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Control of data acquisition with remote instruments using IVI-C or IVI-COM, Visa, and serial protocols.

Project description

program less and do more science… better

What is it

pyinstruments is a Python package to control/get data from measurement and automation devices. Control of the remote instruments can be done via one of the following protocols:

  • ivi drivers (using the lower level package pyivi)

  • visa

  • serial

Using IVI-drivers greatly simplifies your life because :

1/. The lower level layer is fully transparent for the user (pyivi provides a common interface for each instrument type).

2/. zero extra work is needed to interface an instrument for which an IVI driver is provided.

pyinstruments is composed of two independant packages (can be run on 2 remote computers!).

  • pyhardwaredb for the hardware communication (This package itself is a thin wrapper around pyhardware). Because it heavily relies on ivi-drivers and com-interoperability, this package is intended to run on a windows machine.

  • curvefinder to display in quasi real-time the curves acquired (This module could be run on any platform).

The strict separation between plotting and data-acquistion processes ensures that scripted data-acquisitions won’t be affected by user interactions or plotting dead-times.

Main Features

The curves are stored in a (django-abstracted) database with all necessary metadata. (bandwidth, averaging, date, comment, name…) together with a list of user-defined tags to quickly identify the curves. The curvefinder module allows monitoring new incoming curves, as well as querying the database for old curve by date, tags… The hardware module has a Graphical User Interface to quickly get a curve from an instrument and configure the way instruments are interfaced.


Direct dependancies for pyinstruments are:
  • django > 1.5

  • PyQt4

  • guidata

  • guiqwt

  • pyhardware <– pyivi <– (ctypes + comtypes)


The windows installer takes care of all the dependancies that are not standards in version of pythonxy.

The other option to install pyinstruments is to use pip from a command shell (also available in pythonxy):

pip install pyinstruments

pyinstruments and its three ‘exotic’ dependencies can also be uninstalled using pip:

pip uninstall pyinstruments
pip uninstall pyhardware
pip uninstall pyivi

Try it out!

The installation is single click (since v 0.1.15), desktop icons are created to launch both graphical user interfaces.

The project is hosted on GitHub, and still in a starting phase, contributions and feedback are warmly welcome!


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