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Hardware Hacking Open Source Build

Sigrok: An Open Source Logic Analyzer 42

Uwe Hermann today announced the availability of sigrok, one of the first Open Source logic analyzers. Tired of being tied to Windows and proprietary software with limited features, in late 2010 he began work on flosslogic, which, after discovering Bert Vermeulen was also working on similar software, became sigrok. From the article: "Thus, the goal was to write a portable, GPL'd, software that can talk to many different logic analyzers via modules/plugins, supports many input/output formats, and many different protocol decoders. ... Currently supported hardware includes: Saleae Logic, CWAV USBee SX, Openbench Logic Sniffer (OLS), ZEROPLUS Logic Cube LAP-C, ASIX Sigma/Sigma2, ChronoVu LA8, and others." Their wiki has a list of supported protocols as well. You can grab the source over at SourceForge.
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Sigrok: An Open Source Logic Analyzer

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  • by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <> on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @12:55PM (#39869779) Homepage

    OLS has existed with a fully open source client for nearly a year at this point.

    It seems to have a whole pile of new features - but it's not the first by any means.

  • by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @12:57PM (#39869813) Journal

    Several years ago I did a project where I interfaced a Playstation controller to a Pocket PC using a PIC microcontroller that hosted the controller and bit banged IrDA out an infrared LED to the PPC. To exactly match the PS IO timing I rigged up a 4 channel logic analyzer using the raw parallel port of my PC (in other words it was basically software I wrote and hardware consisting of a parallel cable that had one end lopped off exposing bare wires). That worked great, and so did the PS adapter I created.

    As a side note, that is one of the appealing things about the Raspberry Pi, is that it provides a fully modern OS and even onboard development environment, but still provides low GPIO hardware access. Fun fun fun.

  • This is a software interface between a Logic Analyzer and a computer. There are standalone devices that need no computer...
    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      This is a software interface between a Logic Analyzer and a computer. There are standalone devices that need no computer...

      furthermore there are stand alone open source devices that need little more than a terminal.

      Ian lesnet's, dangerous prototypes, seeed studio manufactured, "bus pirate" under continuous development for, what, 3 years now? I have a v3 and that thing rocks.

  • FTA: ...due to exactly the same reasons, crappy Windows software, etc.

    Nice project with laudable goals, but this quote is just childish. I own a Logicport (shown in picture) and the Windows software that comes with it works well. Complain about it not being cross platform, but "Windows sucks and all software on it sucks!" is not insightful or informative.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Nice project with laudable goals, but this quote is just childish. I own a Logicport (shown in picture) and the Windows software that comes with it works well. Complain about it not being cross platform, but "Windows sucks and all software on it sucks!" is not insightful or informative.

      I disagree. While "Windows sucks and all software on it sucks!" is not the kind of statement that a reasonable person without a lot of real-world experience with Windows and software written to run on it would assume would be true at face value, after sufficient time has elapsed working with Windows, reasonable people do come to realize that it is most definitely the case. The quote is indeed insightful, and is informative enough to save those who are willing to accept its wisdom a considerable amount of pa

    • "Windows sucks and all software on it sucks!"

      I'm not sure they were saying that at all, actually. I think they were simply saying the logic analyzer software for Windows was crappy. I don't think they even really said Windows was crappy.

      Also FTA: I grew tired of almost all devices having a proprietary and Windows-only software, often with limited features, limited input/output file formats, limited usability, limited protocol decoder support, and so on.

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      A lot of the software IS crappy and it is certainly Windows only. What's so childish about not liking that?

      • A lot of the software IS crappy and it is certainly Windows only.

        Amen to that! One of the first things that got me interested in developing this software was how expensive decent electronic test tools with capable software really are. Unless you're willing to drop some serious cash, you get a device that contains no more than £15 of parts being sold for >£400, with VB6 software than is generally no more than barely usable with each manufacturer reinventing the wheel over and over.

        sigrok is cool because we can use the same software to sample from any device

    • The first things that comes to my mind when I read the specs of a hardware like a logical analizer, and it says it requires Windows are that it won't interoperate with other tools, it isn't programmable, and it won't export data the way I want it to. Then, I remember that it will only work for 3 years, since nobody will care to port whatever driver it uses to make something like that work on Windows.

      It is not that all Windows software is crappy, it is that the people/organizations that create Windows only c

  • Thank you for bringing sigrok to my attention. Cut and paste would have prevented your mis-spelling, and it's sorta important to get that particular word right. []

    "The sigrok project aims at creating a portable, cross-platform, Free/Libre/Open-Source logic analyzer software that supports various logic analyzer hardware products. It is licensed under the terms of the GNU GPL. Design goals and features include:"

  • You know, like "grok". Have the slashdot janitors been bitten by autocorrect?

    • I knew that, but my brain autocorrected it when typing and didn't notice that it was creating a typo. Nothing to see here, move along.

  • by caseih ( 160668 ) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @01:28PM (#39870275)

    Another open source project, that is open source software and hardware, is the neat and cheep little single-channel analyzer, the Nano v2. For basic uses (measuring PPM signals on an arduino board for example), it works very well and is a deal for under $90. I bought mine to work on radio control things so I can example the PPM signal streams coming off the CPU, and the signals going out the servos. In particular I make sure that the head tracking channels are being properly mixed into the PPM stream at the radio end for flying airplanes with first-person video and a head-tracking camera (using gyros).

    • by sl3xd ( 111641 ) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @04:07PM (#39872231) Journal

      The Nano is a digital storage oscilloscope - which is no doubt useful. It shows continuous voltage levels over time, and is great for analog signals; it measures 0-10V at 1Msps, with 12-bits of resolution.

      But a logic analyzer fits into a different niche; it really only measures "high" or "low", but across many channels (instead of 1 or 2 as in an oscilliscope).

      The OpenBench Logic Sniffer, for example, measures:
        - Up to 32 channels at 100 MHz
        - Up to 16 channels at 200 MHz
        - 1.8-5V, which covers most digital chips.
        - costs $50 - almost half of the Nano's price.

      They are clearly different tools, though. If I were measuring PPM coming out of a microcontroller (as in an arduino), I'd choose a Logic Analyzer over an oscilliscope.

      • The DSO Quad has digital channels as well, which is what I believe the grandparent to be alluding to.
  • by hectorh ( 113198 ) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @01:34PM (#39870361) Homepage

    There are plenty of other logic analyzers that are open source. To name a few: SUMP, Open Workbench, Logic Shrimp.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by S77IM ( 1371931 )

      I have no idea wtf a logic analyzer is, but I am really really glad that there's a genuine, useful thing out there called "Logic Shrimp."

        -- 77IM

      • by vlm ( 69642 )

        I have no idea wtf a logic analyzer is

        Smarter than an oscilloscope, dumber than a protocol analyzer.

        Scope + more channels - speed = logic analyzer

        Protocol analyzer + more channels (usually) + lots more speed - fancy protocol software = logic analyzer

        Of course these are real world practical technical definitions. Your local marketing department might be trying to poison the well to make them mean something else. ... And the logic shrimp is from the same guy as the bus pirate, which is a really nice entry level protocol analyzer. I would assume

        • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

          I'd argue that an oscilloscope doesn't even fit the same niche as a logic analyzer.

          Oscilloscopes are more for analog signals (and in the end, everything is an analog signal), while logic analyzers are for digital signals.

        • Smarter than an oscilloscope, dumber than a protocol analyzer.

          Your answer is correct and informative. And yet will still be totally useless. Because your target audience is a guy who doesn't even know what a logic analyzer is.

          I really did laugh a bit when I read your post. Mostly because it reminded me of an old joke. []

      • Replying to undo accidental -1 moderation.

  • by phik ( 2368654 )
    They should call this Spock
  • Until I2C is 100% released, this is not complete- that's my minimum benchmark. I've got a Saleae 8 channel and it looks like it supports it- but the last thing you want to be doing when you're working on a project like this is debugging your test hardware.

    I like the portability and flexibility of the Saleae device, but if I'm getting deep into the protocol... the Beagle from Total Phase works much better. Total phase also has a decently affordable USB analyzer. What I've found is that a simple analyzer wor

    • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

      I'd be interested in seeing how the Saleae 16 stacks up against the OpenBench Logic sniffer; they both seem to fit into the same niche, and both use the same Xilinx FPGA to measure the signals, so the capabilities have got to be similar I have an OLS, and so far, I'm pretty happy with it.

      And along the same note, I wonder how the Beagle compares to the "Bus Pirate." The Bus Pirate supports 1-Wire, I2C, SPI, & JTAG, so at least on the surface it looks pretty good.

      I know the OpenBench Logic Sniffer and Bus

      • What really makes the Beagle useful is the software- allowing to collect data, filter on certain packets, statistics, and timing. Just looking at high/low traces is useful, but, particularly when dealing with serial protocols, can get old, really quickly.

        What I would really like would be some way to use the Wireshark interface with these tools looking for these protocols. Maybe there is a way, but I haven't figured out the proper hardware/software combination.

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