This is a quick overview on how to remote-control power supplies. The same principles apply to many other instruments like multimeters, oscilloscopes, network analyzers and signal generators. Most power supplies and instruments support 3 different ways of remote control.
Usage of supplier specific application
Often, a free piece of software is provided by the manufacturer to remote control your power supply resp. instrument.
Fig. 1 ITECH’s IT9000 software screen to control a IT6400 series power supply
In figure 1 we see an example screen from ITECH’s IT9000 software to control a IT6400 series power supply. It offers basic control, supports list-functions, provides log data of voltage, current and power-measurements with high resolution and in this case also battery charge and discharge features since the IT6400 series can both source and sink current (bidirectional power supply).
Using the supplier provided application helps to quickly start basic automation tasks and data-logging for your power supply or instrument. This is also a very convenient way to document your measurements as graphs or by exporting logged data as .csv – file.
Usage of web interface
Many instruments with a LAN port provide a web interface for remote control.
In Figure 2 you can see an example of how this looks like for a Keysight EDU36311A power supply.
Fig. 2 Web interface for remote control of Keysight EDU36311A power supply
In most cases the functionality is simply an interactive replication of the front-panel into your web-browser and the ability to create screen captures.
Using Python for programming your instrument
You can use any programming language to remote control your power supply, however Python has grown increasingly popular over the last years. There are many reasons for this, but we won’t go into details about them here. If you are interested in more information, please visit our hands-on Python workshop on August 30th 2022. Python is free and open source, provides an enormous support base, and the ability for Python users to both inspect and improve its codebase.
Using Python to automate your instrument gives you full control over all features of the instrument that are supported by the SCPI command set. This approach is more involved, but the most feature-rich since you can define your own test-scripts, data-logging, coordinate several instruments to perform in concert and automate every test scenario your power supplies resp. instruments are capable of.
At Computer Controls AG we provide technical support for any remote-control scenario with your Power-Supplies and Instruments. We are happy to discuss your application in detail and help you to efficiently get started with the perfect instrument and automation solution for your testing needs.
In this workshop we focus on instrument automation with Python. After completing this session, you will gain a good understanding of remote instrument control and you’re able to write a Python script that automates a simple measurement on any instrument. You will learn to find the necessary resources to expand and adapt your testing-solution to your own requirements and needs.
In an environment of growing test automation complexity many engineers gravitate towards agile languages like Python instead of using proprietary software solutions.
We have the expertise and a carefully selected product portfolio available to fulfill your requirements and support your visions with power supplies, E-Loads, Instruments and more. Talk to us.