Saleae Logic Analyzer

If you’ve ever had a problem getting two chips to talk, or wanted to reverse engineer a protocol, a logic analyzer is the right tool for this. Logic analyzer only detects digital high and low digital states, it records many signals simultaneously and allows to dump data to a computer for analysis. Logic analyzers can take the guess work out of debugging inter-chip communication. Many modern electronics projects that use micro-controller will benefit more from a logic analyzer than an oscilloscope.

Logic analyzers used to be expensive large special devices. Nowadays it is possible to buy a quite useful basic logic analyzer that connects to a PC for a pretty reasonable money if you don’t need the highest speeds. Saleae Logic is one reasonably priced (149 Euros) logic analyzer that connects to PC USB connector and records 8 channels at up to 24MHz sample rate. Very many practical real world embedded applications have buses that run at less than 10MHz clock rate, and Logic is quite ideal for these. If you need to analyze something faster you need some other more expensive product.

The beauty of the Saleae Logic product is not in its raw capabilities, but the fact that using it is amazingly simple. The software is very slick, easy to use and quick to learn. This product is fun to play with. Simplicity is a good reason when selecting a tool that you need every now and then, but you don’t use every day. When you are trying to figure out a problem, the last thing you want is to spend time messing with your logic analyzer. You just want a product you can start immediately and without too much thinking.

One of the nicest things about Logic is that you can decode many signal formats automatically (I2C, async serial, SPI, CAN, etc.), and you can see the decoded result along with the waveform. You can also use this product to capture long data samples and save them in various formats.

saelae_logic

The most of the magic on this product is in the PC software side. You can download the software from Saleae web page and try it yourself in demo mode. On the good side the software is cross-platform: Windows, Linux and Mac. I like products that work on Linux as well, although currently I have only used the software only on Windows (XP and Vista).

The actual hardware is pretty simple. The Logic hardware is based on the Cypress Semiconductor CY7C68013A-56PVXC, a high speed 8051 microcontroller with a USB peripheral interface. CY7C68013A can send theoretically 48MB/s of pure data to the computer, but very rarely does any product approach USB 2.0′s advertised 480mbps transfer rate for sustained periods. The advanced data processing is done on the PC software side.

On the funny side, turns out that competing logic analyzer product USBEE SX has exactly the same hardware inside. Considering the simplicity of the hardware part of the devices it is no winder that there are some Chinese made clones of those devices available. This cloning indicates that this is good product. The fact of life is that good products get copied sooner or later and bad ones are just forgotten.

23 Comments

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  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Oscium’s LogiScope: Not quite the second coming of Star Wars, but still a new testing hope
    http://www.edn.com/blog/Brian_s_Brain/41816-Oscium_s_LogiScope_Not_quite_the_second_coming_of_Star_Wars_but_still_a_new_testing_hope.php

    Oscium, as you may recall from my late-April 2011 blog coverage and two-days-later follow-up, or perhaps from Paul Rako’s (and a buddy’s) subsequent hands-on analysis, is the manufacturer of the positively reviewed and reasonably priced iMSO-104 mixed-signal oscilloscope, which uses a connected iPad, iPhone or iPod touch as its display (among other things).

    Oscium has just released a logic analyzer partner to last year’s mixed signal oscilloscope. It’s called the LogiScope

    Yes, you might be able to find a lower-cost logic analyzer peripheral with similar specs to that of the LogiScope, but it’s going to probably require tethering to a laptop or desktop computer (and its associated display) in order to function. In contrast, LogiScope offers compatibility with the 7″ or 10″ tablet computer you can easily slip into your briefcase, or better yet, the smartphone that fits in your pocket.

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  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Hack a Saleae Logic Analyzer
    http://iteadstudio.com/copied/hack-a-saleae-logic-analyzer/

    The Logic is a cheaper USB logic analyzer with eight channels and sampling rates up to 24MHz.

    Luckily , the Logic use the IC CY7C68013 , and nearly the same circuit as my USB2.0 Development board , so I try to hack it , making a Logic clone for myself.

    It appear that the Logic software just check the Vendor ID and Produce ID, and will update the driver and download the firmware via USB. The VID and PID are written in the EPPROM and it’s easy to counterfeit.

    Read the inf file and you can find the VID PID information, just write them into the EPPROM using Cypress USB. Launch the Saleae Logic 1.0.32 and you will pleasantly surprised to see that the software can recognize the board as Logic!

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  8. tomi says:

    Saleae Logic Analyzer knockoff hacking
    http://hackaday.com/tag/usbee/

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  9. USBEE AX clone « Tomi Engdahl’s ePanorama blog says:

    [...] have seen some good comments on it), so it is worth to try and compare how well it performs against Saleae Logic. The specifications of the product seemed to be pretty OK for a cheap logic analyzer: Max. sample [...]

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  10. Low-Cost Logic Analyzers « Tomi Engdahl’s ePanorama blog says:

    [...] signals (I2C, SPI, asynchronous serial, etc..). You can read more on the devices on my blog posting Saleae Logic Analyzer. This is a very popular product and there are Chinese made clones of [...]

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  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Tools: Saleae Logic, logic analyzer
    http://hackaday.com/2009/03/06/tools-saleae-logic-logic-analyzer/

    Conclusion

    Logic analyzers take the guess work out of debugging inter-chip communication. If you can’t see what’s going on, the best you can do is guess about the problem. When a project won’t work, 99% of the time we can solve the problem immediately by looking at the signals with a logic analyzer. Without it, there’s no easy way to know what’s happening.

    The Logic records 8 channels at 24MHz. The Windows software has useful features, and there’s an SDK if you want to write your own apps. Linux and Mac versions are under development. We really like this logic analyzer, and plan to use it to illustrate future articles.

    The Logic is $149 at the Saleae website and SparkFun, and Joe is working on EU distribution. If you’re interested in the Logic, but aren’t ready to buy, you can download the software and try it in demo mode.

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  14. Debugging RS-232 with logic analyzer « Tomi Engdahl’s ePanorama blog says:

    [...] are nowadays cheap logic analyzers (like Saleae Logic and USBEE) that can easily record many channels of fast changing digital signals and even decode [...]

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  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Comments at http://dx.com/p/logic-analyzer-w-dupont-lines-and-usb-cable-for-scm-black-148945

    “Pros: Great product for the price. Essentially unlimited samples. Arrived fast (2weeks).
    Cons: Its claims on label and via USB ids to be AX Pro clone. Dont be confused – its not as its missing the analog functionality. Better to reflash the USB ids to Salae Logic one and use it as such. Best guide – http://club.dx.com/reviews/text/148945/375476 Also about triggering – it works ok if you only need level/edge triggering. If you need to trigger on some content in contious stream – its not possible.”

    “With the Saleae software, this simply rocks. I haven’t installed the USBee software, but from what I read it’s a bit outdated.”

    ” this device uses a standard cypress chip, which is used also by other companies. Their software is thus compatible. There are also several blogs explaining how to make the device work (see e.g. jwandrews.co.uk). Works also on linux.”

    Reply
  18. Toby Girote says:

    Die unvollendeten zusätzlich chip abgehalfterten, die originellen und wafer kopierten, die perversen und die kitschigen, die prosaischen weiters wafer lyrischen ausgelaugt diese Texte so kümmerlich ebendiese in effectu gewesen sein gewogen sein besaßen vielmehr Elan, eine größere Anzahl Seele, vielmehr Esprit, Lieber was aka immer.

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  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    EEVblog #436 – Saleae USB Logic Analyser Review & Teardown
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OCPWCdg2ys

    Review and teardown of the 8 channel Saleae USB Logic Analyser.

    Reply

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