My workbench has basic electronics tools: a multimeter, a two channel oscilloscope, and a collection of power bricks at various voltages. My tools are limited, so sometimes I have to innovate when debugging electronics projects, some of which are described on my blog.

I use my multimeter when prototyping to check for shorts before powering on a new board. Since I don't have a current limited supply, I try to find the power brick with the correct voltage and the minimum current rating. I sometimes also use a fuse to limit the current. The EDU36311A Power Supply would let me swap out my box of brick power supplies and fuses for a single supply with much more control, to slowly ramp up the current and avoid destroying prototypes.

When building these prototypes, I often get out my basic two-channel oscilloscope. I have used it to check power sequencing, debug analog video, and verify digital protocol levels before breaking out my separate logic analyzer. Though it's limited in channels, update speed, and memory, my scope has been just enough to get to the next step of debugging. It would be fantastic to be able to check power sequencing and consumption over time with the EDU34450A Digital Multimeter, instead of relying on the custom logger I built with an Arduino. I could then check signal levels and decode standard digital protocols all on the EDUX1052G Oscilloscope!

I use a custom programmed Arduino when I need to generate signals, but this is a time consuming process, which is constrained by the performance of the microcontroller. The EDU33212A Function Generator would allow me to generate control signals and test filters for the controllers I work on. All without programming an Arduino.

It can be challenging working on hardware with limited access to electronics tools, but the four new smart bench tools would make future projects easier and expand my capability to develop new boards based on more complex devices. I aspire to build an embedded Linux robotic controller (with DRAM) integrated in a small, affordable, and open source differential drive robot.


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