Enter to Win a Wireless Pen-Sized Oscilloscope!

IKALOGIC is giving away an IkaScope! (retail value $379)

The IkaScope WS200 is a pen-shaped battery-powered wireless oscilloscope that streams captured signals to almost any Wi-Fi-connected screen.

GO HERE TO ENTER TO WIN!

The IkaScope WS200 offers a 30M Hz bandwidth with its 200 Msamples/s sampling rate and maximum input of +/-40 Vpp. It provides galvanically-isolated measurements even when a USB connection is charging the internal battery. The IkaScope WS200 will work on desktop computers (Windows, Mac and Linux) as well as on mobile devices like tablets or smartphones. The free application software can be downloaded for whichever platform is needed.
The IkaScope WS200 has no power switch. It detects pressure on the probe tip and turns on automatically. Patented ProbeClick technology saves battery life: all power-consuming circuitry is only turned on when the probe tip is pressed, and the IkaScope WS200 automatically shuts down completely after a short period of non-use. The internal 450 mAh battery lasts about one week with daily regular use before recharging is necessary. An isolated USB connection allows for recharging the internal battery: two LEDs in the unit indicate battery charge and Wi-Fi status.

Clicking the Autoset button on the IkaScope software automatically adjusts gain and time-base to quickly view the signal optimally. The IkaScope WS200 also knows when to measure and when to hold the signal display without the need for a Run/Stop button. The IkaScope’s innovative Automatic History feature saves a capture of the signal when releasing pressure on the ProbeClick tip. The History Database is divided into Current Session and Favorites, where signal captures are permanently saved, even after the application is closed. Previously measured signals can quickly be recalled.

Most desktop oscilloscopes have a static reference grid with a fixed number of divisions, but the IkaScope allows pinch and zoom on touch screens (or zoom in/out with a mouse wheel), stretching the grid and allowing an operator to move and zoom through a signal capture for detailed review. The associated software even has a share button on the screen: simply click on it to share screenshot measurements.

IKALOGIC | www,ikalogic.com

 

Signature Analyzer Uses NXP MCU

Scope-Free Tester

Doing a signature analysis of a signal used to require an oscilloscope to display your results. In this article, Brian details how to build a free-standing tester using mostly just the internal peripherals of an NXP Arm microcontroller. He describes how the tester operates and how he implemented it.

By Brian Millier

When I was a teenager starting out in electronics, I longed to have as much test equipment as possible. At that stage in life, I couldn’t afford much beyond a multimeter. I remember seeing plans for a component tester in an electronics magazine. There weren’t many hobby electronics magazines back in the ‘60s, so it was probably Popular Electronics. This tester would provide a “signature” of most passive/active components by placing a small AC voltage across the component and measuring the resulting current. My memory of the circuit is hazy after all these years, but it was trivial: a 6.3 V filament transformer, a current sensing resistor and a few other passive components. However, the catch was that it required an oscilloscope to display the resulting voltage vs. current plot—in other words, the component’s signature. By the time I bought an oscilloscope about 10 years later, I had completely forgotten about this testing concept.

Today, test instruments are available that include a dedicated graphics display, instead of relying on an oscilloscope for display purposes. Having worked with Arm microcontrollers over the last few years,
I realized that I could implement such a free-standing tester using, in large part, just the internal MCU peripherals.

In this article I’ll describe how the tester operates, and how I implemented it using a Teensy 3.5 development module (containing an NXP MK64FX512VMD12 MCU) and featuring a FT800-based intelligent 4.3″ TFT touch-screen display.

Basic Theory of Operation

To obtain a signature of a given component, you need to place a variable voltage across it and measure the resulting current through it, at each voltage level. In many cases, the component’s normal operating mode will include both positive and negative voltages across it, so the tester must provide an AC voltage source. For most testing purposes you would use a sine wave voltage source because most AC calculations are done using sine waves. The value of this AC voltage source must be adjustable. I decided on six ranges between 0.5 V peak-peak and 20 V peak-peak. For measuring the voltage across the component, I used an instrumentation amplifier with three hardware gain ranges—plus three additional ranges based upon scaling in software.

To monitor current, it’s easiest to measure the voltage across a small value resistor placed in the ground return path, and then convert that to current using Ohm’s Law. Here too you need a range of current measurements. I chose to provide three hardware ranges—plus four additional ranges based on software scaling—between 1 mA and 100 mA.

You can’t just place an AC voltage of any given value across a component, and hope that the component will be able to handle that current without damage. You must place a resistor in series with the component to limit the current flow. That resistor may need to vary in value over several decades, depending on the component being tested. In my tester, I provide a switchable resistor bank with values covering a 1,000:1 range in decade steps.

Figure 1 is a block diagram of the basic tester circuitry. The user interface, touch-screen display and SD card data storage are not shown here. The MK64FX512VMD12 MCU’s 12-bit DAC A provides a sine wave signal that varies between 0 and 1.2 V over the full AC cycle. The programmable attenuator is an SPI pot device with 12-bit resolution. C1 is a decoupling capacitor, which shifts the (attenuated) unipolar DAC A output signal into a bipolar AC signal. This AC signal is amplified by a factor of 21 by an LM675 power amplifier IC. DAC B, along with some passive components, provide a software-adjustable offset voltage adjustment. The LM675 amplifier is needed to provide enough drive current to handle the higher current ranges—up to 100 mA.

FIGURE 1
This is a block diagram of the AC signal generation and Voltage/Current monitoring circuit.

Both the voltage and current are monitored using Texas Instruments (TI)instrumentation amplifier ICs. These contain input protection circuitry good to ±40 V. The various gains needed for both amplifiers are set by 1% resistors, which are switched by miniature reed relays. The instrumentation amplifier output voltages, representing voltage and current through the component under test, are fed to the two 16-bit ADCs present in the NXP MK64FX512VMD12 Arm MCU. The sine wave signal generated by the MCU can be set for frequencies of 20, 50 ,60, 100, 200 or 400 Hz.

Signature Analysis

The basic premise of signature analysis is that you obtain a signature of a component that is of questionable condition, and then compare it with a known-good component of the same value. Alternately, you can do the same comparison on a specific circuit node on two identical circuit boards/assemblies.. …

Read the full article in the August 337 issue of Circuit Cellar

Don’t miss out on upcoming issues of Circuit Cellar. Subscribe today!

Note: We’ve made the October 2017 issue of Circuit Cellar available as a free sample issue. In it, you’ll find a rich variety of the kinds of articles and information that exemplify a typical issue of the current magazine.

Handy Four-Channel, High-Resolution Oscilloscope

The TiePie engineering recently introduced a new four-channel, high-resolution, USB 3.0 oscilloscope. Featuring TiePie engineering’s SafeGround technology, the Handyscope HS6 DIFF is available in models with sampling rates from 50 MSps up to 1 GSps. SafeGround enables you to use the oscilloscope inputs both as single ended and as differential. When SafeGround is active and you accidentally create a short circuit, SafeGround disconnects the ground of the input channel without damaging the oscilloscope or PC.

TiePie-Handyscope
The Handyscope HS6 DIFF’s features, benefits, and specs:

  • 1 GSps sampling and a flexible resolution of 8 to 16 bit
  • Four input channels with up to 250-MHz analog bandwidth
  • Highly accurate 1 ppm time base
  • DC accuracy of 0.25 % and 0.1 % typical
  • 200-MSps USB streaming data logger
  • Up to 256 mega-sample memory per channel
  • SureConnect connection test on all channels
  • Spectrum analyzer with 32 million bins

TiePie | www.tiepie.com

Handy Four-Channel, High-Resolution Oscilloscope

TiePie engineering recently introduced a new four-channel, high-resolution, USB 3.0 oscilloscope. Featuring TiePie engineering’s SafeGround technology, the Handyscope HS6 DIFF is available in models with sampling rates from 50 MSps up to 1 GSps. SafeGround enables you to use the oscilloscope inputs both as single ended and as differential. When SafeGround is active and you accidentally create a short circuit, SafeGround disconnects the ground of the input channel without damaging the oscilloscope or PC.TiePie Handyscope

The Handyscope HS6 DIFF’s features, benefits, and specs:

  • 1 GSps sampling and a flexible resolution of 8 to 16 bit
  • Four input channels with up to 250-MHz analog bandwidth
  • Highly accurate 1 ppm time base
  • DC accuracy of 0.25 % and 0.1 % typical
  • 200-MSps USB streaming data logger
  • Up to 256 mega-sample memory per channel
  • SureConnect connection test on all channels
  • Spectrum analyzer with 32 million bins

Source: TiePie

10-Bit HDO9000 High Definition Oscilloscopes

Teledyne LeCroy recently launched the HDO9000, which uses HD1024 high-definition technology that automatically optimizes vertical resolution under each measurement condition to deliver 10 bits of vertical resolution. Featuring a bright 15.4” capacitive touch screen, the HDO9000 oscilloscopes offer 10-bit resolution, bandwidths of 1 to 4 GHz, and sample rates of 40 GS/s. The HDO9000 and MAUI with OneTouch enables you to perform all common operations with one touch of the display.Teledyne hdo9000

The HDO9000’s features, benefits, and specs:

  • HD1024 high-definition technology provides 10 bits of vertical resolution with 4-GHz bandwidth.
  • 15.4” high resolution capacitive touch screen
  • The mixed signal (-MS) models have 16 digital lines for trigger, decode, and measurements for analyzing timing irregularities or for general-purpose debugging.
  • Compatibility with the HDA125 High-speed Digital Analyzer, with 12.5 GS/s digital sampling rate on 18 input channels, and the revolutionary QuickLink probing solution
  • Several optional software packages are available to equip HDO9000 for all validation and debug requirements ranging from automated standards compliance packages to flexible debugging toolkits.
  • The HDO9000 is available in 1, 2, 3, or 4 GHz bandwidths

The HDO9000’s prices range from $21,250 to $37,400. -MS versions of each model are available with 16 digital channel sampling at 1.25 GS/s for an additional $3,000.

Source: Teledyne LeCroy teledynelecroy.com

Hands-On Test Instrument Workshop Tour

Keysight recently announced it is running hands-on, test instrument workshop for design and test engineers.The workshop series (February 2–June 24) will be held in the United States and Canada.

The workshop is intended to focus on top test challenges with seminars and instructors leading demonstrations and lectures. Attendees can use high-performance and general-purpose oscilloscopes, RF signal analyzers and sources, RF network analyzers, AC/DC power analyzers, and bench instrumentation.

Workshop highlights include:

  • Power Integrity and Analysis Using Oscilloscopes and Power Analyzers
  • RF Transmitter/Receiver Measurements
  • Faster and Simpler Design Validation/Characterization

In addition, attendees will receive a course completion certificate and will be entered into a drawing for a free U1273A 4.5 digit, OLED display hand-held digital multimeter with a U117A Bluetooth adapter.

 

More information about the free workshop and registration, visit www.keysight.com/find/testdrive.

Source: Keysight Technologies

Expanded Auto Test Capabilities for Scopes with Support for HDMI v2.0 and Embedded DisplayPort

Teledyne LeCroy recently announced the availability of the QPHY-HDMI2 and QPHY-eDP, which expanded its automated transmitter test solutions for display standards to include HDMI Version 2.0 and Embedded DisplayPort. The QPHY-HDMI2 software option for the WaveMaster/SDA/DDA 8 Zi series of oscilloscopes provides validation/verification and debug tools in accordance with version 2.0 of the HDMI electrical test specification. Teledyne QPHY-HDMI2

The QPHY-eDP software option for the WaveMaster/SDA/DDA 8 Zi series of oscilloscopes provides an automated test environment for running all of the real-time oscilloscope tests for sources in accordance with Version 1.4a of the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) Embedded DisplayPort PHY Compliance Test Guideline. QPHY-eDP supports testing at up to 5.4 Gbps for full coverage of all bit rates included in the eDP 1.4 compliance test guideline. As with QPHY-HDMI2, optional RF switching and de-embedding is also supported by QPHY-eDP.

The QPHY-HDMI2 and QPHY-eDP each cost $7,000. Both are available on WaveMaster 8Zi, LabMaster 9Zi, and LabMaster 10Zi oscilloscopes with bandwidths of 13 GHz or higher and running firmware version 7.9.x or later.

Source: Teledyne LeCroy

Open-Source USB Oscilloscope for Mobile USE

LabNation’s SmartScope is the world’s first 100-Msps open-source USB oscilloscope for smartphone, tablet, and PC is now available at a special low price for a limited time only. Order the SmartScope beforeTuesday, September 15, 2015 to save over $30.smartscope-contents

Features, specs, and benefits:

  • Compatible with OS X, Linux, Windows, Android, and iOS (jail broken)
  • Go mobile with single-cable connectivity.
  • Intuitive operation: pointing, pinching and swiping finally replaces the clunky interfaces of old scopes
  • Develop digital interfaces with the  100-Msps logic analyzer
  • Design a signal with Excel and then upload it to the built-in Arbitrary Waveform Generator (AWG)
  • Capture the voltage at any point at 100 million times each second.

Source: Elektor

New Probe Adapters for Teledyne LeCroy Oscilloscopes

Teledyne LeCroy has introduced two new adapters to support third-party probes and current measurement devices. The TPA10 TekProbe Probe Adapter adapts a wide variety of Tektronix voltage and current probes. The CA10 Current Sensor Adapter adapts a wide variety of third-party current measurement devices. Both connect to the Teledyne LeCroy ProBus probe interface that’s on most Teledyne LeCroy oscilloscopes.TELEDYNELECROY-probe-adapter

The TPA10 TekProbe Probe Adapter enables you to connect select Tektronix TekProbe interface level II probes to any ProBus-equipped Teledyne LeCroy oscilloscope. It automatically detects the Tektronix probe, supplies power and offset control to the probe, and then communicates the probe signal to the oscilloscope. Supported probes include many popular Tektronix probes, preamplifiers, current probes, single-ended active probes, and differential active probes.

With the CA10 Current Sensor Adapter, a third-party current measurement device can operate like a Teledyne LeCroy probe. It is programmable and customizable to work with third-party current measurement devices that output voltage or current signals proportional to measured current. The CA10 also provides the ability to easily install physical hardware components (e.g., shunt resistors and bandwidth filter components).

The TPA10 costs $950. The CA10 is $295. A QuadPak (four of each device) costs $3800 and $1180, respectively. The QuadPak includes a soft-carrying case to store the adapters. Delivery time for each item is four to six weeks.

Source: Teledyne LeCroy

New Oscilloscopes with Capacitive Touch Screens, Zone Triggering

Keysight Technologies recently introduced the InfiniiVision 3000T X-Series digital-storage and mixed-signal oscilloscopes  with intuitive graphical triggering capability. This new oscilloscope series delivers capacitive touch screens and zone triggering to the mainstream oscilloscope market for the first time. The scopes help engineers overcome usability and triggering challenges and improve their problem-solving capability and productivity.

As digital speeds and device complexity continue to increase, signals under test are getting more complex, and engineers are more challenged to isolate anomalies in their devices. Intuitive graphical triggers, previously unavailable in mainstream oscilloscopes, help engineers debug and characterize their cutting-edge devices faster and more easily. With graphical triggers, engineers can use a finger to draw a box around a signal of interest on the instrument display to create a trigger.Keysight InfiniiVision

 

The new oscilloscope series offers upgradable bandwidths from 100 MHz to 1.0 GHz and several benchmark features in addition to the touch screen interface and graphical zone triggering capability. An uncompromised update rate of one million waveforms per second gives engineers visibility into subtle signal details. The series comes with six-instruments-in-one integration, including oscilloscope functionality, digital channels (MSO), protocol analysis capability, a digital voltmeter, a WaveGen function/arbitrary waveform generator, and an eight-digit hardware counter/totalizer. Finally, the 3000T X-Series delivers correlated frequency and time domain measurements using the gated FFT function for the first time in this class, to address emerging measurement challenges.

The 3000T X-Series supports a wide range of popular and emerging serial bus applications: MIL-STD 1553 and ARINC 429, I2S, CAN/CAN-FD/CAN-Symbolic, LIN, SENT, FlexRay, RS232/422/485/UART and I2C/SPI. The new gated FFT function allows engineers to correlate time and frequency domain phenomenon on a single screen. Finally, the power analysis, video analysis and hardware-based mask test option makes the 3000T X-Series a comprehensive mainstream oscilloscope.

The InfiniiVision 3000T X-Series includes 100-MHz, 200-MHz, 350-MHz, 500-MHz and 1-GHz models. The standard configuration for all models includes 4 Mpts of memory, segmented memory, advanced math, and 500-MHz passive probes. Keysight InfiniiVision 3000T X-Series oscilloscopes are now available starting at $3,350.

Source: Keysight Technologies 

Probe a Circuit with the Power Off (EE Tip #146)

Imagine something is not working on your surface-mounted board, so you decide use your new oscilloscope. You take the probe scope in your right hand and put it on the microcontroller’s pin 23. Then, as you look at the scope’s screen, you inadvertently move your hand by 1 mm. Bingo!ComponentsDesk-iStock_000036102494Large

The scope probe is now right between pin 23 and pin 24, and you short-circuit two outputs. As a result, the microcontroller is dead and, because you’re unlucky, a couple of other chips are dead too. You just successfully learned Error 22.

Some years ago a potential customer brought me an expensive professional light control system he wanted to use. After 10 minutes of talking, I opened the equipment to see how it was built. My customer warned me to take care because he needed to use it for a show the next day. Of course, I said that he shouldn’t worry because I’m an engineer. I took my oscilloscope probe and did exactly what I said you shouldn’t do. Within 5 s, I short-circuited a 48-V line with a 3V3 regulated wire. Smoke and fire! I transformed each of the beautiful system’s 40 or so integrated circuits into dead silicon. Need I say my relationship with that customer was rather cold for a few weeks?

In a nutshell, don’t ever try to connect a probe on a fine-pitch component when the power is on. Switch everything off, solder a test wire where you need it to be, grab your probe on the wire end, ensure there isn’t a short circuit and then switch on the power. Alternatively, you can buy a couple of fine-pitch grabbers, expensive but useful, or a stand-off to maintain the probe in a precise position. But still don’t try to connect them to a powered board.—Robert Lacoste, CC25, 2013

High-Bandwidth Oscilloscope Probe

Keysight Technologies recently announced a new high-bandwidth, low-noise oscilloscope probe, the N7020A, for making power integrity measurements to characterize DC power rails. The probe’s specs include:

  • low noise
  • large ± 24-V offset range
  • 50 kΩ DC input impedance
  • 2-GHz bandwidth for analyzing fast transients on their DC power-rails KeysightN7020A

According to Keysight’s product release, “The single-ended N7020A power-rail probe has a 1:1 attenuation ratio to maximize the signal-to-noise ratio of the power rail being observed by the oscilloscope. Comparable oscilloscope power integrity measurement solutions have up to 16× more noise than the Keysight solution. With its lower noise, the Keysight N7020A power-rail probe provides a more accurate view of the actual ripple and noise riding on DC power rails.”

 

The new N7020A power-rail probe starts at $2,650.

Source: Keysight Technologies 

WaveSurfer 3000 Oscilloscopes with MAUI

Teledyne LeCroy recently introduced the WaveSurfer 3000 series of oscilloscopes. The series features the MAUI advanced user interface, which “integrates a deep measurement toolset and multi-instrument capabilities into a cutting edge user experience centered on a large 10.1” touch screen,” the company stated in a release.

Source: Teledyne LeCroy

Source: Teledyne LeCroy

Essential characteristics, specs, and features include:

  • Bandwidths from 200 MHz to 500 MHz, with 10 Mpts/ch memory and up to 4 GS/s sample rate.
  • Multi-instrument capabilities such as waveform generation, protocol analysis, and logic analysis
  • 130,000 waveforms/second with waveform update, as well as waveform playback and WaveScan search/find
  • An advanced active probe
  • A comprehensive toolset featuring powerful math and measurement capabilities, sequence mode segmented memory, and LabNotebook

The WaveSurfer 3000 is available in four different models (200 MHz, two-channel to 500 MHz, four-channel) with prices ranging from $3,200 to $6,950.

Source: Teledyne LeCroy

One Professor and Two Orderly Labs

Professor Wolfgang Matthes has taught microcontroller design, computer architecture, and electronics (both digital and analog) at the University of Applied Sciences in Dortmund, Germany, since 1992. He has developed peripheral subsystems for mainframe computers and conducted research related to special-purpose and universal computer architectures for the past 25 years.

When asked to share a description and images of his workspace with Circuit Cellar, he stressed that there are two labs to consider: the one at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts and the other in his home basement.

Here is what he had to say about the two labs and their equipment:

In both labs, rather conventional equipment is used. My regular duties are essentially concerned  with basic student education and hands-on training. Obviously, one does not need top-notch equipment for such comparatively humble purposes.

Student workplaces in the Dortmund lab are equipped for basic training in analog electronics.

Student workplaces in the Dortmund lab are equipped for basic training in analog electronics.

In adjacent rooms at the Dortmund lab, students pursue their own projects, working with soldering irons, screwdrivers, drills,  and other tools. Hence, these rooms are  occasionally called the blacksmith’s shop. Here two such workplaces are shown.

In adjacent rooms at the Dortmund lab, students pursue their own projects, working with soldering irons, screwdrivers, drills, and other tools. Hence, these rooms are occasionally called “the blacksmith’s shop.” Two such workstations are shown.

Oscilloscopes, function generators, multimeters, and power supplies are of an intermediate price range. I am fond of analog scopes, because they don’t lie. I wonder why neither well-established suppliers nor entrepreneurs see a business opportunity in offering quality analog scopes, something that could be likened to Rolex watches or Leica analog cameras.

The orderly lab at home is shown here.

The orderly lab in Matthes’s home is shown here.

Matthes prefers to build his  projects so that they are mechanically sturdy. So his lab is equipped appropriately.

Matthes prefers to build mechanically sturdy projects. So his lab is appropriately equipped.

Matthes, whose research interests include advanced computer architecture and embedded systems design, pursues a variety of projects in his workspace. He describes some of what goes on in his lab:

The projects comprise microcontroller hardware and software, analog and digital circuitry, and personal computers.

Personal computer projects are concerned with embedded systems, hardware add-ons, interfaces, and equipment for troubleshooting. For writing software, I prefer PowerBASIC. Those compilers generate executables, which run efficiently and show a small footprint. Besides, they allow for directly accessing the Windows API and switching to Assembler coding, if necessary.

Microcontroller software is done in Assembler and, if required, in C or BASIC (BASCOM). As the programming language of the toughest of the tough, Assembler comes second after wire [i.e., the soldering iron].

My research interests are directed at computer architecture, instruction sets, hardware, and interfaces between hardware and software. To pursue appropriate projects, programming at the machine level is mandatory. In student education, introductory courses begin with the basics of computer architecture and machine-level programming. However, Assembler programming is only taught at a level that is deemed necessary to understand the inner workings of the machine and to write small time-critical routines. The more sophisticated application programming is usually done in C.

Real work is shown here at the digital analog computer—bring-up and debugging of the master controller board. Each of the six microcontrollers is connected to a general-purpose human-interface module.

A digital analog computer in Matthes’s home lab works on master controller board bring-up and debugging. Each of the six microcontrollers is connected to a general-purpose human-interface module.

Additional photos of Matthes’s workspace and his embedded electronics and micrcontroller projects are available at his new website.

 

 

 

User-Extensible FDA for Real-Time Oscilloscopes

Keysight Technologies recently announced the availability of a frequency domain analysis (FDA) option, a user-extensible spectrum frequency domain analysis application solution for real-time oscilloscopes.

Source: Keysight Technologies

Source: Keysight Technologies

The FDA option extends the capabilities of Keysight Infiniium and InfiniiVision Series oscilloscopes by enabling you to acquire live signals from the oscilloscope and visualize them in the frequency domain, as well as make key frequency domain measurements.

Option N8832A-001 includes the application, the application source code for user extensibility, and MATLAB software. These tools enable you to extend an application’s capabilities to meet their current and future testing needs.

With the FDA application, you can address a variety of FDA challenges such as:

  • Power spectral density (PSD) and spectrogram visualization
  • Frequency domain measurements in an application including relevant peaks in the PSD and measurements such as occupied bandwidth, SNR, total harmonic distortion (THD ), spurious free dynamic range (SFDR), and frequency error
  • Oscilloscope configuration through the application to allow for repeatable instrument configuration and measurements; optionally includes additional SCPI commands for more advanced instrument setup
  • Insertion of additional custom signal processing commands prior to frequency domain visualization, as needed, for more advanced analysis insight
  • Live or post-acquisition analysis of time-domain data in MATLAB software

Source: Keysight Technologies