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LeCroy scopes get faster, better

Posted: 20 Jul 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:lecroy? wavepro 7000? digital scope? x-stream technology? 7300a?

WavePro 7000 seriesEquipped with deep memory, LeCroy's newest spin of its LCD touchscreen WavePro 7000 series of digital scopes provide measurement capability usually associated with high-end scopes, especially so in the 1GHz to 3GHz range. That's especially true when you consider that the 7000As provide jitter measurements for clock and timing analysis.

Not mentioned in LeCroy's press release is that these new "A" scopes use the company's proven X-Stream technology as used on the original 7000 series and other LeCroy scopes. This proprietary technique enables data processing that can be a whopping 150 times faster than competing oscilloscopes.

It's in the software
So much of an instrument like this depends on software, and that's where LeCroy's X-Stream Technology shines. It permits data records to be packetized and streamed to a microprocessor for analysis, and optimizes the use of cache memory.

Thanks to X-Stream, you can zoom into a signal, locate a glitch or error, and then use the system's WaveShape analysis tools to find its cause. In addition to the WaveShape tool, you also get something called Wavepilot Controls. It gives access to the scope's signal analysis.

For its part, the WaveShape toolkit packs a number of powerful adjuncts. Its XMATH (Advanced Math Software Package), for example, gives you more than 30 math functions and 40 parameter measurements. Similarly, the XDEV (Advanced Customization Software Package) lets you create scripts for measurement parameters or math functions using third-party software packages. These packages can be Excel, MatLab, or Mathcad.

Toolkit packages
The toolkit's JTA2 (Jitter and Timing Analysis) package shows modulation effects and intermittent signal jitter. It lets you track timing changes, and debug in time, frequency and statistical domains.

Need filtering? A DFP2 (Digital Filter Software Package) lets you add any of a set of linear phase FIR (finite impulse response) filters that can be used to filter out undesired spectral components such as noise. You can use the package's standard set of filters or craft your own. You can select lowpass, highpass, bandstop, bandpass, raised cosine, raised root cosine, and Gaussian filters.

Some of the tools in the software suite are quite dedicated. For example, the DDM2 is a Disk Drive Measurement package. When DDM2 is combined with the scope's sequence triggering and so-called SMART Triggers (more on these in a moment), you can do failure analysis tests of disk drives.

Similarly, the system's dedicated AORM Advanced Optical Recording Measurement software provides right timing and nine amplitude analysis parameters for characterizing CD and DVD disks. you can also use AORM to characterize and test experimental optical storage systems.

Automatic setup
These scopes pack lots of front-panel user-friendly features, too. For example, an Auto Setup feature lets you automatically call up a signal on the scope's display at the touch of a single button.

Auto Setup also automatically sets the scope's timebase, trigger, and sensitivity for repetitive signals. And, a Vertical Find Scale Automatically function sets the vertical sensitivity and offset for selected channels to display a waveform with maximum dynamic range.

LeCroy's QuickZoom automatically displays a 10x magnified trace of all signals, on multiple grids. The scopes also have what LeCroy calls analog persistence. It switches between an analog view and a digital view. That lets you more fully explore a signal's modulation.

Even the probes are friendly. So-called AutoColorID lights in the probe handle itself show channel trace color, for example. That lets you rapidly identify which probe is driving which color-coordinated channel. Nifty.

Dedicated controls
Each channel has its own customary dedicated vertical controls, including voltage/division and offset control knobs. Significantly, you can control any channel by turning these knobs, eliminating the need to multiplex a single control across all four channels. In addition, dedicated cursor controls permit adjustment of the cursors, even after you leave the system's cursor setup menu.

As for the SMART Triggers that I mentioned above, the system offers state- or edge-qualified triggers. Delay between sources is selectable by time or events. Dropout triggers are provided for use if a signal drops out for longer than a selected time (between 2ns and 20s).

The SMART Triggers can also provide Boolean triggering on logic combinations (AND, NAND, OR, and NOR). Each source can be high, low, or a don't-care, and high and low levels can be selected independently. Triggers can occur at the start or end of a pattern.

SMART Triggers also include what LeCroy calls Exclusion Technology. This offers glitch and pulse-width triggers for triggering on positive or negative glitches. Widths are selectable from 600-ps to 20s, or you can trigger on intermittents. You can also use signal or pattern-interval triggers. These also work on intervals that are selectable between 2ns and 20s.

You can also select timeout (state, or edge-qualified) triggers that trigger on any source if a given state (or transition edge) has occurred on another source. Delays between sources can, again, be set anywhere from 2ns to 20s, or 1 to 99,999,999 events.

Also not referred to in LeCroy's press statement is the fact that these latest -A versions of the 7000 series have lots of interfaces that support operation in the lab and on the production floor. You can use Remote Control Via Windows Automation, or via the LeCroy Remote Command Set.

Optionally, you can equip one of these scopes with an IEEE-488.2/GPIB (General Purpose Interface bus) port. You can also use Ethernet (LeCroy supports 10/100Base-T Ethernet. Similarly, the system can use USB 2.0 to communicate with Windows-compatible devices.

Okay, how much? The 3GHz top-of-the-line Model 7300A goes for about $35,000, the 2GHz Model 7200A will set you back about $30,000, and the 1GHz Model 7100A goes for about $20,000.

- Alex Mendelsohn

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