OpenScope MZ Development Kit - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: OpenScope MZ Development Kit

Author: jpnbino

Creation date:

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

Detailed Review:

Hi, it was a pleasure to participate the current RoadTest. I had fun. Let's go!

What about OpenScope MZ?

 

  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.

Thumbs up

Ease to use

 

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

Instrument panel

 

     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

 

Documentation

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:

  • Board Files - PCB dimensions, Schematics in pdf. No design files are available. ( Why not available? Check here )
  • Firmware - The source code for the pic32MZ is available at GitHub. The firmware is written in Arduino like as for ChipKits boards.
  • Software - WaveForms Live source code is also available at GitHub.
  • 3D printable case - sources are available to modify and whatever you wanted.

 

Again, all the information are contained in OpenScope MZ page.

 

Support

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).

 

Support link

Image: OpenScope MZ forum page.

 

Image: Customer receives a fresh new board without problems.

 

 

Running OpenScope MZ

 

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.

 

 

FFT

 

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

 

What could be improved?

 

I believe that some features could be improved. In general, I missed shortcuts for things like RUN, SINGLE, and MATH commands in WaveFormsLive.

 

The Logic analyzer

 

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.

Phase shift diagram

 

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

 

Conclusion

 

     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.

Anonymous