We've been talking a bit about debugging tools like logic analysers/sniffers, monitors etc lately and it's got me thinking about a designing a general-purpose debugging tool. Maybe something along the lines of a Bus Pirate on steroids.
Some obvious features could be
Serial sniffing of all serial common protocols
Controlled data generation for all common serial protocols
Analogue storage (scope)
Analogue waveform generator
Digital waveform generator
Monitor interface (as in a monitor program running on a DUT)
DMM (multi metre)
I'm just working on some rough block diagrams at the moment but does anyone have ideas or a pet wish list for features in such a device?
I'm missing the volt ohm amp meter - with min/max/avg values. The ADMM in short ;)
Thinking to use a PC for a display, or something like a large (128x64, 256x128) graphics display for output?
Then implement soft buttons for selecting frequency, moving cursors for measurements, etc?
A simple DMM may be an option, that's getting a little analogue for me but maybe.
I've also added "logic probe".
As for the display, my first thoughts are to use a PC, with something like VB.NET you can do a fantastic UI. But then it's tied to Windows. WinDev looks pretty good but it's > $1000. I suppose there's Java but I've never liked the look and feel of Java apps. Maybe.
I like large GLCDs and I have a couple of 4DS ones with touch right here. Even a QVGA (240 x 320) is pretty small though and I worry that it would be too fiddly. If you look at the Xprotolab
Great product but that display would drive me nuts. It's a lot smaller than 240 x 320 though so maybe the 4DS display would be OK. Straight up though that adds $80 to the cost.
As I write about it I'm leaning more towards a PC program, there's just so much more you can do. Maybe a combination of both, simple stuff like DMM display on an LCD, 1000's of bytes of serial trace data and analysis on the PC.
Done some research, DMM doable with a chip like the MAX1492 DVM chip with SPI interface.