Technical Insights > Benchtop

Automate Your DMM Measurements Without the Programming Complexities

2019-12-11  |  8 min read 

Dreading the need to write test programs to automate testing of your new prototype units? Have unfinished product simulations, hardware designs, and plenty of incomplete data analysis work? No worries! Did you know that Keysight Technologies has a software platform that complements your digital multimeter (DMM) and other test instruments? Did you know that this software platform has drag and drop functions that allow you to quickly automate your different test steps, saving you hours of your precious time?

BenchVue-DMM-Oscilloscope
Figure 1. Keysight’s Pathwave BenchVue software platform

It is called Pathwave BenchVue and it comes with the BenchVue DMM Control and Automation application, which supports Keysight’s 34450A, 34460A, 34461A, 34465A, and 34470A Truevolt series benchtop DMMs. It helps you to connect your PC to your DMMs quickly, so you can configure your DMM, execute measurements, graph those measurements, and export your test data in a variety of common formats, such as Excel, Word, and even MATLAB.

What Can Pathwave BenchVue Do?

Keysight Pathwave BenchVue software is designed to complement your DMM hardware. It enhances your measurement capabilities and post-analysis productivity.

1. Control

The Pathwave BenchVue DMM application brings complete remote instrument control and measurement capabilities to your PC or laptop. You can perform data logging functions with trend chart graphing, histogram graphing, and raw data table view in real-time. When you use the Pathwave BenchVue DMM application with Keysight’s Truevolt series DMMs, you can make digitized measurements and graph them on a time-domain chart.

The Pathwave BenchVue software platform has a collection of many other types of instrument applications such as oscilloscope, function / arbitrary waveform generator, power supply, data acquisition system, spectrum analyzer, network analyzer, and much more. You can control up to four Keysight instruments in BenchVue, depending on the size of your PC screen. You can control even more instruments by expanding them into their individual windows.

You can configure and synchronize multiple instruments and display all your measurements simultaneously on your PC screen. (Figure 2).

Benchvue-simultaneous-measurement-display
Figure 2. Pathwave BenchVue software with multiple measurements simultaneously displayed on a PC screen

2. Automate

You can rapidly build automated test sequences within BenchVue using Test Flow. See the Test Flow workspace on the right-hand side of the BenchVue software in Figure 3. The intuitive drag-and-drop interface enables you to accomplish in minutes what required days using traditional programming languages. Test Flow controls are integrated into most BenchVue applications, including the BenchVue DMM application. With Test Flow enabled applications, you can build automated test sequences without needing in-depth instrument knowledge or programming. Access advanced instrument controls for specialized testing with integrated Command Expert command sequences. Learn more about using Test Flow further on in this blog.

benchvue-test-flow-screen
Figure 3. Pathwave BenchVue Test Flow capabilities occupy the right-hand panel of the user interface (see red box)

3. Simplify

The BenchVue DMM application software helps simplify mundane tasks, such as manual recording of measured data, graphing data/results, and exporting data that PC applications can process for further post-analysis work.

Export-data-BenchVue
Figure 4. Export data from Pathwave BenchVue in various formats

Use Test Flow to Automate Your DMM Measurements Without the Programming Complexities

Test Flow comes to the rescue when you want to build custom test sequences to automate your DMM measurements quickly. Often, the DMM is not the only instrument you use to test your product. You may need a DC power supply to bias your device under test (DUT), a function generator to simulate an input signal to your DUT, an electronic load to simulate an output load for your DUT, and more.

You can create the test sequences quickly and intuitively through the Test Flow’s drag and drop interface for rapid test prototyping. Test Flow allows you to easily combine multiple instruments into a sequence for better DUT test characterization. See Figure 5.

benchvue-test-flow-screen-zoomed-in
Figure 5. Sample Test Flow sequence

For added flexibility, several utility blocks are available in Pathwave BenchVue Test Flow, including step controls, loops, and the ability to run SCPI commands, integrated Command Expert sequence blocks, or external programs. See Figure 6.

built-in-blocks-for-test-sequences
Figure 6. Built-in blocks add flexibility for your test sequences

Summary

Pathwave BenchVue is a powerful software application that brings remote control and test flow automation to your bench. Test Flow is supported on Keysight Truevolt DMMs, and many other Pathwave BenchVue supported instruments.

With the Pathwave BenchVue software application, you can:

  • Configure the most commonly used controls and measurements from instruments
  • Visualize multiple measurements simultaneously
  • Easily log and export data and images in a few clicks for faster analysis

Save time by:

  • Analyzing results within BenchVue or with built-in data exports
  • Learning software quickly with common look and feel applications
  • Utilizing multiple instrument apps in one easy to use software package

 With Pathwave BenchVue Test Flow, you can:

Create custom test sequences fast and intuitively

  • Quickly create automated test sequences with minimal instrument knowledge
  • Combine multiple instruments into a sequence for better DUT characterization
  • Drag-and-drop controls for rapid test prototyping
  • View data logs in tabular or graphical form
  • Access deeper instrument controls and solutions through integrated Command Expert

Interpret results more quickly by:

  • Customizing your X-axis and Y-axis on graphs to view measurements
  • Exporting data to popular tools such as MATLAB or Microsoft Excel and Word for documentation or further analysis

If you are interested to dig deeper into the Pathwave BenchVue DMM application, get the white paper on Multisignal Capture and Analysis with DMMs.

Find out more about Pathwave BenchVue software from the Keysight Pathwave BenchVue software.

For more specifics about the Pathwave BenchVue DMM application, go to the Pathwave BenchVue DMM app.

For more information about Keysight Truevolt DMMs, go to Keysight Truevolt DMMs.