Brief Install Instructions

Starting with version 0.2.1, you can install Instrumental using pip:

$ pip install instrumental-lib

This will install the latest release version along with the core dependencies if they aren’t already installed. It’s recommended that you use the the Anaconda distribution so you don’t have to compile numpy and scipy (see the detailed install instructions below).

Installing the Development Version from GitHub

Download and extract a zip of Instrumental from the Github page or clone it using git. Now install:

$ cd /path/to/Instrumental
$ python install

Detailed Install Instructions

Instrumental should install any core dependencies it requires, but if you’re having problems, you may want to read this section over. Note that many per-driver dependencies are not installed automatically, so you can install them as-needed.

Python Sci-Comp Stack

To install the standard scientific computing stack, we recommend using Anaconda. Download the appropriate installer from the download page and run it to install Anaconda. The default installation will include NumPy, SciPy, and Matplotlib as well as lots of other useful stuff.


Next, install Pint for units support:

$ pip install pint

For more information, or to get a more recent version, check out the Pint install page.


If you’re using git, you can clone the Instrumental repository to get the source code. If you don’t know git or don’t want to set up a local repo yet, you can just download a zip file by clicking the ‘Download ZIP’ button on the right hand side of the Instrumental Github page. Unzip the code wherever you’d like, then open a command prompt to that directory and run:

$ python install

to install Instrumental to your Python site-packages directory. You’re all set! Now go check out some of the examples in the examples directory contained in the files you downloaded!

Optional Driver Libraries


To operate devices that communicate using VISA (e.g. Tektronix scopes) you will need:

  1. an implementation of VISA, and
  2. a Python interface layer called PyVISA

There are various implementations of VISA available, but two I know of are TekVISA (from Tektronix) and NI-VISA (from National Instruments). I would recommend NI-VISA, though either one should work fine. Installers for each can be downloaded from the NI or Tektronix websites, though you’ll have to create a free account.

Once you’ve installed VISA, install PyVISA by running:

$ pip install pyvisa

on the command line. As a quick test PyVISA has installed correctly, open a python interpreter and run:

>>> import visa
>>> rm = visa.ResourceManager()
>>> rm.list_resources()

More info about PyVISA, including more detailed install-related information can be found here.

Other Drivers

Install directions are located on each driver’s page within the Drivers section. This lists the python packages that are required, as well as any external libraries.