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As elec­tronic prod­ucts achieve even higher per­for­mance, their in­creas­ing com­plex­ity makes it harder to de­sign, ver­ify and de­bug. Dur­ing the ex­ten­sive ver­i­fi­ca­tion that is per­formed to pick up prob­lems, the abil­ity to si­mul­ta­ne­ously ob­serve and an­a­lyse bot

Electronics For You - - TEST & A -

Many en­gi­neers are com­fort­able with their os­cil­lo­scope, and in or­der to save time, may choose to buy three or four os­cil­lo­scopes so that they can probe mul­ti­ple sig­nals at once. Logic anal­y­sers pro­vide the abil­ity to probe mul­ti­ple dig­i­tal sig­nals, but the com­plex­ity of the de­bug task may not merit the setup and learn­ing curve re­quired to use the logic anal­yser,” says Saivenkat Ku­mar, coun­try mar­comm ( EMEA mar­ket­ing), Tek­tronix.

Logic anal­y­sers and os­cil­lo­scopes have co- ex­isted for decades, fi­nally giv­ing birth to mixed-sig­nal os­cil­lo­scopes (MSOs). Once a niche prod­uct cat­e­gory pi­o­neered by HP (now Agi­lent Tech­nolo­gies), MSOs are now of­fered by all ma­jor scope ven­dors.

“In old days test en­gi­neers were us­ing two sets of in­stru­ments—basi- cally an os­cil­lo­scope to check the ana­logue char­ac­ter­is­tics such as fre­quency, rise time and fall time of a sig­nal, and logic anal­y­sers for dig­i­tal char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion. But now with more of mixed-sig­nal de­signs and also for FPGAs and mi­cro­con­trollers, MSO is the pre­ferred choice. With two or four ana­logue chan­nels and up to 16 dig­i­tal chan­nels, a user can do both ana­logue and dig­i­tal char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion from the same in­stru­ment. This saves the cost as well as the time to set up mul­ti­ple in­stru­ments, and also makes it easy to use,” ex­plains Sadaf Arif Sid­diqui, mar­ket­ing pro­gramme man­ager, Agi­lent Tech­nolo­gies.

High-res­o­lu­tion and larger dis­plays

Mixed-sig­nal os­cil­lo­scopes be­ing visual tools, a larger and higher-res­o­lu­tion screen makes them bet­ter—un­less there is a porta­bil­ity re­quire­ment. Util­is­ing the lat­est dis­play tech­nolo­gies avail­able, ven­dors have packed bet­ter dis­plays into their in­stru­ments. Thus with the abil­ity to view more, en­gi­neers can spot jit­ters and in­fre­quent events quicker than in a lower-res­o­lu­tion dis­play.

“De­sign­ers are of­ten in­ter­ested to cap­ture small­est pulse widths of their em­bed­ded de­signs. The small­est pulse

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