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A USB Scope & LA for Debug & Development

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A USB Scope & LA for Debug & Development

A DSO, a 8 bit LA, pattern generator each working at 1 M Samples/s or better in one pocket sized box! Would not that be quite useful for your lab as well as filed debug an development tasks for your micro controllers/embedded systems? Read on to find out..

Link instruments has launched a very small USB based instrument that is particularly handy. The MSO-19 is going to be very useful for engineers and technicians as a basic test and debug tool in the field as well as the development lab. You could easily carry it around in your pocket, the box is small much like other small USB dongles. Based on USB and powered by USB too. So push this little box into one of the USB ports on your PC and turn that into a capable instrument for embedded work. Though small, it packs quite a few functions in one box.

It is an oscilloscope, a logic analyzer, a pattern generator and a TDR in one. As a scope it has one analog input at a sampling rate of 2 G Samples/s. The scope has a spectrum analyzer mode too.
As a Logic analyzer it can do 200 M Samples/s capture on 8 bits of inputs. Several triggering modes make the LA quite versatile. The instrument can trigger on analog or digital domains. The trigger modes include trigger level with rising edge, trigger level with falling edge, pulse width and count, 8 bit logic analyzer (bit pattern on the 8 inputs). What makes this useful for microcontroller debug is the capability to trigger it for SPI and I2C events. There's an external trigger mode too where the instrument could be used as a trigger for another instrument. Display and decode SPI and I2C serial bus protocols as well as trigger on them. SPI and I2C signals can also be viewed as timing waveforms and state-list style display.

The instrument has time synchronized oscilloscope and logic analyzer inputs. All 9 channels are sampled at the same time. That assures time correlation and better display synchronization. That display sync is maintained even when the PC display is zoomed or scaled.

The pattern generator is a 100 M Samples/s generator and has features that include output synchronized start with the MSO, output controlled by MSO trigger that could be analog, digital or serial, variable pattern length, independent pattern clock rate and a built in data creation wizard as also the option to load data files. A very useful feature is that the pattern generator outputs can be tri-stated to create bi-directional bus signals.

When using such a peripheral, one immediate concern would be if the PC performance is affected or if the PC performance affects the instrument. Link Instruments data says it is not affected significantly. The PC is used as a display only. It shows the analog input as well as the 8 digital logic waveforms. Only analog or only digital display also is possible. Data sampling and recording happens within the box and the samples collected in its buffers are only transferred to the PC. Thus a machine that is able run the Windows and has enough memory is capable of working with this instrument. Installation of the PC software is simple and you are productive within the first hour. At $249 and $199 for students, even hobbyists can afford this capable instrument.

Read the Italian version: Un oscilloscopio digitale USB ed analizzatore di stati logici per il debug e lo sviluppo

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