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GPIB (General Purpose Interface Bus)

Before there was today’s IEEE 1284 or RS-232 and all of those super fancy high-tech data transfer protocols, there was GPIB, or IEEE 488. GPIB has been used for almost 40 years and it is a marvel that for certain applications, GPIB is still alive and well.

Remember those old Commodore computers you grew up with, spilling milk in between the keys and getting in big trouble with dad? Well, many models of those old computers used to use GPIB interfaces to connect peripherals like disk drives. It was developed originally by HP in the late 60s to use with multimeters and logic analyzers and the interface lives on today in industrial and commercial settings to control automated machinery.

Often times it is much cheaper to somehow get today’s modern computers to comunicate with older machines rather than building or buying new manufacturing equipment or automated systems. That’s where the USB to GPIB comes in. With the universal serial bus (USB), it gives a new fighting chance for old modules with legacy to continue living.

GPIB works on the parallel data transfer specification and the maximum transfer rate is generally 8 megabytes per second.

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