My GPIB Instrument Not Respond to SCPI Commands

Updated Jan 17, 2019

Reported In


  • GPIB Software
  • NI-488.2

Issue Details

I can see my GPIB instrument on the bus, but when I try to send a *IDN? query the instrument does not return an expected response. Instead, it returns either a voltage value, a timeout error, or an error report. Why would my instrument communicate in this manner?


Some instruments do not support standard SCPI (Standard Commands for Programmable Instrumentation) commands such as the *IDN?, and so they will respond incorrectly or not at all to the *IDN? query.  Old instruments and certain specialty instruments have their own command sets. 

There are some instruments, such as the Agilent 3478A and Fluke 8840A/42A, which can use both SCPI and Agilent command languages. You will need to check the instrument's manual for information on the command set it uses. You can also search for the instrument driver on the Instrument Driver Network (IDNet) .


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