National Instruments USB 6001 Review

National Instruments USB 6001 Review

National Instruments 6001 is a multifunction data acquisition device commonly used in various industries such as engineering, scientific research, and manufacturing. This device allows users to acquire and analyze data from multiple sources such as sensors, signals, and other testing equipment.

In this review, we will discuss the features and capabilities of the National Instruments 6001 and how it stacks up against some of its competitors like Arduino

Our experience with the NI USB-6001

I have now used the NI USB-6001 for a long time so this review was overdue! The USB-6001 is an excellent device that has proven to be reliable, versatile, and user-friendly in many different testing and measurement scenarios.

One of the standout features of this device is its ability to acquire data from multiple sources simultaneously without compromising on accuracy or speed.

Especially at this price point!

This makes it a great choice for complex experimental setups where data needs to be collected from various sensors and instruments at the same time.

One example where we have used it is in our wind tunnel setup seen below.

In this setup, our NI USB-6001 is connected to multiple different 0-10V sensors (air speed, temperature, differential pressure, damper setting) and also controls the damper with one of its two voltage outputs.

The input data and output data is logged and controlled with our test software SAFE which is our test software platform that is plug & play with the NI USB-6001. It is the really easy to calibrate the input voltages into the real physical values of the sensor.

But this is not the only setup where I have used this little great DAQ box.

We have used it in different projects which wanted a simple yet powerfull test with many different sensors. We have even used the NI USB-6001 together with NI CompactDAQ.

Now I have also used it for so many smaller measurements where I just need to be able to measure a voltage or current.

Features of National Instruments 6001

The National Instruments 6001 has a wide range of features that make it suitable for these various data acquisition needs. Some of the key features that I like is:

  • USB connection: The USB-6001 is powered and connected via a standard USB cable, making it easy to use with any computer.
  • High-performance analog input: The device has 8 AI with 14-bit resolution and can acquire data at rates of up to 20 kS/s, making it suitable for high-precision measurements.
  • 2 analog output channels: Along with its multiple input channels, the USB-6001 also has two analog
  • Digital I/O: The device has 13 digital input/output lines that can be used for synchronization and control purposes.
  • No need for an external power supply: The USB-6001 can be powered directly from the USB connection, eliminating the need for an external power supply.

How the NI USB-6001 Compares to Competitors like Arduino

While there are several data acquisition devices available in the market, one of the most popular and cost-effective options is the Arduino board. So how does the National Instruments 6001 compare to an Arduino when it comes to a data acquisition solution?

I have seen so many Arduino DIY solutions at companies, and I understand why. The Arduino e.g. UNO is a simple, usually stand-alone solution that is very easy to begin developing with. But it has it's drawbacks.

You have to develop your own code to sample data

You have to develop your own code storing data

A process that can become error-prone.

The NI USB-6001 , on the other hand, is a ready-to-use device with a lot of different software. But of course you need a PC. If the PC is not a problem then you can make complex measurement and control solutions in minutes basically.

In our software platform SAFE i made this dashboard together with the NI USB-6001

If I had to do this the traditional way with Arduino I cannot imagine how many days it would have taken me!

So if you have no problem using a PC I think the NI USB-6001 has a real upper hand when developing measurement solutions. It saves time and reduces potential errors in the code.

Now, this is not to say that Arduino does not have its own set of advantages. For one, it is a much more affordable option compared to the NI USB-6001 (even though the NI USB-6001 is low-cost). It also has a large community of developers and users who share their projects and knowledge online.

However, when it comes to accuracy and precision in data acquisition, the NI USB-6001 is a more reliable and robust solution.

Overall, both the NI USB-6001 and Arduino have their own strengths and weaknesses. It ultimately comes down to what your specific needs are and which device better suits your requirements and budget.


In conclusion, the National Instruments 6001 is a versatile and reliable data acquisition device that offers high-performance at an affordable price. Its capabilities make it suitable for various industries and applications, making it a popular choice among professionals.

While there are other options available in the market like Arduino, the NI USB-6001 stands out for its accuracy, precision, and ease of use. With the right software and setup, it can greatly simplify complex data acquisition tasks and save time and effort for users.

So whether you are looking for a simple solution to measure voltage or current, or need a more advanced device with multiple channels and capabilities, the NI USB-6001 is definitely worth considering. It has proven to be a valuable asset in our experiments and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a reliable and user-friendly data acquisition solution.