Embedded systems, complete with memory, microcontrollers, and digital signal processing (DSP), can be found in the majority of modern electronic equipment, be it for commercial, industrial, or military applications. Checking the serial communications buses in these systems can be challenging without the right tools. Fortunately, the DPO3000 Digital Phosphor Oscilloscopes (DPOs) from Tektronix (www.tektronix.com) include the measurement performance as well as the triggering and decoding to troubleshoot a long list of standard serial buses, including I2C, SPI, RS-232, RS-422, RS-485, UART, CAN, and LIN serial buses. The DPO3000 scopes are available in two- and four-channel models with bandwidths from 100 to 500 MHz.

The DPO3000 oscilloscope (see figure) line includes models with bandwidths of 100, 300, and 500 MHz. Each model provides generous oversampling by measure of 2.5-GSamples/s sampling rate and the capability to capture 50,000 waveforms per second. Available in two- and four-channel versions, the DPO3000 oscilloscopes provide 5-million-point record lengths standard on each channel for capturing events over extended periods of time. Users can select 1000 to 5 million points per channel to provide high-resolution capture of transient events.

Since all that memory can be used to capture extremely long records across many screens, the DPO3000 series include the company's Wave Inspector navigation tool to simplify analysis of long records. The Wave Inspector allows operators to define their own search criteria to help speed a search. In addition, the oscilloscopes are supplied with Tektronix OpenChoice desktop software and LabVIEW SignalExpress Tektronix Edition LE base version software from National Instruments (www.ni.com) for ease of connectivity with an external personal computer.

To help with serial bus debugging, the DPO3000 series feature flexible triggering capabilities, and can trigger on packet content, allowing operators to search and mark packet content on received signals. In addition to quickly locating specific events, data can be shown in an Event Table format. The scopes can also view two communications buses simultaneously to compare performance levels. The Tektronix Versatile Probe Interface provides smart communications between a DPO3000 oscilloscope and an attached probe. The probe menu on the scope interacts directly with each probe. TekVPI provides direct connect ability to current probes, differential probes, single-ended probes, and flexibility when combining different probes.

The DPO3000 instruments show menus and data on a 9-in. wide-screen color WVGA display screen. The DPO technology contributes variable persistence with intensity grading to show the frequency of occurrence for events of interest. The DPO3000 oscilloscopes provide generous connectivity, with a video output port, a USB host port on the front panel, and USB device and Ethernet ports on the rear of the instrument. The DPO3000 DPOs weigh 9 lbs (4.1 kg) and are only only 5.4 in. (137 mm) deep. P&A: $4450 (100 MHz, 2 channel). Tektronix, Inc., 14200 SW Karl Braun Dr., P.O. Box 500, Beaverton, OR 97077; (800) 835-9433, Internet: www.tektronix.com.