Open Source Logic Analyzer

Hackaday alum [Ian Lesnet] has been working in cahoots with a dedicated team of developers to produce the OpenBench Logic Sniffer. This caseless logic analyzer can operate at 100MHz and sample 32 channels at once. Better yet, a digital oscilloscope add-on is in the works. The pre-order comes in at $45, that’s a lot of functionality for just a few greenbacks. We’ve embedded a demo video after the break that details installing and using this device under Ubuntu.


[Thanks Drone via Dangerous Prototypes]

88 thoughts on “Open Source Logic Analyzer

  1. Looks great for the price. Unfortunate that this device and the Bus Pirate seem to not have proper mounting holes in the PCB, though. Would be nice to make an enclosure for a more permanent benchtop environment, but it doesn’t seem plausible. I hope the open source nature of this project encourages a better user interface. There’s really no excuse for a UI to not fit an 800×600 pixel display. The window isn’t even resizable?

  2. The hardware appears to be very good, but I’ll wait for a better UI. Also, whenever I see a project being demoed in linux, I assume that the windows version isn’t well supported (if at all).

  3. RedKlipz, If you take the time to read the article, there’s a pre-compiled binary version of the java application for Windows (only). Java was used to easily allow cross-platform compatibility.

  4. Just wanted to answer a couple of the questions.

    The Sump Java client is actually very usable, it is possible to download it from the project page and check it out. It’s also open source so anything you don’t like can be changed.

    The command line is only required in Linux.:) The windows download has an included JRE and all that needs to be done is double click on an executable.

    The video is just a demo to show that the client works under linux. I personally run it in Windows when I’m debugging something. The UI is not buggy, rather I made a silly mistake by recording a screencast at such a low, 800×600, resolution to make it easier to view in embedded webpages. The main window is resizable but the window that I had opened to set the capture options was a child window that was not resizable. On displays 1024×768 and larger the child window easily fits but in 800×600 it was too big. I don’t think many people run 800×600 any more so it has probably never been considered a bug. Anyway, it is open source so it is easily fixed.

    Probes are not included, Ian is working with Seeed Studio to make the probes available for purchase.

    No soldering skills are required, $45 is for an assembled board.

    Jack Gassett
    Gadget Factory

  5. I was one of those people still waiting for Saleae to support linux. looks like something far more superior has finally come along.
    supporting linux from the start is always a smart choice.

    Despite relying on a jre. if id does what is advertised, I’m in.

    now for the good stuff:
    econut: psst! it’s java buddy. not linux.
    Richard Nibbler: sour grapes, ay richy?

  6. This looks nice. I would love to see some videos with some captures.

    Also about the window size issue: You can drag any part of any window with the mouse by holding down “Alt” in X11 (works on all Unix-like systems).

  7. @sigtermer – no sour grapes here. But it shouldn’t take 5 mins to install software. I get paid to make things -not mess around on *nix all day.

    And the name is Dick Nibbler to you.

    Richard Nibbler.

  8. The other thing worth noting is the gadget it’s connected to – Ian’s ‘USB Infrared Toy’. It’s also up on Seedstudio as a preorder and looks like a great kit for investigating IR controls with little effort.

    I don’t know which to buy first !

  9. You guys need to work ALOT more on your “demo” skills. The video was 4:51 and showed (or should I say “demo’d”) your product working for about 6 seconds.

    No one cares about the CLI install. I’m assuming the files come with a readme or install file?

    How about a video of your board actually doing something?

  10. Caved in – bought the IR toy. The analyser would be great if the board was a bit more case friendly (double-sided sticky tape is a bit naff), but its a better buy than the Salae logic device.

    Now if Salae’s version could be used from within Linux, perhaps with it’s own Sump interface, that would be great. I do all my hardware work in Linux so I’ve no interest in Windows and Ian’s work is a great fit for me.

    Ian – if you ever do a version that has mounting holes andpin headers so that buttons could be mounted on a case that would be great !!!!!

  11. Drone:
    The need for cross-platform compatibility as an excuse for writing the client in Java is a poor one, in my opinion.

    I’m considering writing a cross-platform client in C++ for this device; it’s awesome hardware and definitely worth it! Is the communications protocol documented anywhere besides the Java src?

  12. @Richard Nimbler: congrats, you won the n00b of the day award (in case you’re wondering: yes, you should feel offended by this). Then again, extremely cool projects like this are better left alone by “hardcore users” like you.
    Very, very nice project. Can’t wait for the oscilloscope part. Keep up the good work.

  13. I can see this has a lot of potential for reversing stuff, and hardware peeps like me will find Java a lot easier to fiddle with than C++

    Once the oscilloscope bit arrives I can see me casing the two together and using the combination quite a bit.

    Thanks for the hard work guys. :-)

  14. Wow very nice product. To get the same specs in a commercial product you’d probably need to pay 5x more. And if there is the same kind of support than with the bus pirate, that’s a winner. I vote for mounting holes too. It doesn’t increase board size that much.

    I don’t get something however, you say that there are 32 channels, but the header has only 16 pins (+2 GND) ?

    I agree that the demo video is extremely bad. I believe it actually deters people from using the product. You need to demo the actual capture software, the installation procedure can be described in a 1 page text file. And choose a resolution which does not make the software appear defective …

    @ReKlipz: what’s wrong with a Java client ? I mean, really who hasn’t a JRE installed these days. If you’ve got motivation you should use it to improve the software, not to make a fork for ideological reasons.

  15. Poor video, certainly doesnt leave me begging for one, but its a nice product at a nice price. The sales video should have shown some usage, not how to install it, if anyone has trouble installing it, they probably shouldnt be buying one.

    I like the idea of the JRE frontend but would certainly need to see it in action before throwing down the readies.

  16. My only complaint is if they were going to do it open anyway and just charge for assemblies why not at least spend extra time to make it handle modern bus RF? You can actually do most of this stuff with a cheap proto board.

    I gave a positive comment above because it is good for debugging and reversing low power circuits. I just don’t get why they water it down, hell you can still manufacture a higher RF capable ones for tens more.

  17. @janin
    The thing that is wrong with a Java client is that it requires a JRE. The compiled Java for Windows is a nice touch though.

    The answer to your next question ought be obvious.

    And finally, I think diverging from Java would be a vast improvement for the client, but these are just my opinions.

  18. Bought an Saleae Logic a few months back. It’s nice and everything but the client for Linux is in beta and is unfinished.

    This is cheap and more importantly for me it’s 5v tolerant.

  19. Does anyone know what kind of LookAndFeel the windows client uses?

    I also hate the nix java gui, but I guess it will be pretty easy to switch it to GTK+ look, or the even cooler Nimbus look! ;)

    I’m already praying on the arrival of the oscilloscope! :D

  20. I dunno, its cheap but how much are the probes going to cost? that is going to be at least half the cost of the board

    no mounting holes, ok yea it looks slick but I have a small cluttered desk, want me to buy 45$ worth of stuff to accidentally blob some solder or short it out, cant add some holes in the corners so we can mount it in a box to protect it

    and then there is this on the website

    “This open source hardware and software is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. If you can’t accept this risk, please do not buy this hardware.”

    for a particular purpose? its a darn LA how many purposes does it have

    I think I will pass on this one for now until we can get some real …

    a) cost with probes
    b) way to protect it
    c) know its going to do what is advertised

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