Electronic Design
Digital Real-Time Scopes Deliver Performance Boost

Digital Real-Time Scopes Deliver Performance Boost

In its ongoing quest to upgrade and enhance its line of basic bench instruments, Tektronix has rolled out the latest in its TDS series of digital real-time scopes. The TDS2000C series lines up alongside Tek’s recently launched PWS2000/4000 series dc power supplies and FCA3000/3100 and MCA3000 timer/counter analyzers to refresh designers’ benchtops and boost their test and analysis capabilities. The scopes come in models ranging in bandwidth from 50 to 200 MHz and with two or four channels.

An important feature of these scopes is their use of digital real-time sampling, a proprietary Tektronix technology that provides 10 times oversampling 100% of the time. The sampling rate is real time and does not change as you turn on additional channels. There is no interleaving, and thus no interpolation errors or loss of signal details.

All of the channels in the TDS2000C scopes can run at full rated bandwidth at all times, giving users maximum bandwidth on all channels. As a result, you can accurately capture high-frequency waveforms and any or all glitches and edge anomalies or characterize a single-shot waveform for non-repetitive signals.

The scopes ship with newly designed passive probes, and users will get a probe for each channel. These probes offer input capacitance of just 12 pF, which Tek calls the lowest probe loading for any probe in their class. They also offer a small form factor, UL safety rating, and a longer, sharper tip for probing of fine-geometry parts.

A total of 16 automated measurements come built into the TDS2000C series scopes. For example, you can take a fast-Fourier transform. Here, in-context help screens come in quite handy. There are also built-in waveform math functions, on-screen cursors to look at voltage/time, and lots more. New automatic measurements in the TDS2000C scopes include duty cycle, phase, delay, and cursor RMS.

Two new analysis features also have been added: waveform limit test and extended data logging. The former allows you to set up a template for limit testing. Then, putting the scope in “run” mode compares each acquired waveform against the limits in the template. The scope will build up a pass-fail chart.

You then can set up the scope to take various actions when it encounters a failure. For example, it can record the failing waveform to a memory stock or stop acquisitions. It can also be set up to stop acquisitions based on elapsed time, number of total waveforms, or number of failures.

The latter analysis feature, extended data logging, lets you save triggered waveforms along with time stamps to a USB stick. Waveforms can be saved for up to eight hours for long-term, unattended monitoring of signals.

A raft of front-panel controls and context-sensitive help menus make these scopes easy to set up and use (see the figure). Each input channel has its own set of vertical knobs and controls, as well as dedicated buttons for common functions. Context-sensitive help is indexed so you can search by topics. Also, pressing the help button at any time gives you information that’s specific to where you are in your measurement task.

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Connectivity features include a USB host port on the front panel for saving waveforms, settings, and screenshots. A USB device port on the rear panel also connects directly to PictBridge-compatible printers for direct printing of screenshots.

As with the rest of Tektronix’s latest benchtop instruments, the TDS2000C scopes are shipped with a Tektronix Edition of National Instruments’ LabVIEW SignalExpress, which makes it a simple matter to use multiple instruments in debugging tasks. Connecting the scope via USB to a PC automatically launches SignalExpress and places the scope under software control.

From SignalExpress, users can set vertical or horizontal attributes and automate and time-correlate measurements that require multiple instruments. You can log data, capture and analyze results, create custom reports, or export results to an Excel spreadsheet.

The TDS2000C scopes start at $990 for a two-channel, 50-MHz model with a 500-Msample/s sampling rate and range up to $2540 for a four-channel, 200-MHz model that samples at 2 Gsamples/s. All come with LabVIEW SignalExpress and a limited lifetime warranty.


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