PXIe arbitrary waveform generator adds five new modules

20th October 2016
Posted By : Mick Elliott
PXIe arbitrary waveform generator adds five new modules

The M4x series of PXIe Arbitrary Waveform Generators (AWGs) from Spectrum offer a cost effective solution for automated testing applications that require fast and accurate electronic signal generation. Based on the modular PXIe instrumentation standard, the M4x series includes five new modules that provide one, two or four channels.

Each channel is equipped with the latest 16-bit digital-to-analogue converter (DAC) technology and the various models (see table 1) have maximum clocking rates of 625 MS/s or 1.25 GS/s.

The combination of high resolution and fast clocking rates makes them ideal for generating precise and flexible wave shapes with frequency content from DC to 400MHz.  The dual width 3U AWGs feature a PXIe x4 Gen 2 interface that allows waveform data to be transferred to the module's 4 GB of on-board memory at speeds up to 1.4 GB/s. 

Fully PXIe compliant, the modules can be used in any PXIe or PXI hybrid chassis. Support is also provided for chassis distribution features such as the PXIe/PXI reference clock, star-trigger and trigger bus.

To allow the generation of long and complex waveforms, the AWGs include a number of operating modes such as Single-Shot, Loop, FIFO, Gating and Sequence Replay.

In FIFO mode, the instruments can stream data continuously from PC memory to the AWG memory over the PXIe interface.

The AWGs can even output signals while new waveform data is being sent to the on-board memory.

For further versatility, each channel of the AWG is clocked using a precision phase locked loop (PLL) control system that can be generated internally or from an external clock or reference. 

Three front-panel, multipurpose I/O connectors allow access to synchronous marker outputs, asynchronous digital I/O lines, the trigger output, the run and arm status and the PLL reference clock.

The AWGs are designed to output signals that emulate those found in the real world, delivering programmable output levels from ±200mV to ±4V (±5V for 625MS/s models) into high-impedance and ±100mV up to ±2V (±2.5V for 625 MS/s models) for 50Ω termination.

Using 16-bit digital to analogue conversion, the AWGs also allow fine signal details to be generated.

They deliver outstanding dynamic performance with signal-to-noise (SNR) up to 72 dB, spurious free dynamic range (SFDR) up to 98 dB and noise spectral density (NSD) at an impressive -150dBm/Hz.

To allow easy integration into any test system, the units are shipped with a host of software tools so users can create their own control programs with almost any popular programming language.

This includes C++, Visual Basic, VB.NET, C#, VisualJ#, Delphi, Java and Python code. Third party software support is also provided for LabVIEW, LabWindows and MATLAB for users not wanting to write software.

Spectrum also offers its SBench6-Pro software that lets users control all of the AWG's operating modes and hardware settings from a simple, easy-to-use, graphical user interface. The software has a host of built-in features for waveform creation, data analysis and documentation.

These include the EasyGenerator function for producing standard wave shapes such as sine, rectangular, triangle, saw-tooth, SINC and DC.

Waveforms can also be created from equations, imported from other devices (such as digitisers and oscilloscopes) or other software programs.

SBench6 allows data import and export in the most popular formats such as ASCII, binary and WAV.

The M4x series products are available with immediate delivery. All units are shipped factory tested and include a base version of Spectrum's SBench 6 software, support drivers for most popular programming languages and a two-year manufacturer's warranty.

Technical support, including software and firmware updates, is available free of charge.



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