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I have a question regarding the usage of the PC-based software that is delivered with a Logic Analyzer.

I see that some software questions seem to be on-topic already, e.g. PLC software, CAD software and also a question about LT Spice was closed incorrectly.

I tend to say a Logic Analyzer question would be too specific for SuperUser. It would probably not be off-topic, since it is about computer software. However, I don't think I would find the right people to answer the question.

I would like the question to be on-topic here, but that's not my decision :-)

Here's my hypothetical (at the moment) question:

In Saleae Logic 1.2.17, I have captured 10 bytes of RS-485 data. Unfortunately, the zoom level is either too small to see the details or too high to see all the 10 bytes. Scrolling with the mouse wheel and using the arrow keys for zooming increases or decreases the zoom level just too much.

However, I know it must be possible to get the zoom level right, because I have a screenshot of the exact same 10 bytes where all the details fit on the screen. The screen has the same resolution as mine.

How would I fit the zoom level so that all my 10 bytes are displayed?

Can I ask it (along with a 2 screenshots of current zoom levels and 1 screenshot expected zoom level) or is it off-topic?

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    \$\begingroup\$ You could create a timing marker pair on the start and stop and then zoom on that pair. Oh dear I answered a question in a comment on meta. On a more serious note - this is kind of a tough one. I think we closed some questions along those lines as being off-topic because questions about the use of electronic devices are off-topic. The other software you mentioned is closely linked to the design of electronics, which is on-topic. I understand that a logic analyzer has little use in other fields, so maybe it would be a best fit here. \$\endgroup\$ – Arsenal Jan 9 '18 at 14:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Thomas I'd talk to a moderator about posting this question, I'm not sure but if they think it's acceptable they might be able to protect your question against closure. Another option is you could post a bounty on the question which would require 50 rep. \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Jan 9 '18 at 17:03
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Asking about some detail of software that is for electrical engineering or related to equipment primarily for electrical engineering is on topic. We often get questions about Eagle, LTSpice, MPLAB, etc, and they are considered on topic.

A logic analyzer is definitely EE equipment, so asking about software to use one is really asking for help with the equipment. That's OK if it's really about a detail of using EE equipment.

Keep in mind that details of how to use a particular model may get little response because most people won't have that model of that type of equipment. Your question may end up in this case, but that doesn't make the question itself off topic.

Note that asking about software related to electronic equipment is not on topic, other than if the equipment has a EE-specific use and the question is about that. The point is that electronics inside doesn't make it EE. This is what we call a consumer electronics question, and usually close it quickly, often with a few downvotes thrown in for not having bothered to read the rules.

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[Let me preface by saying that I don't have a general prejudice against specialized EE software questions and EE lab equipment questions. I've asked and answered a few of those myself.]

The question boils down to: "How to work the zoom on the Saleae logic analyzer chart?" It's more of a software (usability?) question than an EE question. As such, it's a better fit for Saleae's own support forum.

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From the help center:

What topics can I ask about here?

This site is for electronics and electrical engineering professionals, students, and enthusiasts. We ask and answer questions about electrical and electronics engineering topics, which include electronics, physical computing, and those working with microcontrollers, Arduinos and embedded systems. We feel the best Electronics Design questions have a schematic, links to pertinent datasheets or some source code in them, but if your question generally covers …

  • a specific electronics design problem
  • the theory and simulation of electromagnetic forces
  • a communication scheme
  • the writing of firmware for bare-metal or RTOS applications

and it is not about …

  • a shopping or buying recommendation
  • consumer electronics such as media players, cell phones or smartphones, > except when designing these products or modifying their electronics for other uses
  • Programming software for a PC

This is a grey area:
The site only says you can't write questions on consumer electronics, however, the current moderation system would flag this question and close it.

I personally think you should be able to ask questions about electrical engineering equipment if it isn't something you can find in a manual (or asking about the manual itself) more setup type questions.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "...if it isn't something you can find in a manual..." That works, but only in principle, I'm afraid. In the last three decades the equipment got more complex. At the same time, the desire to and ability to write and maintain manuals have decreases across the industry. As a result, there's no shortage of important tribal knowledge that's not in the manuals. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Jan 10 '18 at 3:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ "...if it isn't something you can find in a manual..." Well something like that, I'm sure there are better metrics that you could come up with. \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Jan 10 '18 at 6:26

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