-25 connectors but is almost certainly NOT carrying an RS-232 signal.


To communicate with the mass spec will require a serial port adapter (USB to RS-232) if your computer does not have a native serial port (as most do not thees days). The ones with FTDI chips have a much better reputation for instrument communication than others.


Before you splice the cable check the manuals to see if you can trigger the mass spec via the communications port. If you can, that may be much easier than setting up an analog output program and splicing into the cable.  The timing is likely about the same.


I do not know anythng about Signal Express but doing this in LabVIEW should not be too dififcult. The LV drivers for the mass spec are old but were written by David Moore, who has a very good reputation.



Message 6 of 8

Thank you, everyone.  Your responses answered my questions completely!

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Message 7 of 8

Hello, I have a Leybold Pheonix L300i mass spectrometer that I use to do helium leak testing of parts. I recently managed to connect this mass spec to a pc via a serial RS232 - USB. We use a company-made Labview VI called autodaq which automatically connects to the mass spec and gives us control and feeback of the mass spec. However the user interface of this standalone program is not very intuitive and is not setup in the most easy-to-view way. I don't have access to the original VI so I could modify the existing program so I have to start from scratch. Does anyone know of any example VIs that I could start with to get simple control and feedback from my mass spec? I attached a pinout for the mass spec via RS232.

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Message 8 of 8