Digilent Analog Discovery

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by WBahn, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. WBahn

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
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    The Analog Discovery that I ordered from Digilent arrived today and I've just started playing with it and the free Waveforms software that controls it.

    As I work with it I'll post thing here in case anyone else is interested in getting one so that you won't have to make as blind a purchase as I did.

    I've already run into one problem, which I've had with Digilent's stuff before, and that is crappy documentation. They tend to leave out the most basic, fundamental things. Overall, I have been very happy with Digilent products, but I was really hoping they would have put some effort into getting their documentation in good shape.

    In this case, I cannot find any reference anywhere to the I/O connectors. I can guess at most of it and I've found bits and pieces scattered around the other documentation, but some of it is inconsistent and/or contradictory -- another frequent hallmark I remember regarding Digilent.

    If anyone is aware of where such a reference can be found, it would be much appreciated. Otherwise I will have to just experiment and figure things out, hoping that I don't do something stupid to damage this thing in the process.

    Here is what I know right now, before actually powering anything up.

    There is a stereo audio output jack and a 30-pin flywire connector. As near as I can tell, the audio jack is only used for the AWG (arbitrary waveform generator) with one channel on the left and the other on the right. That's what one place in the documentation indicates. But in their video, they only talk about the AWG outputting to pins W1 and W2. I'm assuming that the waveforms always go to both of these.

    There are 16 pins (0 - 15) that I believe are for the digital I/O channels. The appear to be configurable in banks of 8.

    There are two fixed voltage supplies, +5V and -5V, that can be turned on and off independently. These are available at pins V+ and V-.

    There are two differential voltage input channels, 1+,1- and 2+,2-, that are used for the voltmeter and scope inputs. They said in one video that you can't use the scope and the voltmeter on a channel at the same time, but it wasn't clear if you could use the scope on one channel and the voltmeter on the other channel at the same time. So that's something to test.

    Then there are two pins, T1 and T2, that I am guessing are used for trigger inputs, but I haven't come across those in the documentation so far.

    The remaining four pins are all ground pins.
     
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  2. WBahn

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
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    I found the pinout diagram. You have to search through their documents archive.

    It also turned out that me unit wasn't working, but rather the software was running in a demo mode because it couldn't detect the unit. Turned out the USB cable the shipped with it is bad and the unit isn't getting power. There is a red LED inside the case that you can see when the unit is powered AND configured. But the instructions don't mention anything about it, so I didn't know to look for it.
     
  3. WBahn

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
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    So I finally walked through the parts kit that you can buy for $70 (it was $60 when I bought it -- they just raised the prices on a number of things) with an additional $10 discount if you bundle it with the Analog Discovery (or a few other eligible items).

    Not counting the box itself, the 70 jumper wires with pin connectors on each end, or the little screwdriver, the total parts value (based on single-quantity prices from Digi-Key, which has all of the parts or close substitutes) comes to $186. The ICs alone come to $88 and the sensors come to $51. And that doesn't take into account the fact that ten of the ICs are surface mount devices that come mounted on chip carriers set up as DIP packages.

    All of the ICs and most of the sensors are Analog Devices parts.

    If you at all think you want to play around with a bunch of different sensors, this kit is a pretty good deal.
     
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