Electronic Design

PC-Based Digital Scopes Offered As Standalone Peripherals

Some traditional oscilloscope manufacturers keep adding more and more PC qualities to their products, creating bulky and expensive instruments. Others have configured oscilloscope cards that plug into PCs, but this can create shielding problems as the cards are vulnerable to interference in the PC environment.

Yet the two Slimline devices make a clean separation between the oscilloscope and the PC. Designers can choose between the 150-MHz, dual-channel SVDS20A and the 150-MHz, single-channel SVDS10A. Both digital oscilloscopes are packaged as free-standing PC peripherals. With dimensions of 13 by 10 by 3 in. and a weight of 6.5 lbs., they avoid the configuration hassles and shielding problems associated with cards. At the same time, they still provide good, general-purpose instrument specifications.

These oscilloscope modules can be connected to any PC via an RS-232 or a USB serial port in less than a minute. Users can thereby enjoy a large color screen and simple mouse-click operation while saving both money and space. Directed at the traditional test and measurement market, the instruments' laptop-like dimensions suit portable applications. Relatively low pricing makes the scopes affordable for schools, universities, and even electronics hobbyists.

Both models are software-dependent. The box contains the acquisition card and memory, but all display and analytical functions are software-driven. An included software package known as ScopeManager enables a seamless integration into the PC/Windows/Internet world. Additional software plug-ins include analog color persistence for time and intensity analysis, an FFT package for spectral analysis, and autocorrelation analysis. Also, the ScopeManagerAX software modules can exchange data with applications that support the ActiveX standard.

Specifications in-clude a sensitivity of 2 mv/div. and input voltages up to 220 V p-p. Resolution is 8 bits over the full 150-MHz bandwidth. Their 256-kbit/channel memory and 25-Gsample/s rate suit repetitive signals, while their 20-Msample/s rate supports single-shot measurements.

The SVDS20A costs $980, and the SVDS10A costs $820.

Cell Instruments Inc., 707 Alexander Rd., Princeton, NJ 08540; (609) 419 4401; fax (609) 452-0909; Internet: www.cellinc.com.

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TAGS: Components
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