One simple truth that test and automation engineers know well is that technology is always changing and advancing. Even the most state-of-the-art system today will be obsolete tomorrow. Obsolescence is caused by a number of factors, but regardless of the cause, if you don’t closely support your system, it will eventually become outdated and it will need to be updated.
Mistake #1: Trying to match hardware spec for spec
The most common way to replace hardware is to follow the intuitive first step--check the specifications of the hardware that needs to be replaced and look for hardware that most closely matches. The problem with this method is that systems most often need an update due to the hardware being out of date or nearing obsolescence.
How many times have you looked for an instrument driver, and find that it doesn’t exist? It happens, and that overwhelming feeling of doom looms overhead. Don’t let that feeling overcome you until you have verified that there is not a SCPI interface. SCPI stands for “Standard Commands for Programmable Instruments.” As the name says there could possibly be a set of standard commands that will help you still be able to control your instrument. Most instruments support SCPI as their protocol, which is lucky for us developers.
If you have ever thought "Man, I am so sick of pushing these buttons on this instrument I could punch someone!", or your instrument is strategically placed on the opposite side of the lab from your computer, then you are in luck. The everyday mundane tasks of using instrumentation for your projects is inevitable. Sometimes it requires pushing buttons every hour or so, and sometimes it requires pushing those buttons 30+ times a minute. In short, doing this for days on end can lead to mental breakdown. Science proves it.