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Strange VISA problem communicating with N1996A-506

Question asked by rkwong on Nov 4, 2009
Latest reply on May 4, 2010 by tabbott

I am encountering a strange VISA problem communicating with the Agilent N1996-506 spectrum analyzer. I am using the latest Agilent IO Libraries Suite 15.5.13009.1 software to do the communication. The spectrum analyzer is using the latest available firmware (A.02.06). During the IO Libraries installation, I chose to install the Agilent VISA alongside with the preexisting National instruments VISA (ver 4.6). Last, I am running Windows Vista 32 bit version. I am communicating with the spectrum analyzer via Ethernet.

I am able to run the Agilent Connection Expert program and configure it to recognize the attached device. This is indicated by a green checkmark next to the device. Also, this is shown in the attached log file (for timestamp 17:12:XX.XXX) with the varying visa commands.

However, when I try to run the Agilent 'Interactive IO' program, and try to just connect to it, I keep getting timeout errors. This is despite my changing the default timeout to 900000 ms. As you can see from the attached log (see red error lines), I tried 6 times in succession, but it would simply not connect. Also, from the log, it seems that the default timeout option is not being observed, given that the timeout shown is less than the 900000ms timeout I set.

The reason I went through all this trouble to do this was because I am trying to run the labview version of the spectrum analyzer driver and also encountered visa timeout errors there. So I figured I should check if the Agilent connection software encountered similar problems or not. But I am getting mixed results, as stated above. The 'Connection Expert' program can get valid VISA responses, but not the 'Interactive IO' program, despite both being installed by the IO Libraries Suite.

Using the same software and computer setup, I am able to talk with another Agilent product: MSO6104A DSO. Both labview 2009 and the Agilent IO Libraries Suite can communicate with it using VISA. So I'm suspecting it might be some driver or firmware issue.  Is there anything someone can propose for me to try in order to fix this VISA communication problem to the N1996A-506 spectrum analyzer?

Best regards,