Oscilloscopes and logic analyzers: Unsung heroes? - Embedded.com

Oscilloscopes and logic analyzers: Unsung heroes?

Every day I am amazed at the versatility and uses of oscilloscopes (aka cathode-ray oscilloscope or digital storage oscilloscope ) as well logic analyzers and a range of ancillary tools such as logic analyzers and function generators.

Normally associated with hardware debug, as noted in “Troubleshooting real-time software issues using a logic analyzer,” such tools are also in a variety of ways in software debugging as well. In this week’s Tech Focus newsletter a re a collection of useful design articles on their use in finding and dealing with the variety of glitches that pop up in every project.

But the best way to understand the capabilities of any system – hardware or software – is to do a tear-down. Normally this is something developers do when they are tasked with building some device or system for some market or design need: find a similar device and take it apart and see that others did to make it work.

I think a similar strategy is useful in evaluating and using the tools and better yet. Better yet, once you understand the principles at work from study and use: build one yourself.

That is what the authors of “Configuring a PSoC for a DIY oscilloscope/logic analyzer” have done: using a programmable SoC, they have built much of the functionality of a standard off the shelf oscilloscope into just a few components.

Although they have squeezed a lot of capability out of just a few components, it would be interesting to see how it compares to traditional factory-made alternatives, some of which are described in some of the various articles published on Embedded.com, of which my Editor’s Top Picks are:

Evolution of general purpose oscilloscopes
Efficient I2C Bus debug using Mixed Signal Oscilloscopes
Troubleshoot and verify 8b/10b encoded signals with a real-time oscilloscope, and
Troubleshooting EMI in Embedded Designs 

Embedded.com Site Editor Bernard Cole is also editor of the twice-a-week Embedded.com newsletters as well as a partner in the TechRite Associates editorial services consultancy. He welcomes your feedback. Send an email to , or call 928-525-9087.

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