Tag Archives: Electronic test equipment

Smallest mixed-signal oscilloscope with AWG packs Atmel’s ATXMEGA32A4U

An oscilloscope is an electronic test instrument designed to monitor varying signal voltages, typically as a two-dimensional graph of one or more electrical potential differences using the vertical or y‑axis, plotted as a function of time (horizontal or x‑axis).

A mixed-signal oscilloscope (or MSO) is often equipped with two types of inputs – a small number of analog channels (typically two or four) and a larger number of digital channels (16). The mixed-signal model is capable of accurately time-correlating analog and digital channels, thus offering a distinct advantage over a separate oscilloscope and logic analyzer. As such, digital channels may be grouped and displayed as a bus with each bus value displayed at the bottom of the display in hex or binary.

Recently, Saelig introduced the Xprotolab Portable, which the company describes as the smallest handheld mixed-signal oscilloscope with AWG (arbitrary waveform generation). The device – powered by Atmel’s ATXMEGA32A4U microcontroller – offers a combination of three electronic instruments: a mixed signal oscilloscope (simultaneously sampling of 2 analog / 8-bit/200kHz and 8 digital / 1MHz signals), an arbitrary waveform generator and protocol sniffer. The oscilloscope weighs less than 60g, is a compact 3.13″ x 1.83″ 0.7″ and boasts an integrated graphic 1.3” OLED to render waveforms on a 128×64 pixel display. In terms of connectivity, the Xprotolab Portable can link to a PC’s USB port for battery charging, external control, or screen dumps.

As a mixed-signal oscilloscope, the device offers simultaneous 2MSa/s sampling of 2 analog and 8 digital signals; as an arbitrary waveform generator it provides advanced sweep options on all waveforms; as a protocol sniffer, it can decode SPI, I2C and UART. The handheld mixed-signal oscilloscope also features an advanced triggering system, adjustable trigger level and the ability to view signals prior to the trigger.

As a portable DigitalMeter, the Xprotolab Portable displays VDC, VPP and input frequency to 12MHz, with XY Mode facilitating Lissajous Figures, the display of V/I curves and the phase difference between two waveforms. Meanwhile, an integrated FFT Spectrum Analyzer offers various windowing options, along with selectable vertical log and IQ visualization. Perhaps most importantly, the waveform generator and the oscilloscope can operate simultaneously, with the waveform generator running in the background.

And last, but certainly not least, the Xprotolab Portable AWG can output Sine, Square, Triangle and Exponential signals, as well as periodic noise that fills the AWG buffer with random data. In addition, a SWEEP feature increases one or more parameter values automatically on each screen refresh of the oscilloscope.

Accessories include one USBmini-USB-PC cable, two 3.5mm-EZhook signal probes and an 8-channel logic probe. An optional 3.5mm to BNC adapter facilitates the use of standard 10:1 scope probes for signal input, while an optional Tripod Adapter allows Xprotolab Portable to be mounted using a standard camera screwthread.

Additional information about the $98 Xprotolab Portable is available here.