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Tektronix redefines mid-range oscilloscopes

Tektronix has introduced the new 5 Series MSO mixed signal oscilloscope to better meet modern electronics design challenges.

The 5 Series MSO redefines the midrange oscilloscope with a host of innovations including the industry’s first FlexChannelTM technology that allows 4, 6 or 8 analog channels and up to 64 digital channels, integrated protocol analysis and signal generator, a new 12-bit signal acquisition system, a massive high-definition capacitive touch display, and a highly intuitive Direct Access user interface.

As embedded systems used in everything from smart watches to hybrid vehicles become more sophisticated, engineers developing these systems require more from their go-to test and measurement solution – the oscilloscope.

To effectively and efficiently characterize and debug these more complex systems, designers need to look at a much larger number and wider variety of signals than in the past.

At the same time, usability and fast time-to-insight are critical to staying on time and budget.

“The world of embedded electronics is expanding rapidly, driven by an insatiable demand for more electronics content in military, automotive, consumer and industrial products and systems, as well as, leading edge power technologies,” said Chris Witt, Vice President and General Manager, Time Domain Business Unit at Tektronix.

“Enabling our customers to keep pace required a completely new oscilloscope platform.”

Witt said the 5 Series MSO is the culmination of the largest single platform development effort in Tektronix’ history and delivers significant new innovations that will benefit our customers daily.

As systems become more complex and debug problems become more difficult, engineers are finding they need more than four analog channels – the number available on most mid-range oscilloscopes today.

To work around the problem, engineers would in some cases attempt to make two scopes work together, adding time, expense, and immense levels of frustration.

More than four analog channels are also needed for motor control and inverter design, automotive electronics, power supply design and power conversion analysis.

In addition, the ability to correlate multiple analog and digital inputs is critical to gaining comprehensive, synchronous views of what’s going across today’s more complex embedded and IoT systems.

Until now, oscilloscopes have been defined with fixed configurations: the user had to decide up front how many analog channels and whether they want zero or a fixed number of digital channels.

Some scopes 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.

Unlike ordinary scopes, the 5 Series MSO offers models with four, six, or eight FlexChannels — the industry’s first reconfigurable oscilloscope input.

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 analog signals, greatly simplifying comparisons.

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