A Signal-Based Approach To an Instrument Driver System

Open Access
Kilroy, Katherine
Graduate Program:
Computer Science and Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
Committee Members:
  • Vijaykrishnan Narayanan, Thesis Advisor
  • Yuan Xie, Thesis Advisor
  • instrument drivers
  • IVI drivers
  • VXIplug&play
Although automated test equipment standards have improved substantially since as recently as the early 1990s, the standards have not reached the point where instrument models are interchangeable. This may never be achievable, which is why a software solution is necessary in order to allow for instrument interchangeability. This paper introduces an instrument driver system that can solve the problem of instrument interchangeability for those companies and organizations that have test programs that last for many years or test stations with dozens of test programs. Although there is a specification for driver systems, called the Interchangeable Virtual Instrument Measurement and Stimulus Subsystems (IVI-MSS) specification, it does not describe implementation details or issues. This paper introduces guidelines and recommendations for implementation details for a driver system, but it does not replace IVI-MSS or any other high-level specification. The driver system that is introduced focuses on the signals to be sourced or measured rather than specific instrument settings. It also builds on current driver technology, including IVI and VXIplug&play driver standards. To prove the validity of such a system, an oscilloscope driver class was created and tested for three different oscilloscope models by two manufacturers. The code was written in Microsoft Visual C# .NET® for use on a test station that uses Microsoft Windows® XP on the controlling computer. The driver system successfully took the same three measurements with all three oscilloscope models using the same driver calls, thereby proving that such a system can work even with discrepant underlying specific drivers.