USB arbitrary waveform generator aims at multiple applications

Posted By : Mick Elliott
USB arbitrary waveform generator aims at multiple applications

ACCES I/O Products has released a new USB high speed arbitrary waveform output board with flexible ranges and configurable digital I/O lines. Industry standard BNC connectors are used for the analogue waveform output and the gate control input, while the utility digital I/O lines are accessed via a 16-pin shrouded connector.

The USB-AO-ARB1 can be used in an assortment of embedded applications including stimulus-response, test, simulation, industrial equipment control, waveform/audio synthesis, advanced substance scanning and detection, medical imaging systems, military/mission-critical, cyber security systems, manufacturing test, and process monitoring.

Arbitrary waveform generation capability becomes increasingly necessary as CPUs are burdened with a greater abundance of complex tasks. An arbitrary waveform is a user-defined set of digital values specified point by point over time. These values are then clocked through a DAC to provide the analogue output signal or generate the waveform. Virtually any waveform can easily be created using the software tools provided by ACCES and also by third-party software packages such as LabVIEW. The ARB relieves some of the load placed on the CPU by handling the waveform timing at the hardware level, using an on-board FIFO and control logic. This is especially useful in time-critical applications as outputs remain unaffected by latencies inherent in popular operating systems.

Key features of the board include 16-bit analog output for precisely timed waveforms up to 8MHz, a high-speed USB 2.0 device, USB 3.0 compatible, three unipolar and three bipolar output ranges, start/stop hardware control via 2nd BNC connector or via software command, and 8 lines of digital, configurable as inputs or outputs in groups of 4.

An OEM version (board only) features PC/104 module size and mounting capability. The board is housed in a rugged, steel, 4in x 4in x 1in industrial enclosure.

The USB-AO-ARB1 was designed to be used in rugged industrial environments but is small enough to fit onto a desk or testing station. The board measures just 3.550 by 3.775 inches and ships inside a steel powder-coated enclosure with an anti-skid bottom. A DIN rail mounting provision is available for installation in industrial environments.

The USB-AO-ARB1 utilises a high-speed custom function driver optimised for a maximum data throughput that is thousands of times faster than the USB human interface device (HID) driver used by many competing products. This approach maximises the full functionality of the hardware along with capitalizing the advantage of high-speed USB. The USB-AO-ARB1 is supported for use in most operating systems and includes a free Windows and Linux (including Mac OS X) compatible software package. This package contains sample programs and source code in Visual Basic, Delphi, and Visual C++ for Windows. Also provided is a graphical setup program in Windows. Linux support includes installation files and basic samples for programming from user level via an open source kernel driver. Third party support includes a Windows standard DLL interface usable from the most popular application programs, and includes LabVIEW 8.5+ VIs. Embedded OS support includes Windows Xpe, WES7, etc.

 

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