Exploring the Features of the Analog Discovery 3 - Webinar Q & A

This page lists questions asked during the Exploring the Features of the Analog Discovery 3 webinar from July 11, 2023. To watch the webinar recording, check it out on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcCWfzpuDcA

The first AD will continue compatible with WaveForms?
Yes, there are no plans to discontinue WaveForms support for any existing devices.
Is Waveform software specific to AD2 and AD3 or would the same Waveform version work for both?
Every future release of WaveForms continues to support both.
Can an old Waveforms installation be upgraded to the one which supports the AD3? Or do we need to uninstall the old version and then install the new one?
You can install WaveForms updates over past versions.
What the feature of AD3 you are the most proud from development perspective?
If you ask James, it's the USB-C lol. But we really love that we were able to get 99% of what AD2 can do included, and then some! No functionality lost1).

Otherwise, we're really excited by all of the possibilities created by the digital loopbacks between the analog inputs and outputs (both directions)!

1) Note: 1.8 V logic compatibility and the audio jack have been removed (audio jack is now available through an updated audio adapter).
Is there possibility that the buffer size for oscilloscope can be increased in future? now only 32k Samples is supported. Or add option to use whole sampling buffer for single channel?
64 kS when only a single channel is enabled is already supported! If you only enable one analog input channel, the memory usually used to store data coming from it is instead allocated to the other channel.
Can several AD3 be triggered simultaneously to acquire or generate signals?
Yes, external trigger pins can be used to synchronize multiple devices and to forward trigger signals from one device to another. A blog post and potentially other content detailing this is in the works.
Is there a way to monitor 1.8V logic signals with the logic analyzer?
Not directly no. This is one of the few features that have been removed on the AD3.
Has the bandwidth been increased? I mean the bandwidth when using the AD connected with a probe interface board
The sample rate has been increased from 100 to 125 Ms/s, however, the bandwidth has not been increased; it is still 9 MHz for the Oscilloscope and AWG using the MTE cables and 30 MHz for the Scope and 12 MHz for the AWG when using the BNC adapter.

The specs with the BNC Adapter are covered in the AD3 specifications, here: Analog Discovery 3 Specifications

Is that bandwidth an upgrade in comparison with the AD2?
The analog bandwidth remains the same, but the sample rate has been improved from 100 MS/s for the AD2 to up to 125 MS/s for the AD3.
An additional board for using the both channels real differential would also be interesting
This suggestion has been noted and will be passed on to our R&D team.
I read something about lock-in amplifier functionality. Where can I find more info concerning this?
The WaveForms Help tab (Scope → “Lockin Math Channel”) has the most information; Digilent is working on additional material to show off this feature.
im very familiar with Digital Discovery item, I'm interested on WaveForm Generator and how to use it, will it be covered here?
The WaveForm Generator will be covered here, but with the AD3.
is there a plan to add more input channels for scope?
Not physical inputs on the Analog Discovery 3 itself. WaveForms does support a Dual mode where two of the same devices can be used simulanteously within a single WaveForms instance and synchronize their data aquisition together through hardware timing.
How much longer will the AD2 continue to be produced?
We don't plan to produce more AD2s beyond what's currently in stock. AD2 will of course continue to be supported in WaveForms going forward.
The stuff that is being showen here can you make some youtube videos to go over it a little more slowly because I can't follow it as fast as he is doing it and watching the cursor.
This presentation will be rehosted on YouTube so users can follow along at their own pace. If there is sufficient interest, Digilent will consider making a separate (non-live) video on the different features, though with the WaveForms software constantly being updated from community feedback, video formats quickly go out of date.
Does the AD3 support a swept sine function and the ability to do a Bode plot and transfer functions?
Yes. Wavegen instrument → change channel output from “Simple” to “Sweep” and choose your desired signal, sweep, and damping characteristics. Bode plot is the default view of the Network Analyzer with other (custom) views that can be added.
What is the "keeper" option in DIO pullup settings?
Keeper is a setting available to Spartan 7 FPGAs. It remembers the last known driven setting and keeps voltage at that level. Check out Xilinx's UG471 (link available in the reference manual's Digital I/O Settings section) for more detailed information.
Do you have plans to support two digital discovery in dual mode for more than 32 logic channels?
Not at this time, as the Digital Discovery does not have dedicated trigger pins. It may be possible to repurpose some I/Os to implement the necessary synchronization functionality, however, it's still under consideration.
Is it possible to use multiple AD3s simultaneously to create, for example, a 4-channel oscilloscope?
Yes! We've recently added “Select+Dual” mode, where the trigger pins can be used to synchronize two devices. This is supported by most WaveForms-compatible hardware, when you have two of the same device.
I designed a breakout board for the AD2. Is the pin out for AD3 compatible with the AD2?
Yes, so in addition to your breakout board, all of the existing adapters are all still supported.
What is the difference in terms of noise floor for analog inputs AD2 vs AD3? Is there a significant improvement?
There is an improvement with the AD3 being measured at around -94 dB (AD2 was around -92 to -93 dB). This value can be improved with twisted wire pairs, BNC connections, etc, but I would not consider the improvement “significant”.
Have you tested AD3 with a USB isolator?
Digilent has successfully tested the AD3 with a USB (1.1) FullSpeed isolator.
Can waveforms do a Bode plot (with automatic channel scaling for a large dB range)?
Yes, The Network Analyzer is the instrument you are looking for.
is there going to be an NI edition of the AD3?
There's no plan for an NI edition at this time.
i do want to know about waveform update rate. in the AD2 it is a few dozen waveforms per second, best case scenario, Is the waveform update rate improved in the AD3?
Repeated triggered acquisitions are still limited by USB and the capabilities of your PC hardware. Record mode has been improved, so that data can be captured at up to ~10 MS/s, as opposed to the Analog Discovery 2's 1 to 2 MS/s limit. For more specifics, we'd recommend that you post on the Digilent Forum.
with the larger FPGA in the AD3, is alternate trigger mode going to be available?
Triggers can occur based on rising/falling/either edges, timeouts or glitches, particular protocol patterns for the Logic analyzer, the start of an instrument (such as an individual Wavegen channel), and more. If you have a specific kind of trigger in mind, please ask about it in the Test and Measurement section of the Digilent Forum.
I also would like to know about any noise floor improvements over the AD2 since this has an updated frontend
There is an improvement with the AD3 being measured at around -94 dB (AD2 was around -92 to -93 dB). This value can potentially be further improved with twisted wire pairs, BNC connections, etc.
Will there be an updated comparison between the AD3 and the DD?
Not directly. The Digital Discovery still supports a faster sampling rate and wider I/O logic range than the Analog Discovery 3, much like it did when compared to the Analog Discovery 2.
What is the USB rate of the USB-C connector?
The AD3 uses USB 2.0 data rates.
Can the plug in devices, like audio module and imedence module be concatenated?
Generally, no. The audio adapter, for example, does not forward its Scope channel pins out to the 2×15 header, to avoid drive conflicts or shorts. That said, unused pins are generally available on an additional 2×15 header on the adapter so that you can still simultaneously use digital I/Os or other pins. All existing adapters created for the AD2 are all still supported by the AD3.
How can I get 64 KSamples with one channel?
If you only enable one analog input channel, the memory usually used to store data coming from it is instead allocated to the other channel.
The speedtest fails for the AD it works for AD2 and AD3
The latest beta version, 3.20.16 (or later) has fixed this issue and is available here: https://forum.digilent.com/topic/8908-waveforms-beta-download/.
can i have your email contact for SDK library questions?
Please direct SDK questions to the Test and Measurement section of our forum, where the devs and technical support team are active.
Is it possible to make any update or custom config FPGA?
No, the FPGA bitstreams and programming interface are closed.
Would the AD3 be suitable for transceiver alignment, like 2 tones generator and what is required to align the transmitter stage?
Yes, the AD3 could be suitable for this application. Wavegen outputs can be synchronized and both channels support modulated signals if you need more than a single frequency within your output. Frequency sweeps can be performed.
Down the road map, are there any plans to implement USB 3.x SuperSpeed data rate?
Not for AD3, but we're evaluating higher USB speeds for future products.
What is the noise floor of the AD3? Thanks
There is an improvement with the AD3 being measured at around -94 dB (AD2 was around -92 to -93 dB). This value can potentially be improved with twisted wire pairs, BNC connections, etc.
Analog Discovery Studio: Will that get also the upgraded AD3 features?
Some new features are back-compatible with both the AD2 and the ADS, but not all. We'd recommend you download the new version of WaveForms and take a look around in demo mode to see what all has been added.
Does WaveForms attempt to subtract out internally generated noise?
Devices are calibrated at the factory and can be recalibrated through WaveForms. Instruments like the Network and Impedance Analyzer use relative measurement of the analog inputs to eliminate the internal and external noise.
What is the minimum detectable signal that AD3 can resolve? Asked another way, what is the input referred noise floor? How do you recommend this be verified and validated?
There is an improvement with the AD3 being measured at around -94 dB (AD2 was around -92 to -93 dB). This value can potentially be improved with twisted wire pairs, BNC connections, etc.
Will the FPGA pinout and JTAG access be available for tinkering?
No, the FPGA bitstreams and programming interface are closed.
Are you going to demo or video coming on the FM radio feature?
We'll consider this for future content.
I am new with the discovery series. I recently bought a discovery 3. Can you give the URL for registering my device?
Discover More. There's an info card included in the box it comes in if you still have that.
In addition will this presentation be available for replay later. This will make it easier to follow and try?
Yes! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcCWfzpuDcA.
Does the analyzer support DNP protocol?
Not at this time, but we will pass this request on to the WaveForms developer for evaluation.
Will you cover today (or plan with future webinars/YT) how to use LT Spice with help of AD3?
Not today and there aren't currently plans. If you'd like to inquire further about what you are trying to accomplish with these tools, please post in Test and Measurement section of our forum.
For future product it will be nice to use USB3 to stream all the data to the PC as the Saleae do it with their logic analyzer. Thank to that we are not limited by the hardware.
USB 3.2 Gen 1 is under consideration for future products.
Waveforms: is it possible to make a digital loop from a generator to a spectrum analyzer, just like from a generator to an oscilloscope?
Yes, this can be done using the Spectrogram tool in the Scope instrument in WaveForms. It's not supported by the full Spectrum instrument at this time.
Why is an unusual 30pin (2x15) connector used again? Is there a plug part number for custom attachments so as not to cut the 34pin connector?
The same connector was used for the AD3 as was used for the AD2, to ensure compatibility for all existing adapters. It's a Centronic 110-30-38, or equivalent 100 mil / 2.54 mm pitch 2×15 connector. Compatible alternatives include the 65846-002LF.
Why didn't they add BNC sockets on the chassis, it's now bigger than the AD2, at least for an oscilloscope. Additional boards are moderately convenient.
It was determined to not be needed for the AD3 in particular and to potentially increase the device cost. It is however something we're evaluating for future products.
Waveforms; will it be possible to increase the modulation frequency of the power supplies, for example, to 50/100Hz? This makes it easier to check the effect of the power supply on the circuit being powered. Or are the built-in inverters not able to keep up with the higher frequency signal?
As suspected, the power supply update rate is limited to account for the power supplies' switching speed. The fastest rate achievable to modulate the power supplies is 2.5 Hz
The power led on the back of the AD3 is completely invisible. Maybe you can make an illuminated DIGILENT logo :))
LED states are documented in the LED States section of the manual. We like the logo idea :).
is it possible to update AD2 to AD3?
WaveForms workspaces are compatible and can automatically adjust to the connected device, so it's straightforward to switch from an AD2 to an AD3.
Right now in recording mode you are limited to 200 million samples, are there plans to allow open-ended sampling?
The Record to File tool in WaveForms (“Rec.” in the menu next to Export) lets you record up to 1 T samples. Acquisition sizes are still limited by available space on the hard drive and any limits imposed by the operating system.