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Dual Analog Channel w/10-bit ADC…

100 Msps, Deep Buffers and 12 Digital Channels...

Unmatched features & performance for $349

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Introduction

The QA100 represents a new milestone in price & performance for 8- to 32-bit developers working in complex, mixed signal environments at sub 50 MHz speeds. The market today has focused on blindly offering faster and faster oscilloscopes, completely ignoring the challenges posed by mixed signal development. Worse, to achieve the faster speeds at economical prices, manufacturers have dropped to narrower ADC width and in some cases are over-clocking ADC parts, further reducing the effective bit depth of the signal to just 6 or 7 bits. Oscilloscopes aren't defined by sampling rate alone. There are a host of variables to take into account. And the right scope for you depends on the types of systems you are working on.

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In developing the QA100, we have stepped back and studied the needs of mixed-signal developers. Most working on complex embedded systems are not just hardware or just software engineers. They are engineering “supermen” (and women) that straddle the boundary between software and hardware. They are fluent in C code, assembly, verilog and solder. They might be working on UI code one day, and fixing a problem found in the FPGA the next. Their clocks speeds aren’t necessarily sky high, but the complexity is. Quickly diagnosing, documenting and sharing the solution is critical.

The QA100 targets this engineer.

Design Philosophy

The QA100 is a PC-based oscilloscope for Windows XP, Vista, Windows 8 and later. This means the PC is used to collect, display and analyze your data. The connection to your PC happens over a USB High Speed link, and the high-speed transfer rate (up to 480Mbps) means screen update rates rivaling video games are possible. It also means you are looking at data on a high resolution desktop monitor in 32-bit color instead of a low-cost LCD panel that can display limited resolution. And best yet, your mouse and keyboard can drive the user interface and accomplish tasks in a fraction of the time it takes on a standalone scope. Sharing data has never been easier, with the ability to display comments directly on the screen fixed at a certain point in time. Add a note to the capture, copy the screen, drop it in an email and explain the problem to other engineers in less time than ever before.

QAMixedSig

We are mixed-signal developers ourselves. In developing the scope, we knew we wanted wide ADCs from the start. Why is this important when a scope has so much input gain control? Because the width of the ADC determines your dynamic range, or the size of the smallest signal you can see when a large signal is present. For spotting noise in the frequency domain, a 10-bit converter can let you resolve noise that is 12 dB lower than an 8-bit scope. This is important if you are looking for switching power supply noise on a sensitive analog line, for example. You just can't do this kind of analysis on a sub $500 bench-top scope.

QANoiseFloor

We also knew we wanted enough logic analyzer channels to really figure out what was happening. Today, we provide 12 logic channels, but the hardware supports up to 32. We hope a future update--at no additional cost--will unlock these channels. As expected, the ability to display channels as a group is provided, as is the ability to perform complex protocol decoding. Working with custom or esoteric protocols? You can use free tools from Microsoft to write your own protocol analyzer using the samples provided. This makes it easy to show things such as encrypted data values in plaintext, or to write code to verify timing requirements.

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And finally, we know nothing is more frustrating than limited memory. We included super-deep buffers to allow you to capture long sequences of data--at full speed. Yes, there are products out there that like to claim they can offer your entire hard drive as a buffer. But they can only do that at sampling rates that are, frankly, problematic for all but the simplest of systems.

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We also included an audio-range AWG function that allows you generate very high resolution single- or dual-tone sine, square, triangle waves, or whatever waveform you might be able to draw. The dual tone feature allows you to generate, for example, a 1 KHz and a 1.01 KHz waveform at the same time so that linearity of audio amplifiers can be readily measured.

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The Software

The hardware is controlled from the QAScope application. We've provided a slide out panel that will surface when you move your mouse over the panel area. The panel reveals controls laid out as you'd expect on a conventional scope. Buttons are large and illuminated, and knobs can be controlled with your mouse. Simply hover over the knob and move your scroll wheel. Or slide up and down to adjust. Here, we've taken a cue from pro audio software and really studied what those users needed when subjecting the user to dozens of buttons at a time. The solution works so well that in fact you can easily drive the scope from a touch screen if your PC is equipped with one.

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Measurements are quick and easy. Drag your cursors to wherever you wish and let the software take over. Don't worry about update rates here. Even with the measurements enabled, you are still going to be enjoying 20+ updates per second (depending on the speed of your machine). Note, too, that the units on the measurements are in engineering-friendly units. No more having to decipher 1.0200366e-2 volts in your head. The right units, and the right number of significant digits. Automatically.

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The Mechanics of it all

The case is made of 1.2mm powder-coated steel/aluminum, suitable for rack mounting. The front plate is 2mm thick shot-blasted aluminum, with a silkscreened legend. There is a larger story being built here. For now, all we can say is "wait and see" where we are headed with this. This isn't some generic box we've crammed a PCB into.

Competitive Landscape

There has been a lot of innovation in the area of USB scopes over the last decade. Why another? We think the specs below tell the story. See below in the "Further Reading" section for a sortable table you can browse. Dig deeper and see what we mean when we say "unmatched performance for $349."

QA100 Compete Summary

 

What's Included

In the box you’ll find the scope, a 40pin logic analyzer cable with color coded ends that can slide directly onto 0.1” headers, two 60 MHz probes, a USB cable, an install CD, and a cable for the SMB connector used by the AWG and external trigger. It is a complete kit. Rack-mount ears will come later as part of a more innovative offering we think you'll be very pleased with. Suffice to say, we know desktop space is at a premium.

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Further Reading...

QA100 Full Specifications are located here.

QA100 Competitive Summary here in a handy sortable table.

Mixed Signal Debug and Development paper here.

QA100 Manual here (note, this is version 1.27. Always check the latest release EXE for latest docs)

QA100 Application Notes here

Support pages (including latest EXE) are here

Purchasing

Dual 10-bit ADC 100Msps analog channels + 12 digital channels for $349. We don't think you can find anything out there delivering this level of performance at this price.

You can use your credit card (no PayPal account needed) or PayPal account credentials for the actual purchase.

United States

We can ship to the US for $14 S&H via USPS Priority. This will usually be a 2-3 day shipping time and is very economical.

Canada and beyond…

We can ship to Canada for a $32 S&H via USPS Priority, and other countries served by USPS Priority for $48 S&H. Total transit time is usually 1 week to Canada, and 2 weeks elsewhere. The purchaser is responsible for additional tariffs, taxes and/or duties. For import tax purposes, the scope HARDWARE is noted as having a value of $120, and the tariff code is 903020. This code might be used to determine any tariffs that will be due. For example, in the US, importing a product with this tariff code results in a 1.7% duty on the product. The scope SOFTWARE represents the balance of the purchase price. As the software is downloaded, you will need to check if local governments require a tariff or duty on software downloads.

 

We offer a 15-day money-back guarantee and a 180 day warranty against defects.

Intrigued? Feel free to contact us with any question using the email alias "sales", or use the support forum.

 
Check stock status HERE

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