Test & Measurement

Open-source platform takes in high-end instrumentation

26th February 2019
Mick Elliott

Low cost, open-source, reconfigurable instrumentation received a boost at embedded world in Nuremberg when Red Pitaya launched an uprated version of its credit-card sized STEMlab product that is tailored for HF+50MHz SDR (Software-Defined Radio)and RF applications that require DAQ systems with higher precision.

STEMlab 122.88-16 SDR comes with two 16 bit ADCs, 50Ohm inputs and 14-bit DACs, 50Ohm outputs. It uses the dual core ARM Cortex A9 offering massively better performance, the Xilinx Zynq 7020 FPGA for more real-time processing capabilities plus an ultra-low phase noise 122.88MHz clock which makes new the latest-generation STEMlab more hardware-compatible with HPSDR.

1Gbit Ethernet connectivity has been retained, and RF inputs have been improved in terms of distortion, noise and crosstalk which significantly improves reception and broadens the choice of antenna.

STEMlab 122.88-16 SDR retains the original STEMlab form factor so it directly replaces the current platform.

Said Leon Živec, CEO Red Pitaya: “With this improved performance and affordability we believe that STEMlab 122.88-16 SDR will enable the Red Pitaya community to build SDR transceivers and other scientific devices that will be able to compete with high-end, dedicated instruments, yet retain the flexibility and simplicity of the Red Pitaya concept.”

STEMlab is a test and measurement environment that includes a board, an application marketplace and a source code library. It is designed as a low-cost alternative to many expensive measurement and control instruments.

The platform can function as an oscilloscope, logic analyser, signal generator, spectrum analyser and more, also performing other tasks like vector network analysis. It is based on high end FPGA technology, enabling software and hardware programming, coupled with very accurate high-end ADCs.

Customisable at the FPGA and CPU levels, STEMlab can process real-world signals.

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