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USB-connected module comprises 100MHz oscilloscope

Posted: 14 Nov 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:saelig? cleverscope cs328? oscilloscope?

Cleverscope CS32

Saelig's Cleverscope CS328, with its dual 100MS/s simultaneously-sampling A/D channels, compares favorably with quite a few mainstream lab scopeseven mixed-signal ones (with both analog and digital inputs) that can cost five times as much.

The CS328 renders a PC a rather sparkling general purpose scope. The unit sports 10-bit resolution on its 1-megaohm DC-coupled or AC-coupled input channels, and shows 60dB of dynamic range. That's coupled with a 100MHz analog bandwidth spec. Vertical-input ranges span 20mV to 800V, yielding a resolution of 0.02mV on the 20V range.

There's also an offset feature that's automatically set from 0 to 4V or 40V in 10mV or 100mV increments. If you choose the CS328's graph view, you can use the offset feature. It will, for example, let you see millivolt-level signals superimposed on much higher DC levels.

Mixed-signal operation
As a mixed-signal instrument, the CS328 also packs eight digital channels. Digital levels can be anywhere between -16V and 20V, so the system readily accepts virtually any logic family. These inputs can simultaneously sample at speeds between 1,500S/s to 100MS/s.

Each channel (the two analog channels, a trigger channel, and the digital inputs) includes 4Msamples of storage. That gives you up to 40ms of simultaneous storage for all channels, with 10ns resolution.

The system can buffer and store anywhere from two frames to 1,000 frames, in sizes from 2-million to 4,000-samples. These stored signals can be used as to review captured signals, or to capture up to 1,000 trigger events.

Signals in Windows
What's more, because the CS328 works in conjunction with your Windows PC, and uses USB (Universal Serial Bus) for plug-and-play communications, you get to view captured waveforms on the large screen of a typical PC, instead of a smaller LCD built into a dedicated scope.

Thanks to USB, the system can operate at a 10fps acquisition rate. Just like bench scopes, the system's acquisition modes include single shot, triggered, automatic, repetitive, and multiple frame types.

In use, you can also separately observe time-domain and frequency-domain displays. Digital inputs, if any, can also be displayed. Separate moveable windows display your signals, and you can zoom in on areas of interest. The software that runs on the PC also lets you do signal averaging and filtering, and you get a suite of math functions. Basic hooks support rms, peak, DC, pulse width, period, and frequency measurement.

Of course, being a PC application, you can also readily copy and paste waveforms and data into other Windows applications and annotate files with text. You can also save to disk, and do that automatically on a trigger.

Signal generator module
Saelig's press statement mentions the CS700 signal generator. It's a plug-in module that can be factory installed or added later in your lab.

It accurately generates sine, square, and triangle output waveforms that can be set anywhere between 0 and 5V (pk-to-pk) in 10mV steps, over a frequency range from 0.2Hz to 10MHz (triangle wave generation extends only to 1MHz). You can also vary offset -4V to 4V in 10mV steps. The CS700 will drive 50? loads directly, and is short-circuit proof.

The low harmonic-distortion CS700 module can also be FSK (frequency-shift keyed) and PSK (phase-shift keyed) modulated. FSK can use any two frequencies between 0.2Hz and 10MHz. Phase shifts up to 360 can also be cranked in.

The CS700 can also work as a sweep generator. Sweeps can also be synchronized with the scope's spectrum analyzer features in order to make transfer response measurements.

The Cleverscope packs a lot of performance into a compact package, and when you factor in its price at less than a kilobuck, it's an instrument worth investigating.

- Alex Mendelsohn

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