RoadTest: OpenScope MZ Development Kit
Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools
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?: BITSCOPE MICRO is comparable even though it's more expansive, it has protocol analyzer, but no WiFi connectivity.
What were the biggest problems encountered?: null
Well, it’s well suited for everyone due to its simplicity of use and it’s multi-function capability so that a newbie would not need to buy many instruments to get started with embedded systems. Also the great advantage is its portability that makes possible to connect the OpenScope to the board instead of bringing the board to the oscilloscope because sometimes you may need to see circuits behavior under certain environments; that can be a test under the sun, or in your garden, or in a board attached to yourself while sleeping or walking, or even if something happened and you don’t want to reset your board because the problem hides itself, and so on.
The only thing I had to do to have it working was installing the Digilent agent which makes the PC talk to the hardware and then Launch WaveForms Live:
Figure: Digilent agent under windows system tray
The panel was well designed so it is fast to locate everything on it. After a few minutes, I was already familiarized with its organization and I had no trouble
All the documentation regard to the OpenScope MZ is available on the product's website. That I found really useful because I didn't need to search that much for the information I wanted. Even information about its operation is given. The tutorials cover almost everything about WaveformsLive.
Also, Openscope is an Open project in which are available:
Again, all the information are contained in OpenScope MZ page.
Purchasing a product depends not only on its capabilities but the support offered for it. In that subject, Digilent offers a good support on its community. I had some questions and all were answered by staff people who is directly involved in the product's development which opens a path to ask ourselves for new features and improvements. Therefore, we can participate in product's development and know if we get something or not ( in other words, we skip bureaucracy).
Image: OpenScope MZ forum page.
Image: Customer receives a fresh new board without problems.
In the following list of videos, I show how I tested some features of the OpenScope MZ I received. It was a nice experience, I really enjoyed to play the instrument. It was fun and I kept education in mind so that I could use it to teach engineering concepts like filtering, frequency response (Bode plot and phase shift diagram), and Fast Fourier Transform. Bearing that in mind, I explored a bit the RC circuit showing its features like Time constant and cut off frequency.
Checking Fast Fourier Transform for a square wave, where the vertical orange lines show the main pure sine waves frequencies that mathematically composes a square wave:
Image: FFT of a square wave
I believe that some features could be improved. In general, I missed shortcuts for things like RUN, SINGLE, and MATH commands in WaveFormsLive.
I know that OpenScope is still under development and I don't know its project scope, but I think it's urgent to embed a protocol decoder in WaveformsLive, in a scale of importance from 0 to 10 I would give a 10 for that. I have a logic8 and I love it for that. A protocol decoder would increase the OS MZ engineering value, even for education. I know it's possible to export a CVS file and then export to an IDE that can read it, but it takes time. Also, could be added some measurements when hovering the mouse over the wave, turn on and off logic channels visibility.
Image: logic analyzer in WaveForms live
image: CVS file imported to WaveForms
Image: Decode protocol of Logic software from seleae.
It's quite good that OS MZ has bode plot, but bearing education in mind, I think it would be good to have a Phase shift diagram together with the BODE PLOT so that students could better understand what does it means when he/she sees the image below:
Image: Phase shift between the input blue wave and the output orange wave due to an RC circuit
OpenScope MZ is a great tool and it pays the price. I would buy one, better if had decoding feature for I2C bus, UART, and SPI.