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Control a Third-Party USB Serial Interface in Linux Using NI-VISA

Updated Dec 18, 2019

Reported In


  • NI-Serial

Operating System

  • Linux

Issue Details

I have a third-party USB serial device that I'm using in Linux. How do I control this interface using NI-VISA?


To use your third-party USB serial interface with NI-VISA in Linux, you will have to add it as a static resource using the NI-VISA configuration utility (visaconf). Visaconf installs with NI-VISA so you need to have NI-VISA installed. See the related link below for the most recent version of VISA for Linux.


Follow the steps below to set up your device:


  1. Open a terminal window and type visaconf to open the VISA Configuration Utility window.
  2. Click on the Add Static button to bring up the Add New Static Resource window, and choose Local serial port from the Select Interface list.
  3. Pick an interface number, and type /dev/ttyUSBx in the Binding field, where x stands for the port number on the USB serial interface. For example, if you have a 2-port interface, you would type /dev/ttyUSB0 for the first port, and /dev/ttyUSB1 for the second port.


Please note that Linux treats serial ports like files and you must have the appropriate permissions to read/write to the port. 


Another work around would be to try adding a token to the visaconf file: WriteTimeoutGranularity = 0 under section [ASRL-RSRC-ALIAS].

Additional Information

Review the National Instruments Driver and Software Support for Linux Distributions, and note not all Linux distributions and versions are supported by National Instruments drivers. Consult the Readme file of each distribution to know more about the compatibility details.