New AWGs simplify signal generation in automated and remote areas

02-08-2016 | Spectrum | Test & Measurement

Spectrum Instrumentation's release of a new line of arbitrary waveform generators (AWGs) based on the LXI instrumentation standard opens new doors for engineers and scientists who need to generate electronic signals in automated test and remote applications. The new generatorNETBOX series features seven new models to give users a wide choice of performance levels.

Technical Highlights include - LXI-based arbitrary waveform generators with 14 and 16 bit resolutions for accurate signal generation - Output rates up to 1.25GS/s with 400MHz bandwidth - Models with two, four and eight fully synchronized channels - Single-shot, Loop, FIFO, gating and sequence replay modes - SBench6-Pro software for waveform creation, control and documentation.

The LXI-based AWGs combine the latest digital-to-analog converter (DAC) technology and can generate signals from DC up to 400 MHz in frequency. Full remote control is achieved through a simple Ethernet connection to any PC or local area network (LAN) for easy integration into any test system.

Up to eight fully synchronous channels - The generatorNETBOX series is available with two, four or eight fully synchronous channels. For high frequency applications, the fast, high-resolution DN2.66x AWGs use DACs with 16 bit vertical resolution and offer output rates up to either 1.25 GS/s or 625 MS/s.

For lower frequency applications, Spectrum offers the cost-effective DN2.60x AWGs, which utilize 14 bit DAC technology that can output signals at rates up to 125MS/s. The instruments are seen as ideal for applications where signals with frequency content up to 60MHz need to be produced.

Advanced waveform replay modes - To allow the generation of long and complex waveforms, the AWGs combine their large on-board memories (2 GSamples for DN2.66x series and 512 MSamples for DN2.60x series) with 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 GBit Ethernet port. The AWGs can even output signals while new waveform data is being sent to the on-board memory.

Each channel is clocked using a precision phase locked loop (PLL) control system generated internally or from an external clock or reference. Front-panel multi-purpose I/O connectors enhance system flexibility by allowing access to asynchronous digital inputs, asynchronous digital outputs, the trigger output, the run and arm status, the PLL reference clock and a marker output.

Ideal for remote and mobile applications - Small and compact, the generatorNETBOX products can benchtop or rack mounted. For mobile applications they can also be powered by an optional 12 or 24VDC source.

The instruments are fully self-contained and come with all the tools necessary to generate an almost unlimited variety of waveforms. Simply connect the unit to a host computer (i.e. laptop or workstation) or anywhere on the corporate network.

Spectrum's SBench6-Pro software, which comes standard with every unit, provides a simple, easy-to-use, graphical user interface to control all the operating modes and hardware settings.

The software's built-in features for waveform creation, data analysis and documentation 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 or imported from other devices, such as digitizers and oscilloscopes, or other software programs. SBench6 allows data import and export in the most popular formats, such as ASCII, binary and WAV.

Extensive software support - Included drivers allow users to write their own control programs with almost any popular programming language, such as C++, Visual Basic, VB.NET, C#, J#, Delphi and Python code. Third-party software support is also provided for LabVIEW, LabWindows and MatLab.

Using Spectrum's embedded server option,, a generatorNETBOX can operate remotely as an independent unit or as part of a larger system when connected to a LAN. A powerful CPU, a freely accessible SSD, more memory and a remote software development access method combine to create an open platform where you can run your own software, while at the same time remain connected via LAN for remote access.

All units are shipped factory tested and include Spectrum's SBench 6 Professional version software and support drivers for most popular programming languages. Technical support, including software and firmware updates, is available free of charge, says the company.

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