Test & Measurement

Handbook explores digitiser concepts

28th July 2015
Mick Elliott

To keep engineers and scientists up to date with the latest developments in PC based digitiser technology, Spectrum has published a handbook that covers the major product features of this powerful class of instrument and also explains when a digitiser can replace an oscilloscope. The 120 page booklet is printed in full colour and includes a number of graphical images that highlight and explain key digitiser concepts and their application.

Topics covered include how and when to select a digitiser, understanding the various terms and comparing their performance with other instruments, such as digital oscilloscopes. The handbook then has sections that explain how to achieve the best performance from a product with emphasis being given to measurement speed and accuracy.

Examples show how to setup a digitiser and use the various acquisition, trigger and readout modes to ensure important events are always captured and that the acquired data is analysed as fast as possible. More examples demonstrate the effects of proper signal conditioning and explain how digitisers can be used with a variety of different probes and sensors.

The handbook then discusses the importance of software and what effect this has on project development. It explains the structure of device drivers and how you can program the cards using today's most popular programming languages such as Visual C++, Borland C++, Gnu C++, Visual Basic, VB.NET, C#, J#, Python and Delphi as well as with third party software tools such as LabVIEW and MATLAB.

To help with programming the handbook discusses the advantages of using debug logging and other tools that allow you to test hardware setups and assess their potential data transfer speeds. For those not wanting to develop their own code there is even a section about SBench6, a graphical user interface that allows you to control and operate Spectrum digitisers without the need for any programming.

In addition, the handbook includes a section on signal processing. It highlights the benefits of using techniques such as signal averaging and frequency domain analysis and discusses their various advantages and disadvantages.

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