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Are digital signature analyzers (such as the HP 5004A) still used? These seemed to be very useful in troubleshooting digital circuits.

Could anyone expand on what has replaced them?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ these were useful low cost analyzers for external address/data bus. Many people use full digital logic analyzers ( more costly) or smart internal diagnostic self test and diagnostic serial ports ( more R&D time) I remember using : Emulex, Dolch, HP, Tektronix \$\endgroup\$ Sep 29, 2016 at 20:42

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This kind of analyzers is a 40-years-old technology, see publications of HP in 1977-s. It was suitable for relatively primitive digital logic. Today this is replaced by JTAG chain scan, by BIST (built-in self test, not "Behavior Intervention Support Team"), then by ICE (in-circuit emulators), and finally with real-time full-blown on-chip logic analyzers and VISA debug interfaces. Or a combination of all the above. There are some more advanced debug tools in the works.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ yes functional testers like custom SoC or Object Oriented Modular design using National Instruments . which was used in late 90'S for testing projection TV's in our production, or dedicated 6502 uC with 64K of machine code self test for quad core bit slice CPU's in mid 80's driving 16 dual channel HDD ports \$\endgroup\$ Sep 30, 2016 at 4:37
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Not as a standalone instrument. You don't need something that big just to calculate a CRC, and nowadays there are more advanced debug and production test techniques. I have seen a similar concept, though -- the address and data lines of a microcontroller CPU can be fed into an on-chip CRC module for run-time hardware testing.

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