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IEEE-488 Tutorial - Vol. 10 No. 23
(Tuesday, July 20, 2010)
L-com Global Connectivity IEEE-488 Tutorial
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Volume 10, Number 23

IEEE-488 Tutorial

Brief History
Hewlett Packard designed the original bus in the 1960's. It was later accepted as a standard in 1978 by IEEE/ANSI as IEEE-488. At the time, it was revolutionary, allowing many convenient applications. An IEEE-488 bus can be configured as a physical star, in-line (linear) or a combination of both.

In-Line / Linear Configuration
In-Line / Linear Configuration

Physical / Star Configuration
Physical / Star Configuration

As with many products in the electronics industry, there are a few different names for the same thing. GPIB (General Purpose Interface Bus), HPIB (Hewlett Packard Interface Bus), and IEEE-488 (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standard 488) are all common names for this system. Despite its many names and early popularity, IEEE-488 eventually gave way to smaller, lighter, cheaper, and faster interfaces.

IEEE-488 interfaces are typically found in high end, expensive instruments as opposed to lower cost equipment that uses RS232 interfaces.

Key Limitation
  • Maximum data rate is 1 Mbps
  • Maximum bus cable length is 20 meters
  • Maximum number of devices on the bus is 15
IEEE-488 Cable/Connector Characteristics
Unlike other bus systems there is only one connector style - this causes much less confusion! The connector is a 24-position male to female piggy back that allows for easy daisy chaining with metric hardware (M3x0.6). The cable is 24 conductors with an 85 percent minimum braid shield coverage.

IEEE-488 Connector Specifications

The IEEE-488 GPIB connector utilizes
24 contacts in a parallel configuration.

IEEE-488 Cable Construction

  • 24 conductors with twisted pairs
  • Braid Shield with a minimum
    85% coverage
  • Centronics style 24 position male to female piggy back connectors allowing for easy daisy chaining
  • Metric mating hardware,
    M3.5 x 0.6
IEEE-488 Cable Construction

IEEE-488 Cable Assembly Options
L-com offers three different cable options to best satisfy customer needs and maximize value:

Backshell DetailPVC molded backshell over internal steel shell enclosureDie cast aluminum, nickel plated backshellDie cast aluminum, nickel plated backshell
Connector DetailStamped steel, nickel plated connectorsDie cast alloy, nickel plated connectorsDie cast alloy, nickel plated connectors
Contact Plating30 microinch gold plated contacts30 microinch gold plated contacts30 microinch gold plated contacts
Cable ShieldingOne braid and one foil/mylar overall shieldOne braid and one foil/mylar overall shield plus one inner foil/mylar shieldOne braid and one foil/mylar overall shield plus one inner braid and one inner foil/mylar shield

What Can L-com Do For You?
L-com has designed and manufactures one of the largest IEEE-488 product offerings in the world!

Latest News
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