2014. október 22., szerda

Logic Analyzer project

I was crawling on eBay, and found an old Tektronix 1240 logic analyzer for a few bucks. The seller stated, it is defective because the picture intensity is weak on the screen (and it has defective soft buttons as it can be seen on the pictures).

I was thinking a little bit. This logic analyzer may not the best for today's digital electronics projects, but a good looking something what may deserve a restoration.
What if I replace the monitor with a same size LCD panel. So I took a bid on and bought it. Afterwards I found the service manual online. At a quick look in it found out that it produces an NTSC like TTL level signal for the display. I'm quite sure it is convertible to the current LCD screens.
After the bidding I was looking around the 7" LCD displays. Now I think it will be not so easy to do the conversion. Today's plan is the following:
Pick a low end FPGA (or a CPLD) attach some RAM to it. Read the signal into the RAM from the logic analyzer, and drive the LCD with the FPGA using the RAM as a frame buffer. (I can't do this in an MCU because the LCD panel needs 40MHz signaling)
To be honest, I've not even touched FPGA before ever, but this project could be a good one for learning. :-)
So I ordered an LCD and the necessary connectors and evaluating FPGA development boards.
After this introduction the Logic Analyzer arrived today.
I switched it on. And my colleague immediately found the contrast knob at the back side of the unit. So you can see here how week the display in reality:

As we see the todo changed:
- Repair the soft button problem
- Change the extremely noisy fan
I don't want to cancel my display change idea. I found that this series of logic analyzers has one bigger model: 1241. It has color display. What if I can "upgrade" mine to color one. If it is possible based on the Service Manual, I'll try. :-)

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