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Cool Oscilloscope Software You Might Not Know Exists

Blog Post created by rlashlee Employee on Sep 1, 2016

With all of the recent advances in oscilloscope capability, it can be hard to keep up with the latest features and enhancements available. However, what you don’t know may hurt you since many of these were developed to make your job easier. Two recent examples of these types of enhancements are offline analysis software and MultiScope software.

Offline Analysis

Keysight engineers work closely with their fellow engineers to understand their needs and what makes their job difficult. This helps them decide what to work on next to help Keysight oscilloscope users like you. One example of this is the N8900A Infiniium Offline Oscilloscope Analysis Software. When the Keysight development team spoke to engineers, they heard three main reasons for wanting the ability to analyze data captured by an oscilloscope offline:

  • Documentation – The number one thing we heard from customers was the need for a more efficient documentation process. Many of them were fine in terms of using the oscilloscope and making measurements, but found documenting on the oscilloscope painful. It usually involved taking a bunch of screenshots, saving them off somewhere, importing them into a word processor, and then taking notes. The top request from these customers was to make offline software a tool people could use to document more quickly and easily. So, when Keysight engineers designed the N8900A offline software, they worked to accomplish just this and included many features that make documentation a breeze.
  • Time Savings – Oscilloscopes are expensive pieces of equipment, so the ability to use the oscilloscope just to capture data and then freeing it up for another team member while the data is analyzed on a PC or laptop saves a lot of time and makes the group more efficient. Plus, it can be easier to do all of your analysis from your laptop or PC instead of your oscilloscope.
  • Team collaboration – Teams that are geographically dispersed can find it difficult to share data. With offline software, one person can easily capture the data and then send it to anyone else who has the offline software so they see the exact same data, measurements, etc. Additionally, the offline software enables bookmarks and annotations that can be used to point to specific parts of the waveform as you share the data.

The Keysight N8900A offline software gives you the entire oscilloscope’s GUI on your PC, allowing you to easily analyze, document, or share data from the comfort of your laptop or PC. If you have not heard of this capability before, I highly encourage you to look into it. Learn more about how offline software can help you with your job in this application note: Three Reasons to Complement Your Scope Investment with PC-based Analysis Software.

 

MultiScope Software

Another request Keysight’s engineers heard was the need to use more than four channels with an oscilloscope. For example, engineers or technicians working on three phase power required more than four channels, but the oscilloscope industry lacked this capability. Two approaches emerged in the recent past. One approach was to create 8 channel oscilloscopes. The second one was to create oscilloscope software, known as MultiScope, where you could connect multiple oscilloscopes together. Keysight opted for the second approach for several reasons.

  1. We found that while engineers wanted the capability to use more than four channels, they did not always need this many channels and would often prefer the flexibility to bring oscilloscopes together when they needed them and split them apart when they did not. This allows better use of their equipment.
  2. Many customers needed even more than 8 channels and using MultiScope enables them to connect together up to 40 channels.

In other words, MultiScope software offers an engineer or technician more flexibility in terms of how their equipment is used. They can bring the scopes together when they need more than four channels (up to 40) and split them apart when multiples people need an oscilloscope.

After talking to many engineers, the Keysight N8834A MutiScope Application was developed. This software enables you to connect up to 10 oscilloscopes with any combination of 2000X, 3000T, 3000A, 4000X, 6000X, 7000B, 9000A, S-Series, 90000A, 90000X, Q, V, or Z-Series. The signals can be viewed on a single display either using the offline software described above or on the leader scope. This can be an incredibly powerful tool if you need more than four channels.

Here is the MultiScope data sheet for more information.

Summary

It is extremely useful to stay up-to-date on the latest capabilities of any test and measurement gear. Our engineers are constantly talking to fellow engineers regarding how we can make their lives easier or enable measurements not previously possible. Having access to this software, measurement, feature, or enhancement can enable you to finish your job quicker or perform it better. We will continue to update you on this blog when exciting new capabilities are available, and feel free to comment with your suggestions or feedback!

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