Author Topic: OpenLab Standard  (Read 9547 times)

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Offline MARSHALBSB

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OpenLab Standard
« on: July 12, 2014, 06:56:49 pm »
First of all, hello to everyone,

I noticed a lot of OSH project at the forum.


So, what you think about we initiate a Open Source Lab project, initially with desired specification and functions of the all basics equipments for a regular lab (that would be like a pool of ideas), with specifications, functions, interface, usability, etc...

 My first idea is that each device can be accessed by pc (using usb for instance) with built in hub, that allow to connect another device in cascade...
« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 07:20:47 pm by MARSHALBSB »
 

Offline bwat

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Re: OpenLab Standard
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2014, 07:28:48 pm »
First one: Maybe, we may not get a product immediately. And that's OK. What's more important is the continuous idea improve till the day that the end product will be as well designed, precise and cheap as a commercial version....
Some points that immediately spring to mind:
1) Is it a good idea to get talented people to work on already solved problems. Why have them emulate existing products? Would mankind not be better served if the talent worked on new products?

2) Spending money on products that cost more than the commercial version is a waste of resources. The difference could have been spent on something useful. The more people that do this, the greater the waste.


"Who said that you should improve programming skills only at the workplace? Is the workplace even suitable for cultural improvement of any kind?" - Christophe Thibaut

"People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware." - Alan Kay
 

Offline MARSHALBSB

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Re: OpenLab Standard
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2014, 07:40:23 pm »
First of all, sorry that I changed the original text, so your quote get lost...

Yes, the point that you bring are very true...
Which make me improve the idea to, not to make people work in already solved problems, but, to get the existing solutions and improve it in order to create a better solution...
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: OpenLab Standard
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2014, 08:20:58 pm »
Since years, every half a year or so someone like you comes up here with such or a similar suggestion.

"Hey, lets build a XYZ. I have this great idea. Wouldn't it be great if ... bla, bla bla".

All such initiatives quickly die. Because, what these people really mean is

"I have this great idea, I have no clue how to do it, but all I need is a bunch of idiots doing the hard work for me.".

Well, you are about to learn is that your ideas aren't really new, ideas are cheap, and the real trick is in the ability to execute. Do you have the ability?

My first idea is that each device can be accessed by pc (using usb for instance) with built in hub, that allow to connect another device in cascade...
Ok, and what are YOU going to do to make that real?

And by the way, if you manage to pull that off, don't expect a revolution happening. Seven years ago a German computer magazine published a modular DIY lab system, of course computer controlled. It is hardly known.
I delete PMs unread. If you have something to say, say it in public.
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Offline Fsck

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Re: OpenLab Standard
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2014, 08:31:37 pm »
My first idea is that each device can be accessed by pc (using usb for instance) with built in hub, that allow to connect another device in cascade...

this already exists in two forms:
1) GPIB chains
2) Ethernet -> switch -> test equipment
"This is a one line proof...if we start sufficiently far to the left."
 

Offline mrflibble

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Re: OpenLab Standard
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2014, 08:54:57 pm »
My first idea is that each device can be accessed by pc (using usb for instance) with built in hub, that allow to connect another device in cascade...

this already exists in two forms:
1) GPIB chains
2) Ethernet -> switch -> test equipment

Indeed. And if you want to actually make something ... you could for example contribute to this one:

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/python-based-instrument-control/

That's already a pretty good starting point, based on existing standards.

google terms du jour: GPIB, LXI, SCPI.
 

Offline MARSHALBSB

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Re: OpenLab Standard
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2014, 09:27:53 pm »
ok Guys...thanks a lot for the replies ... I'll check that and see how that apply to my idea... ;)
 

Offline nikodemus

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Re: OpenLab Standard
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2014, 07:09:22 pm »
Seven years ago a German computer magazine published a modular DIY lab system, of course computer controlled.
Do you remember the name of the magazine, and issue number? (Or even better, have a link handy?)
 

Offline BjoernS

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Re: OpenLab Standard
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2014, 10:50:22 am »
The magazine was "c't", the project is named "c't lab".
Link:
http://www.heise.de/ct/projekte/machmit/ctlab/wiki
 

Offline charlespax

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Re: OpenLab Standard
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2014, 02:10:14 am »
I've seen several threads discussing instrument control. What are some use cases? I'm starting an open source instrument company and I'd love to learn more.
 

Offline Michael Rempel

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Re: OpenLab Standard
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2014, 08:07:42 pm »
There already is an instrument standard. IVI.

http://ivifoundation.org/resources/default.aspx

Most of the instrument companies try to make stuff compliant to some extent, but the differentiation of hardware creates deviations from the standard. And the standards body has created protocol docs in 3 flavors so far. They obviously dont have a strong software architect on the team because there is a lot of flavor of the month style to the code, with a lot of different interfaces to muck through. If I was picking one to focus on it would be IVI-COM but that limits you to Winderz. It is also pretty simple to talk to. But once you are past the most basic stuff, you will need to talk to the device driver for each instrument anyway. IVI provides some guidance to keep stupid down to a minimum but I dont call it an inter-operable standard. That said you can read a billion lines of standards docs to figure out an open standard that is similar.
If I was writing yet another device driver (oh it can be painful) and it was for open sourceable stuff, I would join IVI and make it translate to that standard for sure. $700 US per year. http://ivifoundation.org/resources/default.aspx
If someone is interested my fees are quite reasonable and I AM a software architect so you wont get crapped on with the usual opensource mega hack. Drop me a line. The next IVI device driver training course is in San Diego. Would I go at your expense? You bet! I love SD. Lived there for a few years and would love to spend a few extra days visiting old friends.
 

Offline suckiden

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Re: OpenLab Standard
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2014, 07:36:40 am »
any news on the OpenLab?
 

Offline the_memristor

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Re: OpenLab Standard
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2014, 06:30:48 am »
The magazine was "c't", the project is named "c't lab".
Link:
http://www.heise.de/ct/projekte/machmit/ctlab/wiki
Thanks BjoernS for the link, it helped me a lot setting up my lab[emoji2]
« Last Edit: October 23, 2014, 06:32:38 am by the_memristor »
 

Offline awallin

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Re: OpenLab Standard
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2014, 07:29:44 am »
There already is an instrument standard. IVI.

http://ivifoundation.org/resources/default.aspx

...

If I was writing yet another device driver (oh it can be painful) and it was for open sourceable stuff, I would join IVI and make it translate to that standard for sure. $700 US per year. http://ivifoundation.org/resources/default.aspx

what about LXI over ethernet. Are there licensing fees for that too?
Someone needs to write a simple C/C++ library that is portable to all the MCUs people are using and uses standard Ethernet with IVI/LXI/some-standard for communication - that would be a step forward IMO. It needs to be a standard where the library-writer, developer, and user are not required to pay licensing fees or where the standards-document costs money to read.
 

Offline suckiden

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Re: OpenLab Standard
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2014, 06:34:23 pm »
for me it doesn't sound like you have to pay any fees. The specification is online on their homepage and what I also found:
Quote
The LXI Consortium is a not-for-profit corporation initially established by Keysight Technologies (formerly Agilent Technologies Electronic Measurement Group) and VTI Instruments (formerly called VXI Technology). Its primary purpose is to promote the development and adoption of the LXI Standard, an open, accessible standard identifying specifications and solutions relating to the functional test, measurement and data acquisition industry.

What I really like is the aim of connecting hardware (test equipment) with software (web interface). In this way you can keep the hardware costs at a minimum because displays, buttons or knobs are not absolutely necessary.
 

Offline alex.forencich

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Re: OpenLab Standard
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2014, 02:40:08 am »
For devices: https://github.com/j123b567/scpi-parser

For control: https://github.com/python-ivi/

In terms of VXI-11 (LXI) support, it's just an RPC server.  The RPC protocol is rather old, but I am not aware of any licensing restrictions.  The VXI-11 standards can be downloaded online and it's not terribly difficult to implement. Putting that on a microcontroller may be a bit of a stretch, though. 
Python-based instrument control: Python IVI, Python VXI-11, Python USBTMC
 

Offline mrflibble

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Re: OpenLab Standard
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2014, 04:46:27 am »
For devices: https://github.com/j123b567/scpi-parser
Yup, I can confirm that one.  :-+ I use it with some minor patches + chibios on stm32 to give diy projects scpi capabilities. It does gobble up a reasonable amount of stack though, so the thread handling the incoming scpi commands does tend to have the largest stack. It's not super light weight, but quite acceptable (thread stack size 1 - 2 kB I recall). That could probably be reduced, but would take some more rewriting effort which of course never happens because 1) lazy and 2) next project. All that to say that it's the best free scpi parser I know that runs on a reasonable size mcu.

Quote
For control: https://github.com/python-ivi/
And another thumb up, also use that one.  ;D
 


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