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10X Oversampling Scopes Make Accurate Measurement “Insanely” Easy

April 25, 2017
Teledyne LeCroy’s updated line of analog and mixed-signal oscilloscopes, with their simple-to-use interface, leverages 10X oversampling of a 1-GHz signal for maximum accuracy.

It’s not every day I see the words “insanely easy” when it comes to advanced signal and power measurements, so I had to take a second look at Teledyne LeCroy’s updated line of HDO4000A, HDO6000A, HDO8000A, and MDA800A analog and mixed-signal oscilloscopes.

Popular for power-line, automotive, and embedded debug, the four lines each have eight channels, and a bandwidth range from 200 MHz to 1 GHz. The MDA800A is built on the HDO8000A platform, but also performs three-phase electrical and mechanical power calculations with unique static and dynamic power views, as well as complete control system validation.

All use the company’s 12-bit HD4096 display technology. First introduced in 2012, the 4096 refers to its high-definition display for crystal-clear signal viewing. The 12.1-inch WXGA display is capable of Ultra HD in extended-desktop mode.

It turns out that the insanely easy part simply refers to Teledyne LeCroy’s MAUI OneTouch user interface. Of course, making things seem simple requires a lot of complex thinking as to how users would actually use the scope, as well as sensitive touch technology to make it quick and responsive, without being overly so. Teledyne LeCroy accomplished this, making the MAUI OneTouch smart enough to enable access to common operations with a single touch of the display (see figure).

Users of Teledyne LeCroy scopes series scope will already be familiar with MAUI OneTouch, including its touch-to-zoom, drag-and-drop actions to copy and set up channels, math and analysis functions, shortcuts, and dialog boxes. All help to make measurement and analysis of complex power and analog-mixed signals a lot more efficient. The “Add New” button, for example, quickly enables a new channel, math, or measurement, while traces and parameters turn off with a flick of a finger.

The “insanely easy” to use HDO-A and MDA800A 1-GHz, 10X oversampling analog and mixed-signal scopes combine accuracy and ease of use in cost-scalable models. (Source: Teledyne LeCroy)

Enhanced Sample Rate

However, what’s actually new with the HDO-A/MDA800A lineup isn’t the interface, or the display, it’s the Enhanced Sample Rate mode with 10X oversampling. This lets you acquire as much of the signal as possible in order to digitize, interpolate, filter, and view the signal as accurately as possible. The sampling rate works in conjunction with the low-noise inputs and architecture, as well the brick-wall frequency response that’s limited to 1 GHz.

While 10X oversampling enables a more accurate representation of the acquired signals, it also adds flexibility with respect to digital filtering: The more information the system has, the better. The tradeoff is more memory to store the oversampled data, as well as the processing horsepower to deal with analyzing and filtering it.

To that end, the HDO-A has 250 Mpoints/channel of acquisition memory as well as a 250-GB removable solid-state drive. The back-end processing was also upgraded, as was local CPU memory.

Serial Data Tools

Like any high-function scope, the line comes with a suite of optional software packages, in this case for all serial-data test requirements, ranging from automated standards compliance packages to flexible debugging toolkits. A suite of protocol-specific measurement and eye-diagram packages specifically provides insight into serial data anomalies.

These packages complement the scopes’ powerful trigger/decode software that can extract decoded data and plot over time, perform bus timing measurements, and create eye diagrams for testing against standard or custom masks. The 16 digital lines in mixed-signal models can be used for trigger, decode, and measurements for analyzing timing irregularities or for general-purpose debug of digital designs. As a result, analog channels can be reserved for observing physical-layer defects.

Priced for Value

At a list price between $10,100 and $19,600, the HDO4000A’s eight models give the most bang for the buck. For comparison, the Keysight DSOX3104T, 1-GHz, 4-channel scope is priced at $14,483. Moving upscale, the HDO6000A comes in six models ranging from $15,500 to $23,500; the HDO8000A’s three models cost between $25,850 and $31,850; and the MDA800A ranges between $30,850 and $36,850 across three models.


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