A DMM, or multimeter, is the go-to instrument for debugging most circuits. You probably already have at least one DMM on your bench for this reason. Me? I have three. But that’s a different story. Let’s talk about a Logic Analyzer.
Digital signals represent two states: on (usually “1”) and off (usually “0”). A multimeter (DMM) may be of limited value for these signals. When using the DC voltage measurement, you can see “something” is happening, but not exactly what that “something” is. For example on a PWM pin, you’ll see the RMS Voltage change as you modify the duty cycle. However, you can not see if the signal is “ringing” when turning on and off.
For debugging digital signals, a popular option is to use a Logic Analyzer. If you are not familiar with a logic analyzer, or you are not sure if you need one, this tutorial should help.
First I’ll give a simple overview of what a Logic Analyzer does, some considerations when to use one, and then give some terms to know when looking at them.
Behind-The-Scenes of AddOhms #14
After moving from learning a new tool to mastery, the resistance for me to switch becomes very high. This can apply to hardware tools like a drill, saw or CNC milling machine. It can also apply to software tools like EAGLE, Programming Languages or video editing software. In AddOhms #14, I gave an overview of the VirtualBench from National Instruments which I’ve covered on this blog as a hands-on, written review and video review.
[featured-image size=”featured” single_newwindow=”false” alt=”learn a new tool” title=”learn a new tool”]Photo courtesy of smuay/Shutterstock.com[/featured-image]
For this AddOhms Behind-The-Scenes look, I talk about my experience with changing my tool set, the most critical tool in fact, I use for creating AddOhms Videos. If you’ve ever wondered how I do those hand animations, keep reading for the deepest look yet into my workflow.
The first time I saw the VirtualBench from NI, I was amazed by its shear size—or lack of size. At the time, the unit I had access to an uncalibrated pre-release unit at the Austin TechShop. So I didn’t think it was fair to do a full review. Fast forward to today. Now that I’ve spent a week working with the VirtualBench I have some comments and thoughts. What follows is a review of this “All-In-One Instrument” that runs $1999 USD.
Modern smartphones have eliminated the need for a number of devices. Often I use my smartphone as a scanner (CamScanner), car GPS, voice recorder, security token, pedometer, light controller, and oh yeah, a phone. My electronics bench is currently home to a Bench Power Supply, an Oscilloscope, and a Function Generator. While good instruments, they should worried because they’re going to get replaced with one device: National Instrument’s VirtualBench.