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Testing Teledyne's WaveSurfer 3000 oscilloscope

11 Sep 2014  | Adam Carlson

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When Teledyne LeCroy launched its WaveSurfer 3000 oscilloscope line, Dan Payne asked if I'd like to try the one of the WaveSurfer 3000 models. I was very excited and happy to do so.

The WaveSurfer's user interface, dubbed "Maui," really does simplify oscilloscope operation. After using it for a week, I'm convinced that the WaveSurfer is worth your evaluation, for it has some features that competitors lack. That doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement, but I'm sorry that I could keep it for just a week.

After watching some of the introductory videos on the Teledyne LeCroy website, I realised that preparing for the oscilloscope's arrival might not be the best approach. Why? Because one of the main selling points on the WaveSurfer 3000 was the user interface, which includes a mix of touch screens and trusty, reliable knobs and buttons. The user interface was supposed to take a novice user to get up and running not just using the basic features, but the advanced features as well. I consider myself a bit of a novice, so this would be a chance to see if the marketers telling the truth. Remember, the WaveSurfer 3000 is a serious piece of test equipment and not something that you find on the typical hobbyist workbench. Let's take a look at some of the features that are offered on the WaveSurfer 3000 shown in Figure 1.

WaveSurfer 3000

Figure 1: WaveSurfer 3000 showing digital signal decoding.

Each member of WaveSurfer 3000 family is a multi-function test tool. The family spans the 200MHz to 500MHz range. Along with the two to four channel analogue inputs, there is also a 16-channel digital input that can be paired with device's ability to decode a wide variety of digital signal formats. To complement the analogue and digital inputs, there is a single channel, 25MHz function generator. Teledyne LeCroy needed to differentiate itself in the market. The WaveSurfer 3000 competes with both the Tektronix MDO3000 and the Keysight Technologies InfiniiVision 3000 X-Series oscilloscopes. Each of these scopes are also mixed-domain scopes, though there is a distinct difference between the WaveSurfer 3000 and the competition.

What really makes this scope stand apart is the user interface. Its 10inch screen (Figure 2) is 1inch or larger than the other two products and it has a touchscreen (a feature that is not offered on either of the competitor's products). This touchscreen has enabled a hybrid interface that allows the mixed use of touch, knobs, and buttons. This is a key feature. It both allows the touchscreen fans to accomplish their tasks using touch, while allowing more seasoned users still interact with the physical interfaces of knobs and buttons. In keeping with the beach theme, Teledyne LeCroy calls this interface Maui.

 Test setup

Figure 2: Test setup (From left to right): Laptop for any necessary manual reference, WaveSurfer 3054 with all four analogue probes attached, Dell Venue 8 Pro for interfacing with the Red Pitaya in the foreground.

Because Teledyne LeCroy is touting this "simple to use" interface, I stopped reading the literature. Without reading the manuals, I started the oscilloscope and calibrated the probes, which seemed like a good first step. After that, the next step was to connect my Red Pitaya's output to the input of the WaveSurfer. First, I needed to set up a trigger.

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