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#275602 - 05/02/2006 19:03 New Toy: USB-based Logic Analyser
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14257
Loc: Canada
Over the past couple of weeks, it has become painfully obvious that I really need a logic analyser in-house for current and future work.

There are several USB-based analysers available for use with a PC. So today I ordered an Intronix unit, plus four sets of coloured clips from Digikey to go with it. I'll have to run the Windows GUI inside VMware, but that's okay (gotta love USB!).

It won out over the Tech-Tools similar model because of the 2ns sampling rate (vs. 10ns) and widely adjustable trigger levels. Both products allow download of the actual software with preloaded demo samples to try before you buy. An excellent way to do it, and great fun besides!

There was also a fancier model from BitScope with a Linux GUI and digital scope capabilities, but the digital sample rate was too low for my liking.

And let us not forget the nifty (and much cheaper!) Ant8/Ant16, but I didn't like their probes as much, and the input impedence was a tad low.

Related to this stuff, I also looked at cheap Digital Storage Scopes (logic analysers display 1-bit high/low values, whereas digital scopes record a broader range of input values on an 8-12 bit scale, to show analog waveforms and noise etc..). The Wittig self-contained model looks cute, and the Swordfish (US$199 here) comes across as a fairly useful tool, though low in bandwidth.

I've posted these links here, in case anyone else might someday want a starting point for researching them.

Cheers


Edited by mlord (06/02/2006 01:04)

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#275603 - 05/02/2006 23:55 Re: New Toy: USB-based Logic Analyser [Re: mlord]
genixia
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/02/2002
Posts: 3411
Ooh. Nice.

I looked closely at BitScope when I needed an oscilloscope. Although the design philosophy is great (open), and having mixed signal capabilities in one box is desirable, I decided that the specs were just too compromised to justify the price. You can do better with used brand name stuff on ebay - In my case I scored a TDS360 for an absolute steal.

The Ant16 doesn't look that much cheaper - it's only about $40 less but you lose 18 channels! The Ant8 is certainly cheap if you live with only 8 channels.

The two pen units are novel, but too limited for their price. Most of the time you want to analyse a signal with respect to another - and you can't do that with a single channel. The Ant8 is a much better choice than either IMO.

The Tech-Tools and the Intronix units both look to raising the bar though. Let us know how you get on with the new toy!
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Mk2a 60GB Blue. Serial 030102962 sig.mp3: File Format not Valid.

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#275604 - 06/02/2006 00:57 Re: New Toy: USB-based Logic Analyser [Re: genixia]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14257
Loc: Canada
Quote:
The Ant16 doesn't look that much cheaper - it's only about $40 less but you lose 18 channels!


Yeah, but once one factors in a set of probes/clips, it's about a 30% difference! Mostly due to the better quality probes with the Intronix. But I suppose one could do their own fiddling and end up with equal quality probes/clips for either.

Cheers

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#275605 - 06/02/2006 02:04 Re: New Toy: USB-based Logic Analyser [Re: mlord]
genixia
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/02/2002
Posts: 3411
That's because you have to buy 18 more of them!
_________________________
Mk2a 60GB Blue. Serial 030102962 sig.mp3: File Format not Valid.

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#275606 - 06/02/2006 02:36 Re: New Toy: USB-based Logic Analyser [Re: mlord]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
Neat, the one we had for our group at ATI only cost 100x the price. Maybe I can hijack this thread and ask about USB traffic analyzers.

I'll probably start with a software-based solution (this one from HHD), but one of the more affordable hardware/software devices I've found is the Ellisys USB Tracker 110 analyzer.

Anyone ever use either of the above? Or can recommend anything else?

Bruno
_________________________
Bruno
Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

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#275607 - 06/02/2006 11:17 Re: USB Traffic Analyser [Re: hybrid8]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14257
Loc: Canada
Quote:
one of the more affordable hardware/software devices I've found is the Ellisys USB Tracker 110 analyzer.


Funny, that's the only one I seem to be able to find with Google.

Well, okay, the "USBMobile HS" also pops up, but never with enough information or a price.

Cheers!

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#275608 - 06/02/2006 13:53 Re: USB Traffic Analyser [Re: mlord]
altman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/05/1999
Posts: 3456
Loc: Palo Alto, CA
I have an ellisys usb explorer 200 (USB2.0 HS) in front of me here. Seems to do the job as well as the CATC USB chief that we used to use for USB1.1, but siginificantly cheaper than the CATC USB2.0 alternative.

One of the CATC alternatives was a PCMCIA card that cost about $13,000. I'm really not sure any PCMCIA card deserves to cost that much....

Hugo

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#275609 - 06/02/2006 14:27 Re: USB Traffic Analyser [Re: altman]
Roger
carpal tunnel

Registered: 18/01/2000
Posts: 5635
Loc: London, UK
Quote:
a PCMCIA card that cost about $13,000. I'm really not sure any PCMCIA card deserves to cost that much....


Was it made out of ground Unicorn horn or something?
_________________________
-- roger

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#275610 - 06/02/2006 14:53 Re: USB Traffic Analyser [Re: Roger]
pgrzelak
carpal tunnel

Registered: 15/08/2000
Posts: 4859
Loc: New Jersey, USA
Everyone knows that ground unicorn horn does not work with electronic components. The magical properties interact with the electronics and skew your results. The only place you really see it used in any quantity is in the containment of magic blue smoke, typically in both Intel and AMD processors.
_________________________
Paul Grzelak
200GB with 48MB RAM, Illuminated Buttons and Digital Outputs

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#275611 - 07/02/2006 15:24 Re: USB Traffic Analyser [Re: pgrzelak]
RobotCaleb
pooh-bah

Registered: 15/01/2002
Posts: 1866
Loc: Austin
That's only because most ground unicorn horn found on the black market is usually nothing more than non-magical narwhal horn. Real unicorn horn does wonders for electronics.

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#275612 - 07/02/2006 21:07 Re: New Toy: USB-based Logic Analyser [Re: mlord]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14257
Loc: Canada
First impressions (I've had it here for three hours now):
  • DHL Express was fast and hassle-free -- 22 hours from pick-up in Phoenix Arizona, to my door in Ottawa Canada.
  • The software works fine running on WinXP inside VMware, talking over the USB port per normal. And VMware is now a freebie, by the way..
  • The 2048 sample (elastic) buffer is adequate. I wish it were larger, but triggering around that is pretty easy, so no big deal.
  • The 2ns sampling capability is fantastic for detecting signal glitches!
  • The EZ-Hook XKM coloured clips (from DigiKey) are simply wonderful.
  • Oh, and it is so tiny it's kinda cute.

Cheers


Edited by mlord (07/02/2006 21:15)

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#275613 - 08/02/2006 00:53 Re: New Toy: USB-based Logic Analyser [Re: mlord]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14257
Loc: Canada
...and it has already helped me accomplish way more in five hours than over the previous two weeks on the same problem. I've found/fixed clock glitches, logic level mismatches, a clock divisor issue, and figured out the timing for a badly undocumented component.

Yee-haw!

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#275614 - 08/02/2006 09:16 Re: USB Traffic Analyser [Re: altman]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5328
Loc: Cambridge UK
Quote:
I have an ellisys usb explorer 200 (USB2.0 HS) in front of me here.

On Hugo's recommendation we also have one of these, and it's a total godsend. The USB Org software based tools were *terrible* in comparison.

Rob

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#275615 - 10/02/2006 02:26 Re: New Toy: USB-based Logic Analyser [Re: mlord]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14257
Loc: Canada
Final conclusion after three evenings of use: this Intronix LogicPort analyser Rocks!.

We absolutely love it!

Cheers

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#275616 - 10/02/2006 14:29 Re: New Toy: USB-based Logic Analyser [Re: mlord]
pca
old hand

Registered: 20/07/1999
Posts: 1095
Loc: UK
Well, I'm waiting for mine to turn up. Should be here early next week. I've been looking for a PC-connectable one for years to replace or supplement my trusty but aged HP 1630G, and this is the first one I've seen that has both a very good specification and reasonable cost.

The fact that I can stick it in my laptop bag as well is a real bonus

pca
_________________________
Experience is what you get just after it would have helped...

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#275617 - 11/02/2006 22:25 Re: New Toy: USB-based Logic Analyser [Re: pca]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14257
Loc: Canada
Quote:
I'm waiting for mine to turn up.


Well, here's a teaser for you!



For some reason, this device uses a USB A->A cable (included), rather than the usual A->B cable. Whatever.

Cheers!


Attachments
276199-lp.jpg (412 downloads)


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#275618 - 12/02/2006 17:41 Re: New Toy: USB-based Logic Analyser [Re: mlord]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31373
Loc: Seattle, WA
I'm trying to ID the board you're plugged into there, and can't...
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#275619 - 13/02/2006 01:50 Re: New Toy: USB-based Logic Analyser [Re: tfabris]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14257
Loc: Canada
Quote:
I'm trying to ID the board you're plugged into there, and can't...


Funny, that..



Attachments
276234-t.jpg (424 downloads)



Edited by mlord (13/02/2006 02:07)

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#275620 - 13/02/2006 07:43 Re: New Toy: USB-based Logic Analyser [Re: mlord]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31373
Loc: Seattle, WA
You tease.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#275621 - 13/02/2006 19:27 Re: New Toy: USB-based Logic Analyser [Re: tfabris]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5328
Loc: Cambridge UK
Quote:
You tease.

The test image is a total red herring (umm, blue penguin in fact) but all will be revealed at the Musik Messe show in a month or so. I doubt many non DJs will get excited. Then again, empeg got quite a few Linux geeks interested in car audio, so who knows!

Rob

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#275622 - 15/02/2006 22:11 Re: New Toy: USB-based Logic Analyser [Re: mlord]
pca
old hand

Registered: 20/07/1999
Posts: 1095
Loc: UK
Mine came today, and although I haven't had time to do more than play with it for a few minutes, it looks pretty good. Thanks for finding it and reminding me I wanted one

pca
_________________________
Experience is what you get just after it would have helped...

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#275623 - 15/02/2006 23:12 Re: New Toy: USB-based Logic Analyser [Re: pca]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14257
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Mine came today, and although I haven't had time to do more than play with it for a few minutes, it looks pretty good. Thanks for finding it and reminding me I wanted one



You're most welcome! And here, it even helped win points on the domestic front (SWMBO being an EE, she loved playing with it last week!).

Cheers

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#275624 - 08/03/2006 04:21 Re: New Toy: USB-based Logic Analyser [Re: mlord]
ecumenizm
new poster

Registered: 08/03/2006
Posts: 1
I would like to thank you for your Intronix Logicport review as well. I've known about this product for a while, but have been waiting to hear someone's first-hand experience.

Just ordered mine - can't wait to give it a go!

ecumenizm

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#275625 - 05/04/2006 19:29 Intronix Logicport USB-based analyser inside VMWare on Linux [Re: mlord]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14257
Loc: Canada
Mm... the google search for this site doesn't find this thread for some reason.. maybe a posting with a keyword-laden subject line will help (I may want to refer back here again someday!).

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#275626 - 06/04/2006 10:05 Re: Intronix Logicport USB-based analyser inside VMWare on Linux [Re: mlord]
sn00p
addict

Registered: 24/07/2002
Posts: 609
Loc: South London
Is the protocol decoding in this hard coded into the software?

It'd be nice if it was done with plugins (and suitable sdk) so that others could implement their own decoders.

We've got a couple of logic analysers here, but they're big b*****ds (tektronix), one has it's own trolley and consists of what looks like a sparc station, vga monitor & a huge box where the connections go.

The other is still rather large (standard tektronix colour LCD), but not in the same scale!

This thing looks good though, it could hang off the back of my desk and take up no space whatsoever!


Edited by sn00p (06/04/2006 10:06)

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#275627 - 06/04/2006 12:12 Re: New Toy: USB-based Logic Analyser [Re: ecumenizm]
Ezekiel
pooh-bah

Registered: 25/08/2000
Posts: 2413
Loc: NH USA
AOL. I purchased one of these for a subcontractor to use (reverse-engineering signal timings from a digital micromoeter) and he's very happy with it.

-Zeke
_________________________
WWFSMD?

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#275628 - 06/04/2006 19:56 Re: Intronix Logicport USB-based analyser inside VMWare on Linux [Re: sn00p]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14257
Loc: Canada
Quote:

Is the protocol decoding in this hard coded into the software?

Yes, it seems to be. But the maker informed me that he planned additional protocol interpreters in the future, so perhaps he'll figure out a plug-in scheme for them(?).

Quote:

It'd be nice if it was done with plugins (and suitable sdk) so that others could implement their own decoders.

Agreed!

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#275629 - 06/04/2006 20:01 Re: Intronix Logicport USB-based analyser inside VMWare on Linux [Re: mlord]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14257
Loc: Canada
Note that the built-in SPI interpreter is fairly well programmable, though, for bit/word format etc..

Try out the driver software -- free download from their site, no probe necessary to explore the feature set.

Cheers

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#275630 - 07/04/2006 06:05 Re: Intronix Logicport USB-based analyser inside VMWare on Linux [Re: mlord]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5328
Loc: Cambridge UK
Quote:
Note that the built-in SPI interpreter is fairly well programmable, though, for bit/word format etc..

Ah.. that'll be why Patrick now wants us to buy one of our own

Rob

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#275631 - 18/04/2006 08:45 Re: New Toy: USB-based Logic Analyser [Re: mlord]
Rod
journeyman

Registered: 04/05/2000
Posts: 84
Loc: Australia
My LogicPort arrived today and is already proving to be VERY useful, especially the I2C interpreter. Thanks Mark.

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