Slim and functional oscilloscope challenges the industry

This article is part of the TechXchange: Oscilloscope techniques

What you will learn:

  • What features does the Series 2 mixed-signal oscilloscope offer?
  • Benefits of using the Series 2 MSO.
  • Company thoughts on the new oscilloscope.

Capable of moving seamlessly from the bench to the field and back again, the new Series 2 mixed-signal oscilloscope (MSO) developed by Tektronix expands test and measurement possibilities beyond traditional workflows.

Weighing less than 4 pounds and approximately 1.5 inches thin, the Series 2 MSO is truly portable, allowing engineers to achieve things not possible with legacy solutions. (Fig.1). With a variety of built-in options, the 2-Series MSO can take two or four analog channel inputs. It is equipped for advanced debugging at bandwidths of 70 to 500 MHz with a rate of 2.5 Gsample/s.

The 10.1 inch MSO. the touch screen makes operation easy and the built-in capabilities of the arbitrary function generator (AFG), pattern generator, voltmeter and optional frequency counter provide functional versatility in a single instrument. When used with batteries, the Series 2 MSO can operate for up to eight hours (Fig.2).

We reached out to Prashanth Thota, Tektronix’s Lead Release Product Developer, to talk about the new MSO and what it means for the engineer:

This breakthrough leveraged your growth accelerator process and was created through your close collaboration with electronic and mechanical design engineers. How difficult was it? Was it difficult to aggregate and integrate so much information from such diverse sources?

Tektronix, part of Fortive, uses the Growth Accelerator process for product conceptualization and development. The toolkit allows us to understand the market segments we intend to serve, the issues customers face in those market segments, and identify products with the right mix of features that meet customers’ needs. clients.

The toolkit we use for this process makes what could be a very difficult or challenging process systematic and informative. It provides an organized structure to a complex development system, helping us learn and develop a truly sought-after product in the market.

The work is done in what is called Build Measure Learn (BML), the cycles of which are iterative in nature. Usually, each cycle of BML lasts six weeks. The team, which includes representatives from marketing, hardware, mechanical, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), software, and operations, meets and sets goals for each BML. Goals are selected such that information is provided by each team and combines to enable customer-visible functionality.

The features (or “Builds”) of a BML cycle are tested with customers to validate performance and usability (“Measure”). The results (“Learnings”) are then applied to be refined in future BML cycles.

This process also allows us to focus on critical goals that need to be achieved in small increments, followed by improvements based on lessons learned. In this way, a large amount of information can be aggregated from various sources to create a truly unique product.

One of the things you highlight is the need to test and evaluate embedded systems. The high level of system integration in the Series 2 MSO reflects this itself. However, it is important for test equipment to be more accurate than the devices it is testing. How did you test the testers?

Tektronix uses precision test equipment such as the Fluke Scope Calibrator to calibrate the Series 2 Mixed Signal Oscilloscope. Tektronix certifies that each instrument is calibrated using standards traceable to the National Metrology Institute and that the procedures used for calibration also comply with ANSI/NCSL Z540 standards.

Quality, reliability and safety tests such as shake, shock, vibration, humidity, atmospheric and drop tests are also carried out to ensure product performance. The product is CSA certified for safety.

Tektronix is ​​accredited and has in-house labs for these tests, allowing us to perform extensive testing that results in a safe, reliable, and accurate product. Through our service organization, we also offer various calibration and protection plans to ensure the product operates within its defined parameters through regular calibration for years to come.

What balance of hardware and software do you think is presented in the Series 2 MSO? Considering the user interface, for example, which leverages advanced touchscreen hardware with system software, which aspect do you think becomes most critical?

I believe the hardware and software are also featured in the Series 2 MSO. They come together to offer a complete oscilloscope in a compact, portable, and easy to use format. Customers look for three aspects of a product: flexibility, ease of use, and data sharing or collaboration. The physical product which includes industrial design, mechanical and material engineering allows for flexibility.

The Series 2 MSO is a compact, lightweight and portable instrument with a removable battery that provides the freedom to test in the lab or in the field, a very stable stand with various configurations for many applications, a VESA mount that offers multiple mountings options, a simplified membrane switch front panel with integrated ring light for exceptional tactile feel and a large touchscreen for signal viewing and analysis.

The software platform overlaying the physical product brings people together while providing an interface that allows users to quickly accomplish their task. It also enables complex analysis and data sharing needs that have increased in recent years with the hybrid work environment.

Do you think collaborative design capabilities are becoming increasingly important in product development and manufacturing?

Collaborative design capabilities are becoming increasingly important as teams need to optimize cost, performance, and time to market. The past few years have seen more emphasis on collaboration as teams grapple with current market dynamics. For example, the hybrid/remote work culture that began during COVID has become increasingly common, leading teams to develop innovative ways of working and rely on new tools to collaborate.

Competing priorities require collaborative part selection to ensure target performance, ease of integration, cost goals, availability, and must meet thermal and power budgets.

Global product sales require close collaboration between teams in different regions to ensure coordinated marketing campaigns and adequate sourcing. Product compliance and safety standards vary by region/country, necessitating following these standards and ensuring the product meets these standards, enabling worldwide sales.

The Series 2 MSO can also be battery powered. How does it work and how long do the batteries last?

Yes, the Series 2 MSO was designed to have an optional removable battery for the subset of customers who will want this feature. Those who don’t need the battery option will have an even thinner and lighter instrument. The battery has two slots for the batteries. With two fully charged batteries, the battery life is eight hours, which can be hot-swapped for unlimited duration in battery operation.

Now customers can use the instruments in the lab where they have access to electricity, and in the field where there is no access to electricity. The slim and lightweight design of the Series 2 MSO with the battery mounted on the back of the instrument is perfect for taking an instrument wherever you need it.

The MSO also has natively integrated software tools to enable engineers to collaborate, troubleshoot, and debug designs across multiple time zones. It also includes TekDrive, our cloud-based test and measurement data workspace that allows engineers to upload, store, organize and share any file they or anyone else creates from a connected device. .

Users can also perform analysis on a waveform and save it to the cloud for immediate viewing and feedback.

For more information on the MSO Series 2, click here.

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