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What makes NI's most accurate DMM tick?

05 May 2016  | Vivek Nanda

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The isolated digitiser allows the safe measurement of a small voltage in the presence of a large common mode signal—the signal that is "common" to both the positive and negative input of the DMM but is not part of the signal to be measured. Isolation also improves accuracy by physically preventing ground loops.


The self-calibration feature makes the DMM accurate and stable well outside the usual 18°C to 28°C range. This calibration takes less than a minute to complete and requires no external calibrator. PXIe-408x product family has a two-year external calibration cycle because of this feature.

An interactive soft front panel can be used for basic measurements and debugging automated applications. The driver software includes a programming interface that works with a variety of development environments, including C, C#, Microsoft .NET and LabVIEW. The driver also features help files, documentation and 28 ready-to-run example programs to assist in test code development.

Interactive soft front panel

Figure 2: The DMM driver includes an interactive soft front panel that offers a similar user experience to traditional benchtop models.

The DMM also uses the inherent timing and synchronisation capabilities of the PXI platform to communicate with switches and other instruments within the PXI chassis. NI says its DMMs "handshake" with its switches by sending and receiving hardware-timed triggers over the PXI backplane, scanning through a list of switch connections stored in memory on-board the switch module. This method of scanning removes the software overhead associated with traditional scan lists and can create a deterministic scan list that increases the speed of test execution with repeatable timing.

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