One of the great things about many of the programmable power supplies and electronic loads sold at CircuitSpecialists.com is that they can be controlled remotely via a PC. This allows a user to make adjustments to the test equipment without having to access the front panel. Though this feature opens up possibilities for end users it can be daunting to learn how to program them as needed. Since the introduction of programmable test equipment we’ve had many end users request assistance with writing software to help them with remote control and automatic running of specific steps. We’ve worked hard to support those customers on a case by case basis since introducing programmable power supplies and programmable dc electronic loads. We’re happy to announce a new open source automated test equipment software developed by our engineer Jake that simplifies the SCPI remote control process for all users. In this program he developed in Python, Jake looked at the existing SCPI command libraries for each piece of test equipment and created a universal set of controls that works with all programmable test equipment we sell* making remote control much easier for end users. This program also has auto-detection for certain types of test equipment so it will automatically determine what port is activated and the type of test equipment that is connected to your computer.
Jake has made all of the code for the program open source on the Circuit Specialists.com GitHub page here so users can contribute their own. So far the program has been tested using the Array 3721A, the CSI305DB, the PPS2116A, and the brand new 0-300V, 0-0.4A PPS3E004.
To get a better summary of the program features and future plans you can view the Read Me file on Github or see below:
- Autodetect test equipment on COM bus
- Run main.py from Command Line (requires Python installation on your computer, tested with Windows)
- Manual control of voltage, current (future plan CP constant power)
- Run predefined CSV with timing and power, voltage, current specifications (auto_run_ps for power supply, auto_run_el for elec load)
- Log results of testing in CSV file
- Control based on model’s specific library
- (future) GUI and graphs of voltage, amperage, power
You can find instructions for running the program on our GitHub Page or below are the steps:
- Download Python
- Pull down the zip file from our GitHub containing all the files required for the open source automated test equipment software here. Extract the contents of the zip folder to your desktop.
- Connect your test equipment to one of the connection ports on your computer
- Open Command Line (windows key>”cmd”) and type “cd C:\Users\USER\Desktop\PowerSupply_ElectronicLoad_Control-master\PowerSupply_ElectronicLoad_Control-master\main.py” and press enter
- Begin controlling your equipment, either manually or via an autorun program. If using an autorun program or logging – be sure to follow the header format and use the filename equal to the existing csv’s in the library (note: output = 1 powers the PS or Elec Load on, output =0 powers off)
If you’re interested in supporting this open source automated test equipment software project or if you have questions you can contact us at email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you with feedback or any bugs you encounter.
*Note the software has only been tested with 4 instruments to date. Additional devices will be tested and incorporated. The program will still attempt control of instruments that don’t exist in the program library, users should verify functionality on the test equipment front panel.