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Automotive Applications | Spectrum


For over a century automobiles have been evolving as manufacturers constantly find ways to improve vehicle handling, efficiency, safety and performance. A key driver of these developments is electronics and electronic signal testing. In recent years the increased use of microprocessors, fast communications and sensor technology has led to advancements in breaking systems, traction control, and even accident avoidance. Modern cars now use electronic ignition systems to improve their performance and efficiency and some vehicles employ electronic motors, or hybrid designs, to help reduce the reliance on traditional engine fuels. Safety remains an industry priority and manufacturers undergo an extensive array of tests and inspections throughout the production process to ensure quality remains at satisfactory levels. Robotics is extensively used in the manufacturing process helping to speed up production, reduce costs and eliminate problems associated with human error.

The industry uses a diverse range of electronic components and systems, employs a wide range of production procedures and carries out an extensive amount of testing. To cover the broad range and nature of the electronic signals encountered in the automotive industry Spectrum offers an extensive range of digitizers and arbitrary waveform generators. The products are available in a variety of popular standards including PCIe, PXIe, PXI and LXI. They offer bandwidths from 50 kHz to 1.5 GHz, sampling rates from 100 KS/s to 5 GS/s, and resolution from 8 up to 16 bits. For in-vehicle testing, such as vibration analysis and data logging, Spectrum offers small, high-channel count products that are easily deployed and embedded into test systems.  With both analog and digital inputs and outputs they are ideal for use in tests systems that monitor mechanical parameters and CAN communication. Spectrum's digitizerNETBOX products can also be used with an optional DC power supply making them perfect for mobile requirements. Digitizer cards can have from one to sixteen channels and up to sixteen cards can be linked together with Spectrum's StarHub system to create instruments with up to 256 fully synchronous channels making them suited to applications with multiple sensors and sensor arrays.

The cards also come with  large on-board memories (up to 4 Gsamples/card) and advanced streaming and readout modes for capturing and transferring signals. Streaming over the cards fast PCIe bus to a storage array can allow the capture and storage of days of information. To allow easy integration into ATE systems Spectrum makes available software and instrumentation drivers that work with 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Windows and Linux operating systems.  Programming of the cards is possible using a wide range of languages such as LabVIEW, LabWindows/CVI, C++, MatLab, Borland Delphi, Visual Basic, VB.NET, C#, J# and IVI. Spectrum's SBench 6 software can also be used to view and qualify signals. FFT's are available for frequency domain analysis and power measurements while parametric calculations help to determine key signal characteristics like amplitude, frequency, pulse width and period.

Typical automotive applications include mechanical testing, vibration analysis, ultrasonic inspection, data logging, component testing, RADAR ranging, telematics, engine performance and ignition monitoring, CAN communication monitoring, infotainment systems (RF, audio, video, navigation, etc.), and anti-lock breaking systems.

Spectrum Product Features

  • Acquisition and Replay of Analog and Digital Signals
  • Combination of Slow and Fast Channels
  • portable (DC Supply) Systems
  • Small, high channel count designs with analog and digital I/O
  • PCIe, PCI, PXIe, PXI and LXI form factors

Matching Card Families

  • M4i.44xx: 14/16 Bit 500 MS/s to 130 MS/s digitizer
  • M2i.49xx: 16 Bit 10 MS/s to 60 MS/s digitizer
  • M2i.46xx: 16 Bit 3 MS/s to 200 kS/s Digitizer
  • M4i.22xx: 8 Bit 1.25 GS/s to 5 GS/s digitizer
  • DN2.4xx: 16 Bit 500 MS/s to 200 kS/s digitizerNETBOX LXI/Ethernet Digitizer

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