This isn’t really a review, so ignore the title. Â It’s just musings and thoughts.
I’ve been playing with a new toy. Â I MEAN, A TOOL, NOT A TOY. Â To engineers pretty much all tools are toys. Â For work, I got a LeCroy Waverunner oscilloscope/logic analyzer. Â It’s delicious. Â Really. Â Not only is it amazingly functional, but it’s aesthetically about as breathtaking as lab equipment gets. Â Just look. Â I’m already sidetracked though, because this isn’t the toy that I’m talking about. Â Here’s a picture of the LeCroy unit anyway. Â Why yes, the screen rotates into portrait mode to help you out when using it as a 32 channel logic analyzer…
What I meant to start talking about is the Â Saleae Logic logic analyzer. Â Hopefully, proper capitalization doesn’t confuse you regarding the name of the device and its function. Â It’s about as sexy as a tiny USB analyzer can be. Â It’s like a tiny Mac Mini, or Apple TV, in black, with one connection on each side. Â Pictured is Logic16, which is the LARGE version. Â Both the Logic and the Logic16 are pretty tiny.
Putting aside the fact that it works, the software is sleek, elegant, and intuitive. Â At first, I was put off by the lack of menus, options, and configurability…and then I realized, it was in the Apple class of it just works*. Â Disclaimer: I don’t like Apple, and I don’t feel for me that it just anythings. Â The plan is to use it for some personal projects, but I brought it with me to work to check out some CANbus stuff, and see how the serial decoders work. Â I just like calling it CAN, normally, but its really hard to google for the acronym Controller Area Network, because “can” is a pretty common word. Â So, you’re welcome, googlers, for helping you get here.
I was overwhelmed with sadness when the unit initially would not read or decode anything on CAN bus. Â So much for just working. Â But, fear not oh ye will vote for me in the 2028 presidential election…Saleae seems to love open source, so I downloaded the source for their CAN serial analyzer. Â Within a few minutes, I found that my data stream was inverted from typical applications…something I’ve known for awhile, but always basically ignored. Â My setup is nonstandard, and Saleaa’s analyzer had it the typical way.
Not only was the source available to me, they also provide clear instructions for setting up and compiling with a ready-made Visual Studio project. Â In under an hour, I had edited the source and recompiled for my particular application.
This was a triumph of open source. Â It was great to be able to quickly and easily modify their application to suit my needs. Â Customer service is quick andÂ knowledgeable…alright, customer service is mostly the engineers who designed it. Â It’s a big plus in my book.
Bottom line; if you are looking for an inexpensive hobbiest analyzer, pick up a Saleae Logic for $150-ish. Â Do it. Â If your budget is more in the $15,000 range, I’d suggest a tricked out Lecroy Waverunner.