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Old 5th September 2008, 01:32 AM   #1
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Default hp-8903B advice??

I just purchased an HP-8903B audio analyzer and I want to know if printing graphs from the HPIB port is possible - perhaps with the use of a computer interface such as the Prologix GPIB to USB adapter?

Or can printing only be done from the X-Y plotter outputs?
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Old 5th September 2008, 02:09 AM   #2
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I have a fair amount of experience in using GPIB instruments with Visual Basic to do data capture. Depending on what you want to do, it's relatively easy to do instrument settings, read back data, plop that data into Excel and format it in a meaningful way. Lots of info available on the web for doing VB6 stuff, and I think there's even a freebie version of VB6 available from Microsoft. You will need a GPIB interface... I use one at work from National Instruments, it runs about $500 iirc.

You can check out Aglient's website for info on manuals. What you'll really need is the programming guide, that will give you the proper syntax for sending commands and reading back data over GPIB.

Potentially interesting sidenote: when I was in school I took a class in programming automated test stuff via GPIB. One of the highlights of the class was a guest lecturer (whose name escapes me at the moment) who was one of the inventors of the standard. Apparently, when it was originally devised, they did not expect a lifetime of more than five years for the standard before something better would take its place. Yet, here we are thirty some years later using the same thing!
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Old 5th September 2008, 02:13 AM   #3
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Join the HP/Agilent group on Yahoo -- very active.

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/h...ent_equipment/
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Old 5th September 2008, 02:19 AM   #4
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http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/...tCapture.shtml

http://www.printcapture.com/

I used this software with a National Instruments GPIB card in my laptop to capture prints from a HP scope.
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Old 5th September 2008, 02:40 AM   #5
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I have an 8903A. I don't believe that it will print from the GPIB port. I have used it to PLOT (not print) to an X-Y plotter through the X-Y outputs.

HP8903B's used to be all over the production lines where I work. The data was extracted over GPIB and stuffed into Excel or other custom software. Those lines are gone, and so are most of the people who did the programming, so there is no one left to ask. I have the 8903A manual, plotting via the "X-Y recorder" is mentioned, but printing is not. We have used the 8903 A and B for the past 20+ years, and I can't remember seing one print in a stand alone application.
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Old 5th September 2008, 02:56 AM   #6
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I have an 8903B and use the Prologix adapter ($149). I program with PowerBASIC. The Prologix adapter uses an FTDI chip, and they have excellent programming info. You can download it on-line. I wrote my own instrument control for the thing, and put up nice on-screen graphs of power and THD. Though I've yet to add a print routine, it would be quite trivial to do given the PowerBASIC printing features. Here's a screen shot-
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Old 5th September 2008, 10:35 AM   #7
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Conrad -- do you want to post your instrument control code -- please.
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Old 5th September 2008, 01:58 PM   #8
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Yeah, right, post my code so everybody can see I couldn't even play a programmer on TV.

Ok, caveats- I don't normally use a forms generator, but did here, so the code is a bit more convoluted than it otherwise would be. Still, the subs are very simple and clear.

Second, I was just working on another project for work that uses the same FTID chip for USB communication as the Prologix device. Turns out I need three more statements to make the thing reliable. I've put those three statements and their declares in the code as comments. (I neglected to add the actual constants, but you can get these from the FTID docs.)

My lab is being rebuilt right now, so I can't test this thing at all. I'll also be away for a while, so any questions will have to wait till I get back.

Note that PowerBASIC is much less expensive than VB, and produces faster and smaller exe files. Though the command set is very similar to VB, there is a philosophical difference between the programs- PowerBASIC is not VB (thank goodness), and is designed for people who like to code and use the Windows API functions. I highly recommend it, but the transition can be a bit bumpy for dyed-in-the-wool VB programmers. You'd probably need the forms generator to compile this, or remove the forms related include. Oh, and obviously you should rename the file from .txt to .bas.
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Old 5th September 2008, 03:11 PM   #9
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May as well put up an executable in case anybody happens to have both a Prologix converter, and and the 8903B.
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Old 5th September 2008, 03:38 PM   #10
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I owe you a bottle of some vintage Canandaigua wine.
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