New Digitizer PCI cards stream gap-free at 200 MS/s to PC

1st August 2006
ES Admin
Strategic Test Corp has released two new Digitizer cards using multiple 8-bit ADC’s with maximum sampling rates of 100 MS/s or 200 MS/s in interleave mode. Based on the new UF2 series carrier card, it uses a PCI-X (66 MHz/32-bit PCI) bus that can continuously transfer data to the host PC at up to 225 MSamples per second. The advantage being that the user can record longer signals at high-speed to cheap PC RAM instead of buying additonal digitizer card memory. It is also possible to continuously record for hours to hard disks setup in a RAID configuration at up to 105 MSamples per second (i.e. one hour recording at 200 MSamples/s would occupy 37.8 Gbyte disk space).
The two new card are available immediately. The UF-2030 can record on two channels at 100 MS/s or 1 channel at 200 MS/s, while the UF-2031 can record on four channels at 100 MS/s or two channels at 200 MS/s. Each card comes with 64 MSample (64 MByte) signal memory as standard which is sufficient to achive the stated streaming performance. At combined sample rates higher than the PCI-X bus transfer rate, the signals can be recorded to onboard memory and off-loaded later. The card memory can be expanded to 4 GSample (4Gbyte) using a proprietary DIMM module. An important common feature to all UF2 cards is that all of the card memory can be used by the active channels, so that a four channel card used with 2 active channels can record for twice the measurement time.

The cards are supplied with drivers for Microsoft Windows and Linux, with free downloads of future OS version drivers such as Windows Vista. Drivers for MATLAB, LabVIEW, VEE, DASYLab and LabWindows/CVI are available as cost-options.

Each input channel has its own ADC and amplifier. This ensures true simultaneous recording on all channels and allows the user to program the input voltage range and dcV offset to best match each sensor. Up to 16 cards can be configured as a synchronous system of up to 64 channels, sharing a common internal or external clock. It is possible to set trigger conditions on multiple cards combined with AND/OR, a feature often used in production test processes. Apart from the external trigger that is standard on all UF2 cards, each channel can be programmed with edge, window, slope and pulsewidth triggers. A Re-Arm trigger condition has been introduced on the UF2 series that reduces the possibility of false triggering on noisy signals.

While many digitizer cards have fixed sample rate ranges, the UltraFast cards have always allowed the user to use a fine resolution sampling rate. The resolution depends on the chosen sample rate (an application note is available on request). The user simply programs the sampling rate required and the driver adjusts the onboard PLL and hardware driver to deliver the closest clock possible. The new UF2 series employs a new design that has even finer resolution and also offers the possibility to install a user specific quartz when an exact sampling rate is required by the application – a feature that is unique.

A number of application specific cost-options are available. Multiple Recording uses a memory segmentation technique to allow recording of a high-speed series of, say, RADAR signals. Gated sampling only records when the external Gate TTL signal supplied by external equipment goes high or low (user definable). The ABA mode was known on traditional transient recorders, but until now has not been available on PCI cards. Introduced in the UF2 series, it allows a slow and fast sampling rate to be defined so that memory is conserved prior to the trigger event and the critical signal recorded at the faster required sampling rate. The BaseIO option is most often used to control external equipment or to read/write status signals. It adds 8 TTL lines programmable directionally in two 4 bit groups. Finally, the Timestamp option is used to record the time that each trigger occurs, but can also be fed with a GPS time signal to synchronize multiple cards operated at different locations.

The Ultrafast UF2 cards are available immediately and have the following price ranges: 2 channels (UF2-2030 $4290), 4 channels (UF2-2031 $6990) and 8 channel (UF2-3132 $10390). All prices depend on the Euro/USD exchange rate. Volume discounts and OEM customization prices are available on request.

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