Electronic Design

Faster Logic Analyzer Mainframes, New Software Speed Debugging

Designers working with today's very fast, multilane serial buses and second-generation double-data-rate memories need the fastest, most accurate debugging tools they can get. A pair of logic analyzer mainframes aims to satisfy that need with a combination of flexibility, high throughput, fast analysis, and ease of use.

The two-slot TLA7012 portable mainframe and the six-slot TLA7016 benchtop mainframe from Tektronix use Windows XP Professional (see the figure). The TLA7012 has an integrated 2-GHz Pentium M processor. The TLA7016 uses a customer-supplied PC or an optional 3-GHz Pentium 4 controller. The portable unit incorporates a 15-in. XVGA-resolution active thin-film transistor (TFT) display.

Tektronix's TLA plug-in modules range up to 136 channels per module, allowing up to 272 channels in the portable version. Shortcut keys on the front panel offer instant access to commonly used menus. An optional touchscreen provides access to all TLA functionality.

The TLA7016 has six slots (for a maximum of 816 channels), which is one more than its predecessor models. Both mainframes also can be interconnected for higher channel counts. An improved backplane interface gives the units three times the data throughput of previous models.

A new generation of software, TLA Application Software version 5.0, complements the mainframes. Users can drag common trigger events, such as triggering on a rising edge or a bus value, from a palette of choices and drop them into the waveform window.

Also, the software automates many measurement tasks that were previously performed manually. New measurements like edge count, frequency, pulse width, and channel-to-channel delay are available for logic analyzer data, similar to digital oscilloscope measurements.

A more intuitive user interface and simplified navigation reduce the number of steps needed to perform standard tasks. For example, a tabbed TLA Explorer window allows one-click navigation to the window of interest, such as trigger, setup, or waveform.

The TLA7012 costs $14,000, and the TLA7016 is $16,000. Trade-up credits are being offered for users of earlier TLA equipment and competitors' units.

Tektronix Inc.

TAGS: Components
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