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USB-to-GPIB adapter transforms PC into IEEE-488.2 controller

Posted: 03 Jan 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:keithley instruments? usb-to-gpib adapter? adapter? kusb-488?

Test equipment maker Keithley Instruments now offers a USB-to-GPIB (Universal Serial Bus-to-IEEE-488/General Purpose Interface Bus) adapter. Priced at less than $500, Keithley's Model KUSB-488 essentially transforms any computer with a USB port into a full-function IEEE-488.2 controller.

Once equipped, the computer can control up to 14 programmable GPIB instruments, with a data transfer rate of 880kbps. GPIB-controlled instruments can reside as far away as 20m.

Useful for portables
The Model KUSB-488 is also quite small and lightweight, measuring 4.2-by-2.6-by-1 inches in size. Its small size makes it useful for portable applications using a laptop, or applications using desktop PCs where I/O slots are scarce or non-existent, but where several USB ports are available.

The Model KUSB-488 works with Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows ME, and Windows 98 computers with a USB port (it's also USB v2.0 compatible). The KUSB-488 is also compatible with Visual Studio and Visual Studio.NET, including Visual C#, LabVIEW, LabWindows, Microsoft Excel VBA, Delphi and TestPoint.

It's plug-and-play
Being a USB plug-and-play peripheral, the KUSB-488's a built-in 2m-long USB connecting cable supplies opertaing power, eliminating the need for external power sources. The adapeter draws about 200mA from the USB port.

In use, the KUSB-488 is straightforward in installation, too. There are no DIP switches to set, and there's no need to re-start the host computer in order for the system to recognize the IEEE-488.2 interface. The operating system automatically recognizes and configures as soon as the adapter is physically attached to the USB port. Included connectors are the IEEE-488-standard 24-pin type, and the USB standard Series-B plug.

Finally, the KUSB-488 is CE-compliant, and includes external USB Configured and USB Active indicators. Its operating temperature range extends from 0C to 55C.

- Alex Mendelsohn

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