LeCroy 12-bit DSOs boost performance, match 8-bit pricing
Dan Strassberg - October 22, 2012When LeCroy (now Teledyne LeCroy) announced its 12-bit-resolution HRO (high-resolution oscilloscope) line approximately 18 months ago, the company knew that, as useful and innovative as the instruments were, their pricing would consign them to niche markets, such as work on switch-mode power supplies. So the company’s engineers returned to their lab benches to develop a cost-centric design that would deliver 12-bit resolution (15 bits with the built-in extended-resolution mode) but would compromise neither product features nor quality and could compete on price with instruments having industry-standard 8-bit resolution.
The result is a new line, the HDO (high-definition oscilloscope) family, which not only meets (and in several cases, beats) the pricing of competitors’ equivalent-bandwidth 8-bit models but that also increases the bandwidth of its two top-of-the-line models by more than 50% to 1 GHz. Maximum real-time sampling rate is 2.5 GHz (versus 2 GHz in the HROs). At the lowest price point, LeCroy has added 200-MHz-bandwidth units.
The HDO design sacrifices only one HRO feature—the pivoting screen, which allowed users to trade screen width for screen height. The new screen is a 12.1-in. diagonal, 800-by-1200 pixel, multi-touch-capable unit, which permits software upgrades that will enable the use of gestures, such as pinching, to adjust the size of displayed waveforms. Primarily by reducing the cabinet depth, the new models cut the occupied bench area almost in half.
Using the FFT-based spectrum-analysis capability, instruments in the HDO 6000 family (and optionally, those in the lower priced HDO 4000 family) can graphically display how RF spectra vary with time. The blue trace at the top shows a spectral peak whose center frequency varies sinusoidally.
LeCroy’s engineers have also improved the 12-bit scopes’ FFT-based spectrum-analysis capability. According to LeCroy, though covering much less bandwidth than do the spectrum-analysis capabilities of Tektronix’s MDOs (multi-domain oscilloscopes), LeCroy’s spectrum analysis is unmatched in competitive units and is included in the prices of the three-model HDO 6000-series. Spectrum analysis is a $2000 option on the lower-priced six-model HDO 4000 series.
Another unusual feature is the input amplifier, which lets you suppress large dc offsets (as much as +/-400V depending on the voltage range). Hence, without invoking ac coupling, you can use the scope’s full resolution to examine the time-varying portion of signals that consist of low-amplitude ac superimposed on high-amplitude dc.
Base US prices for HDO 4000 units with bandwidths of 200 and 350 MHz range from $9000 to $13,500. Models having two and four channels are available. HDO 4000 units with bandwidths of 500-MHz and 1-GHz are also available, but only with four channels. The 1-GHz unit costs $16,400. The HDO 4000-series interleaved mode doubles the acquisition memory depth but not the sampling rate. Standard memory depth is 12.5M samples per channel without interleaving and 25M samples with interleaving. Increased memory depth, to 25/50M samples, is optional.
All HDO 6000 units (bandwidths of 350 MHz, 500 MHz and 1 GHz) have four channels. Base US prices range from $14,900 to $19,900. Standard memory depth is 50M samples/channel. Memory interleaving is not offered. Optionally, you can increase the memory depth to 100M or 250M samples/channel.
More Information http://teledynelecroy.com