Design

Pentek high-speed synchroniser for Quartz RFSoC products

29th September 2020
Alex Lynn

Pentek has introduced a board to the Quartz RFSoC Architecture family, the Model 5903, a 3U VPX high-speed synchroniser and distribution board, optimised for Pentek products using the Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC. The Model 5903 synchronises up to eight 8-channel Pentek Quartz family boards within a system, enabling synchronous sampling and timing for a wide range of multichannel high-speed data acquisition, DSP, radar, beamforming, 5G, electronic warfare and software radio applications.

“The Model 5903 solves a challenging problem for designers developing complex systems," said Bob Sgandurra, Director of Product Management of Pentek. "The Xilinx RFSoC offers extraordinary capabilities, but it’s complicated to precisely synchronise multi-channel configurations. Our engineers have solved this challenge so that customers with high-channel count phase-coherent applications can immediately start development without having to work out synchronisation strategies.”

An on-board programmable clock generator creates the sample clock and complementary timing signals. Up to eight Quartz boards, with eight channels each (up to 64 channels total), can be synchronised using the Model 5903, to support synchronous sampling, triggering and gating functions across all boards.

The Model 5903 provides four front panel MMCX connectors to accept input signals from external sources: one for reference clock, one for sync and two for gate/trigger signals. The internal programmable clock generator can create sample clock frequencies from 1 to >5GHz. The sample clock can be locked to the internal 100MHz frequency reference or locked to an external reference input connector. Similarly, sync and gate/trigger signals can be generated on-board via software or received from external sources through the sync and gate/trigger input connectors.

All board modes and operations are controlled by an on-board processor. Commands to this processor are sent via USB either through a front panel port or through the Rear Transition Module (RTM). The Pentek Navigator BSP provided with Quartz boards includes configuration utilities for the Model 5903.

The Model 5903 delivers a multi-signal sync bus to each board to be synchronised containing sample clocks, reference clocks, and gate/trigger and sync signals. Four sync buses are provided on the Model 5903’s front panel and four are provided to the VPX backplane and optionally to an RTM. Connections between boards are facilitated across the VPX backplane and through precision matched multi-signal sync cables that come with the Model 5903.

The Model 5903 is ideal for use with the Pentek’s 8-Channel A/D and D/A boards based on the Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC processor: Model 5550 and Model 5950 3U VPX boards and the Model 7050 PCIe board.

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