What do you get when you cross a mixed-signal oscilloscope, a function generator, a multimeter, a power supply, and some programmable digital I/O in a box? Sounds like the set up to a very geeky joke, but it is actually National Instrument’s VirtualBench product. [Shahriar] has one and wanted to know what was inside, so he did a tear down.
The resulting video (warning, it is a long one, weighing in at over one hour) talks about what’s inside the instrument and what it is like to use it, too. He does some pretty interesting tests, including looking at a clock generator and analyzing a bandpass filter. The $2000 price tag is a hard sell for most hackers. You could easily spend almost as much if you bought everything separately, but as [Shahriar] points out at the end of the video, the VirtualBench does a good job, but it perhaps isn’t as good at any one function as a dedicated instrument.
Still, if you are cash-rich and space-poor or you are outfitting a lab where having everything together (and supported) by a single company might have value, it looks like VirtualBench does do a lot of things well. Even if you don’t want to buy the device, it is still interesting to have a peek inside to see what makes it tick. As we’ve covered before, the instrument is pretty easy to control which has a lot of possibilities, too.