Understanding the NI Certificate of Calibration

Updated Jan 22, 2020

Issue Details

When I purchase a device or use the National Instruments Calibration Services, I get a Certificate of Calibration that has many different dates and pieces of information. What do those mean?


The Instrument Certificate that National Instruments provides is divided into three main sections, as shown in the image below:

Red Section: Your Device

The first section of the document refers to your device. (For example: DAQCARD-4350). This section contains the information regarding the calibration status of your card. You will find here:

  • Certificate Number: Unique tracking number for the device's certificate of calibration.
  • Date: Date in which the certificate was created. Note: This date is not the Calibration date, it is when the document was generated.
  • Serial Number: Enlists the unique serial number of the card.
  • Part Number: Enlists the part number of the card. This part number also helps track the version of the hardware that was tested.
  • Description: The name of the card. An easier way to know which card this document refers to, without needing to look up the part number.
  • Calibration Date: Date in which the device was calibrated using National Instrument's standards and procedures.
  • Calibration Due Date*: Optional field, Calibration Due Date, may be established by combining the Recommended Calibration Interval, Calibration Date and, when applicable, accounting for Shelf Life. Shelf life defines how long an instrument may be stored, after calibration, without impact to its specifications. For more information, refer to: How to Find the Calibration Interval for an NI Device.
  • Shelf Life: The shelf life is a given period of time where a product can sit in stock before it actually begins to use up its calibration interval. Not every NI device has a shelf life. For example, if the shelf life is 0 days, then the Calibration Interval starts when the device ships or was last calibrated. 
  • Recommended Calibration Interval: The recommended amount of time for the user to calibrate again
  • Temperature: The temperature at which the device was tested.
  • Humidity: The humidity at which the device was tested.


Green Section: NI's Testing Device

For you to know that National Instrument's testing is valid, we include the calibration of the instruments we used to test your device. This section is also referred to as Standards Used, which enlists the manufacturer, model, tracking number, calibration date, and calibration due date of the instruments used to test your device.


Note: It is normal to see a very short period between the Calibration Date and Calibration Due Date in this section. This is because National Instruments constantly checks that the instruments used are operating in their best condition, to make sure your device complied with the most detailed specifications.


Yellow Section: Additional Notes

Besides the hard data provided, NI includes some texts with explanations and disclosures regarding your device and the information we present. This section includes notes that are relevant to you and the calibration auditors when interpreting the numbers shown in the document.

Additional Information

Some NI devices or modules do not need to be calibrated and therefore do not have a Calibration Interval. Any NI device or module that has Warranted Specifications will need to be calibrated, and should have a Calibration Interval listed in the Specifications or Datasheet.

If your device does not have Warranted Specifications and does not require calibration then neither the Specifications nor Datasheet will define a Calibration Interval. Similarly, if your device does not require calibration and you use the Instrument Certificate Generator, no Calibration Date or Calibration Interval will be listed in the Board Information.