Author Topic: Labview for makers  (Read 9932 times)

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Offline MiataMuc

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Labview for makers
« on: July 29, 2015, 08:47:36 am »
It seems Labview is now available for private use for around 50 Dollars:
http://www.digilentinc.com/Products/Detail.cfm?NavPath=2,719,1456&Prod=LABVIEW-HE
 

Online VK3DRB

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Re: Labview for makers
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2015, 12:57:49 pm »
That's cheap. Very cheap. BUT, it is likely it won't allow you to compile the program to an exe and deploy executables across platforms. It also does not state what is not there, like MS Office toolkits, IMAQ tools, advanced signal analysis toolkits and other nice stuff you get with the Professional Development Edition of Labview.

I am very experienced in C, C# and Labview and each have their place, depending upon the application. You can do most Labview stuff in Visual Studio, but it generally takes much more time and the results take more debugging. Labview is very expensive, compared with Visual Studio Express or Community editions (free). But Labview is typically much more appropriate for test, measurement and control applications for use in manufacturing, laboratories and chip foundries, assuming cost is no object.

For anyone who might have a spare $50, it is worth getting Labview. It takes a C programmer a minimum of roughly 3 months to get really proficient at Labview.

Incidentally, good Labview programmers are often hard to come by and can generally charge more for their expertise... another reason to learn Labview maybe.

 
 

Offline Galenbo

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Re: Labview for makers
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2015, 01:19:15 pm »
Finally.

Their other cheapo distributions were a joke, for limitations like having no event structure etc.
I hope they finally make some good decisions now.

A very good second step would be:

Make a .mjpg stream capture library, so people can grab images from cheap ipcams and do some <10fps processing with that.
I know it's possible, I do it, but it's a pain to get it installed.

And make your clad exams unnative-english-friendly. It was impossible to unmistakable understand what was asked, and the differences between the multiple choice were blurred.



« Last Edit: July 29, 2015, 01:21:16 pm by Galenbo »
If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a nonworking cat.
 

Offline macboy

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Re: Labview for makers
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2015, 03:56:20 pm »
This has been available since May or June. It was discussed a little - very little - on the forum here but not many took much notice of it. I can't imagine why not.

FWIW, this includes the LabVIEW Full Development System, LabVIEW Control Design and Simulation Module, and the LabVIEW MathScript RT Module. Overall, about $6k worth of software if bought at normal professional prices. None of it is different or crippled in any material way; the only difference is in the license. You can't use it for commercial, industrial, or even academic purposes (the academic license is more expensive than the home one, even after it recently dropped in price). You can't sell anything obviously, but you are allowed to freely distribute source for the stuff you make. This means that anyone else wanting to use your stuff needs to have a LabVIEW license as well so that they can compile and run it, but that's reasonable.
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: Labview for makers
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2015, 08:50:41 pm »
NI has been slow to target the whole "maker movement" idea IMO.  They provided minimal support with the Labview Interface for Arduino (LIFA) toolkit.

More recently the Labview MakerHub has arisen and become a fairly active community with an active forum, etc.

This new inexpensive Home bundle is long overdue IMO.
 

Offline schopi68

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Re: Labview for makers
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2015, 09:43:44 am »
As i am not familar with labview i have small question: Is it possible to read out / programm instruments (like Keysight 34401A) data via GPIB with this Labview-Version?
« Last Edit: August 03, 2015, 03:13:08 pm by schopi68 »
 

Online daqq

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Re: Labview for makers
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2015, 11:41:32 am »
Finally, now even non-professionals can hate it with a passion!
Believe it or not, pointy haired people do exist!
+++Divide By Cucumber Error. Please Reinstall Universe And Reboot +++
 

Online VK3DRB

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Re: Labview for makers
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2015, 01:12:04 pm »
Finally, now even non-professionals can hate it with a passion!

Those who hate it usually don't have much experience or expertise with it. I have seen Labview programs written by slap-dash engineers who have no idea how to program in any language, so they end up making a real mess of it.
 

Offline Galenbo

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Re: Labview for makers
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2015, 03:09:11 pm »
Finally, now even non-professionals can hate it with a passion!

Those who hate it usually don't have much experience or expertise with it. I have seen Labview programs written by slap-dash engineers who have no idea how to program in any language, so they end up making a real mess of it.
-usually +sometimes

Some hate the two-face marketing of it.

-increadibly simple to use... 5-minutes.. better than those boring textbased languages.... driver for everything... easy blocks
-it's your fault if it isn't stable, isn't working, isn't clear, so take this 4000 dollar course or study that 6-months course to do it right. Buy this 2000 dollar module because the rest of the world is incompatible.

I really hate it because:

-The program itself crashed once a week at startup, and after a self-investigation of some weeks, my boss decided to pay for their services, with the condition they could find something. Nothing found. So I had to make a workaround, another program that monitors and restarts the second, etcetera.
-The drivers for IP cameras they delivered from another make did work, but impossible to get it exe- compiled. So after some weeks again I got the permission to install LV-full on 14 PC's in production environment with one license. My responsibility to mask ctrl-e etc from all the operators.
-If you enter the crio domain, you are really sucked into their world. Basic things work well but too much 'glitches' and exceptions, and you re really alone.

And I like it for all the rest.
It's just another language with his own pro/con.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2015, 03:14:49 pm by Galenbo »
If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a nonworking cat.
 

Online daqq

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Re: Labview for makers
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2015, 06:40:22 pm »


Believe it or not, pointy haired people do exist!
+++Divide By Cucumber Error. Please Reinstall Universe And Reboot +++
 

Offline 0xdeadbeef

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Re: Labview for makers
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2015, 07:02:29 pm »
Hm, and this is supposed to be more convenient than classical programming?
This reminds me of colleagues using excel with cell functions containing thousands of characters plus VBA extensions.
Or the guys at work using Simulink/Stateflow to create monstrosities beyond imagination.
Honestly, I don't believe in visual programming for complex systems.

Then again, for $50€ I might buy it anyway for quick prototyping. Then again, in Germany you're supposed to pay >65€
http://www.voelkner.de/products/824686/National-Instruments-LabVIEW-Home-Bundle-Software.html
$50 are less than 46€. Even considering our 19% VAT it should be still <55€. Then again, why not add another 10€? It's not like we can't take it...
Trying is the first step towards failure - Homer J. Simpson
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: Labview for makers
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2015, 09:00:34 pm »
In my experience those who "hate"" Labview are people who either haven't used it or experienced programmers used to traditional programming environments - often forced to use Labview for their job.

It is often not the right tool for the job, BUT when it is the right tool, there is nothing else like it.  For example, 20 years ago, with no programming experience, I was able to use Labview to develop a fairly complex EEG data acquisition and processing system for a neurobiology teaching lab. The alternative was to buy a pre-canned EEG system costing $20K more.
 

Offline ez24

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Re: Labview for makers
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2015, 02:34:03 am »
There is also this:

Development kit and Labview for $89:

http://www.digilentinc.com/Products/Detail.cfm?NavPath=2,719,1471&Prod=LABVIEW-PCK

Are there any opinions on the "chipKIT WF32 microcontroller board" ?

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Offline Gribo

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Re: Labview for makers
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2015, 11:43:28 am »
Daqq: Those are examples from NI themselves on what not to do with LV.
I am available for freelance work.
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Re: Labview for makers
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2015, 01:38:07 am »
Finally, now even non-professionals can hate it with a passion!

Exactly my first thought too. It definitely has a purpose and can be powerful when used in a way that plays to it's strengths. It's a real nightmare when it's used as a general programming language.
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Re: Labview for makers
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2015, 02:29:56 am »
Finally, now even non-professionals can hate it with a passion!

Exactly my first thought too. It definitely has a purpose and can be powerful when used in a way that plays to it's strengths. It's a real nightmare when it's used as a general programming language.

I am not sure what a general programming language would be.   I wouldn't want to write a modern 3D game in it although I have seen some people write very impressive graphics programs with it.     I would be interested in learning about what some of you who have used it, feel are it's weak points.   

For automated T&M, it works very well.   I started using it with Labview 4, before there was an undo.   The new versions of Labview have a lot of power.   It has served me well for rapid prototyping.   

My HIL motorcycle simulator written in Labview 2011.   


The problem with Labview in this application is that it's just too slow.   This video was the last one I made of the HIL showing a freeware Simulink type of program to generate the C code that Labview will then call.   


It's strengths are data acquisition, some kinds of number crunching, and (depending on the hardware) controls. Basically, it works well for many things that resemble some sort of control or acquisition loop, and the integrated user interface elements can be nice to work with. It's completely lacking for any sort of real data structures, or any thing else that resembles structured or OOP style programming.  Yes, I know there are technically some data structures available, and yes I know that it is strictly POSSIBLE to do some of this kind of thing, but it is at best painful, and that's probably being generous.  It's just the wrong tool for the job, just like COBOL is the wrong tool to write a flight simulator.

Fortunately, there are ways to interface with the outside world, and we're free to choose the best tool for the job, but often times that doesn't happen.  Labview is the hammer, and EVERYTHING else is the nail.  What you end up with is a big mess. Sometimes people don't want to leave their comfort zone because they think it's hard...and it is hard the first time, maybe, but once you get comfortable using some advanced features, figuring out protocols and things like that, everything starts to get easier because you can always just choose the right tool for the job.

« Last Edit: August 07, 2015, 02:36:47 am by John Coloccia »
 

Offline Galenbo

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Re: Labview for makers
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2015, 09:07:49 am »
...Fortunately, there are ways to interface with the outside world, and we're free to choose the best tool for the job, but often times that doesn't happen.  ...

... but once you get comfortable using some advanced features, figuring out protocols and things like that, everything starts to get easier because you can always just choose the right tool for the job...

Language barriere prevents me to understand exactly what you mean with this, but I can share some personal "outside world communication"

Serial (RS232 RS485 Usb Bluetooth) just works fine.
Modbus RTU, anafase: works fine
Communication with their cheap Usb-ni-6008: Limit the datarate yourself.
Ethernet UDP: just works fine.
Ethernet TCP: a few reconnect problems, works fine with an extra test/workaround
Modbus TCP, their library: Slow and Reconnect problems
I/O server PLC OPC open protocols: Works at the end of the day, works for decades, till you need it.

I know. It's all under normal Windows XP/7, witch can be the root of all problems.
But there is a difference between how NI markets the "solutions" and how Labview performs.

In every program, I include a multi-state FSM where every connection has its own separate states loop, all auto re-entrant without restart/program-re-init. On top of the existing included fault detections, with some homebrew heartbeat or other test.
If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a nonworking cat.
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Re: Labview for makers
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2015, 09:22:29 am »
...Fortunately, there are ways to interface with the outside world, and we're free to choose the best tool for the job, but often times that doesn't happen.  ...

... but once you get comfortable using some advanced features, figuring out protocols and things like that, everything starts to get easier because you can always just choose the right tool for the job...

Language barriere prevents me to understand exactly what you mean with this, but I can share some personal "outside world communication"


What I mean is that just because part of your solution is in LabView doesn't mean that EVERYTHING has to be in LabView, but it requires putting on big boy pants learning how to do real software.  When it's used like this, LabView can be great.
 

Online VK3DRB

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Re: Labview for makers
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2015, 02:12:57 pm »
Finally, now even non-professionals can hate it with a passion!

Exactly my first thought too. It definitely has a purpose and can be powerful when used in a way that plays to it's strengths. It's a real nightmare when it's used as a general programming language.

Labview can be used as a general programming language if it done correctly and the application is appropriate.

As an example, I did a silicon wafer testing and analysis program in Labview for a project a few years ago. It tested and analysed 525 devices on each wafer in a few seconds and made a colourized chart of the characteristics, allowing doping adjustments to be made. The results saved the customer $1 million in the first 2 months due to higher chip yields. In the first year, many more millions were saved. The Labview just chugs away very reliably and still does today. No bugs, no engineering changes, and one delighted customer. For the user, the chip pattern and device characteristics are all user programmable without recompiling the Labview. I dare say if it were done in C or C#, it would have taken a lot longer to do and there would have been bugs. The machine I developed cost only $200K of which $6k was for the Labview - it was worth every cent.

You would not want to do a B2B application, some heavy database management or cloud solution with a web front end in Labview. There are different more appropriate tools for that, even LabWindows/CVI is better. I have in fact written stuff in C# that talks to Labview. And stuff in Simulink/Matlab that also talks to Labview.

If you want to do powerful vision applications, Labview is definitely worth checking out. I created a vision machine for PCB inspection using C# and Labview. The development time was quick and it has been running non-stop for 6 years. The customer can tweak the inspection state machine and the vision parameters for different boards. Try to do that in another language in the time I did it! It can be done, but with a lot of pain and added cost.

Despite my distaste for some things about Labview, there are a lot of good things about it. For one off simple applications where cost it tight, you have to weigh up whether it is worth spending the $$$ for Labview or just use C# for free.

So it is horses for courses.
 

Offline technix

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Re: Labview for makers
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2015, 03:04:33 pm »
LabView is great but since I can write fluent Objective-C usually I won't need that. I just roll an app (usually for OS X since that is my daily driver OS) and implement my own protocol.
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Re: Labview for makers
« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2015, 05:40:55 pm »
I did an awful lot of work with Component Works way back when that was very very very nice to work with. I'm not sure what their current offering is now.  I'm assuming something like that still exists.
 


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