Tektronix MDO3054 Oscilloscope - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Tektronix MDO3054 Oscilloscope

Author: migration.user

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Independent Products

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: TPS2000, MSO2000, MDO4000 Series scopes

What were the biggest problems encountered?: Long wait to get it, but that was worth the wait.

Detailed Review:

After two mounts of waiting, MDO3054 oscilloscope is on my bench, take a look. First I feel very lucky that Tektronix selected my roadtest application, and also i want to thank for element14 community for hosting roatest program. This is one of the best chance for normal people to get hands on latest test and measurement equipment



This photo was taken from Tektronix press release




First thing that impressed me was huge shipping box, volume was near 1m3. Inside this big box, was smaller MDO3054 box, as well as few other boxes, for logic analyzer, power cord, and option modules, like MDO3PWR as well as MDO3EMBD. That was surprising, is that Tektronix added power cord, and that was very generous, but problem is that they supply me with wrong cables, two times! So after unboxing I get USA style plug, as well as odd power cord, I guess for Australia (since voltage rating was 240Vac). If they expected that I have different socket, they should know, that Lithuania use EU style plug which is becoming standard in Europe.


Well, singe trip to local store, and 1$ later, I remade that cords to correct ones, as well as make them shorter, so it will work with my workplace setup. But I miss two things, MDO demo board, and coax cable for AFG option that is enabled. Since I don’t have any coax cables, I had to buy it locally, and quality of our cables is not that great. To make my life easier, I get my hand on MDO Demo 1 board, that contains all protocols, signals, RF signals, and many more.


As expected, 500MHz scope come this TPP0500B 500MHz passive probes. With 10M input resistance, and very low 3.9pF loading capacitance. Also, TPP0500B use smart probe interface TekVPI that can read internal probe EEPROM, and use correct load capacitor for compensation, since TPP0500B probes don’t have any compensation capacitor. I don’t exactly know how it works, but I am speculating that they have some software adjustable capacitor in oscilloscope frontend to compensate it, or they do other magic that is beyond my knowledge. One thing to note, each probe must be calibrated to individual channel, so every probe will have same step response. So first thing to do is repeat calibration procedure for each channel with new probe.



Logic analyzer probe is standard 16 channels P6316 probe. One interesting thing regarding logic probes is that oscilloscope has 121ps timing resolution then MagniVu is enabled, so probes must be very well matched, as well as skew between channels must be very well matched inside oscilloscope. And to have 121ps timing resolution is a bit hard, since propagation delay inside comparators will have some randomness, and I don’t think it is possible to get 121ps timings, well we will talk about this later.




MDO Demo board

To make life easier, I get my hands on MDO Demo board 1. This is packed with multiple options to show MSO, DPO,”MDO” capability. That includes AM modulation, analog waveforms, fast edges, multiple parallel buses, CAN, LIN, SPI, I2C, UART, RS232, USB, MIPI, FLEXRAY, 10/100 LAN, singe RF output with multiple different signals,  glitches, runt pulses, and on and on and on. This is very nice board for learning. I never get any board with that many signals to probe, and I spend days simply by looking to signals, trying to trigger on different types without using dedicated trigger just for fun. That was quite a learning experience. I only found one flaw: since this board is packed with 3.3V logic, inrush current is very large, that why Tektronix added USB power cord with additional axillary power input (since USB cable with multiple connections to USB ports, like we get with small portable HDD). Now if we try to use only single USB, due to limiting, demo board will go to self-reset mode, and will pulse led’s, and will not be happy. But if we use front and rear USB ports, demo board will boot normally. When it’s booted, power draw goes below 500mA, so single USB will provide enough power. Now, why Tektronix is going true all this trouble, if they could just put normal dc/dc converter with extended soft start and use only single USB? For me it is pore design practice, but hey, rest of feature set is just incredible.



roadtest is still under construction