PMEL Forum

K Sections => K3/4 - Waveform Analysis & RF Generation => Topic started by: briansalomon on 08-30-2017 -- 20:29:54

Title: National Instruments Software
Post by: briansalomon on 08-30-2017 -- 20:29:54
I'm looking for feedback regarding National Instruments software (NIMAX, NIDAQmx) used to operate the NI modular products.

I've put quite a few hours into trying to get the software to work but have seen limited success. My PCs all meet the minimum requirement.

Their customer support is able to help each time but it's time consuming and the problems are ongoing.

Has anyone been successful with this software?
Title: Re: National Instruments Software
Post by: CalMachine on 08-31-2017 -- 18:17:14
We use it here at ENI.  We have many issues with PCI Bus drivers and need to re-image the HD on a regular basis.  It is disappointing how inefficient using their software can be.  Their VISA doesn't play nicely with Keysight's VISA either...  I won't even mention how terrible calexecutive is!  In all honesty, I would steer clear of anything NI
Title: Re: National Instruments Software
Post by: CalLabSolutions on 09-01-2017 -- 02:30:08
We write & support a lot of automation around the PXI hardware from several manufacturers including NI.

My first advice is read the manual... Then read it again... Software based instruments are very different than the typical GPIB instruments.  You will have both Metrology Skills and REAL programming or IT support skills.

If you have more specifics I may be able to help.

Mike
Title: Re: National Instruments Software
Post by: Hawaii596 on 09-01-2017 -- 13:33:48
I use NIMAX etc. quite a bit.  From a metrologist who is not a programmer perspective, my take is that it is very fussy. There are lots and lots of compatibility details.  There is definitely such a thing as using a rev that is too new (I have experienced that).  Many of the PXI cards may rely upon multiple software modules, and they all have to be mutually compatible. I have spent as much as a couple of weeks (or more) getting all of the right rev software combination installed. There are some of the modules where you have to be sure all of the hardware is compatible as well. We bought a used PXI chassis with a controller with a little older architecture computer.  I had to backdate all of my software revs to make the computer talk with the PXI cards.  I am more or less the PXI and VXI "guru" of my lab, and I am in no way an expert.  If you want to send some of the particulars via msg, send one, we can exchange email addresses, and I can ask some more detailed questions.  No guarantees.
Title: Re: National Instruments Software
Post by: briansalomon on 09-02-2017 -- 20:26:57
I haven't been recording the software or driver versions involved but the problem is simply maintaining functionality of the NImax/NIDACmx over time.

I am operating a simple 9174 chassis with various modules sent in for calibration. I have been downloading the operating software/drivers from the NI site and configuring them with help from NI tech support which is usually effective enough to get the system functioning again.

The problem is that over the past year more than 75% of the time, when I plug a module into the chassis the software fails to function. I haven't recorded the NImax/NIDACmx or driver versions I have used.

I estimate I've put over 30 hours into this effort. I'm not very advanced but I have had success installing/configuring other software and I eventually resolve the issues (with help from tech support) and the systems remain functional.

If there are any tricks that might make this software easier to use I am interested.  Has anyone found a way this software can be used without significant time expended maintaining it?
Title: Re: National Instruments Software
Post by: flew-da-coup on 01-08-2018 -- 17:02:53
I use NI Max and Calibration Executive all the time. I have not had any issues with the software really. There are some little issues I had to figure out over the years, but over all no problems. What exact issues are you having?
Title: Re: National Instruments Software
Post by: briansalomon on 01-09-2018 -- 17:38:41
Mine hangs up and freezes on a regular basis requiring a call to customer service which results in several hours of effort inorder to resolve the issue each time.

The last time this happened I ended up returning the instrument to NI for calibration and they found nothing wrong with it, this after about 4 hours total effort to resolve the problem with NI customer support.

I am seeing these issues with 3 different PCs all meeting the minimum hardware/OS requirement and 3 different NI chassis with different cables...
Title: Re: National Instruments Software
Post by: silv3rstr3 on 01-15-2018 -- 14:56:13
I use the cDAQ-9188 to calibrate modules frequently.  I have to plug the mainframe and my computer into a router.  Then in NI Max I go to network devices and click on add device.  When the mainframe shows up I click on reserve chassis and then the drivers for the modules are installed and they show up in MAX.  If I have to swap in new modules I delete the mainframe out of MAX, close the program, reopen it and start fresh.  Works fine for me on a weekly basis using Windows 7 64bit.