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USB PC-Based Logic Analyzer

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by aman, Apr 29, 2005.

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  1. aman

    aman Guest

    I was looking at some PC-Based Logic Analyzers. I came across this
    one:

    http://www.pctestinstruments.com/

    Has anybody of you used it before. My requirement is fairly simple. I
    have a 8-bit/16-Bit microcontroller at 12MHz. This one samples at 500
    MHz. It has 34 channel. Seems a pretty good deal.

    Any idea how good it works ?
     
  2. mike

    mike Guest

    What are you gonna use it for?
    While it's easy to concoct a situation that requires 500MHz. sample
    rate, as a practical matter, ain't nothin' much gonna happen on a 12MHz.
    system that needs it.
    If microcontroller means internal program store and memory, what exactly
    are you gonna look at?

    You're more likely to want very complex triggering arrangements to find
    those subtle, intermittent bugs.
    You're more likely to want a fast digital oscilloscope that can actually
    see those ground bounces and glitches.

    I used to design logic analyzers for a living. In the last 20 years,
    the only time I've used one is to look at a RS232 signal when I couldn't
    get my hands on a DSO.

    If you'd said you were building Pentium processor boards or graphics
    display subsystems or real-time FFT processors, my suggestion would have
    been quite different.

    Also, it's hard to imagine the hassle surrounding an instrument that
    plugs into a general purpose PC until you actually try it. Unless you
    permanentlly dedicate
    the PC and the space it takes up, you'll often find that setting it all
    up takes longer than to find the problem by inspection.

    mike

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  3. An article by Jack Ganssle is on embedded.com that compares a few
    PC-based oscilloscopes/analysers. There's a second part to the article
    that isn't out yet but that I'm waiting for.

    Cheers.
     
  4. I've not had direct experience with this product but, on a broader
    scale, I've never been fond of the idea that the PC is an Answer to
    Everything on the test bench.

    My advice would be to spend your $$ on a nice used commercial
    logic analyzer. The Tektronix 1240 series instruments are pretty nice,
    and I'm sure there are plenty of others Out There.

    Whatever you get, be sure it has the pods and leads with it. Few
    things on this planet are more useless than a logic analyzer without
    such.

    Happy hunting.

    --
    Dr. Anton T. Squeegee, Director, Dutch Surrealist Plumbing Institute.
    (Known to some as Bruce Lane, ARS KC7GR,
    kyrrin (a/t) bluefeathertech[d=o=t]calm -- www.bluefeathertech.com
    "If Salvador Dali had owned a computer, would it have been equipped
    with surreal ports?"
     
  5. Joel Kolstad

    Joel Kolstad Guest

    Most of the high end Agilent and Tektronix network analyzers and spectrum
    analyzers are now just regular old PCs running Windoze along with various
    specialized plug-in cards to perform the data acqusition.

    There is notable value in having it all 'packaged' nicely and the installed
    software being guaranteed to work and the thing not taking over your desktop
    PC, of course.
     
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