Cheap logic analyzer review. Do they work?

Logic analyzer is a handy tool for hobbyists. There are numerous occasions we come across scenarios where we doubt whether the module that we connected is not working or our SPI/I2C signals are wrong. Then all we tell to ourselves is “eeeerrr I wish I had a logic analyzer”. I came across the same scenario several times, finally decided to buy a logic analyzer.

There are many EXPENSIVE logic analyzers available by many suppliers. I’m sure that they work flawlessly and they are really accurate. But I cannot afford them. So I went to E-Bay and typed “Logic Analyzer” and filtered “Lowest Price First”. I selected the product below. It is just 11$. There are few logic analyzers for 9$ also (Damn I didn’t see!!!) I did not think twice, I bought it and waited a few weeks. I was not sure whether it will work.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Compatible-With-Saleae-USB-Logic-24MHz-8Ch-Logic-Analyzer-for-ARM-FPGA-/231281920312?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35d97a0938

IMG_20140831_164113

The Package

The package contains almost everything we need. The USB cable and the dupoint connectors too. But it is unethical to use “Saleae logic” trademark here.(China!!!) It looks like a copy of the well-known Saleae logic analyzers.

I downloaded the Saleae Logic Analyzer software from there website. I just plugged it and it got detected. This ‘fake’ logic analyzer has same PID/VID values of original ‘Saleae Logic’. Which is twisted in its’ own way.

Luckily enough I had a home-made signal generator which can provide signals up-to 2 MHz. Now it’s testing time.

IMG_20140831_165133

Home made signal generator

Following are two of the captures I did using the ‘Logic’ software. Both the captures came out perfectly.

50Hz

50 Hz Signal

2MHz

2 MHz Signal

I also noticed that if you increase the amplitude of the signal then the nearby channels will suffer from crosstalk. This maybe the price we have to pay for buying CHEAP products.

All in all, the logic analyzer works pretty nice so far. This will help me a lot in the future.

Thanks for reading. Happy hacking.

2 comments

  1. Those $10 clones are counterfit devices that are copies of the actual Saleae hardware. I would not be surprised if they malfunctioned. See the mfg’s website for more information:
    https://www.saleae.com/counterfeit

    Thanks. These guys are trying to bring us the tools we need and counterfeits like this $10 ripoff take money away from the development of the next version and increase costs for all of us.

    1. Yes this is true. I’m also against counterfeit products. I strongly believe that for commercial applications one should never rely on these. It’s perfectly alright for Saleae for taking preventive measures. The only thing they can do is somehow embedding a signature in their devices to make sure that Logic application have proper authentication.

      But as a hobbyist I don’t see reverse Engineering a product and making a non-profitable clone a bad thing too. It’s how hobbyist learn new things. There are many other open-source logic analyzer software. I think we can change the EEPROM to those VID/PID values and use it. For a hobbyist the accuracy is not VERY important.

      That’s my opinion. I don’t think I have broken any law here. 🙂

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