LeCroy WaveRunner LT224 DSO - Short review and teardown - Part 2

The following is Part 2 of a review of a LeCroy WaveRunner LT224 digital oscilloscope I wrote in another forum in March 21, 2013. Part 1 can be found here. I now longer own that scope.


My Waverunner LT 224:

The scope I got is a Waverunner LT 224. It's a 4-channel 200MHz scope with 200MSa/s single-shot sampling rate and 10GSa/s repetitive sampling rate. It also 100k of sample memory per channel and came with 16MB RAM. It doesn't have the optional printer, but since I wouldn't have any use for it it's actually a good thing.

The scope arrived in very good condition, but like most LeCroy scopes of that era it also suffered from a well known LeCroy illness: missing knobs. The knobs LeCroy used on these scopes tend to loose their grip on the encoder shaft after a while and become loose quickly, resulting in some of the knobs going missing sooner or later. My scope has lost the know for vertical deflection and time base, but I could replace them with standard cheap grey plastics knobs for little money. The floppy doesn't work as it suffers from the above mentioned belt problem (not sure if I can be bothered to fix it). The acoustic noise level the single fan creates is, in my opinion, acceptable, albeit it's no silent unit. At the moments I have no plans to replace it, though.

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I also noticed two constant bright pixels on the LCD screen, but luckily they are both in a corner outside the scale. The overall screen brightness is fine and much better as it appears on the images. There is also a 'screen saver' which, if enabled in the settings, switches the monitor off after 15mins. In addition, there is a VGA output on the rear to connect an external monitor or projector.

My scope already came with the Wave Analyzer, Enhanced Math, Jitter and Timing Analysis and Digital Filter software options, and it also has the HD01 option which enables the PCMCIA slot.

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So I did some tests to make sure everything works fine, connected my Beiming F82357 GPIB adapter to it and upgraded the firmware via ScopeExplorer to the latest version (9.3.0) which went fine. I then opened it remove the accumulated dust inside, and to replace the single 16MB EDO memory module with two 32MB FPM modules to increase RAM to 64MB.

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Last but not least I put a 512MB CF card in a PCMCIA adapter and inserted it in the rear PCMCIA slot as 'hard drive' (it's more like a slow SSD).

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The scope does an automatic ~5s long recalibration from time to time, during which all operations are blocked. The recalibration happens more often within the first 10 minutes after switching on until the internal temperatures have stabilized, after that the interval between recalibrations is increased noticeably. In case this is a problem (i.e. because it would interrupt a critical measurement), the automatic recalibration can be disabled in the settings.

As at the moment my only signal source is a pretty poor Siglent SDG1020 20MHz AWG which suffers from a terrible jitter problem (a design flaw that was solved on later units) on anything except sine wave mode and pulse mode, so I used this for a very quick play with some of the Waverunner's goodies.

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The jitter of the Siglent is really bad when the generator is set at around 10kHz, so I used signals between 10kHz and 20MHz to get a nice jittery signal (which is no problem for the Siglent).

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The user interface takes a bit getting used to, but it wasn't worse than moving say from a HP 54510A to an Agilent Infiniium. The scope reacted quick to user inputs, with a very slight lag only when lots of analysis functions were active. Signal reproduction is quite good, considering this thing does only 200MSa/s. I tried to measure the waveform/s performance, but my other scope is down at the moment and the only counter I have is the one that is in this crappy Siglent generator, so this will have to wait. Maybe someone else who has access to a Waverunner LT or even a LC Series scope (as the LC's signal processing part is essentially the same as the one in the LT) and some proper equipment can chime in.

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All in all, I'm quite impressed by what this old little scope can do.


Stay tuned for Part 3...
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