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Introducing the Analog Discovery 3: Advancements and Enhanced Features for Seamless Engineering Instrumentation

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Digilent, a leading provider of electronic engineering tools, is excited to introduce the highly anticipated Analog Discovery 3 (AD3), the successor to the widely acclaimed Analog Discovery 2. Building on the legacy of its predecessor, the AD3 sets a new standard in electronic engineering instrumentation by combining the functionalities of multiple devices into a single, compact powerhouse. In this article, we will explore the enhanced features and advancements of the AD3, showcasing its expanded capabilities and seamless compatibility with the AD2.


Oscilloscope: Unmatched Precision and Versatility

One of the standout features of the AD3 is its oscilloscope, which boasts two differential channels with 14-bit resolution, providing unparalleled precision and signal fidelity. With a maximum sampling rate of 125 MS/s per channel and a broad ±25 V input range, the AD3 delivers exceptional performance even in demanding applications. Engineers can rely on its wide bandwidth of over 30 MHz (with a BNC Adapter) to ensure accurate measurements across a wide range of frequencies. The AD3 also offers user-configurable FIR filters and a lock-in amplifier, enabling engineers to extract critical information from complex signals. With advanced features such as FFT, Spectrogram, Eye Diagram, and XY Plot views, the AD3 empowers engineers to explore and analyze signals with remarkable depth and clarity.

Arbitrary Waveform Generator: Unleashing Creativity and Flexibility

The AD3’s arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) provides engineers with unparalleled flexibility. Featuring two channels with 14-bit resolution and a sampling rate of up to 125 MS/s per channel, the AD3 AWG enables the generation of standard and custom waveforms, as well as amplitude and frequency modulated signals. With a ±5 V output range and a bandwidth of 12 MHz (with BNC Adapter), engineers have the freedom to develop precise and complex signal patterns effortlessly. The AD3 also supports direct playback from analog inputs, allowing engineers to unleash their creativity and develop custom waveforms with ease.

Logic Analyzer and Pattern Generator: Comprehensive Digital Analysis

Engineers can leverage the AD3’s logic analyzer and pattern generator capabilities for comprehensive digital analysis. With 16 digital I/O channels operating at up to 125 MS/s per channel, capturing and analyzing digital signals becomes effortless. The AD3 supports individually-configurable 3.3 V digital inputs and outputs, with 5 V tolerant inputs. Extensive protocol support, including SPI, I2C, UART, CAN, and JTAG, enables seamless interfacing with a wide range of digital systems. The AD3’s logic analyzer functionality extends to custom protocols, ensuring compatibility with diverse application requirements.

Programmable Power Supplies: Enhanced Control and Efficiency

Fine-tuning voltage levels with precision is made possible with the AD3’s programmable power supplies. Ranging from 0.5 V to 5 V and -0.5 V to -5 V, these variable power supplies offer versatility for powering various components. When used with an auxiliary power source, the AD3 can deliver up to 800 mA per channel, enabling engineers to meet the power requirements of their designs efficiently.

Additional Features: Expanding Boundaries and Integration

Beyond its core functionalities, the AD3 incorporates an impressive array of additional features that enhance its versatility and usability. Engineers gain access to comprehensive analysis capabilities within a single device through software instruments such as the Spectrum Analyzer, Network Analyzer, Impedance Analyzer, Protocol Analyzer, and Data Logger. The AD3 also includes a voltmeter, in-app scripting capabilities, and virtual digital I/O, enabling engineers to simulate and interact with buttons, switches, and LEDs effortlessly. With an SDK for hardware control in popular programming languages like C, C++, Python, and more, engineers can seamlessly integrate the AD3 into their existing workflows and customize its functionalities to suit their specific needs.

Audio Adapter+: Expanding Audio Capabilities

The AD3 is complemented by the Audio Adapter+, a module that enhances its audio signal capturing and analysis capabilities. The Audio Adapter+ enables the AD3 to capture and analyze audio signals from external sources and easily connect to audio devices such as headphones and speakers. Equipped with 2×15 MTE connectors, the Audio Adapter+ is compatible with both the AD3 and previous devices in the family. The additional pass-through connector allows for simultaneous use of other instruments, supporting complex applications.

Compatible with the AD2: Effortless Migration


For existing users of the Analog Discovery 2, migrating to the AD3 is a seamless process. The AD3 shares the same 2×15 header as the AD2, allowing for quick and easy migration of existing workspaces. By simply selecting “Yes” when prompted to open old projects with the Analog Discovery 3, engineers can continue their work with minimal disruption.

Updates to WaveForms

Alongside the Analog Discovery 3, Digilent has also upgraded its WaveForms software to take advantage of the new hardware capabilities. Users can now loop analog signals between the arbitrary waveform generator and oscilloscope, enabling convenient signal viewing and manipulation. The latest version of WaveForms introduces FIR and IIR filter support, offering users multiple options for smoothing unstable analog data. Dual mode has been introduced for all devices, allowing multiple Test and Measurement devices to work in tandem, providing a unified view of data from different sources. Record mode has also been enhanced, with the Analog Discovery 3 offering up to 10 MS/s while recording Scope data, and devices with built-in DDR memory can now record data at their maximum sample rates.

The Analog Discovery 3 represents a significant leap forward in electronic engineering instrumentation, combining multiple powerful functionalities into a compact and versatile device. With its enhanced features and seamless compatibility with the AD2, the AD3 empowers engineers to push the boundaries of their designs and accelerate innovation.

Michal Pukala
Electronics and Telecommunications engineer with Electro-energetics Master degree graduation. Lightning designer experienced engineer. Currently working in IT industry.