August 2017

The Dolan Technology Center (DTC) Laboratory offers a variety of testing services. Many of these services require digital storage oscilloscopes (DSO) to visualize, measure, and analyze waveform signals. The oscilloscope is an important testing tool that is used not only in the Laboratory, but also in field applications. When designing, testing or troubleshooting circuits and systems, the oscilloscope is a vital instrument. Basic oscilloscopes have evolved from their original analog architecture. Today, these are state of the art computer based digital instruments are called digital storage oscilloscope (DSO).

Current DSO’s offer integrated instrument options found mostly in specialized instruments. Some options include logic analyzer, serial communication protocol decoder, spectrum analyzer, waveform generator, voltmeter, frequency counter, power analyzer, and others. Available features now include advanced triggering, advanced math operations, and sophisticated parametric measurement capabilities and voice control. Available memory depth for sample acquisition have become as large 1Gpts (1 billion points). DSO’s with logic analyzer and other hardware level capabilities are now called mixed signal oscilloscopes (MSO).

Digital Storage Oscilloscopes

The flagship DSO instrument available at the DTC is the Teledyne LeCroy HDO6104-MS, which is a high definition MSO with wide bandwidth, deep memory, and a user-friendly touch screen interface. It is built on a Windows 7 PC platform, which allows it to leverage the capabilities of a PC. For example, the scope can send informational emails based on user configured trigger conditions, and generate annotatable reports in PDF and image file formats. This scope is used for general purposes at the DTC, however, due to its wide bandwidth, good parametric measurement and high resolution features it is the only DSO that is used for Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) testing. The LeCroy differentiates itself from the other scopes in the following way:

  • Highest performance, and offers the most powerful feature set
  • Wide bandwith to measure signals in more detail, especially fast rise times signals
  • The first DSO/MSO in the industry to offer a high resolution 12-bit digitizer

Key Features:

  • 1 GHz bandwith
  • 2.5 GHz samples per second (S/s) on each of its 4 channels
  • 12-bit A/D resolution (15-bit enhanced resolution)
  • 250 million points (Mpts) memory per channel
  • 12.1” touch screen display
  • Serial protocol decoder: UART, RS-232, I2C, SPI
  • 16 channel logic analyzer
  • 1.25 GHz spectrum analyzer
  • Connectivity: Ethernet, USB
  • Video output: HDMI, DVI, VGA

The latest addition to the Lab’s inventory of oscilloscopes is the Keysight InfiniVision MSOX4504. This MSO has half the bandwidth of the previous LeCroy, but is the most feature rich instrument in the fleet. Having 2 arbitrary waveform function generators (ARB), a digital multi-meter (DMM), and a frequency counter makes it a powerful circuit design tool. The standout features that make this DSO extremely useful are the following:

  • Exceptional feature set
  • Provides the best user friendly experience of the DTC oscilloscopes
  • Unique Zone touch triggering feature

  • Key Features:

    • 500 MHz bandwith
    • 2.5 GHz S/s (4 channels), 5 GHz S/s 1 (channel)
    • 8-bit A/D resolution (12-bit enhanced resolution)
    • 4 million points memory each channel
    • Special Touch Zone Trigger feature
    • 12.1” touch screen display
    • Serial protocol decoder: UART, I2C, SPI, USB, CAN, LIN + many others
    • 16 channel logic analyzer
    • Two 20 MHz arbitrary waveform function generators
    • Power analysis: Harmonics, quality, inrush, efficiency + many others
    • >Digital voltmeter, 10-digit frequency counter
    • Connectivity: Ethernet, USB
    • Video output: SVGA

    Finally, there is the Teledyne LeCroy Wavesurfer 3054. This is a lower performance DSO with similar user interface and some of the features of its high performance HDO6104 MSO sibling. The Wavesurfer also includes an arbitrary waveform function generator and serial protocol decoding functionality. Having an upgrade path, a logic analyzer can be installed to make it a MSO class instrument. This Wavesurfer was purchased to replace a basic oscilloscope, benefits include the following:

    • Serial protocol decoding and ARB make in a very useful tool
    • Does everything that is expected of a basic DSO, and more
    • light weight and easy to transport

    Key Features:

    • 500 MHz bandwith
    • 2 GHz S/s (4 channels), 4 GHz S/s (2 channels)
    • 8-bit A/D resolution
    • 10 million points memory (4 channels)
    • 10.1” touch screen display
    • Serial protocol decoder: UART, RS-232, I2C, SPI
    • 100 MHz Spectrum analyzer
    • 25 MHz arbitrary waveform function generator
    • Connectivity: Ethernet, USB

    So how does the DTC leverage the capabilities of these instruments? The following photographs show a few examples of the oscilloscopes in use.

    Figure 1 Testing a Microcontroller Design with the Keysight MSO

    Figure 2 EMC Test Setup with the Teledyne Lecroy HDO6104 MSO