Re: USB to IEEE-488 adapter

From: Nicolas Welte (
Date: 2006-02-11 08:58:41

Richard wrote:
> In article <>,
>     "Nicolas Welte" <>  writes:
>> So, I don't think NI cards are worth their money for "our" purposes. And
>> probably an open source DIY hardware offers possibilities that the
>> overpriced NI range can't.
> That's very interesting hearing your NI experiences!  Is there a PC
> IEEE-488 card that works reliably? 

ok, you asked for it. In our lab we had two PCs for data aquisition, 
both were 486 machines. One was one of the very first 25MHz machines and 
the other one was a later model with 33MHz. The older one had an NI 
PC-GPIB (don't remember which model, but 488.1) and the other one was 
the AT-GPIB with 488.2. None of them worked reliably ... Actually the 
AT-GPIB worked a lot better when I put it into a Pentium133 machine, but 
the problems finally only could be solved with an ancient PS/2 computer 
and the matching MC-GPIB card (488.1, NEC7210 based) ;) What I heard, 
the newer PCI-GPIB cards also work now. So I'd say stay away from ISA cards.

What I used for my data transfer tests at home is a GPIB-PCII/IIa 
(488.2) with an integrated NI chip that can be put into both 7210 and 
9914 mode, so it is able to emulate all its predecessors. And it is 
supported by the NI Windows driver, so I could write my program in 
Windows (but it is still a DOS program that uses the NI compatibility 
layer, and should actually also work with older cards that can only use 
DOS. But it won't work, don't know why. Maybe a problem in the older 
cards' DOS drivers).

> Older IEEE-488 cards show up on
> ebay for reasonable prices, but I didn't know if they would work.
> Most of the cards are NI cards, but older ones for ISA slots.  Was
> the card you tried a newer one or an older one?

My card is actually a newer card that goes into the ISA slot :)


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