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Lab Playground based on Agilent 34401A / RS232 / Arduino / USB / PC

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quantumvolt:
Thank you for your knowledgeable post. I have spent the day searching based on the GPIB info from this forum. It turns out there are many treads on eev about DIY GBPI USB stuff, but none seems to have turned out a finished 'open' product (except from the Canadian board - may be).

Also - I paid less than USD 200 for the DMM - and it is my first 'madness' instrument (3 1/2 digits around +-1 % is good enough for almost everything I am doing). I am retired (early) and still pay child support - so I will not pay 150-200 for a 'professional' box / converter cable (some posters claim that you could have GPIB on 8-bits home computers in the 1980's and control it in Basic). My attitude is similar to this: http://dangerousprototypes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3769

I have been all over the web - it turns out you can get the PL2302 in a Nokia phone data transfer cable on eBay for a few dollars. And there is a lot of talk about FTDI USB RS232, a little Arduino stuff and even a working shield from SparkFun (Prologix clone?).

To be honest I need to digest all this. I have noticed that just the GPIB connector will set me back a small fortune (even if I just kill an old rusty cable from eBay). So I think that the first thing I will do is hook up a BNC external trig cable and half an RS232 cable to an experiment board just to get started.

It is not rocket science. I got myself a good laugh when I found this: "If you cannot find the correct cable for your configuration, you may use a wiring adapter. If you are using a DTE-to-DTE cable, make sure the adapter is a "straight-through" type. Typical adapters include gender changers, null-modem adapters, and "D" style adapters with 9 pins or 25 pins. The Agilent 34398A Cable Kit contains cables and an adapter to help you connect serial interfaces." How much do they want for this free-from-the-scrapyard hardware?

Anyway - thanks to all for their info. In less than 2 hours it is Monday here in the jungle in NE Thailand, so for me it is time to reset myself to things that concern roof, water and rice  :-DD

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