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Five new models have been added to Spectrum Instrumentation’s general purpose M2p.59xx series of PCIe 16-bit digitizer cards. These new versions extend the performance range by increasing the maximum sampling rate from 80 to 125 Msps. The increased sampling rate, together with higher overall bandwidth, enables the new cards to capture a wider range of electronic signals. It makes them suited for applications where signals in the DC to 50 MHz frequency range need to be acquired and analyzed with speed and accuracy. The digitizers are suitable for diverse applications such as ultrasound, laser, LiDAR, radar, power, automotive, medical science—even big physics experiments.

Based on the latest 16-bit analog-to-digital (ADC) technology, the new M2p-596x series includes models that provide one, two, four or eight input channels. Multi-channel models each have their own ADC and signal-conditioning circuitry to allow fully synchronous acquisition on all the inputs. Importantly, the high-resolution 16-bit ADCs are said to deliver 16x more resolution than digitizers using older 12-bit technology and 256x more resolution than is available from digital scopes that commonly use 8-bit ADCs. The extra resolution translates directly into improved measurement capabilities and superior dynamic performance. The series is also said to deliver a higher signal-to-noise ratio, better spurious free dynamic range and less distortion than 12- or 14-bit products.


The complete product has been packed into a half-length PCIe card, yet it still offers a full set of digitizer features. Each channel has its own programmable input amplifier with ranges between ±200 mV and ±10 V, programmable input offset for unipolar measurements, programmable input termination of 50 Ω and 1 MΩ and an integrated calibration circuit. Models are available with up to eight single-ended and up to four differential channels.

To match nearly every application requirement, the units come with a variety of signal triggering techniques, an impressive on-board memory of 1 GB and a number of intelligent acquisition modes, such as multiple recording, gated sampling or ABA (the combination of fast and slow continuous acquisitions). At 167 mm long, these multi-function digitizers fit into much smaller PC systems, making them suitable for compact original equipment manufacturer solutions.

Figure 1

Figure 1 M2p.59xx with Star-Hub module, which synchronizes up to 16 cards.


Incorporated into the digitizers is a PCIe ×4 lane interface that enables fast data streaming at rates of more than 700 Mbps—or more than 80 MSPS continuous streaming for four channels. The cards support Spectrum’s new SCAPP software option—the Spectrum CUDA Access for Parallel Processing—that enables an easy-to-use, powerful way to digitize, process and analyze electronic signals. SCAPP allows a CUDA-based graphical processing unit (GPU) to be used directly between any Spectrum digitizer and the PC. The main advantage is data is passed directly from the digitizer to the GPU, where high speed parallel processing is possible using its multiple processing cores (up to 5,000). Fast data streaming and SCAPP improve overall measurement speeds and free up vital PC resources.


For high density, multi-channel acquisition, up to 16 digitizer cards can be fully synchronized using the company’s Star-Hub technology, which allows systems to be built with up to 128 channels, all sharing a common clock and trigger in a single chassis. Figure 1 shows the M2p.59xx with Star-Hub module.

Figure 2

Figure 2 Front panel connectors on the PCIe 16-bit digitizer card.

For synchronization with other external equipment, clock and trigger inputs and outputs are also standard. Further flexibility is provided via four individually programmable, front panel connectors that offer additional trigger inputs, status outputs, synchronous digital input lines, asynchronous I/O or a reference clock input for an integrated time stamping unit. Figure 2 shows the connectors.


The software design of the new cards is based on Spectrum’s own general driver API that was introduced in 2006; more than 400 different products now share this common driver library, allowing easy switching from slow to fast products and combining PCIe, PXIe or Ethernet/LXI products with one common software interface. A complete software development kit (SDK) based on Windows and Linux is included standard with the card.

Drivers and examples for nearly every programming language on the market are included, leaving the decision of the preferred programming interface to the customer. The current SDK includes: C, C++, C#, Delphi, VB.NET, J#, Python, Java, LabVIEW, MATLAB and LabWindows/CVI.

All units are shipped factory tested and include a base version of the SBench 6 software for first tests and simple measurement tasks. The professional license of the software adds full support for all the acquisition modes, a large number of calculations, additional displays, project control and reporting.

Spectrum Instrumentation GmbH
Grosshansdorf, Germany