Multifunction Electronics Workbench for Electronic Engineers
With a small benchtop footprint and a high specification, the Compact Electronic Workstation meets all your power and instrumentation needs for electronics education and prototyping in one self-contained, easily portable unit. The Workstation includes a number of PC-based virtual instruments: a 2-channel oscilloscope, a spectrum analyzer, a signal generator, an 8-channel logic analyzer, a digital signal generator, and a serial communications analyzer. Software for these virtual instruments is included with the unit. The Workstation also includes a power supply +12V (2A) / -12V (0.8A) / 5V (5A) and an 8-channel PC interface which is compatible with Flowcode, Visual Basic, C# and LabView. The connectors to the instruments and I/O are presented on the front panel, and a number of connecting leads and a digital multimeter are shipped with the unit. The top of the Compact Workstation has a folding metal backplane that can be angled to 45 degrees or left flat. The backplane has holes on a 20mm grid which makes the unit fully compatible with E-blocks. An advanced prototyping board, the Protostation, is available as an optional extra. The unit is shipped with a North American power cable.
Note: The pictures show E-blocks mounted on the Workstation for illustration purposes only. They must be purchased separately.
The top of the unit is fabricated from strong anodized black aluminum, with a grid of holes which make it suitable for use with E-blocks, as seen in the pictures. The oscilloscope inputs and signal generator output are presented via standard 50Ω BNC connectors. The range of leads supplied with the Electronic Workstation includes: 1x USB cable, 2x 9-way D-type leads, 2x 50Ω scope probes, 10x 2mm micro gripper analyzer probes, 25x backplane mounting pillars, and red and black 4mm "banana" clip leads. Everything comes in a plastic carrying case.
Electronic Workstation Hardware
|Power Supply |
|Connections||5-way DIN (PSU input), 4mm socket/binding post (power outputs) |
|Input||90V (2A) to 265V (1A), 47 Hz to 63 Hz |
|Digital multimeter||Yes |
|Maximum output||-12V @ 800mA, +5V @ 5A, +12V @ 2A |
|2-channel Oscilloscope |
|Bandwidth||25 MHz |
|One-channel sampling rate||40 MHz |
|Scope resolution||8 bit |
|Signal generator||Variable |
|External trigger||- |
|Arbitrary waveform generator||Yes |
|Digital Analyzer |
|Connections||9-way D-sub (8 channels), 2mm sockets (8 channels, clock, trigger) |
|Sample rate||1 MS/s to 24 MS/s |
|Triggering||Rising or falling edge, multiple channels, external trigger |
|Serial decoding||I2C, SPI, Async, USB, CAN, 1-Wire, PS/2, SMBus, I2S |
|PC Interface |
|Connections||9-way D-sub (0V, 8 channels) |
|Clock speed||4 MHz |
|Program memory||24 kB |
|Data memory||1 kB ports RAM, 1 kB program RAM, 256 bytes EEPROM |
|USB||USB2.0 full speed, 12 Mbits/s |
|Communication||USART, MSSP (I2C, SPI) |
|Analog to digital||2 channels, 10 bit |
|Timers||One 8-bit, Three 16-bit |
|Outputs||PWM, 8-bit ADC |
|Dimensions||Width 374 mm, Top-down Height 66 mm, |
Top-open Height 204mm, Depth 241 mm
|Temperature range||In use 0 °C to 40 °C, Storage -10 °C to +70 °C |
|Weight||2.8kg without PSU; 3.6kg with PSU |
|Included accessories||Universal PSU, IEC mains cable, 2x oscilloscope probes, USB A-B cable, 10x 2mm micro-clip test leads, 25x plastic mounting pillars, multimeter, software CD-ROM |
Power supply The triple-rail power supply has +12V, +5V and -12V outputs with plenty of current on tap for use with motor and actuator circuits. It also simplifies testing dual power rail designs. The outputs are all on combined 4mm "banana" sockets and binding posts, making it easy to power several devices at once. Power comes from a regulated switched-mode PSU, fully protected against overloads and short-circuits. The PSU connects via a 5-pin DIN socket on the rear panel. The universal power supply can be used in any territory simply by connecting the appropriate IEC mains cable. A second 5-pin DIN socket is provided for powering optional accessories such as the Protostation.
Oscilloscope The PC-based oscilloscope offers many more functions than are available on a budget CRT scope. Each of the two input channels can be displayed at the full size of your PC monitor, and precise readings of voltage, timing and frequency can be taken with a few mouse clicks. Multiple trigger models ensure that you always will capture the part of the signal that you need to see. The oscilloscope is connected using BNC connectors with a 1 MΩ impedance to accept industry-standard probes (two supplied). The two independent channels accept signals up to ±20V. A third BNC connection provides an arbitrary waveform output which can generate a signal of up to 2V pk-pk with fixed or swept frequency for DC to 100 kHz. The waveform can be selected from several standard shapes, copied from an input channel, or simply drawn on screen.
Digital Analyzer The digital analyzer has eight channels, each of which can function as a digital input or output. As well as showing graphs of signals vs. time for each input, it is possible to designate groups of channels to be a variety of serial data buses that can be decoded and displayed as annotated data, addresses, status and timing information. Capture can be triggered by any combination of low and high levels from any number of inputs, and there is also a socket for external triggering. When used as outputs, the channels can send a user-defined sequence of bits, or even replay data recorded via the inputs. A clock output ensures that the circuit under analysis can be synchronised to the test signals. Each channel has its own 2mm socket to connect to the included micro-gripper test leads. Alternatively, the 9-way D-sub connector can be used to connect to an E-blocks port with a ribbon cable, thus ensuring that the eight data lines cannot be cross connected accidentally. There also are 2mm sockets provided for the analyser's external trigger input and clock output. All inputs and outputs are CMOS compatible (maximum 5.5V).
PC Interface The custom PC interface is based around an ECIO28P USB-reprogrammable PIC18F2455 microcontroller module. A 9-way D-sub connector provides connections to the microcontroller. The functions of the eight data lines are programmable, allowing great versatility. For example, it is possible to have two PWM outputs, two ADC inputs, a SPI bus, and two interrupt inputs all running simultaneously. The interface can be customized using Flowcode, C or Assembly, and once programmed can run independently of the PC. Example firmware and a Windows DLL are provided which means that this interface can be used to provide a hardware front-end for software developed in environments such as Visual Basic, C++, or LabView. A front panel reset button is provided for hardware initialization.
USB Hub A single USB type B socket at the rear connects all of the instruments to a PC, thanks to an internal USB hub. An output from the hub on a USB-A connector is available also, for the use of circuits under test.
Electronic Workstation Software The tools for using the instruments on the Electronic Workstation are PC based, so you will need to install some software and drivers before you can use all of the unit's functions. A single installer will install all the hardware drivers and the Electronic Workstation Launcher from which you can run the other applications, e.g. PicoScope for the oscilloscope, and CWAV USBee for the digital analyzer.
The software runs on Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.
The included .dll files and the pre-installed firmware make it simple to create your own software interfaces in a wide variety of programming environments, including Flowcode, Visual BASIC, LabView and C++.
There also is a range of guides to help you get the most out of the Electronic Workstation. A single HTML page gives you access to all the guides. The included CD-ROM also includes example files demonstrating the unit in use with LabView and Visual BASIC, and diagnostic procedures for ensuring that everything is working correctly.
Pre-installed Firmware The PC interface comes with firmware pre-installed so that it is ready for use straight out of the box. Together with the .dll files provided on the CD-ROM, this provides access to a wide variety of interface features without requiring you to program the interface. With the default pre-installed firmware, you can:
- Use the 8 data lines in parallel to send and receive 8-bit data, or access each bit individually
- Read voltages from the two analog-to-digital input channels
- Send PWM signals with variable frequency and duty cycle
- Set up a serial bus and use it to send and receive data
- Use the microcontroller's built-in SPI bus
- Set the voltage at the digital-to-analog converter
- Use the DAC as a function generator with variable frequency and selectable wave shape
Electronic Workstation Contents All of the cables and accessories required to use the Electronic Workstation instruments are included in the box. The oscilloscope probes are suitable for use with signals up to 60 MHz and have an integral x1/x10 range switch. The micro-gripper PCB probes are narrow and flexible enough to attach to high-density IC pins, and can be stacked incredibly close together. A pack of clip-on plastic pillars allow E-blocks to be secured to the metal backplane.
- Workstation unit
- Universal power supply
- IEC Mains cable (North American plug)
- USB-A to USB-B cable
- 9-pin D-sub male to male cable
- 9-pin D-sub male to female cable
- Two oscilloscope probes
- 10 micro-gripper PCB probe leads
- 25 backplane mounting pillars
- Digital multimeter
- Software CD-ROM
To learn more, download the Electronics Workstation User Manual.