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Teledyne LeCroy

27 posts
In earlier posts in this series, we've explained what ground bounce is and how it happens. We have also taken a deeper dive into the use of I/O drivers to implement sense lines that let us better quantify and analyze what kind of ground-bounce hit our system is taking. Now, let's look at a detailed example of how to measure and diagnose ground bounce.   For demonstration purposes, we've instrumented an Arduino MCU (some details on how that was done are here) as our DUT. The test equipment ...
Ground bounce can plague digital I/O lines with bit errors and turn your hair grey trying to uncover the cause in the process. But there is a trick you can use to make the analysis a little easier: using a quiet-low I/O driver as a sense line to reveal the existence, and magnitude, of ground bounce in your system.   As we discussed in our last post on this topic, ground bounce happens when multiple I/O drivers share common Vdd and Vss lines AND return paths are not wide, uniform planes, re ...
Designing and/or troubleshooting a system with, say, an MCU driving signals across transmission lines, can be an interesting exercise in patience and diligent sleuthing. Perhaps you're seeing an inordinate amount of bit errors at the receive end of I/O lines but having some difficulty nailing down the source. In many cases, the problem is ground bounce, an issue that can be tough to diagnose and cure. Let's begin an examination of the ground-bounce phenomenon by explaining how it arises and then ...
In our recent exploration of 10x passive probes, we've determined that while these types of probes are great general-purpose tools, they're not necessarily going to do the job in specialized measurement circumstances. They're relatively low-bandwidth, low-SNR probes that impose some limitations and, in some scenarios, can deliver potentially misleading or erroneous measurement results if used without clear understanding of their capabilities.   But what if we remove the probes from the equ ...
Now that we have a better understanding of what's happening under the hood of a 10x passive oscilloscope probe, we can sum up its key characteristics. The first thing to know about such probes is that they offer relatively low bandwidth (<100 MHz). This is largely a result of the probe's tip inductance.   A 10x passive probe is going to exhibit a relatively low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). For one thing, you give up 20 dB in SNR simply due to the fact that the probe attenuates the measu ...
We've been discussing the ubiquitous 10x passive probe here on Test Happens, beginning with an overview of the probe-oscilloscope system. We turned to the 10x passive probe itself and the issues posed by its constitutive circuitry. Then we covered what about that circuitry makes it usable at all, namely, its built-in equalization circuit.   Figure 1: With unequal impedances at either end of the coax, are cable reflections a concern in 10x passive probes?   Now we'll consider anothe ...
If you're using 10x passive probes with your oscilloscope, it's important to understand the bandwidth of your probing system and how it's affected by various methods of probing the signal of interest. There's a relatively easy way to determine this parameter by probing a fast-edge, 10-MHz signal from a square-wave generator. Doing so can also instruct us in the effects of tip inductance on the probe's bandwidth.   When you look at the frequency spectrum of that fast-edge signal, you'll fin ...
We've been discussing 10x passive probes and their inner workings; our last post covered all the ways in which a 10x passive probe is apt to be a liability. They'd be basically unusable for any measurements at all but for one attribute: their equalization circuit (Figure 1). Without it, the 10x passive probe makes a pretty good low-pass filter, but the equalization circuit counters that with a high-pass filter to balance things out.   Figure 1: The adjustable equalization circuit on the ...
We began this series of posts on oscilloscope probes by putting them in perspective: Probes have a number of different jobs to do, including serving effectively as both a mechanical and electrical interface. Despite having electrical attributes of their own, we want them to grab our signal of interest, but we don't want them to affect that signal in any way.   In fact, we'd like our probe-cable-oscilloscope measurement system to be perfect, possessing: A mechanical interface that conforms ...
Few aspects of using an oscilloscope are as important as the probe: after all, the probe forms both the mechanical and electrical interfaces between the device under test (DUT) and the oscilloscope itself. To feed a signal into an oscilloscope, we're limited to a coaxial connection. Thus, we need a geometry transformer that picks up the signal of interest from the DUT and transfers it to the oscilloscope's coaxial connection.     Figure 1: Probe, cable, and oscilloscope form a syste ...
Our last post considered some broad aspects of debugging DDR memory on Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as how chip interposers can help with probing access and the benefits of virtual probing software. Let's now take a look at some particular examples of problems with these memory chips and their controllers and see how debugging with an oscilloscope might be approached.   Figure 1: Using the oscilloscope's Track math function can help pin down timing anomalies   Figure 1 is ...
Internet of Things (IoT) devices are, at heart, just another embedded computing system, albeit one with an extremely well-defined function. As such, there's bound to be some amount of on-board data storage, and the storage medium of choice these days is typically double data-rate (DDR) memory. DDR memory transfers serial data on both the rising and falling edges of the clock signal, which is the characteristic from which it derives its name.   Figure 1: Embedded systems such as IoT devic ...
Figure 1: A generic IoT block diagram shows serial-data links in blue   In our ongoing review of debugging serial-data standards for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, let's now turn to three more popular protocols: Ethernet, SATA, and PCIe. Ethernet is found in computer networking applications, while the Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) connects host bus adapters to mass-storage devices. The Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCI Express or PCIe) handles communication b ...
A myriad of serial-data standards come into play when we're discussing Internet of Things (IoT) devices. We've talked about I2C, SPI, and UART in a previous post. Yet another serial-bus standard that comes under the IoT umbrella is the Controller Area Network (or CANbus) standard. CANbus enables microcontrollers and peripheral devices to communicate with each other in applications without an intervening host computer. In the past, it's been typically used in automotive applications, but CANbus h ...
Our last post discussed the difficulties in acquiring the many sensor signals that may be input to a deeply embedded system such as an IoT device as well as a hardware solution to the problem. Another aspect of IoT debugging and validation is the low-speed serial data standards used to facilitate communication between ICs and between controllers and peripheral devices (Figure 1). To that end, let's take a look at three such low-speed standards: I2C, SPI, and UART. Figure 1: Serial-data links ...