A lightweight python package to simplify the communication with several scientific instruments.

pip install slave==0.4.0



Slave is a micro framework designed to simplify instrument communication and control and comes with a variety of ready to use device drivers.


Slave provides an intuitive way of creating instrument api's, inspired by object relational mappers.

from slave.iec60488 import IEC60488, PowerOn
from slave.driver import Command
from slave.types import Integer, Enum

class Device(IEC60488, PowerOn):
    """An iec60488 conforming device api with additional commands."""
    def __init__(self, transport):
        super(Device, self).__init__(transport)
        # A custom command
        self.my_command = Command(
            'QRY?', # query message header
            'WRT',  # command message header
            # response and command data type
            [Integer, Enum('first', 'second')]

Commands mimic instance attributes. Read access queries the device, parses and converts the response and finally returns it. Write access parses and converts the arguments and sends them to the device. This leads to very intuitive interfaces.

Several device drivers are already implemented, and many more are under development. A short usage example is given below:

import time
from slave.transport import Visa
from slave.srs import SR830

lockin = SR830(Visa('GPIB::08'))
# configure the lockin amplifier
lockin.reserve = 'high'
lockin.time_constant = 3
# take 60 measurements and print the result
for i in range(60):
    print lockin.x


  • Python 2.6 or higher
  • Sphinx (optional, to build the documentation)
  • sphinx_bootstrap_theme(optional, default theme used for the documentation)
  • distribute (Python 3.x)


To install Slave, simply type

python install


Slave is fully documented. Both the latest stable as well as the develop documentations are available online. To build the documentation manually, e.g. the html documentation, navigate into the /doc/ subfolder and execute make html. For a prettier theme, install sphinx_boostrap_theme first (pip install sphinx_bootstrap_theme).


You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with slave; see the file COPYING.