Microwave Journal
www.microwavejournal.com/articles/34717-multi-channel-awg-and-digitizer-in-one-box

Multi-Channel AWG and Digitizer in One Box

October 14, 2020
Figure 1

The hybridNETBOX is a new instrumentation platform for applications that require simultaneous signal generation and acquisition. Six models are available, offering the choice of two, four or eight pairs of matched arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) and digitizer channels, with output and sampling rates of 40, 80 and 125 MSPS (see Figure 1).

With the ability to create and acquire signals at the same time, these products are tailored for measurement systems that perform automated closed loop or stimulus-response testing. For example, they can reproduce and capture “echo” signals, such as radar, sonar, lidar and ultrasound. With multi-channel capability, they can test these systems even when arrays of transmitters and receivers are used. The hybridNETBOX is also suited to automated test equipment applications where component and subassembly test is fast and automated. They can quickly determine the functionality and tolerance of units being tested by exercising them with numerous, easily adjusted, complex signals. This powerful testing process can be deployed in a host of applications like bus testing, MIMO communications, circuit verification, mechatronics and robotics.

Figure 1

Figure 1 The front panel of the hybridNETBOX contains the digitizer and AWG channels, with digital I/O connectors to integrate the box into a test system.

For accurate, low noise waveform generation and acquisition, the units use the latest 16-bit digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital converter technology. All channels are synchronized with a common clock and trigger. The AWG channels can produce almost any waveform with signal amplitudes to ±6 V into 50 or ±12 V into a high impedance load. Waveform output modes include single shot, loop, first in first out (FIFO) streaming, gated replay and sequence replay. This permits easy creation of test routines from simple to complex.

The digitizer channels handle a wide range of input signals, with variable input ranges from ±200 mV to ±10 V and fully programmable offset, as well as selectable input impedance, i.e., 50 or 1 M. Single-ended and differential measurement modes are available. Like the AWG channels, the digitizer supports several operating modes, including single shot, FIFO streaming, multiple recording, gated sampling and sample rate switching (ABA). To ensure an important event is never missed, the digitizers have several flexible trigger modes: channel, external, software, window, pulse, re-arm, spike, logic and delay.

In addition to the digitizer and AWG channels, the front panel of each hybridNETBOX includes multiple digital I/O connectors, so it is easy to integrate units into a larger test system. For example, synchronous marker outputs can be used on the AWG channels for precise control of other devices or instruments. Similarly, the unit can be synchronized with other equipment by applying an external clock and triggers. The hybridNETBOX instruments are fully LXI compliant, so they are easily controlled and operated by connecting to a PC or network using the rear panel Gbit Ethernet port.

The instruments come with all tools to start generating waveforms and acquiring signals. Each hybridNETBOX includes Spectrum’s control software - SBench 6 - for signal generation, acquisition, display, signal processing, storage and reporting (see Figure 2). Using SBench 6, waveforms can be created using standard functions and mathematical equations. Data can be acquired with the digitizer portion of the instrument, then transferred to the AWG for replay. Data sharing with other programs or devices, such as oscilloscopes, is possible using the built-in import and export functions, using binary, ASCII or Wave formats. Fully programmable, the hybridNETBOX comes with drivers for Windows and Linux operating systems, as well as programming examples for C++, LabVIEW, MATLAB, Visual Basic .NET, Python and other popular programming languages.

Figure 2

Figure 2 The hybridNETBOX includes SBench 6, software for signal generation, acquisition, display, signal processing, storage and reporting.

With more than 30 years designing and building fast AWGs and digitizers, Spectrum offers an industry-leading five year warranty for customer peace of mind. This includes free software and firmware updates during the lifetime of each unit. Customers can get support directly from Spectrum’s hardware and software engineers.

Spectrum created the hybridNETBOX series for engineers and scientists who require precise, simultaneous waveform generation and signal acquisition in manual, automated or remotely controlled applications. These portable LXI instruments offer unique hardware and software capabilities, enabling users to tailor the instruments to their specific testing requirements while speeding up testing. The hybridNETBOX is available now, with delivery typically two to three weeks after receipt of a purchase order.


Spectrum Instrumentation
Grosshansdorf, Germany
www.spectrum-instrumentation.com