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  • EEVblog #145 – Agilent LAN/VGA Module Teardown

    Posted on February 17th, 2011 EEVblog 18 comments

    What’s inside the Agilent 2000/3000 Infiniivision X Series LAN/VGA module?
    What do you get for your $400?

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    • http://tristesse.org Joel

      Great! Hopefully there’s no handshaking/identification between the module and the DSO, so it’d be very cheap and easy to make a homebrew or clone LAN-only module!

    • Stephen

      You mentioned “educated guess” near the end of your episode. I wonder if Agilent sees the VGA/LAN board as a more of a educational market play than otherwise.

      With the excellent “Demo” features described in your initial review episode, coupled with the LAN features (and a VGA switch), the use case of having an instructor effortlessly monitor and then project/share any student scope is both differentiating (esp. at the price point) and quite compelling. I think the limits of the VGA & LAN features, that you’ve previously called out, further reinforce those features as being somewhat educationally targeted (whereas out-side the classroom, one would want to almost expect, in a way, a 1024×768 or higher resolution display enabled via the $400 VGA port, or the LAN’s java applet interface).

      Seen as a education market play, the module is, perhaps, very sensible. Indeed, if Agilent had built-in those features with their present limits, some buyers may have been put-off by having to ‘pay for’ those features on a scope they just were not going to use in such a (educational) setting.

      Dunno either… just rambling.

      As always, thanks for the video and sharing your insights. Congrats on earning these great relationships with these vendors and sellers.

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Yep, hard to guess their exact reasoning. Their higher end scopes have had VGA and Ethernet built in for almost a decade now.

    • quert

      I am waiting to see someone makes just lan module for this scope.

    • Martin

      +1 for a homebrew lan module. Gentlemen, start your logic analyzers!

    • f4eru

      +1 for the dumb module

      the first thing to try (perhaps Dave can do this) is to insert the original module with tape covered contacts near the FPGA and see if ETH is alive

      Also, i notice that there is no configuration memory for the FPGA, it probably gets config from the processor

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    • http://projects.armandas.lt Armandas

      Even if you make your own LAN module, the feature probably requires a soft enable, which means you would have to hack the software, which in turn means you could lose any warranty/support from Agilent.

    • Hans

      This clearly the same thing that apple does. They sell ‘expensive’ extensions for their products, whilst the cost isn’t high.
      But because the buyer gets the feeling they are paying a fair price for the extension (well, ethernet must be expensive to support, and gotta say, remote control via ethernet is nice) then it’s all good. Unless you discover the functionality is on the motherboard, but it just needs to be plugged in (and maybe activated by the FPGA)..

    • http://thexmoschallenge.wordpress.com/ Berni

      I was also wondering the whole video whats with the DAC being there. Ah well as long as it works fine.

      Also i agree with the LAN being there just to make it seam its worth the 400 bucks, since getting only a VGA for that money would be pretty boring. The LAN PHY was acualy the chip i was looking for when you first opened the thing up, no mater i couldn’t find it.

    • Neil

      Given the limited use VGA now has – are we sure that the VGA wasn’t included to make it seem that 400 bucks not much for a LAN connector?

      Neil

    • Chris_R

      I can see Mr D. Head’s been hard at work again!

    • John W

      If you think $400 for a LAN/VGA module is bad, I have an old TDS3000-series Tek scope with a little ROM chip you slip in that costs $400 and adds a few video features (SD/HD triggering, vector, B&W picture view.)

      $400 for the LAN/VGA module doesn’t seem so bad. :)

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        True. Compared to the software options in the same scope, at least you get some hardware for your money!

    • Kashif

      Excellent review! love it.

      can’t wait to see any response from a agilent if any.

    • jackcall

      I think it looks a bit like a student job, maybe they had an intern do it? Or at least the layout part. If you look at the traces between the DAC and the SRAM(at 5:30 in the vid), I don’t know what it is routing around, but it looks kinda funky with those big loops. Coming for the SRAM to the DAC, it’s probably digital signals, but still they are going to catch a bit of static and add some inductance.
      There’s just too many considerations not made, to indicate an experienced layout engineer.

    • Matt

      YouTube did a hilarious job of translating some of this into closed captions:

      http://imgur.com/9W6rQ

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Youtube translate is an epic FAIL every time!