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SCPI – the versatile interface

Openness and flexibility – these two characteristics make a good data acquisition software. We at DEWETRON have therefore set ourselves the goal of offering you as many options as possible with our OXYGEN DAQ software. This includes a wide range of software interfaces.

In this blogpost we want to discuss the probably most common software interface for electronic instruments: SCPI (Standard Commands for Programmable Instruments).

What makes SCPI stand out

In the world of measurement technology, there are a variety of interfaces such as XCP, EtherCAT or CAN. Each of these interfaces has its own purposes and advantages. However, the interface that is most widely and universally used is SCPI.

But first, a brief history of SCPI: In the early 1990s, there was a variety of different instruction sets for controlling electronic devices. These instruction sets could vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and even devices from the same manufacturer often differed in the instruction sets used. This, of course, made it difficult to learn how to use different devices. To counter this proliferation, SCPI was introduced as a uniform standard in 1992. SCPI is based on simple ASCII command sets and standardizes device-specific commands such as DCSUPPLY for controllable power supplies.

The manufacturers are nevertheless free to implement further command sets which enable the control of the device specific properties. As long as these commands obey the basic SCPI syntax, they are generally also referred to as SCPI commands. SCPI is also independent of the physical bus. This means that in many cases, one can use either Ethernet or IEEE-488.1 for data transmission. Depending on the manufacturer and device, however, a specific physical bus may be prescribed.

Unlike other interfaces, SCPI offers not only easy onboarding, but also the widest range of control options. The table below shows some of the interfaces supported by DEWETRON. As you can see, SCPI offers the most control options, such as Start/Stop, Save/Restore and many more. In addition, SCPI supports over 100 channels and the use of timestamps for the output of data.


DEWETRON Interfaces

How to use SCPI with DEWETRON

Using SCPI with DEWETRON systems is as simple as usual. Just follow the steps below:

  1. On your DEWETRON system, open the OXYGEN software and navigate to the OXYGEN settings.
  2. Select Remote Control (RC)
  3. Activate Remote Control and select the desired interface.
  4. When you enable Remote Control, the Lock Screen icon on your device will switch to a Remote Control (RC) indicator.

After you have performed these steps, you can easily control your DEWETRON device remotely. Use any environment for this purpose. You can execute SCPI commands via any development environment that has access to the physical bus system (in our case Ethernet).

SCPI setup

SCPI setup SCPI setup process

You also have the option of using the proprietary Data Stream interface. You can setup and control the data transmission via Data Stream with SCPI commands. The advantage of Data Stream is a high increase in transmission speed, which now only depends on the speed of your Ethernet network. We achieved this by using a binary instead of an ASCII format for data transmission. We have already written a blog post about Data Stream, which you can find here.

You can find even more detailed information about the use of SCPI with DEWETRON systems in our corresponding OXYGEN Remote Control Manual, which you can download here:


DEWETRON – versatile measurement solutions

We at DEWETRON are specialists in the field of measurement technology. Our goal is to produce measuring equipment that meets the highest possible quality standards, is modular and versatile, as well as easy to use. In doing so, we have taken on some big tasks, but we have succeeded.

Convince yourself of the user-friendliness of our OXYGEN software. It is not only easy to use with mouse or touch, but also offers a huge range of features. Find resonances using a sine swept analysis, create a CPB plot or analyze the efficiency of your component using an efficiency map.

Convince yourself of the reliability and quality of our DAQ hardware. Our Mixed Signal Power Analyzers offer you highest precision with a simultaneously high sampling rate. They come with integrated sensor power supply and a high-resolution multi-touch display. Also check out our All-In-Ones, Mainframes or the innovative PU[REC] data recorder.

Even more information about DEWETRON and our products, can be found on the DEWETRON website. Whitepapers, video tutorials and more blogposts can also be found there. And if you want to stay up to date, you can also subscribe to Twitter, YouTube or Facebook.

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