Portable oscilloscopes generally suggest instruments that are one step above a toolbox digital voltmeter. Typically, they are adequate for quick troubleshooting assignments but hardly the tool of choice for critical measurements. There is nothing typical about the new 5000 Series portable oscilloscopes from Agilent Technologies (www.agilent.com), however.

The line includes two- and four-channel models with band-widths from 100 to 500 MHz and sampling rates from 2 to4 GSamples/s. All models can carry as much as 1 Mpointsof memory and can acquire waveforms at speeds to 100,000 waveforms/s. All this measurement capability comes in a package measuring just 38.5 X 18.8 X 17.4 cm. The portable scopes are suitable for applications in a wide range of industries, including computer, communications, consumer electronics, and aerospace/military areas.

The 5000 Series portable oscilloscopes (see figure) include the 100-MHz DSO5012A, the 300-MHz DSO5032A, and the 500-MHz DSO5052A two-channel instruments and the 100-MHz DSO5014A, 300-MHz DSO5034A, and 500-MHz DSO5054A four-channel instruments. The 100- and 300-MHz models operate at sampling rates to 2 GSamples/s while the 500-MHz models run at sampling rates to 4 GSamples/s in real-time, single-shot mode. With the real-time mode off, the equivalent time sample rate is 400 GSamples/s.

The maximum memory amount of 1 Mpoints is divided among the channels. For a single-channel measurement, all 1 Mpoints of memory is available. For a two-channel measurement, each channel can work with as much as 500 kpoints of memory. Standard vertical resolution is 8 b, although as much as 12 b resolution is available in real-time, single-shot mode. The portable scopes feature peak detect capability of 1 ns on 100-MHz models, 500 ps on 300-MHz models, and 250 ps on 500-MHz models. All of the scopes include averaging capability, with as many as 65536 averages to smooth out measurement traces.

The 5000 Series scopes feature the MegaZoom III memory architecture. Rather than a special partitioning of memory that only allows deep access in some cases, it provides access to a scope's deep memory at all times.

The 5000 Series portable oscilloscopes display captured waveforms on a crisp, 6.3-in. color XGA liquid-crystal-display (LCD screen with 1024 X 768-pixel resolution; the screen provides 256 intensity levels for ease of viewing. The scopes include an XGA output connector for external monitors. An array of built-in connectivity choices includes multiple USB connectors as well as LAN and GPIB connectors. The instruments are also LXI class C compliant. The scopes include waveform math functions as well as Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) functions, and support HDTV/EDTV triggering for video testing.

Agilent Technologies, Electronic Measurements Group, 5301 Stevens Creek Blvd., MS 54LAK, Santa Clara, CA 95052; (800) 829-4444, Internet: www.agilent.com