Installing Third Party Instrument Drivers in LabVIEW

Updated Nov 9, 2018

Reported In

Driver

  • NI-VISA
  • Instrument Drivers

Issue Details

My third party driver is not showing up in LabVIEW after I run the installer. Where can I find it, and how do I integrate it with LabVIEW so it appears on my instrument driver palette? If I have code that uses one of these drivers, how can I tell if the driver is installed correctly?

Solution

If you installed the driver through an executable, you must locate the drivers that were installed and move them to the correct folder. On a Windows computer, this location of the driver is frequently <Program Files>\IVI Foundation\VISA\my_driver\ where my_driver is the name of the driver you installed. For Mac OS, the location is frequently <Applications>\IVI Foundation\VISA\my_driver\. The my_driver folder will be the folder you need to copy to a new location.

If the driver you downloaded did not have an executable, make sure you have unzipped the folder, and then that folder will be the one that you need to move.

Now that you have located the driver folder, do the following to add the driver to LabVIEW:
  1. Exit out of LabVIEW if it is currently loaded in memory.
  2. Copy the driver folder to the following location for a Windows computer:
    • <Program Files>\National Instruments\LabVIEW (year of LabVIEW you are using)\instr.lib
    • The location could also be under <Program Files (x86)> depending on if you are using a 32 or 64 bit version of Windows or LabVIEW.
  3. For a Mac computer, copy the driver folder to the following location.
    • National Instruments\LabVIEW\instr.lib
  4. Rename the driver folder to the driver name you would like to appear in LabVIEW.
  5. Re-open LabVIEW.
  6. Open a new VI and right-click on the block diagram to open the Functions Palette.
  7. Your instrument drivers should appear under Functions » All Functions » Instrument I/O »Instrument Drivers on the Functions Palette as shown below.


 

Additional Information

For LabVIEW to access an instrument driver through the Functions Palette the driver must be located in the instr.lib directory, which is contained in your LabVIEW folder, <National Instruments>\LabVIEW\instr.lib. The instr.lib folder has the instrument driver folders containing all necessary *.mnu files and a *.llb or *.lvlib file as well. The *.mnu files alone only tell LabVIEW where on the palette the VIs should be found and do not contain the source. The source for the driver files can be found in the *.llb or *.lvlib file.

Some third party drivers will install these files to the <Program Files>\IVI Foundation\VISA directory, where LabVIEW will not be able to find them. In this case, you must manually copy and paste these files to a folder within the instr.lib directory. For example, consider a driver named my_test which installs to <Program Files>\IVI Foundation\VISA\my_test and contains subfolders Examples and LabVIEW.

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