The General Purpose Interface Bus is generally used to attach test equipment or scientific instruments to a personal computer. It is sometimes called the IEEE-488.2 bus.

How it Works

In general, a GPIB card must be installed into a PCI, ISA, SCSI or even PCMCIA slot on a personal computer. A cable is used to connect the card to whatever instrument will be interfaced with the computer.

Some GPIB Devices
  • Power Supplies
  • Amino Acid Analyzers
  • Function Generators
  • Tensile Testers

Its architecture is based on the Hewlett Packard Interface Bus, which was developed in 1965. The HP-IB was capable of transmitting data at up to one megabyte per second. Its relatively extreme speed during that period of time made it very popular.


Agilent Technologies and National Instruments currently make a wide variety of GPIB products.


It uses an 8 bit data bus which makes use of five control and three handshake signals.

1 DIO1     13 DIO5 
2 DIO2     14 DIO6 
3 DIO3     15 DIO7 
4 DIO4     16 DIO8 
5 EOI      17 REN 
6 DAV      18 GND 
7 NRFC     19 GND 
8 NDAC     20 GND 
9 IFC      21 GND 
10 SRQ     22 GND 
11 ATN     23 GND 
12 SHIELD  24 GND 

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