Create Simulated NI-DAQmx Devices in NI MAX

Updated Dec 28, 2023



  • Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX)


  • NI-DAQmx

Operating System

  • Windows

This article explains and walks you through how to create simulated NI-DAQmx devices in NI MAX.

Sometimes you will find yourself needing to understand the functionality and test hardware capabilities without the hardware being physically present next to you, in these situations a simulated device can replicate the general behavior of the real device.
Simulated devices are created using the NI-DAQmx Simulated Device option from the NI Measurement and Automation Explorer (MAX).

Some important considerations while working with simulated devices:

  • Some NI-DAQmx devices cannot be simulated in NI MAX. For these situations, you may try to find a similar device that can be simulated and still be a significant representative of your test.
  • Only NI-DAQmx devices or Modular Instruments can be simulated.
  • For those devices that can be simulated, there are some methods and properties specific to some devices that are not supported in simulation mode.
Follow the steps below to create your NI-DAQmx Simulated Device:

  1. Confirm you have NI-DAQmx installed. This will automatically install NI Measurement and Automation Explorer (MAX).
    • To use the Simulated Devices feature with the NI-DAQmx Runtime, make sure to have NI-DAQmx Runtime with Configuration Support option 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. From the drop-down menu, 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 to select a device. Use the Search bar to type your NI-DAQms device model, or navigate the list to find the device you need. 
  • With this list, you can select a vast 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 model you need to simulate and click OK.
Note: For simulating C Series modules like the NI-9201 or NI-9234, you will need to simulate the cDAQ chassis first. In this article, we will create a cDAQ configuration to show the entire configuration process.
  1. The NI-DAQmx simulated device will now appear in NI MAX under My System >> Devices and Interfaces. Note that the color of the icon of simulated devices under your Devices and Interfaces section from NI MAX is different than the icon for physically connected devices.
  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 available are based on the cDAQ chassis model you are configuring. 
  1. It's best practice to rename your simulated devices to access them easily in software. To rename your devices navigate to each of your simulated device and right click. Select Rename from the drop-down menu.

  1. The name will be highlighted for editing. Define the name that will be relevant for your application. 
Note: Do not use any spaces or special characters when renaming

After 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 behave similarly to real ones (with some Limitations and Considerations). You can use Simulated NI-DAQmx Devices to mimic most functionality that 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 the driver response based on the simulated data.