Connecting Multiple NI Source Measure Unit Channels in Parallel

Updated Feb 15, 2023

Reported In


  • PXI-4130
  • PXI-4132
  • PXIe-4135
  • PXIe-4136
  • PXIe-4137
  • PXIe-4138
  • PXIe-4139
  • PXIe-4140
  • PXIe-4141
  • PXIe-4142
  • PXIe-4143
  • PXIe-4144
  • PXIe-4145
  • PXIe-4162
  • PXIe-4163

Issue Details

I would like to connect multiple SMU channels in parallel, so I can increase the available amount of current. Is it recommended to connect the Source Measure Units in parallel?


It is possible to combine two SMU channels in parallel for higher current, however, this may cause performance issues in certain situations, and the instrument specifications are not guaranteed. Connecting channels in parallel also adds complexity to wiring and programming, but may make sense in situations where dynamic performance requirements are not very strict and you: already have the hardware, need the ability to reconfigure current for different tests, or single channel alternatives are not available.
  • Only combine channels of the same instrument.
  • No more than 2 channels combined (usually there’s a better alternative > 2 channels).
Even when following the above recommendations, combining channels can still present issues with noise, stability, and outputting the proper voltage/current with the required accuracy.