PC software lets you share oscilloscope screens - Embedded.com

PC software lets you share oscilloscope screens


Wilbraham, Mass.—Most engineers and technicians don't use the same oscilloscope every day. I'd be willing to bet that most of you interact a lot with your co-workers, partners, and even your customers—but these folks probably use a different oscilloscope than what you use.

Nonetheless, most scope users have the need to correlate, compare, and analyze the differences between waveforms and measurement results.

Disparate Approaches

It gets worse. According to Amherst Systems Associates 's (ASA Corp.), in order to improve the competitiveness of increasingly standardized oscilloscope hardware performance, scope manufacturers have turned to software applications to add value. The problem, says ASA, is that they all have software that's focused on similar applications, supporting the standards constrained by the standards bodies.

Even though scope companies pick similar applications to support, they create applications that functionally work differently because of the use of proprietary algorithms. This has created incompatible and proprietary software that doesn't correlate.

At Your Expense

According to ASA, scope maker's differentiation strategies are intended to provide scope companies with competitive advantages, but it's accomplished at the expense of their customers being unable to collaborate. ASA says this results in narrowly defined a-la-carte scope software tools, high prices, and tools that can't be trusted to consistently provide the right answers.

That's where Amherst Systems Associates's latest ASAM1 Waveform Viewer (WV) comes into play. It permits all realtime scope users to exchange waveforms, regardless of what instruments they use. It costs $145, but you can now download it free!

For Desktops And Laptops

ASA's M1 WV is a software tool for PCs and laptops. It lets you capture waveforms (both analog and logic) from any of the most popular realtime oscilloscopes, such as those from Agilent, LeCroy, Tektronix , and Yokogawa , and save those waveforms in a standard format. You can view voltage vs. time output from any scope and view logic channels simultaneously.

Once they're saved, waveform files can be viewed later, or viewed live. As many saved waveforms as you wish can be simultaneously stored, and derived from any source that can provide the waveforms. You can therefore compare waveforms taken on different scopes, analyze and explore these waveforms, and report findings, at the touch of a button.

Click to view typical screen image

You can view virtually an unlimited number of waveforms; you're not limited to just four. You can open as many views as you desire (with up to four channels each). You can also open as many views as you wish (up to 32 channels each) from Agilent MSO s (mixed-signal oscilloscopes. You really have to look at ASA's Web site to appreciate the breadth of instruments supported by this software.

Standard File Formats

Current waveform formats supported include Agilent BIN format, CSV (comma-separated value), and XLS format (tab-separated value). Using M1 WV, anyone can exchange waveform files with others who may have a different oscilloscope, or even no oscilloscope. That ability can improve your ability to collaborate effectively.

Anyone can now analyze waveforms anywhere, at any time, away from their own scope or lab, freeing up congestion and contention for lab scopes. In some companies, thousands of dollars are spent, and large amounts of time are consumed, converting one waveform format to another.

With M1 WV, you can also save hours of frustration dealing with incompatible oscilloscope software tools and measurement algorithms. M1 WV also provides waveform exploratory capabilities. These include automatic pulse-parameter measurements, multi-acquisition analysis, multi-acquisition statistics, Lock-X-axis, ScopeTrack , and global markers. With M1 WV, you can really dig in and analyze waveforms, not just capture, view and compare them.

Take 'em Afield

You aren't tied down to performing your analysis in a lab either; you can analyze waveforms wherever your PC is located. With a data source window, you can navigate among multiple waveforms from different sources being analyzed simultaneously. Because M1 WV's UI (user interface) was developed as an enhancement to ASA's M1 Oscilloscope Tools 's UI, it's easy to install and use, too.

M1 Oscilloscope Tools provides analysis, debug, and automation. What's more, according to ASA, within a matter of a few days, any of the features that contained in M1 Oscilloscope Tools can be moved over to M1 Waveform Viewer.

ASA contends that because scope manufacturers are unlikely to create software tools that support their competitor's scopes, M1 Waveform Viewer could become an industry standard.

Click here for a datasheet (in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format).

For more details contact Greg Walz, Product Manager at Amherst Systems Associates, 1 Crane Park Dr., Wilbraham, Mass. 01095. Phone: 413-596-5354. E-mail: greg_walz@amherst-systems.com.

Amherst Systems Associates , 413-596-5354, www.Amherst-Systems.com/M1_WV.html

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