AWGs deliver output swings up to 24V

Posted By : Mick Elliott
AWGs deliver output swings up to 24V

Six Arbitrary Waveform Generators (AWGs) have been added to its recently released M2p.65 xx series of PCIe cards by Spectrum Instrumentation. The new AWGs extend the product families capabilities by boosting the available output range, so that waveforms can be generated with amplitude swings of up to ±12V into 1MΩ or ±6V into 50Ω.

To achieve the higher output voltage ranges the cards have been fitted with additional amplification and larger cooling plates. This makes the cards a little wider, so that they occupy two PCIe slots, but they are still just 168 mm in length.

The small size allows them to fit into almost any PC, turning it into a powerful and flexible waveform generator.

The M2p.65xx series AWGs use the latest 16-bit Digital-to-Analogue Converters and feature a fast PCIe x4 interface with up to 700 MByte/s streaming speed.

Users can select output speed rates of either 40 MS/s (M2p.654x series) or 125 MS/s (M2p.657x series) and models with one, two or four channels per card.

Each channel features its own DAC and output stage. Multi-channel cards share a common clock and trigger to ensure full synchronisation and the output stages incorporate four switchable filter paths to help optimize signal quality.

The flexible output stages combine with the high resolution 16-bit DACs to enable the generation of signals with very low distortion, exceptional dynamic range and a high signal-to-noise ratio.

Oliver Rovini, CTO at Spectrum, said: “One of the main limitations of most AWGs is their ability to generate accurate high amplitude waveforms. These new AWG cards offer a cost-effective solution in one fully integrated package. As such, they should be of interest to anybody wanting to generate larger test signals in the DC to 60MHz range. The ability to reproduce high quality signals is always valuable to engineers and scientists who need to stimulate a system, or component, with waveforms that are high precision, easily adapted, and mimic real operational conditions.”

To allow the M2p.65xx series AWGs to generate long and complex waveforms, each card comes equipped with 512MSamples of on-board memory. The large memory is complemented by a variety of different output modes.

For example, the memory can be segmented and waveforms can be created by looping on, and switching between, different segments. The cards also feature a FIFO streaming capability that enables new waveform data to be read over the fast PCIe bus (at rates of up to 700 MB/s) while replaying already transferred information.

This flexibility allows users to create ultra-long, single shot waveforms or constantly changing, burst-type signals such as those found in communications, radar, ultrasound, LIDAR or sonar systems. The possibilities are almost limitless.

For applications that require the connection of AWGs and Digitisers, such as stimulus-response or closed-loop applications, Spectrum’s Star-Hub piggy-back module synchronises up to 16 different M2p class products.

The M2p.65xx AWGs complement the M2p.59xx 16-bit digitisers released in 2018. The M2p.59xx digitizers offer one to eight channels with sampling rates between 5 MS/s and 125 MS/s. The Star-Hub distributes a common clock and trigger signal to each channel ensuring fully synchronous operation.

Star-Hub systems are also perfect for situations where multiple test points, or arrays of sensors, need to be stimulated by different test signals at the same time.

Controlling and generating signals with the Spectrum AWGs is also easy and straight forward. The cards are fully programmable and drivers are provided, free of charge, to support the most popular languages (such as C++, VB.NET, C#, J#, Delphi, Java or Python code) as well as third party software tools like LabVIEW and MATLAB. Alternatively, users can simply run Spectrum’s own software, SBench 6 Professional.

Once installed in a PC, the AWG cards are easy to integrate with other test and measurement devices. The signal outputs as well as clock and trigger inputs are provided via front-panel SMB connectors. The front-panel also hosts four MMCX connectors (one multi-function output, and three multi-function I/O lines), which can be used for different tasks such as digital output channels, clock, trigger or status output as well as asynchronous I/O lines.

The Spectrum M2p.65xx series AWGs are in full production and available for immediate delivery. All cards are shipped factory tested and include a base version of Spectrum's SBench 6 software for first tests.They come with a five year warranty.

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