The Red Pitaya has become a popular board among Elektor readers, which can be used for measuring purposes as well as for various applications and experiments of their own. In this article we will look at a few new apps that the team from Red Pitayahave recently introduced.
Red Pitaya is the name of a powerful, open-source experimenting board that is built around a Zynq-FPGA made by Xilinx, which, in addition to the FPGA part, also contains a dual-core ARM Cortex A9 processor.
Okay, let’s get started. With most USB scopes you install the PC software and you can then connect the instrument using a USB cable. This is different with the Red Pitaya because it doesn’t work over USB but uses a network connection instead. Before you start with the board you will first have to decide which way you are going to use it: wired or wireless, connected to an existing network or as a stand-alone access point (handy when using while on the road).
After starting the oscilloscope app, a grid appears with a few user interface elements around it on a gray background (typical for a paid-for app from Red Pitaya; the free apps generally have a white background). Note that you can try the app out in demo mode first before you buy. To the left of the grid there are a few buttons for operating on the various input and output signals, as well as the triggering and a few measurement options.
About the spectrum analyzer we can be quite brief, since the design and operation corresponds to that of the oscilloscope. The arrangement of the grid is different of course: The vertical scale gives signal strength in dBm, the horizontal scale the frequency in Hz, kHz or MHz. In the top bar there is now only the Start/Run button. Below that are the settings for the two input channels. Here you can choose whether a channel is to be displayed or not or whether it has to be ‘frozen’.
The new apps are a great development and make it possible to use the Red Pitaya as a universal measuring instrument, without having to delve into the details of the hardware or put a program together yourself. Hopefully the developers will surprise us in the near future with all kinds of additional functionality for these apps.
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