NI ELVIS Computer-Based Instrumentation

This instructional guidebook provides an introduction to the NI ELVIS II workstation and to LabVIEW’s graphical programming environment. Building on this framework it then presents a set of fully detailed hands-on labs that explore more features and capabilities of NI ELVIS II while introducing the reader to test, measurement, and data acquisition concepts through the use of sensors and actuators, the study of vibration, speed and temperature control, and photovoltaics, including the study of a solar panel. Exercises and challenge problems are included, along with LabVIEW Project Files to accompany the text.
by Dr. Petru A. COTFAS, Dr. Daniel T. COTFAS, Dr. Doru URSUTIU, and Dr. Cornel SAMOILA | Transilvania University of Brasov



  • Understand the features and capabilities of NI ELVIS II
  • Introduce test, measurement, and data acquisition concepts
  • Explore sensors and actuators, the study of vibration, speed and temperature control, and photovoltaics, including the study of a solar panel


Level University
Topic Virtual Instrumentation
Style Laboratory
Prerequisite Skills None


This lab introduces the idea of a computer-based instrument through building a simple instrument using the NI ELVIS II workstation and controlling it with a LabVIEW program. This lab also gives a short tutorial for LabVIEW programming.
In this lab, LabVIEW is used as an instructor's aid to develop lab exercises and lab setups that introduce students to testing, measurement, and data acquisition. The overall goal is to provide students with a general background in taking measurements for scientific and engineering applications. The lab exercises require the students to write and/or run simple LabVIEW programs.
This lab illustrates how LabVIEW and NI ELVIS II can be used for studying different kinds of sensors. For this lab, a light sensor and a dual-axis accelerometer are used.
The purpose of this lab is to study the behavior of two actuators using the NI ELVIS II platform. The devices studied in this lab are an electromagnetic relay and a stepper motor.
The goal of this lab is to familiarize students with the theoretical concept, as well as with the application, of ideal harmonic oscillatory movement, damped and forced. Students will learn how to design experiments that validate the theoretical solutions for the differential equations describing the damped and forded harmonic oscillatory movement.
This lab is designed to enhance the understanding of the control system concept. The PID algorithm is used to create the control system. This algorithm is applied to control the speed of a DC motor and the temperature of a heater.
The purpose of this lab is to study the behavior of some types of solar cells and mini solar panels, using the NI ELVIS II platform. Students will raise the I-V characteristic of the solar cell, determine some solar cell parameters, and investigate the the behavior of the cells if they are bound in series or parallel.


The NI Educational Laboratory Virtual Instrumentation Suite (NI ELVIS) is a versatile laboratory platform that enables educators to teach over 20 different courses across science and engineering departments. The NI ELVIS integrates 12 common lab instruments including an oscilloscope, function...


An integrated development environment designed specifically for engineers and scientists.

Required Software
Download Academic Software, Learn About Software Licensing
  • LabVIEW 2014 or Later (requires license)
  • NI ELVISmx 14.0 or Later - Download
  • NI LabVIEW PID and Fuzzy Logic Toolkit

Required Hardware
Purchase Engineering Education Products
  • NI ELVIS II or II+ - View Specifications, View User Manual
  • Digital multimeter (DMM)
  • Digital voltmeter (DMM[V]) Digital ammeter (DMM[A]) Required components include
  • 5.6 kΩ resistor, R1,R2 and R3 LM335 temperature sensor
  • DC motor
  • Tachometer
  • TSL230R—light-to-frequency converter from Parallax, Inc. 
  • Memsic 2125—dual-axis accelerometer from Parallax, Inc. 
  • Mobile prototyping board
  • Protractor
  • Two 220 Ω resistors
  • One electromagnetic relay Chansin, of 12 V, initial contact resistance 100 mΩ (1A, 24 VDC), contact material silver alloy
  • One transistor BC 177 NPN
  • One transistor BC 107 PNP
  • Two resistances of 100 kΩOne resistance of 1 mΩ
  • One resistance of 1 kΩ
  • One resistance of 2 kΩ
  • One resistance of 10 kΩ;
  • One resistance of 5.19 Ω, 5 W.
  • One stepper motor from INEX Innovative Experiment of 12 V, 100 Ω, 7.5 degree/step
  • One integral circuit ULN 2003 which has 7 NPN Darlington pairs
  • Four LEDs
  • Polarized resistors of 1 kΩ
  • The lamella for the oscillation
  • Accelerometer Analog Devices ADXL325BCPZ Electromagnet used for forced oscillation
  • DC motor
  • Tachometer
  • IRF530 MOSFET transistor
  • 1N4007 semiconductor diode
  • LM335 temperature sensor
  • 27 Ω, 5 kΩ, and 5.6 kΩ resistors
  • 1 MOSFET transistor IRF2907z
  • 1 resistance of 5.6 kΩ
  • 1 resistance of 0.1 Ω
  • One solar cell, 0.5 V/400 mA, dimensions (L x W) 76 x 46 mm, operating temperature –20 to 800C
  • Two solar cells, 0.51 V/200 mA, dimensions (L x W) 50 x 23mm, operating temperature –20 to 800C
  • One halogen bulb, 35 W, 12 V 
  • The power supply, 12 V, 4 A
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