Author Topic: Tek RSA600 vs. MDO4000C for self.edu  (Read 1144 times)

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Offline k4rlhp

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Tek RSA600 vs. MDO4000C for self.edu
« on: October 13, 2017, 11:15:18 pm »
Hi.

I have a plan to go spectral.
My primary goal is to learn about stuff, this will include reverse engineering some devices and emulating them using an SDR plus building some circuits, naturally.

My main contestants are the Tek RSA 600A series and MDO4000C series but a few answers are escaping my questions so far:
1. Is there an upgrade path from RSA603A to RSA607A?
2. There should be some limitations on MDO4000C and SignalVu integration compared to the RSA series due to USB2 based bandwidth limitation on the MDO.
I cannot find details on these.

Naturally I have watched a hole in the proverbial youtube disks where Shahriar and W2AEW keep their videos plus read datasheets so I understand the architecture of these devices but still cannot connect the dots to deduct if and how the SignalVu integration might differ to benefit from the internal real-time bandwidth in the MDO or if the only difference is just the reduced USB bandwidth between SignalVu and MDO.

This is rather important for me as I'd prefer to start simple but if the upgrade path is not there then I need to plan further out.
I will be happy with the capabilities of either device while recognizing also the pros and cons of each.

Thanks for chiming in!
K
 

Offline w2aew

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Re: Tek RSA600 vs. MDO4000C for self.edu
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2017, 02:02:38 am »
Hi.

I have a plan to go spectral.
My primary goal is to learn about stuff, this will include reverse engineering some devices and emulating them using an SDR plus building some circuits, naturally.

My main contestants are the Tek RSA 600A series and MDO4000C series but a few answers are escaping my questions so far:
1. Is there an upgrade path from RSA603A to RSA607A?
2. There should be some limitations on MDO4000C and SignalVu integration compared to the RSA series due to USB2 based bandwidth limitation on the MDO.
I cannot find details on these.

Naturally I have watched a hole in the proverbial youtube disks where Shahriar and W2AEW keep their videos plus read datasheets so I understand the architecture of these devices but still cannot connect the dots to deduct if and how the SignalVu integration might differ to benefit from the internal real-time bandwidth in the MDO or if the only difference is just the reduced USB bandwidth between SignalVu and MDO.

This is rather important for me as I'd prefer to start simple but if the upgrade path is not there then I need to plan further out.
I will be happy with the capabilities of either device while recognizing also the pros and cons of each.

Thanks for chiming in!
K

Hello K,

I can help here - I'm an Applications Engineer for Tektronix.

1. There is not an upgrade path between the RSA603A and RSA607A, you have to make the decision about frequency range at the time of purchase.  The same holds true for the optional Tracking Generator on these units.

2. The connectivity between the spectrum analyzer in the MDO4000C and SignalVu-PC requires an option (Opt CON) in SignalVu-PC.  The physical connection between the MDO and your PC running SignalVu-PC is done using USB or Ethernet.  With this connection, the MDO4000C delivers up to 1GHz bandwidth of RF data to SignalVu-PC for analysis - 25x the analysis bandwidth of the RSA600A series.  However, the price you pay is that the connection between the MDO and SignalVu-PC does *not* give you any realtime performance like you have with the RSA300/500/600 series analysers.  In fact, you only get a couple of acquisitions per second to SignalVu-PC, even at narrower analysis bandwidths.

Here's a comparison of several key specs and capabilities:

- The RSA600 gives you about 10dB better dynamic range than the MDO's spectrum analyzer, DPX realtime spectrum display (10s of thousands of spectrums/sec), about 18 standard (free) measurements, with dozens more available as options, optional tracking generator with transmission gain/loss, return loss, VSWR, distance to fault and cable loss measurements.

- The MDO4000C gives you 1GHz+ signal analysis bandwidth, complete time correlation between the analog, digital and RF signal paths (capture RF vs. time and observe spectral changes, RF amplitude/frequency/phase changes vs. time along with analog and digital inputs).  The spectrum analyzer can be considered an entry level analyzer (limited feature set compared to the RSA600, with the big exception of the aforementioned time correlation).  The optional connection to SignalVu-PC adds the rich measurement and analysis capabilities of SVPC with 1GHz analysis BW - but does *not* give you the realtime capabilities of the USB RSAs.

It really comes down to what your plans are.  The RSA excels for spectrum and signal analysis, realtime spectrum analysis, and basic antenna/cable/component test with the tracking generator.  The MDO really excels at testing embedded RF devices, cross domain correlation, board level debugging, basic spectrum and signal analysis and wideband advanced signal analysis with the connection to SignalVu-PC.

I hope this helps you in your decision making.
======================================
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Offline k4rlhp

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Re: Tek RSA600 vs. MDO4000C for self.edu
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2017, 09:27:00 am »

1. There is not an upgrade path between the RSA603A and RSA607A, you have to make the decision about frequency range at the time of purchase.  The same holds true for the optional Tracking Generator on these units.

That's unfortunate.
Just in case, is the TG option available as an upgrade or does it have to be included from the start?


2. With this connection, the MDO4000C delivers up to 1GHz bandwidth of RF data to SignalVu-PC for analysis - 25x the analysis bandwidth of the RSA600A series. 

However, the price you pay is that the connection between the MDO and SignalVu-PC does *not* give you any realtime performance like you have with the RSA300/500/600 series analysers.  In fact, you only get a couple of acquisitions per second to SignalVu-PC, even at narrower analysis bandwidths.

It looks like it dispatches the whole memory buffer via USB/ETH to SignalVu for analysis and depending on the span setting it will change the RF acquisition time available for analysis. So it is a store-and-forward architecture rather than a streaming architecture like the RSA.
Unless I'm wrong ;)

Anyway, this is exactly what I wanted to know but could not deduct from the data sheet.

It really comes down to what your plans are.  The RSA excels for spectrum and signal analysis, realtime spectrum analysis, and basic antenna/cable/component test with the tracking generator.  The MDO really excels at testing embedded RF devices, cross domain correlation, board level debugging, basic spectrum and signal analysis and wideband advanced signal analysis with the connection to SignalVu-PC.

It looks like the MDO would potentially be the best suited for the task I want to accomplish as the cross domains capability is important.
Also I would like to phase the investments as I progress but it looks like it's an "all in" option mostly.

Is there any good workaround to get a trigger out pulse from any of the RSA devices to do RF triggering and syncing to external analogue and digital domains analysis?

Thanks!
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Tek RSA600 vs. MDO4000C for self.edu
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2017, 09:49:24 am »
If you want cross domain then an oscilloscope with FFT would be more suitable. According to a recent post by an owner of the MDO it can't do spectrum analysis and signals at the same time. For that you'll need FFT which is slow (and the Tektronix MDO scopes don't set any speed records in any area).
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Someone

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Re: Tek RSA600 vs. MDO4000C for self.edu
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2017, 10:13:08 am »
If you want cross domain then an oscilloscope with FFT would be more suitable. According to a recent post by an owner of the MDO it can't do spectrum analysis and signals at the same time. For that you'll need FFT which is slow (and the Tektronix MDO scopes don't set any speed records in any area).
You're thinking of the entry MDO model:
https://www.tek.com/support/faqs/can-mdo3000-capture-time-domain-and-frequency-domain-simultaneously
The 4000 which the OP is specifically asking about has correlated frequency domain and analog/digital channels as already mentioned.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Tek RSA600 vs. MDO4000C for self.edu
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2017, 11:19:11 am »
If you want cross domain then an oscilloscope with FFT would be more suitable. According to a recent post by an owner of the MDO it can't do spectrum analysis and signals at the same time. For that you'll need FFT which is slow (and the Tektronix MDO scopes don't set any speed records in any area).
You're thinking of the entry MDO model:
https://www.tek.com/support/faqs/can-mdo3000-capture-time-domain-and-frequency-domain-simultaneously
The 4000 which the OP is specifically asking about has correlated frequency domain and analog/digital channels as already mentioned.
OK. BTW: I was referring to this post: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/rigol-mso4000-or-tektronix-mdo3000-series-they-say-rigol-has-bugs-scope-help/msg1317848/#msg1317848
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 


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