4 Tips for Buying a USB Logic Analyzer
A logic analyzer is a powerful piece of equipment that is mainly used for debugging embedded applications and monitoring digital signals in a circuit. Another useful capability of this gadget is in time correlating of a large number of digital signals on a single display enabling the user to view digital data move around inside of an embedded system. A USB logic analyzer provides USB connectivity enabling you to connect to various systems through the USB port. That said, let’s explore 4 useful tips to buying a USB logic analyzer.
Check the sample rate
A sample is simply the amount of data the logic analyzer captures and a sample rate is how often the logic analyzer samples its channels. Usually, a logic analyzer samples data simultaneously across all of its channels such that if you have eight channels, each sample will be 1-byte size of data. The sample rate is typically measured in megasamples or megahertz per second and the higher the sample rate the higher the amount of data captured per unit time. We recommend buying a USB logic analyzer with a sample rate of at least 100 megasamples per second for good results.
Choose a logic analyzer with state mode
Currently, there are two sampling modes that can be used in a USB-based logic analyzer; timing mode and state mode. Timing mode also known as asynchronous mode means that the logic analyzer asynchronously samples data at its programmed speed and displays what it saw. This is the type of sampling mode that is most common in basic lower-end USB based logic analyzers. Mid-range to high-end USB logic analyzers have a state mode in which one of the inputs is used as a clock signal. The purpose of the clock is to tell the logic analyzer when to sample the data channels so that data is sampled the same way as the system under test does.
Choose triggerable USB logic analyzers
This is one of the most powerful capabilities a USB logic analyzer can have. This means that the logic analyzer has the ability to watch sample data for user-defined patterns and when these patterns are detected, a trigger event happens. The trigger event may cause the logic analyzer to stop sampling or finish filling its data buffer.
Choose one that supports multiple inputs and outputs
When testing equipment, time is of the essence especially when a project is of a limited time span. In such scenarios, one would require a USB logic analyzer with two or more inputs and outputs in order to be able to debug more than one instrument at a time. This is especially important for advanced embedded development projects where multiple units of instruments are required to be tested concurrently.
For anyone embarking on embedded development, a logic analyzer is an essential item for testing your circuits and detecting defects beforehand. A good USB logic analyzer is one that optimizes channels, speeds, and portability while delivering on your specific needs.