New Logic Analyzers and Programmable 555 Timers

More micropower and flexibility

By: Robert Cong
Product Marketing Manager

Many people who make a living from product testing and waveform/data analysis, having the right equipment is critical to get the most accurate measurements and obtain the most exact details. This usually means needing an oscilloscope for the job. For those who don't need to view all the details of a waveform, but would rather observe more channels plus save some cash at the same time, then a logic analyzer is perfect for the job.
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Logic Analyzer
Saleae Logic16 Logic Analyzer (P/N 2143451)

Logic analyzers come in many different shapes and sizes, so far the most aesthetically pleasing and versatile are Saleae's Logic and Logic16. These handy pieces of equipment are not only easy to use, but perfect for travel with their compact size and case. View up to eight channels with the Saleae Logic, and up to 16 channels with the Logic16. Each include flexible sampling rates and the ability to save ten billion samples.

These new analyzers are great for testing timing circuits, pulses, and oscillations, so they're a great match for the new Custom Silicon Solutions. The design for these modern-style ICs became so popular that they were a finalist at the 2009 Golden Mousetrap Awards, which recognizes engineering innovation and creativity in product design.

The difference between these ICs and regular 555 timer chips is the ability to configure various timing delays and pulses with the same IC without changing any components in the circuit design. Making it far easier to prototype with multiple circuits. Plug the 555 timer into the custom PCB (included in the CSS555C Demonstration Kit), adjust your desired settings and you're ready to plug it back into your circuit.

555 timer
CSS555 Micropower Programmable 555 Timer,
DIP-8 package (P/N 2146433)
555 Timer with ITC
CSS555C Micropower Programmable 555 Timer with ITC,
SOIC-8 package (P/N 2146441)

Demo Kit
CSS555C Demo Kit (P/N 2146468)

I ran a simple a quick test to demonstrate the ease of use for the Saleae analyzers and Custom Silicon Solutions programmable 555 timers. All I had to do was pop the IC into the circuit then hit the start button to start seeing waveforms. Here are some examples of the output.

To test the various settings of these programmable 555 timers, I used the Logic16 analyzer to see if the delays would change the waveforms. Using the CSS555C Demonstration Kit with the default settings on the CSS555 chip, I connected the IC to a standard astable 555 timer circuit and the following waveform was seen:

Waveform CSS555 Counter 1 The above screen shot shows the following settings using the CSS555C Demo Kit:


Part: CSS555
Counter: 1
Operating Mode: Astable
Power Mode: Micro
Trip Level: Standard
Total width of pulses: 7.875 ms
555 Timer Circuit
Astable 555 Timer Circuit

The time measurement function makes it very easy to adjust the cursors and measure a time length pulse. Adjusting the counter setting to 10 instead of 1 on the demo kit programming window yielded the following waveform:

Waveform CSS555 Counter 10
The above screen shot shows the following settings using the CSS555C Demo Kit:

Part: CSS555
Counter: 10
Operating Mode: Astable
Power Mode: Micro
Trip Level: Standard
Total width of pulses: 0.1335 ms


The time measurement feature of the Logic16 now shows that the pulse width has increased from 7.875 microseconds to 0.1335 milliseconds. That's a factor of about 17 times higher. Repeating this once more and changing the counter to 100 instead of 10 yielded the next waveform:

Waveform CSS555 Counter 100 The above screen shot shows the following settings using the CSS555C Demo Kit:

Part: CSS555
Counter: 100
Operating Mode: Astable
Power Mode: Micro
Trip Level: Standard
Total width of pulses: 1.601 ms

Now the pulse width has increased from 0.1335 milliseconds to 1.601 milliseconds; an increase by a factor of 12. So the pulse width may not be exactly 10 times higher, but they are reasonably close. When it's time for recalibrating the IC, simply place it in the custom PCB and change the settings. The entire process is incredibly fast and requires no programming experience. With all the complex circuitry in today's electronics, "simple and fast" is an invaluable trait, and both of these products have it.

To see a quick demonstration of how easy it is to use the Saleae Logic and Logic16 logic analyzers.




Robert is a graduate from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in Electrical Engineering. He is originally from Lincoln Heights in Los Angeles, CA, and currently resides in Belmont, CA where he works as a Technical Copy Writer/Product Manager for Jameco Electronics. His interests include sports, movies, music, and playing with cool, new gadgets.