FPGA Based Digital Oscilloscope

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Lazányi János Gyula
Department of Measurement and Information Systems

In electrical engineering the oscilloscope is one of the most fundamental devices. We can hardly find an electronic lab, workshop or hardware-design companies without an oscilloscope. We can admit that the oscilloscope is one of the best device to analyze and visualize analog and digital signals.

Formerly the analog CRT (Cathod Ray Tube) oscilloscopes had been dominating but it has changed because of the fast development of digital technique. Nowadays most scopes are digital. They have an advantage against the analog scopes that they have a storage memory. As a consequence it is possible to make measurements, math functions and store datas.

Some greater oscilloscope manufacturer (Agilent, Tektronix, Rohde Schwarz) perform excellent solutions to produce oscilloscopes with these high functionalities.

So now we can figure out which digital circuit, chip or ASIC is the best for these tasks. FPGAs seem to be very useful as they can transport parallel data with high speed, they support signal processing and high performance data management, moreover they have a suitable interface for fast memory writing and reading.

In this paper I define a Spartan6 FPGA based digital oscilloscope architecture. I am going to show the main data path in the FPGA and the related sub-modules as well. I am also going to present the digital trigger and math units that I have created.


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