USB PC-Based Logic Analyzer

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

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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 ?

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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.


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An article by Jack Ganssle is on 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.


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James Morrison

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, 
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Dr. Anton T. Squeegee

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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Joel Kolstad

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