Tektronix - Debugging a Mixed Signal Design with a Tektronix Mixed Signal Oscilloscope

Our thanks to Tektronix for allowing us to reprint the following article.

Introduction Today’s embedded design engineer is faced with the challenge of ever-increasing system complexity. A typical embedded design may incorporate various analog signals, high- and low-speed serial digital communication, and microprocessor buses, just to name a few. Serial protocols such as I2C and SPI are frequently used for chip-to-chip communication, but cannot replace parallel buses for all applications.

Microprocessors, FPGAs, Analog-to-Digital Converters (ADC), and Digital-to-Analog Converters (DAC) are all examples of ICs that present unique measurement challenges in today's embedded designs. The engineer may need to decode a SPI bus between two ICs while observing the input and output of an ADC at the same time, on the same system board.

Debugging the hardware shown in Figure 1 is a difficult and somewhat daunting task to the engineer who is armed with his favorite 4-channel oscilloscope. Many engineers feel comfortable with their oscilloscope, and in the interest of saving time, may choose to acquire 3 or 4 oscilloscopes in order to probe multiple signals at once. Logic analyzers provide the ability to probe many digital signals, but the complexity of the debug task may not merit the setup and learning curve required to use the logic analyzer. Fortunately for engineers faced with this task, the Tektronix MSO4000, MSO3000 and MSO2000 Series Mixed Signal Oscilloscopes (MSO) and MDO4000 Series Mixed Domain Oscilloscopes (MDO) can address their needs...

Read More

*Download Article in PDF Format Click to download article in PDF format