Tektronix’ MSOs add channels, resolution, large screens and touch interface

Tektronix’ MSOs add channels, resolution, large screens and touch interface

New Products |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

With a feature it is calling FlexChannel, Tek has configured an instrument that has 4, 6 or 8 analogue channels and up to 64 digital channels (each analogue channel can become 8 digital capture channels). Acquisition is by a 12-bit converter; a new custom IC, one per channel, is the basis of the instrument platform, and much of the functionality of the instrument resides on that single device. There is integrated protocol analysis and a signal generator, and a large, high-definition capacitive touch display with a highly intuitive Direct Access user interface. In this instrument, Tek says, the user interface has been designed primarily for touch operation, rather than touch being added to a “knob-turning” interface (you can still operate the instrument by button and mouse). The traditional controls are therefore relegated to a smaller proportion of the panel, but they do show touches such as multi-colour LEDs around controls to indicate the channel selected.


5 Series scopes can be updated and reconfigured with up to eight channels, and FlexChannels offers digital channels “when needed”; some scopes, Tek observes, offer the option of adding digital channels post-purchase, but even then, it’s a fixed quantity of digital channels that can’t be changed as needs evolve. In many instruments, analog and digital channels are sampled at different rates, triggered using separate hardware, and stored in different-sized records, making precise comparisons impossible. By default, the input is a TekVPI connector that accepts all TekVPI analog probes, but when the new TLP058 Logic Probe is connected the input is converted to 8 digital channels. The user can add as many logic probes as they need, enabling anywhere from 8 to 64 digital channels. Digital signals are sampled, triggered, and stored the same as analogue signals, greatly simplifying comparisons. The 12-bit ADC yields an effective number of bits displayed figure of 7.5 at 1 GHz; via signal processing there is an enhanced, 16-bit high accuracy mode.


The 5 Series MSO incorporates a next generation front end amplifier that lowers noise approximately 4.5 dB from previous generation oscilloscopes. There is a range of analogue bandwidth options which are key-code-unlocked depending on purchased option, with only the highest, 2-GHz option, requiring return-to-service point


The15.6-inch capacitive touch, high definition (1920 x 1080 px) display has a user interface that lets users access controls directly through objects on the display rather than having to navigate through menus to get to more menus. The result is faster and more intuitive operation along with considerably more space for viewing waveforms and correlating signals; in particular there is a mode called “stacked display” that organises multiple waveforms in a manner, Tek claims, that makes it much easier to see what is happening across multiple channels.


The scope can be operated under either Windows 10 or a Linux OS. The user can switch between the two simply by adding or removing a solid-state drive that has the Windows license/OS installed on it. When the SSD is installed, the instrument boots Windows. When it’s removed, the instrument boots as a dedicated scope. Regardless of the configuration, the scope’s user interface drives exactly the same way.


All 5 Series MSOs can be purchased or field upgraded as needs change with an arbitrary/function generator (AFG), digital probes, extended record length up to 125 Mpoints, additional protocol support, and bandwidth up to 1 GHz. Pricing ranges from an entry point of 4 channels/625million-point record length/350 MHz b/w for €12,500, to a fully-configured 8-channel, 2-GHz version at €21,000.





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