Using the GPIB Analyzer

Updated May 17, 2019

Reported In


  • PCIe-GPIB+


  • NI-488.2

Issue Details

What is the GPIB Analyzer and how do I use it?


To use the GPIB Analyzer you must have a GPIB+ interface such as GPIB-USB-HS+, PCI-GPIB+, PCIe-GPIB+. Regular GPIB hardware does not have the required analyzer hardware. The instructions below will guide you through launching and using the GPIB Analyzer.


Launching the Analyzer

There are several ways to launch the GPIB Analyzer:

  • In Measurement & Automation Explorer (NI MAX), select Tools  » NI-488.2 » GPIB Analyzer.
  • Right-click on a GPIB+ board listed in NI MAX and select GPIB Analyzer from the pop-up menu.
  • Click on a GPIB+ board listed in NI MAX to select it and then press the GPIB Analyzer button that appears in the tool bar.
  • Open the software from Windows' Start Menu. Navigate to All Programs » National Instruments » NI 488.2 » GPIB Analyzer.

What The Analyzer Does

The GPIB Analyzer allows you to monitor, capture, and participate in bus activity on the GPIB. You can capture bus transactions on user command or in response to a predefined trigger event on the bus. You can also use the GPIB Analyzer to emulate a simple Talker/Listener device during application program development.


The GPIB Analyzer is similar to NI I/O Trace in that it lets you view the activity on your General Purpose Interface Bus and "capture" it for review. The major difference is that the GPIB Analyzer requires that your board be equipped with the corresponding analyzer hardware, while NI I/O Trace accomplishes essentially the same thing in software, but in a much more limited capacity. NI I/O Trace is only able to monitor calls to the GPIB driver on the machine in which NI I/O Trace is running, so it is more of a troubleshooting tool. The GPIB Analyzer, on the other hand, can monitor calls to the driver and interact with all of the bus lines, making it a very useful development tool.


The key aspects of the GPIB Analyzer are the:

  • Main Window
    Start or stop a capture session. Monitor the current status of the bus management lines, data lines, and handshaking lines.

  • Capture Display Window
    View the captured calls to the GPIB driver, including the timing information between calls. Access this window by pressing Capture on the main window. You can also open a saved capture file from File » Open Capture File

Refer to the GPIB Analyzer user manual (linked below) for more information on using the GPIB Analyzer, or reference the NI-488.2 help files that install with the NI-488.2 drivers.


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