General-Purpose Test Instruments

General-purpose test instruments consist of products such as oscilloscopes, logic analyzers, signal generators, video test equipment, automotive test equipment, and many more. These products are used across multiple applications in environments ranging from labs to manufacturing facilities.

Programmable logic continues to play an important role in general-purpose test instrument development. FPGA flexibility and scalability accelerates time-to-market and reduces risk. This, coupled with the rapid advances in integration capability, have made programmable logic the new centerpiece of both hardware and software development teams.

In addition to the use of programmable logic, numerous new circuit structures are emerging as performance requirements and circuit densities increase. Significant use of new buses, often involving high-speed serial data transfer, and the commonplace use of system-on-chip (SOC) and system-on-a-programmable-chip (SOPC) devices have been pervasive in the industry. Now designers must deal with very complex design and circuit structures, making in-circuit debug harder and, at the same time, even more necessary. Figure 1 shows high-speed capture, analysis, and processing for online measurements in typical video test equipment.

Figure 1. Typical FPGA Usage in Video Test Equipment

Figure 1. Typcial FPGA Usage in Video Test Equipment