Saturday, April 21, 2012


[UPDATE] You can find this GPIBUSB adapter on my store at !

[UPDATE Jan 11, 2014] Revision 3 is now available for purchase at

Hello everyone! It's been about 3 weeks since my last post, and about 2 weeks since my last video. One may ask, what's the holdup for everything Steven? Well, part of it was me forgetting to post the latest episode here.


What was this video about? Well, my GPIBUSB adapter is for sale! Now, some of you may be visiting my blog for the first time and have no idea what this GPIBUSB thinger is. Fear not, allow me to introduce to project to you!

My GPIBUSB is an open source hardware project that allows the user to connect test and measurement instruments featuring a GPIB (aka HPIB, ieee488) port to a computer's USB port. This allows the user to remotely control their T&M instruments from their computer!

Now, before we go any further, I'm sure some of you would like to see the source files. You can find everything at


The adapter utilizes a PIC18F4520 microcontroller, and a FT232RL to convert from USB->UART. This means that the GPIBUSB presents itself to one's computer as a serial port, giving you the freedom to use a wide variety of operating systems and programming languages with minimal setup.

One could use this adapter for automated tests. For example, you could log power consumption of your device under test by using this adapter to transfer voltage and current measurement from attached DMMs. Another example could include transferring waveform data from one's oscilloscope to your computer to do further analysis.

GPIBUSB in action in the UK!

And of course, the PCB is made in Canada. All assembly is done by myself, also located in Canada.

Now, for those that are interested in ordering one. At the time of writing, I have 8 adapters all assembled and tested, with parts for another 10 on my bench. Cost is $60 CAD plus shipping. If you are from Canada, add 13% for HST. For shipping, options are either FedEx (both ground and express) or Canada Post. An exact number will be given after you contact me and let me know what shipping method you would like.

Payment is through Paypal.

If you are interested, please email me at scasagrande at galvant dot ca.

Thanks everyone for supporting me, my new business (Galvant Industries), and OSHW!

  • Connect your computer to your instruments' GPIB port by USB
  • USB-B connector
  • Cross platform - works on Windows, Linux, and OSX
  • Cross language - works with any programming language able to connect to serial ports
  • Includes pre-written python classes for easy communication with instruments
  • Upgradeable firmware - Useful to add new features and bug fixes easily
  • Both assembled and PCB manufactured in Canada

Items of note:
  • Currently does not support service request. Will be added at a later date.
  • Contains lead (Pb). Soldering was done using 63/37 solder.
  • All source can be found at
  • Does not include USB cable


Anonymous said...

Very interesting. One question, if you already used 18F4550, why FTDI when 18F4550 already comes with USB support?

Steven Casagrande said...

Good question! The main reason is because it makes using a bootloader really easy. This way I can push out firmware upgrades without any issues. Without the FTDI it becomes a little more complicated and there are more important things for me to spend my time on.

Also note that I used an 18f4520, not 4550, which does not have USB.

Doug said...

This is quite the exciting project :) I might wind up buying one of your connectors, but... I've been itching to make a terminal to use to control an HP Logic Analyzer (circa 1985) -- mostly which I want to make with an AVR, maybe even make it with an Arduino bootloader. If (nah, not if, WHEN) I make my own device, I'd love to share back with you what I learned, and share my own schematics & code.

I have a couple questions...

1. Do you have a schematic available, to use to cross reference with the code?

2. Any chance you'd be willing to share where you sourced the GPIB connector? My usual electronics suppliers don't seem to have it, and it's not super easy to google up.

Thanks for putting together the videos, they've given me a lot of hope that I may be able to accomplish even a portion of what you've done, thank you!!!


p.s. you can reach me via doug at speedmodeling dot org, if need be (otherwise I'll check the page here).

Steven Casagrande said...

Hi Doug!

1. You can find the schematic on there is a pdf and ps version there.

2. You can find the connector on both Digikey and Newark/Element14, but I'll leave finding it on their website as an exercise for you!

Thanks for the video praise. Let me know if there is anything in particular that you would like me to talk about!

Edmund said...

Would you consider selling a kit (i.e. just board and parts, assembly left to the user)?

Steven Casagrande said...

Hi Edmund,

I'd rather not sell kits because I don't have the means of packing so many loose SMD parts. Also, I have no way to program the loose microcontrollers. If somebody really wants a kit, I'll consider doing something for that person.

However, if people are interested in the loose board or board + connectors I can do something about that.

Anonymous said...

Could you make a version with RS232 instead of USB?

Eddie said...

Hi, I'm from Bolivia.
Could you make a version only with RS232?
The FT232RL does not exist to buy in my country.
Thanks for reading.

Steven Casagrande said...

You could always get mine :)

I'm also working on a more bare version of this adapter which you might be interested in. Keep an aye out for it!

Eddie said...

Ok I'll be waiting

Anonymous said...

I have a Tek TDS754D with a GPIB interface which I would like to use with Tek's Wavestar software on a Win7 PC.
What, if any, drivers would be needed with your GPIBUSB adapter ?

Please advise and thanks in advance.


Unknown said...

Plans to have these again anytime soon? =)

Steven Casagrande said...

A new version is now available on my website! Check it out at

Unknown said...

Nice and quite informative post. I really look forward to your other posts.

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Luigi said...

Is this GPIB to USB compatible with NI GPIB USB HS cables?