16-bit digitisers offer speed and channel options

7th November 2017
Posted By : Mick Elliott
16-bit digitisers offer speed and channel options

A smooth technology upgrade path is always welcomed by engineers and it is a practice which is a founding principle of Spectrum Instrumentation. It is at the heart of a new digitiser platform launched by the company. The M2p will be the PCIe base for all upcoming products for the next years, while the new 59xx module will be available in many variations. The M2p platform and 59xx module form 13 different new digitiser cards with lots of options regarding speed and channels.

Oliver Rovini, CTO at Spectrum, says: “These products will be the heart of a new mid-range digitizer series which is designed to cover signal frequencies from 1MHz to 40MHz. Within that range, the new units will smoothly replace all our current 12, 14 and 16-bit models giving our existing customers an easy upgrade path with a lot of technical advantages. As such, we see many applications for these new products in the areas of Ultrasound, Laser, Lidar, Radar, Automotive and big physics experiments.”

The M2p.59xx series is initially available with three different speed grades of 20MS/s, 40MS/s and 80MS/s and from one to eight channels per card.

Based on Spectrum’s unique modular design philosophy, 13 different models can be ordered ensuring a perfect match against the required specifications of customers. More models will be released in 2018.

Although the size of the product has been squeezed into a half-length PCIe card by the Spectrum design team, it still offers more features than predecessor families.

Each channel has a separate ADC and a fully individual programmable input amplifier with ranges between ±200mV and ±10V, programmable input offset for unipolar measurements, programmable input termination of 50 Ω and 1 MΩ and an integrated calibration circuit.

Models are available with up to 8 single-ended and up to 4 differential channels.

The reduced card length of 167 mm allows the powerful 16-bit digitisers to fit into much smaller PC systems than before. A PCIe x4 lane interface dramatically increases the available streaming speed to more than 600 MByte/s – or more than 75 MS/s continuous streaming for 4 channels.

That complements the on-board memory of 1GByte and enables applications that need continuous data storage or fast online calculations. Intelligent acquisition modes like multiple recording, gated sampling or ABA – the combination of fast and slow continuous acquisition – matches nearly every application demand.

Up to 16 cards in one system can be synchronised using Spectrum’s proven star-hub technology. That allows systems to be created with up to 128 channels, all sharing a common clock and trigger, in one single chassis.

For synchronisation with external equipment, clock and trigger inputs and outputs are standard.

For even more flexibility, 4 individually programmable connectors are available directly on the front-plate that offer additional trigger inputs, status outputs, synchronous digital input lines, asynchronous I/O or a reference clock input for an integrated time stamping unit.

The new card is based on Spectrum’s own general driver API that was introduced in 2006. Nowadays more than 400 different products share this common driver library allowing easy switching from slow to fast products and combining PCIe, PXIe or Ethernet/LXI products with one common software interface.

A complete SDK based on Windows and Linux is included in the delivery.

Drivers and examples for nearly every programming language on the market are included leaving the decision of the preferred programming interface to the customer.

The current SDK includes C, C++, C#, Delphi, VB.NET, J#, Python, Java, LabVIEW, MATLAB and LabWindows/CVI.

All units are shipped factory tested and include a base version of Spectrum's SBench 6 software for first tests and simple measurement tasks.

The Professional license of the software adds full support of all acquisition modes, a large number of calculations and new displays, project control and reporting.

“More than 25 years of German quality engineering and production allowed us to give an industry-leading five years of warranty on our products” stated CEO Gisela Hassler. “Furthermore, software and firmware updates are free of charge for the lifetime of the product. Support is done directly by our skilled in-house team of engineers – normally within a couple of hours after the request.”

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