Electronic Design
Test Makes Its Mark At Design West

Test Makes Its Mark At Design West

Test companies at Design West 2013 announced several products for embedded designers including a new vector signal generator from Rohde & Schwarz.

Although embedded hardware and software are the main draws at Design West, test equipment is sprinkled throughout the show as well. We got to visit with a couple of top test companies who are aiming their latest innovations at the embedded crowd.

At the Teledyne LeCroy booth, we got to see the new Summit T24 (Fig. 1), a PCI Express protocol analyzer with interchangeable interposers for probing. The Summit T24 supports PCIe data transmission rates up to 5 GT/s and data lane widths up to x4. This compact device starts as low as $4,950. PETracer software is included in the price. Worried that you’ll grow out of this product? To protect your investment, the Summit supports upgrade paths to units with higher data rates and larger lane size.

The Summit T24 supports PCIe data transmission rates up to 5 GT/s and data lane widths up to x4.

Another analyzer on display—the Mercury T2—debuted last September, but we had not seen it in action yet. This USB 2.0 analyzer sells for only $875, but provides many of the same features as the company’s popular Voyager system. Housed in a pocket-sized case, the base model includes hardware triggering and full device class decoding so that it can address a wide range of USB 2.0 debug applications. Powered by the USB bus, the Mercury T2 can do loss-less capture of low-, full-, and high-speed USB as well as USB On-the-Go (OTG). It also features real-time hardware-based triggering.

An interesting sight in the booth was a mixed-signal oscilloscope labeled the HDO6054. This is a 500 MHz scope with 16 digital channels and two clocks. But this unit was just a tease. A Teledyne LeCroy representative said there are no definite plans to bring this product to market.

A product from Rohde & Schwarz that is coming to market, today in fact, is the SMW 200A Vector Signal Generator. This was a top secret product at the show, so I viewed it behind closed doors. At the time of this writing, I still did not have all the specifications, but I can tell you something about it. The target groups for this product are the designers of wireless infrastructure and wireless devices like smartphones.

The SMW 200A has a touch screen as well as the usual complement of buttons and knobs. But using the touch screen, in my opinion, is the way to go with this instrument. Rohde & Schwarz has devised a block diagram method of setting up the signals you need to test wireless devices. The diagrams on the screen look very clean and straightforward, making it fairly easy to set up a various signals, such as a complex MIMO signal. A unique feature of the instrument is the ability to create automated tests via SCPI commands, which can easily be transformed to MatLab or other commands. If you’re in the market for a VSG, this model is certainly worth a look.

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