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Getting Started with IkaScope WiFi Pen-Oscilloscope, and ScanaQuad SQ50 USB Logic Analyzer & Signal Generator

February 5th, 2018 7 comments

A couple of weeks ago, I received IkaScope WS200 pen-like WiFi oscilloscope, as well as ScanaQuad SQ50 USB logic analyzer & signal generator, and I’ve already checked out the hardware both both in a aforelinked unboxing post. I had also very shortly tried IkaScope with GOLE 10 mini PC, but just to showcase potential use case for a Windows 10 mini PC with an inclined touchscreen display. But at the time I did not really a proper measurement, as it was more to test the mini PC than the oscilloscope itself.

I’ve now had time to test IkaScope desktop program and mobile app in respectively Ubuntu 16.04 and Android 8.0.0, as well as ScanaStudio for ScanaQuad USB device using Ubuntu 16.04 only, since there’s no mobile version of the program. While I’ll focus on Ubuntu and Android, most of the instructions will be valid for Window 10 and Mac OS X for the desktop programs, and iOS for the mobile app. This will be more of a getting started guide / basic tutorial, than a review, as I’ll go through some of the issues I may have come across, and show the basic functions of the program/app.

IkaScope connected to Xiaomi Mi A1 Smartphone – Click to Enlarge

IkaScope with Android and Initial Setup

My original plan was to test the oscilloscope with my computer running Ubuntu 16.04, and then switch to Android. However, my computer is connected to the network via Ethernet, and I don’t have a spare working WiFi dongle anymore. The oscilloscope can also work with Ethernet only devices, as long as WiFi is configured in station mode, but by default it starts in access point mode, so I had to change my plan and instead install IkaScope Android app on my smartphone first.

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The app is still shown to be in development / a beta version, but as I did not encounter any critical issues, except at the beginning. To turn on the oscilloscope you have to press the probe tip, and should soon see the white LED blink, meaning some “IkaScopexxxx” access point should be setup and ready to go. However, after several attempts, I failed to find any IKASCOPE ESSID in the list of access point. Based on some recommendations on the Internet, I installed WiFiManager, and lo-and-behold IKDASCOPE-…200-00493 SSID showed up. I could easily connect to it, and since it’s an open network, no password is needed.

Time to launch IkaScope app. First you’ll go through a very short wizard showing the key zones in the app, and then we can tap on the top left corner, and click on Connect. It should then show your IkaScope in AP mode (White). 

While you could just select it, and start measurements like when I did when I played with in in Windows 10, it is recommends to switch to station mode. To do so, tap on the setup/configuration on the right side, which should bring you to the “add a network” page as shown below.

You can add just one, but if you add more, you’ll likely get better coverage. Note that the oscilloscope on supports 2.4 GHz, so your 5 GHz ESSID won’t show up.

Now you can go back, maybe wait for the oscilloscope to turn off, and turn it on again by pressing the tip, and a solid Blue LED should show on the device…

.. STA mode (Blue) icon will have replaced the AP mode (white) icon in the mobile app.

Go back again, and you’ll see IKASCOPE WS200 connected in station mode. The screenshot below also shows “CNX-SOFTWARE_5GHz” ESSID, but that’s the connection used by the phone, not the scope.

I’ll detailed the options about the app into more details in the Ubuntu section as they have the same features, and I could only find some cosmetic differences between the mobile and desktop version. I still used the Android app to measure the 16 MHz clock signal from an Arduino Leonardo clone as shown in the top picture.

You can see a short demo about the measurement below.

IkaScope in Ubuntu 16.04

Now that IkaScope WS200 probe is in station mode, I can use it with my Ethernet connected Ubuntu 16.04 computer.

You’ll find IkaScope desktop program on the company website for Windows (.exe) , Linux, and Mac OS X. In the case of Linux, the program is distributed as a tarball, which you need to extract, before running the installation script:

There’s also a an uninstall.sh script to remove the program if you don’t need it anymore. Note the tools only work on 64-bit x86 platforms (x86-64).
After installation IkaScope can be found in the dash, but if I click on the icon, nothing happens, even after a reboot. So I launched it from the terminal instead:

Just like  in Android, you’ll get through a short “tutorial” at the beginning showing the main parts of the interface. Click on IkaScope icon on the top left corner of the program, and connect to find IkaScope.

My probe was  already setup in Station mode, so all I had to do was to select, but if you are using a computer with WiFi, and WS200 probe is in AP mode, you’ll need to connect to the access point, and ideally change that to station mode as shown in the Android section.

I did the same measurement on Arduino Leonardo board, but without using AUTOSET at first. You could then change the voltage and time resolution and offset as needed, but in most case, you’ll probably want to simply use AUTOSET to let the program automatically select the best settings.


A 16 MHz signal has a 62.5 ns period, so first I used the cursor in TIME mode, and moved A and B to confirm both the period and frequency.

Cursors can also be used for voltage (vertical scale). An easier to check the frequency is to use the Measure menu, which allows to automatically reports frequency, period, width, duty, voltage average/peak-to-peak/rms/max/min, and rising and falling times.

Other options include coupling (DC or AC), and Trigger which can be set to automatic, normal, single, rising / falling / both edges  as shown in the screenshot below.

There’s no math function, but I’ve read the company may implement FFT and other functions in the future. I charged the oscilloscope around two weeks ago, and battery level is still well higher than 50%, even after that review. The company estimates a charge should last around one week with a typical use. That’s because the oscilloscope will automatically turn off if it is not being used.

ScanaQuad SQ50 Logic Analyzer in Ubuntu 16.04

Let’s now move on to ScanaQuad SQ50 USB logic analyzer. We’ll need ScanaStudio program available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. That’s what I had to do to install the program in Ubuntu 16.04:

Contrary to Ikascope program, ScanaStudio will install on both 32-bit and 64-bit x86 operating systems. An uninstall script is also provided.

Again the icon can be found in the Dash, but clicking on it won’t launch the program, so I started from a terminal:

The first time I launched the program I was prompted to update the protocols, which are written in JavaScript, and open source with the code on Github.

Click on Download / Update checked button to have the latest protocols loaded into the program. After that, you should get to the main user interface.

I clicked to create a new workspace, which showed several ScanaQuad “demo” devices, but no way to connect to the actual hardware.

However, after searching in the knowledge base, I found out I may have to use the Device wizard compatibility, which can be accessed from the top right icon, and will start a 5-step wizard asking you to disconnect any SUB serial device – including your ScanaQuad -,and reconnect the ScanQuad.

Everything is pretty self-explanatory, and this step may be needed in either Linux or Mac OS X, but not in Windows. You should now see your ScanaQuad USB logic analyzer listed when creating a new workspace, possibly after a reboot (but not needed here).

I selected ScanaQuad SQ50, and clicked on Create workspace button. The very first time, I had to wait as ScanaStudio updated ScanaQuad firmware, which took around a minute. Your workspace should now be shown with the 4-channel used by the tool and some default configuration.

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Since last week I reviewed tinyLIDAR, a board based on STM32L0 MCU + VL53L0X ToF sensor that returns the distance from obstacles up to 2 meters away, and that interfaces with the host processor over I2C, I decided to monitor I2C signals with the device.

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I connected the black probe to a ground pin, the green probe to SCL, and the red probe to SDA as shown above.

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In ScanaStudio, I set sampling rate to 1 MHz, voltage to 5V, clicked on Add new in the Protocols section, selected I2C from the list, assigned CH 3 (Red) to SDA  and CH 4 (Green) to SDL, and clicked Finish. Finally, I also set a trigger to start capture whenever I2C signals are detected.

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Now we can click Start at the top right of the interface to make the program wait for the trigger. Going the “Arduino GUI terminal” for tinyLIDAR board, I press enter to read distance (2 byte) from I2C device with address 0x10.

The command ‘D’ should be 0x44 according the ASCII table, and the distance returned is 120 mm.

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Right after pressing enter, ScanaStudio captured the SDA and SCL signal and decoded data with a write and a read command as expected:

  • Write 0x10 with 0x88
  • Read 0x10 with 0x00 and 0x78

I would have expected 0x44 (‘D) in the write command, but for some reasons I have not looked into, the command is shifted by one bit. The read data is however fully as expected as 0x78 converted to 120 mm.

I then made the sensor to face the ceiling in order to get a longer distance and use the two fields.

The terminal reports 1823mm, and the I2C capture show 0x071F distance which indeed converts to 1823 mm. So all good here.

If you’re interested in the other supported protocols, you could check out the aforelinked Github repository, and the screenshot below (correct as of February 5, 2018).

More protocols may eventually be supported, or you could roll your own JavaScript decoder if needed.

ScanaQuad SQ50 Signal Generator in Ubuntu 16.04

ScanaQuad also works as a signal generator using the same ScanaStudio program. Mixed mode is supported too, with two inputs for the logic analyzer, and two outputs for the signal generator. I expected to be able to  easily generate sine waves, square waves, and sawtooth waves, but one you switch to Generator mode, the only two options in the Signal builder section are:

  • Square signal wizard up between 1 Hz and 12.5 MHz (min/max values depend on sampling rate) with with duty cycle slider.

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  • Signal builder script

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The latter has template with all sort of signal include 1-wire, HDMI-CEC, MODBUS, PWM, SPI, and so on. It also mean you should be able to create seesaw and sine waves, but you may have to work (i.e. write some JavaScript code) for it.

Instead of feeding back the signal to the device in mixed mode, I used SQ50 to generate signals, and WS200 probe for measurement.

  • CH1 generating 12.5 MHz square wave with 25% duty cycle


Not what I would call a neat square signal, and the 25% duty signal is not quite right either due to the distorsion.

  • Let’s lower the frequency to 1 MHz with the same duty cycle.


That’s more like it, although there’s still some noise.

    • CH2 generating FM signals

The waveform looks fairly good, and matches the one defined in ScanaStudio.

I’d like to thank Ikalogic for the opportunity to test their measurement devices. IkaScope WS200 oscilloscope sells for 299 Euros exc. VAT, while ScanaQuad SQ50 goes for 89 Euros exc. VAT, and other USB LA+SG models with better specifications such as SQ200 go for up to 149 Euros.

Ikascope WS200 Oscilloscope and ScanaQuad SQ50 Logic Analyzer & Pattern Generator Review – Part 1: Unboxing

January 16th, 2018 1 comment

IkaScope WS200 WiFi oscilloscope fits in your hand like a pen, and works with devices running desktop or mobile operating systems, namely Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS. I covered the tool last September, and IkaLogic – the French startup behind the project –  has now sent me a sample for review, as well as their ScanaQuad SQ50 4-channel logic analyzer and pattern generator.

Since I had never checked out the latter, I’ve decided to start the review with an unboxing post, before reporting my experience actually using the tools next month.

IkaScope WS200 Wireless Oscilloscope Probe

The oscilloscope comes with a ground clip, a micro USB to USB cable for charging, and a getting started guide with a QR code to download IkaScope program or app.

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Once you open it, it really looks like an over-sized Stabilo highlighter. The only needed hardware connection needs is the ground clip, and micro USB port to charge the battery. The other side of the getting started guide lists some specifications, and…

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… describes the behavior of LEDs found on either side of the micro USB port. There’s no obvious power button, since the tip of the probe is used for this purpose. Pressing the tip for one second will automatically turn it on, and the device will turn off after a while if there’s no measurements, This helps getting long battery life.

But more on that in the second part of the review.

ScanaQuad SQ50 Logic Analyzer & Pattern Generator

The second package includes a tiny box – SQ50 – that can serve as a 4-channel logic analyzer or/and a pattern generator, a mini USB cable for power, and a cable with 5 probes including one for the ground.

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The left side of the box comes with a mini USB port for power and communication with the host computer, and we can also see the power LED on the top of the case.

We have a 5-pin header to connect the probe on the other side.

It may also be interesting to check out ScanaQuad SQ50 specifications:

  • Number of Input/output channels – 4
  • Max. Sampling rate – 50 MHz
  • Memory per channel – 1M
  • Digital pattern generator – Mixed mode (Capture + Generate)
  • Input protection – ± 12V
  • Trigger options – Edge, Level, Pulse, arbitrary pattern , serial protocol
  • Adjustable in/out voltage – Yes
  • Adjustable input resistance – No
  • Open drain output with optional pull up – No
  • Differential input pairs – None

The “50” is in the product name is clearly referencing the maximum sampling rate, and the company also have other models from 25 MHz to 200 MHz with either less features, or more with differential input pairs, open drain output, adjustable input resistant, and protection up to +/- 35V. The devices can be controlled with ScanaStudio program for Windows, Linux or Mac OS X. No mobile version. Protocol decoders are written in JavaScript, and can be found on Github.

ScanaQuad SQ50 is very easy to open with four screws on the bottom of the enclosure, so I went ahead to checkout the ICs used in the design.

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We have four of them:

  • Xilinx Spartan XC3S50AN FPGA with 50K system gates, 1,584 equivalent logic cells, 11K distributed RAM bits, 54K block RAM bits
  • Cypress CY7C1041DV33-10ZSXI 4-Mbit (256K × 16) Static RAM
  • TI OPA4354 250MHz, Rail-to-Rail I/O, CMOS Quad Operational Amplifier
  • FTDI FT240XQ Full Speed USB to 8- bit FIFO

Maybe this information would be useful to people wanting to try out Sigrok, or other alternative software.

IkaScope WS200 oscilloscope sells for 299 Euros exc. VAT, while ScanaQuad SQ50 goes for 89 Euros exc. VAT, and the company also offer other models up to SQ200 for 149 Euros. As a side note, the company is also doing a survey for users’ of logic analyzers and/or oscilloscopes, so if you have 10 to 15 minutes to spare you may consider participating.

Continue reading Getting Started with IkaScope WiFi Pen-Oscilloscope, and ScanaQuad SQ50 USB Logic Analyzer & Signal Generator

Sigrok Compatible ZeroPlus Logic Cube LAP-C USB Logic Analyzers Support up to 32 Channels, 75 MHz Bandwidth

December 4th, 2017 1 comment

Back in 2015, I discovered USB123 USBee AX PRO, an ultra cheap logic analyzer (now $5 shipped) with 8 channels, and up to 24 MHz. I purchased one at the time, and successfully tested it with Sigrok & Pulseview open source tools that now work in Linux, Windows, Mac OS, FreeBSD, Android, and several other operating systems.

As I read through my list of RSS feeds today, I noticed Peter Scargill had tested ZeroPlus Logic Cube Lap-C 322000 logic analyzer also connected to your PC via USB, but with better specifications including 32-channels, and 75 MHz. Peter used the company’s Windows software (ZEROPLUS Logic Analyzer LAP-C_Standard_V3.14.03), but a quick search confirmed ZeroPlus Logic Cube Lap-C family is supported by Sigrok.

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LAP-C 322000 is the top model from the family with the following hardware specifications:

  • Sample Rate – Internal clock (timing mode): 100Hz~200MHz; external clock (state mode): 100MHz
  • Bandwidth – 75MHz
  • Working Range – -6V~+6V
  • Accuracy – ±0.1V
  • Memory – 64Mbit, i.e. 2Mbit per channel with up to 512Mbits with compression enabled
  • Trigger – Condition: Pattern/Edge; 32 channels; trigger count: 1~65535
  • Phase Errors: < 1.5ns
  • Maximum Input Voltage: ±30V
  • Impedance:500KΩ/10pF
  • Power Supply – 5V/500mA via USB port
  • Safety Certification – FCC / CE / WEEE / RoHS / REACH

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The hardware is based on ZEROPLUS ZP-322MB-5 which is believed to be a custom ASIC from the company, Genesys Logic GL660USB (USB2.0 to IEEE-1284 / DMA bridge), Cypress SRAM, and various other chips as explained in the sigrok page.

The company’s software supports Windows 2000 to Windows 10 with plenty of features (Waveform display, filter, filter delay, trigger delay, protocol analysis, etc..), and you can read a detailed review of the device used with the Windows software if you are interested. If you prefer open source software, or run another operating system Sigrok should be a worthwhile alternative.

ZeroPlus Logic Cube LAP-C 322000 is not a low cost part as it goes for $1,599 on Amazon, but other models with the same 75MHz bandwidth, only 16-channels, a lower clock speed (up to 100 MHz), and less memory (512Kbits) such as Zeroplus LAP-C 16032 can be purchased for about $135 on Amazon or eBay. More details should be available on ZeroPlus website.

$79 Digilent OpenScope Open Source Multi-function Programmable Instrument Works over USB and WiFi (Crowdfunding)

February 1st, 2017 8 comments

Digilent OpenScope is an open source, portable, multi-function programmable instrument used for capturing, visualizing, and controlling analog and digital signals, that works with your smartphone or computer over USB or WiFi, and it can also be used in standalone mode as a development board, like you would use an Arduino or Raspberry Pi board.

OpenScope MZ key features and specifications:

  • MCU – Microchip PIC32 MZ (MZ2048EFG124) MIPS Warrior M-class micro-controller @ up to 200 MHz with 2048KB flash, 512 KB RAM
  • External Storage – micro SD slot
  • Wireless Connectivity – WiFi module
  • USB – 1x micro USB for power and programming over FTDI
  • Programming / Debugging – micro USB port, programming header
  • Expansion – 30-pin Fly Wire connector with:
    • 2x scope channels with 12 bits @ 2 MHz bandwidth and up to 6.25MS/s sampling rate
    • 1x function generator output with 1 MHz bandwidth and up to 10MS/s update rate
    • 10x user programmable DIO pins up to 25 MHz update rate
  • Misc – 4x user LEDs, programming and reset buttons
  • Power Supply – via micro USB or ext pin; programmable power supplies up to 50 mA and +/- 4V

The platform can be used with (soon-to-be) open source, web based Waveforms Live multi-instrument software written in JavaScript and allowing you to  use OpenScope as an oscilloscope, a function generator, a logic analyzer, a power supply, or a data logger.

Since the software runs in a web browser it will work with most operating systems including Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, Android or iOS. As mentioned in the introduction, OpenScope is also a development board, and can be programmed using the Arduino IDE or Microchip MPLAB-X IDE. The company will provide  a programmer’s guide, and make PIC32MZ firmware, the agent source code, the browser app for Android & IOS, the communication protocol, and the JavaScript API available on Github

Digilent launched OpenScope on Kickstarter, where the board can be backed together with a 3D printed enclosure for $79. An “OpenScope Learning Edition” is also offered for $150 with a “parts kit with workbook example”, but no details have been provided for the latter. Delivery is planned for June or August 2017 depending on selected reward, and shipping is free to the US, but adds $20 to the rest of the world.

BitScope Blade Industrial Mounting & Power Systems Support Up to 40 Raspberry Pi Boards

January 27th, 2017 12 comments

BitScope Designs, a manufacturer of embedded mixed signal test, measurement and data acquisition systems, has announced the launch of a new models of their industrial desktop, rack or wall mountable power and mounting power systems with BitScope Blade Uno, Duo, and Quattro supporting respectively 1, 2 and 4 Raspberry Pi 3/2/B+/A+ boards. The blades can also be mounted in a 19″ rack with up to 40 Raspberry Pi boards.

The three systems share many of the same specifications:

  • Power Supply

    40 Rapsberry Pi Rack with (Older Versions) of BitScope Blade Quattro

    • Unregulated 9V to 48V DC power, compatible with most 12V & 24V UPS, most DC solar power systems
    • 4A (peak) switch mode supply built-in
    • 2.1mm socket or industrial power tabs
    • Can be used with low cost passive PoE,
    • Can power external USB, HDD & SSD
    • 5V auxiliary power for example for Pi Display
  • Expansion& I/O ports
    • Full access to RPi’s I2C, SPI, UART & most GPIO
    • Slot for camera connector for each Pi
    • HDMI and audio accessible from Pi in BAY one
    • Blade HUB I/O expansion sockets for each Pi
    • Compatible with BitScope CAP industrial I/O
  • Mount System
    • Rack mount to build compute cluster solutions
    • 4 x 3mm tabs and wall mounting stand-offs

Wall Mounted BitScope Blade Duo (Older Version) with2 Raspberry Pi boards

Each model also has specific features:

  • BitScope Blade UNO (BB01B)
    • Designed for one Raspberry Pi and one HAT
    • Power and connect up to 4x BitScopes
    • Raspberry Pi power control header,
    • 2x USB power sockets
  • BitScope Blade DUO (BB02B)
    • Designed for 2x Raspberry Pi boards
    • Power and connect up to 8x BitScopes
    • Individual power and reset inputs for each Pi
  • BitScope Blade QUATTRO (BB04B)
    • Designed for 4x Raspberry Pi boards
    • Power and connect up to 16x BitScopes
    • Individual power and reset inputs for each Pi.

Back side of BitScope Blade Duo – Click to Enlarge

The HUB CAP expansion sockets are used to connect BitScope mixed signal scopes & analyzers, which can be controlled by BitScope DSO software running on the Raspberry Pi board with oscilloscope, logic analyzer, wave generator, and other modes of operation.

You’ll find a few more details on the press release, and the new BitScope Blades can be purchased exclusively on Element14 starting at 32.5 GBP (~$41 US). BitScope also has a “Blades” product page, but it is currently referring to the older versions.

Espotek Labrador is s $25 5-in-1 Lab-on-a-Board with Oscilloscope, Waveform Generator, etc… (Crowdfunding)

September 7th, 2016 5 comments

We’ve already seen ultra cheap (and low end) electronics lab tools like DSO138 oscilloscope kit for $23, or the $5 USB123 USBee AX logic Analyzer, but EspoTek Labrador combines 5 electronics lab equipments into a single board that claims to act as an oscilloscope, a waveform generator, a variable power supply, a logic analyzer and a multimeter for just $25.

Espotek-LabradorEspoTek Labrador specifications and key features:

  • MCU – Atmel ATXMEGA32A4U 8-bit AVR MCU @ 32 MHz with 32KB flash, 4KB SRAM, and 1024 bytes EEPROM
  • Functions
    • 2 channels oscilloscope up to 750ksps, ~100kHz bandwidth, -20 to +20 V range
    • 2 channels waveform generator up to 1 MSPS supporting sinusoidal, square, triangular, sawtooth, and arbitrary waveforms
    • 4.5 to 15V power supply up to 1.5W max
    • 2 channels logic analyzer up to 3 MSPS per channels
    • Multimeter with voltage, intensity, resistance, and capacitance functions
  • USB – micro USB port to connect to PC / board running software
  • Power Input – 5V via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 38 x 31 mm
  • Weight – 10 grams

The board needs to connected to a Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux computer via its micro USB port in order to be controlled by the custom software provided by the company and demonstrated in the video below in all 5 modes. Hardware files and source code can be found in Github.

The Labrador project is fundraising now on crowdfunding platform CrowdSupply, where it has raised 66% of it’s $9000 goal so far. You’ll need to pledge $25 for the Labrador, and discount are available for larger quantities. Shipping is already included in the pledge, the campaign ends on October 20th, and the boards are expected to ship before the end of the year.

GradientOne Brings Oscilloscopes, Spectrum Analyzers, Frequency Generators… to the Cloud

July 29th, 2016 No comments

Nowadays, product development often involves working with teams spread across the world, with for example hardware development in the US, software development in India, and manufacturing in China. Resolving issues may require several members of the teams to gather data and work together, and beside the distance issue, you have to handle different timezones too. GradientOne may help facilitating hardware and firmware debugging by connecting test equipments such as oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers, frequency generators and others to the cloud, so that data can easily be shared, and any member of the team control the equipment remotely, even automatizing measurements if needed. It could also be useful to field application engineers who may bring portable equipment to the customer premises, and have one engineer investigate issues remotely.

GradientOneThere are two ways to integrate equipment with GradientOne:

  • Web user interface to control instruments, set parameters (e.g. trigger, acquisition type, etc), via the web interface.

The company already did the hard work, and current supports Tektronix MDO3000 series oscilloscopes + function generator, Tektronix MDO4000/MSO200/DPO 2000 & DPO 4000 series oscilloscopes, as well as Agilent/Keysight U2000 power meters, and more support is planned for Agilent 859xA/B series spectrum analyzers, Agilent 8340/1 A/B RF signal generators, Chroma 62000P series power supplies, Agilent 34401A digital multimeters.

GradientOne_Web_Interface

Customer will benefits from data storage, organization, search, reporting, collaboration, signal replay, etc… through the interface.

  • API to work with any existing test script to support sending test data and instrument configuration to GradientOne cloud as well as retrieve the data/configuration.

The HTTP(S) & JSON API is useful to add instruments not yet supported by the Web UI, and for customers who want to keep using their existing instrument scripts but securely (OAuth 2.0 authenticate) store and retrieve data from GradientOne cloud.

The promo video below quickly shows some of the features of GradientOne service.

The company also offer on-site or online (Google Hangouts) live demos to interested companies. More details can be found on GradientOne website.

Using USB123 USBee AX Pro $5 USB Logic Analyzer with PulseView in Linux

September 27th, 2015 11 comments

I recently wrote about an ultra low cost USB logic analyzer called USB123 USBee AX Pro, which I bought for $9.58 on DX, but I was later informed it also goes for $5.44 on Aliexpress including free shipping to most countries, and a few dollars extra for shipping to some other countries. Nevertheless, I’ve now received it, and instead of testing it with a closed source (and cracked) Windows software, I installed and ran PulseView open source graphical interface for sigrok, which I previously tested on UNI-T UT61E digital multimeter.

USB123_USBee_AX_ProThe package includes USBee AX PRO mini logic analyzer, 10 dupont wires for 8 channels (digital only) and 2 ground pins, as well as a mini USB to USB cable for connection to a computer.

The instructions to use the logic analyzer can be found on Sigrok Wiki. My computer runs Ubuntu 14.04, but Sigrok and PulseView can also be installed on other Linux distributions, as well as Windows, Mac OS, FreeBSD, and Android.

If you are using Ubuntu 15.04 or greater, you can simply install pulseview as follows:

However with Ubuntu 14.04 and earlier, you’ll either have to build Sigrok and PulseView from source, or much easier use sigrok PPA:

USBee AX PRO device relies on FX2 logic analyzer firmware, which is not installed by default, so you’ll also need to install it either from the ppa

or source @ http://sigrok.org/download/source/sigrok-firmware-fx2lafw/:

You can now connect the logic analyzer to one of your computer USB port, and start PulseView by typing pulseview in a terminal (where you’ll get some output in case of issues).

The program will start with a “Demo Device” by default, so you’ll need to click on File->Connect to Device in the top menu, select fx2lafw (generic driver for FX2 based LAs) (fx2lafw), and finally Scan for Devices.

USB123_USBee_AX_Logic_Analyzer_Sigrok
CWAV USBee AX with 8 channels should appear in the list of device and you can click OK.

The logic analyzer only works up to 24MHz, so you would not be able to use it to debug DRAM for example, but for low speed interface such as I2C, SPI or UART it should do the job. For testing purpose, I created a small board to capture UART console data from Orange Pi 2 mini while still having access to the serial console on a computer.

Orange_Pi_2_mini_logic_analyzerI used my main computer, but I could also have used the Orange Pi board to have a complete logic analyzer system for less than $30…

I just plan to run “ls” an capture the output. Since the UART speed is 115000 baud, 500 kHz capture would be enough, and I selected 1 million samples for capture for 2 seconds. 8 channels will show up at the beginning, but I disabled channels 2 to 7 for clarity.

Sigrok_UART_Capture

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We can see the captured data after I typed ls. Somehow, there’s nothing on the UART TX… I also enabled and configured the UART decoder (Decoders->UART) to analyze the data. Clicking on the red UART icon will popup the configuration window, where you can assign the relevant channels to TX and RX, configure the UART connection, and define how you want the data to be decoded (ascii, dec, hex…)

Pulseview_UART_configuration

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Then I verified that file names – generated by ls command – were indeed captured, and zoomed in the last part of the captured data, which correctly shows the command prompt: [email protected]:~$.

Pulseview_UART_Decoding

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Zooming further shows the binary representation of data, as well as the start (S) and stop (T) bits.

Pulseview_UART_Binary

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Not bad for a $5 device, and neat features for PulseView and Sigrok open source software.