Electronic Design

Big, Black, And Bold Oscilloscope Breaks Performance Barriers

The WavePro 7 Zi series from LeCroy revolutionizes oscilloscope design and functionality (Fig. 1). While the 15.3-in. WXGA LCD touchscreen can display all sorts of useful data at the same time, the real breakthrough is what’s inside, as its hardware and software make it one of the best scopes on the market.

The series includes five basic models with maximum bandwidths of 1.5, 2.5, 3.5, 4, and 6 GHz. The WavePro series serial data analyzers (SDAs) and disk-drive analyzers (DDAs), which also are available, are derived from the scope.

HARDWARE HIGHLIGHTS
The scope has a faster front end capable of 20 Gsamples/s on all four input channels, and that increases to 40 Gsamples/s with interleaving. This means the WavePro 7 Zi’s rare-event capture capability is second to none. It additionally offers faster SRAM storage. The sample storage per channel is 10 Mpoints/channel with up to 128 Mpoints/channel optional. Input impedances of both 50 O and 1 MO are provided on those four input channels.

While the sample rate is impressive, it doesn’t do much good if you can’t process the data fast enough for analysis and display. LeCroy solved this problem by adding an Intel Core 2 quad processor, a 64-bit bus and operating system, and up to 8 Gbytes of RAM.

The display shows up to eight waveforms simultaneously (Fig. 2). Or, you can display eight grids of other kinds of data, depending on your needs. In addition, you will soon be able to get a second external display of the same size to show other data while maintaining the standard scope outputs. And, users can remove the right-hand control panel and place it closer to the unit under test.

The optional LeCroy Serial Interface Bus (LSIB) connects directly to the PCI Express x4 data bus inside the scope and provides the fastest data transfer rate of any scope, according to LeCroy, at 500 Mpoints/s. LSIB is way faster than the general-purpose interface bus (GPIB) or 100BaseT or 1000BaseT Ethernet. All you do is install the LSIB card in the scope and a compatible card in the remote computer. The WavePro 7 Zi is LXI-compliant as well.

The scope’s four high-performance probes feature new amplifiers with excellent noise performance that’s essential for making precise jitter and other signal-integrity measurements. The high dc and midband loading make them ideal for many serial data and memory applications such as PCI Express, FireWire, and double data rate (DDR). These probes also offer ±4-V offset capability and ±3-V common mode control. They work well in multipurpose applications for single-ended needs like DDR memory and serial data standards like HDMI.

SOFTWARE SUMMARY
The fabulous hardware forms the necessary base of the WavePro 7 Zi series, and the software makes the measurements, performs the analysis, and creates the displays. LeCroy has a strong track record when it comes to good software for design, debug, and validation, and it just got better with this new scope.

The software offers a new and superior feature finder and a seriously deep toolbox of analysis routines. Combine it with the quad-core processor and deeper memory, and you get an exceptionally responsive scope that delivers 10 to 20 times the usual processing throughput thanks to more effective use of cache.

LeCroy’s X-Stream II architecture makes long acquisition memory a pleasure to use. It employs variable waveform segment lengths to improve CPU cache memory efficiency, which makes the WavePro 7 Zi faster than other scopes when it’s processing long records. But that’s not all. With such super processing power, the display response is significantly faster than other digital scopes, which greatly improves the user’s experience.

The new software tools include Smart trigger 200-ps pulse-width triggering and 80-bit/3.125-Gbit/s serial pattern triggers, all of which greatly shorten the time to make measurements and find anomalies. Other software tools previously available are included, such as the WaveStream fast viewing mode, WaveScan advanced search and analysis, and low-speed serial triggers (I2C, SPI, RS-232 UART, CAN, LIN, and FlexRay), as well as MS-250 and MS-500 4+36 mixed-signal options.

The TriggerScan feature can detect and capture more anomalies per second by using high-speed trigger hardware to detect undesired behaviors. It captures and displays glitches in a persistence mode for additional analysis and action. Also, it only captures the signals of interest, and it provides answers in minutes rather than hours. You can set TriggerScan up yourself with pre-defined or user-defined sets of edge, Smart, or serial trigger setups. You can use up to 100 trigger conditions together as well.

The WavePro 7 Zi offers a wide range of analysis tools and a huge library of measurement, math, graphing, statistical, frequency analysis, and mask testing to get better answers faster. In addition, the software implements customization features that permit specialized measurements and math operations not available on other scopes, like inverse fast Fourier transform (FFT). And, it lets you integrate third-party software tools and include software tools such as Matlab, Visual Basic, C++, and Excel.

The only downside is the price, but what other digital scope is better? The base WavePro 7 Zi 6-GHz model starts at $59,490. Of course, you can option out the scope with just the memory, software, and other features you need, but a fully loaded model will reach close to $100,000. Then again, time is money. This scope is so good, it can save you many hours of grief in debugging and validating your project, paying for itself in a short time.

LOUIS E. FRENZEL

LECROY CORP.www.lecroy.com

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