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11 Inexpensive Portable Test Tools

12/24/2013 04:35 PM EST
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David Ashton
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Inexpensive test gear
David Ashton   12/24/2013 7:29:28 PM
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Hi Susan, and Happy Christmas.

I think any list like this ought to mention two more items:

1. The National Instruments MyDAQ

NI gear is usually pretty expensive (as is the LabView software needed to drive it) but if you are a student you can get their MyDAQ, which is intended for student use and is cheap ($99 for students with a copy of LabView), but it is only 200 KSPS  / 20KHz bandwidth which I find woefully inadequate - even the low range items above do 2 MSPS and 200 KHz Bandwidth.  Nevertheless it is a versatile goodie - has digital I/O and a DMM built in - and quite good value if you're a student.

2. Digilent Analog Discovery

Digilent make the Analog Discovery which is $99 if you can get the student price, a bit more otherwise.  100 MSPS 14-bit channels and they claim effective 5 MHz bandwidth - plus digital I/O.  I'd like to get one of these - streets ahead of the MyDaq.

Both of these are USB/PC based, so no good if you want something standalone.Both are intended for the educational area, but still useful for low speed lab work.

Sanjib.A
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Re: Inexpensive test gear
Sanjib.A   12/25/2013 3:26:37 AM
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@David Ashton:

Great to learn about "Analog Discovery" from Digilent. Thanks!! Looks to be a professional product for low speed lab work and handy for debugging as it is multipurpose: oscilloscope cum logic analyzer cum multimeter. Ease of portability makes it good to place the tool on the desk instead the requirement for a lab space. Requesting your comments after you get a chance to try that.

David Ashton
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Re: Inexpensive test gear
David Ashton   12/25/2013 5:18:23 AM
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@Sanjib - I am hoping to get an Analog Discovery next year and if I do I will try and let you know how it goes.  Everything I have heard about them has been good.  Anyone else have hands-on experience with them?

Sanjib.A
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Re: Inexpensive test gear
Sanjib.A   12/25/2013 10:43:17 AM
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Thank you! :)

Kinnar
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Re: Inexpensive test gear
Kinnar   12/25/2013 1:57:06 PM
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You are right but I think NI, MyRio also finds a better place as compared to all others listed out there. Here is the link to it.

NI myRIO is an embedded hardware device designed to design real, complex engineering systems it simultaneously allows to test and measure many protocols as well on an FPGA.

 

Kinnar
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LTSpice is not portable software. Article with good collection of tools
Kinnar   12/25/2013 2:07:50 PM
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LTSpice is not portable software, as it requires an install on a PC or Mac. But yes it is a very good test tool from LT. 

But by the way the tools listed here are very nice collection at a stretch, among them Red Pitaya seems to be of trande setter potential being a open source. Also it is nice of Gabotronics that they have revealed the schematic diagram of the product they are yet to commercially available.

Susan Rambo
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Re: Inexpensive test gear
Susan Rambo   12/25/2013 4:37:48 PM
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Happy Christmas to you, David. Thanks for mentioning the Diligent Analog Discovery. A reader on EDN was asking about it so I was wondering if it was a good one to include. Thanks again. 

David Ashton
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Re: Inexpensive test gear
David Ashton   12/25/2013 6:09:00 PM
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@Kinnar.... thanks for the info about NI MyRIO - looks good,Wifi and lots of IO,  but still only 500 KSPS Analog.   I couldn't find a price yet but here's a link (your post did not have one)

http://www.ni.com/pdf/manuals/376047a.pdf

Aeroengineer
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Logging Multimeter
Aeroengineer   12/25/2013 6:51:23 PM
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I had not heard of that logging multimeter till you posted this blog.  That one will be an interesting one to watch here in the future.  Also thanks for the mention of my recent blog post on the Red Pitaya.  I am excited to get some more time to play with it here in the near future.

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Inexpensive test gear
MeasurementBlues   12/25/2013 11:49:34 PM
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Susan,

I worked for Extech as a design adn applications engineer the late 80s to early 90s. The company was privately owned at the time. Now it's owned by FLIR.

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