Create Simulated NI-DAQmx Devices in NI MAX

Updated Aug 26, 2020



  • Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX)


  • NI-DAQmx

Operating System

  • Windows

This document is part of the Getting Started with NI-DAQmx Series.

This article with explain and walk through how to create simulated NI-DAQmx devices.

If you want to understand functionality and test hardware capabilities without the hardware being physically present, a simulated NI-DAQmx device can replicate similar properties of the device. It is created using the NI-DAQmx Simulated Device option in NI Measurement and Automation Explorer (MAX) and behaves similarly to a real device. Certain NI-DAQmx devices cannot be simulated in MAX. In many cases it may be possible to simulate a similar device in place of a device that cannot be simulated. However, it is very important to keep in mind that the simulated device may have features not available on your own device.

  1. Confirm you have NI-DAQmx installed. This will automatically install NI Measurement and Automation Explorer (MAX).
    • In order to use the Simulated Devices feature with NI-DAQmx Runtime, make sure to have NI-DAQmx Runtime with Configuration Support boolean checked during the installation process.
  1. Launch NI MAX. 
  2. On the right-hand panel of NI MAX, navigate to My System >> Devices and Interfaces and right-click.
  1. Select Create New... 
  2. In the subsequent dialog, select Devices and Interfaces >> Simulated NI-DAQmx Device or Modular Instrument. Double click it or click Finish.
  1. The Create Simulated NI-DAQmx Device window prompts you to select a device. Search and/or navigate to the device you want. 
Note: With this list, you can select a various number of hardware supported with NI-DAQmx driver. Not all devices will be available to simulate. If you have Modular Instrument drivers installed (eg. NI-DCPower, NI-SWITCH, etc) those devices will also be available to select.
  1. Select the device you want to create as an NI-DAQmx simulated device and click OK.
Note: For simulating C Series modules like the NI-9201 or NI-9234, you will need to simulate the cDAQ chassis the module will be in first. 
  1. The NI-DAQmx simulated device will now appear in MAX under My System >> Device and Interfaces. The icon color of the NI-DAQmx simulated devices is yellow while physical  devices are green and chassis are grey.
  2. If you don't need to add C Series Modules, continue with Step 11. If you need to add C Series modules, right-click your new simulated cDAQ chassis and click Configure Simulated cDAQ Chassis.
  1. In the Simulated cDAQ Chassis Configuration window you will have the option to choose different modules. The number of slots that are available are based on the cDAQ chassis you are configuring. 
  1. It's best practice to rename your simulated devices in order to use them effectively. To rename your devices navigate to each of your simulated device and right click. Click Rename.
  1. The name will be highlighted for editing. Update with a user friendly name for using to call the device in your application. 
Note: Do not use any spaces or special characters when renaming

Once you have completed with the renaming. All the devices should be updated with the names in NI MAX and are ready to be used.

Next Steps

Simulated NI-DAQmx devices behaves similar to a real one (with some Limitations and Considerations). You can use Simulated NI-DAQmx Devices to mimic most functionality physical hardware provides: NI-DAQmx simulated devices allow developers to begin application development and logic without hardware, develop application logic on a machine other than the target system, and evaluate acquisition functionality of NI software. If you try to perform operations that aren't supported by the real physical hardware, you will receive appropriate errors when executing a DAQ application with that simulated device.