8 channel PCIe card enables 80 synchronized 16bit AWG channels in one PC

May 16, 2019 //By Nick Flaherty
8 channel PCIe card enables 80 synchronized 16bit AWG channels in one PC
Spectrum Instrumentation has developed an 8 channel arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) PCI-express card that allows up to 80 channels in a single PC.

Integrating eight AWG channels with cooling on a single PCIe-card that is 168 mm long provides new options for compact and affordable test systems.

The two new eight channel cards on Spectrum's "65" series can be connected via a Star-Hub to provide up to 80 channels can be fully synchronized in a single PC. All the cards in the series support 512Msamples of on-board memory to store and replay waveforms from DC to 60 MHz. Using the PCIe-x4 platform, these AWGs provide a data transfer speed which is 5 to 10 times higher than in approaches, offering 700 MByte/s of FIFO streaming speed. This is suitable for automated testing to replay lots of different test signals over many channels to accurately recreate real world test conditions. Applications include component testing, automotive, robotics, aerospace, medical and industrial ultrasound, LIDAR, radar and sonar.

“This family of AWG cards has the lowest noise of any AWGs that we have so far designed, being more than 20% lower when compared to our predecessor AWG families,” said Oliver Rovini, Spectrum’s CTO. “In addition, these cards now have 16-bit resolution and a clock being twenty times more accurate at only ±1 ppm. We already have a university research department using an AWG to control the placement of individual atoms.”

The system cost of the card-based AWG architecture is also lower than dedicated, self-contained AWG solutions, even allowing for the cost of a PC to house the Spectrum cards. This opens up new application areas that were restricted due to the high costs of multi-point, dedicated AWG solutions.

The M2p.6533-x4 has eight 40 MS/s channels and the M2p.6568-x4 that can be configured with eight channels of 80 MS/s or four of 125 MS/s. Unlike the six previously released models that offer up to four channels, the new eight channel versions are equipped with an additional cooling system making them 2 slots wide.

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