How to control an LXI instrument without any drivers:

  • Connect your instrument to your LAN
  • Ping the instrument IP to check the network.
  • Open a command line and fire a NetCat instance (type 'nc'). If you are on Linux, 'netcat' or 'nc' is already installed with all the other network tools. On Windows, you need to download NetCat for Windows.
  • Type 'nc 5555', where 5555 or 5566 is the port number for any Rigol LXI instrument. '' is the IP of my oscilloscope. You should use the IP of your instrument, not this one.
  • In the NetCat, type: '*IDN?'. The instrument will respond with it's IDentification Name.
  • You are now connected with your instrument. Send any commands you like.
  • Have more then one instrument? Open another NetCat in another command line, one for each instrument.
  • To see a list with all the available commands, open the programming manual of your instruments.


To take a screenshot from a Rigol oscilloscope (e.g. DS1054Z) and save it to the PC, connect the oscilloscope and the PC to the same LAN, open a Linux terminal and just type this:

echo ":DISPLAY:DATA? ON,OFF,PNG" | nc -w1 5555  | dd bs=1 skip=11 of=image.png

 Don't forget to replace "" with the IP of your own oscilloscope. A PNG file named 'image.png' will be saved on the PC. If you open the saved PNG file, you will see a capture from the oscilloscope's screen.

This is also a very nice example for the beauty and the power of command line piping. The author of this very elegant example is S Clark.