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Logic Analyzer

Definition - What does Logic Analyzer mean?

A logic analyzer is an electronic instrument that is used to capture and display multiple signals from a digital system or circuit. This electronic laboratory test instrument is designed to evaluate and display signals from electronic circuits being tested in order to determine whether the circuit is working as designed and that there are no bugs. It works in much the same way as an oscilloscope but is capable of capturing multiple signals.

Techopedia explains Logic Analyzer

A logic analyzer, in its most basic of operations, captures, conditions, analyzes and then displays a series of digital events produced by a specific electronic device or circuit. Once captured, the data can be rendered as decoded traffic, state listings or even graphical images. Advanced versions can store previous data and then compare these to new data sets to bring further insight on the activities of the circuit or system being tested.

A logic analyzer also has advanced triggering capabilities, which are useful for visualizing the timing relationships present between the many different signals in a digital system.

Categories of a logical analyzer:

  • PC-based -- The logic analyzer hardware connects to a PC or other types of computers via a USB, Ethernet or serial port. The main function of the logic analyzer hardware is for data capture and signal conditioning, whereas all the analytics and special functions will be done on the software side.
  • Portable -- Also known as standalone logic analyzer, which integrates all of the components into a single package, it typically comes as is and is usually not upgradable compared to the modular logic analyzer, which can swap function modules, or to the PC-based one, which can have any number of functionality additions via software updates.
  • Modular -- This type is designed to have multiple module ports to add more channels and functionalities to the system. The chassis or frame is composed of the display, computer, controls and expansion slots for additional modules. This type of logic analyzer is typically more expensive than the other two types but can fill both roles because it is, in a way, portable since it is not bolted down and it can also be connected to a PC for additional software functionality.

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