NI VirtualBench reaches 500 MHz

-February 08, 2017

National Instruments' VirtualBench, a PC-based "lab in a box," now has a model with a 500-MHz oscilloscope, the VB-8054 ($7,999). That's up from 350 MHz (VB-8034, $5999) and 100 MHz from the original model (VB-8012, $1999). According to National Instruments, the VB-8054 will be available in March 2017.

National Instruments announced the 500-MHz VirtualBech at DesginCon 2017.
Here it is on display in the exhibit hall.

In addition to higher bandwidth, the VB-8054 samples at 2 Gsamples/s and it adds two digital inputs, bringing the total to 34. The function generator can now produce a 40-MHz sine wave, a 5-MHz square, ramp/triangle functions, DC, and you can create your own signals.

There's no need to install drivers or application software to run VirtualBench, just connect it to your PC through a USB, Ethernet, or Wi-Fi connection. The software will download into your computer and run automatically. You can get software updates online as well. If you prefer to write your own application in LabVIEW or another language, you can download a driver, which adds an API. VirtualBench also works over Wi-Fi from an iPad running iOS9 or later. (The early model I tried had USB only.)

In case you've only seen the original VirtualBench, you'll notice a few differences on the front panel. One is that it now has four analog inputs as opposed to two. It also has the 34 digital channels and the power-supply connections are banana plugs instead of a terminal strip. "Customers asked for the banana jacks," said Product Marketing Manager at Ben Robinson at DesignCon. "That's what most bench power supplies use."

National Instruments, VirtualBench product page.

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