Solutions for implementation challenges

This is a list of less common challenges, their solutions, and example instruments.

General issues

  • Small numbers (<1e-5) are shown as 0 with %f. If an instrument understands exponential notation, you can use %g, which switches between floating point and exponential format, depending on the exponent.

Communication protocol issues

  • The instrument answers every message, even a setting command. You can set the setting’s check_set_errors = True parameter and redefine check_set_errors() to read an answer, see hcp.TC038D

  • Binary, frame-based communication, see hcp.TC038D

  • All replies have the same length, see aja.DCXS

  • The device generates garbage messages at startup, cluttering the buffer, see aja.DCXS

  • An instrument and its channel need to override values, but it has to use the correct ask method as well, see tcpowerconversion.CXN


  • Not all channels have the same features, see MKS937B

  • Channel names in the communication (1, 2, 3) differ from front panel (A, B, C), see AdvantestR624X

  • A family of instruments in which a property of the channels is different for different members of the family , see AnritsuMS464xB

  • If you want to document the type of your instrument’s channels (with a clickable link), check out the source of the Aim-TTI PL Series Power Supplies page.