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Product Notes | Spectrum

Electronic test and measurements equipment can be classified into two major categories; measurement instruments and signal sources.

Analog Boxcar Averaging (sometimes referred to as Gated Integration) is a technique that has been used by engineers and scientists for more than 50 years to reduce unwanted noise on signals. In more recent times, with the development of fast high-resolution digitizer technology, digital Boxcar Averaging has been used to achieve the same type of results. Furthermore, digital Boxcar Averaging brings with it additional benefits in that it can improve a digitizer’s overall resolution and its dynamic performance. This white paper shows how digital Boxcar Averaging can be used to reduce signal noise, even on single shot events.

For nearly 30 years Spectrum Instrumentation has been designing and manufacturing PC based instruments, typically digitizer and generator products, for the electronics Test and Measurement market. The company recently decided that it was time to replace its popular M2i.49xx series of digitizer cards, that were first designed over ten years ago

The trend for multi-channel testing has never been stronger as more electronic devices use array and parallelization methods to increase system speed and performance.

Two of the key specifications of digitizers are bandwidth and amplitude resolution. These specifications are not independent - with increasing resolution available with decreasing bandwidth. Users must make a tradeoff in selecting a digitizer to meet their measurement needs.

A digitizer is an electronic acquisition device that acquires analog waveforms, processes them through analog-to-digital converters (ADC’s) and sends the digitized sample to a buffer, which allows them to be saved before being processed by a computer.

PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation or PXI is a computer based hardware and software platform for test and measurement systems. Developed in the late 1990’s as an open industry standard based on the compact PCI (cPCI) computer bus, PXI provides a basis for complex, rugged, modular instrumentation systems. The PXI standard is governed by the PXI systems Alliance (PXISA) which maintains and controls the evolution of the standard to insure interoperability of instruments from hundreds of vendors.

Arbitrary waveform generators (AWG's) are among the most powerful signal sources available for testing. They offer an extensive range of waveshapes which can be created and selected to rapidly provide a broad range of test events.

The Arbitrary Waveform Generator (AWG) is a powerful and flexible signal generator capable of outputting any wave shape within the bandwidth of the generator. Once you have the AWG you will need to populate it with waveforms. The cost of creating, capturing, modifying, and transferring test waveforms can easily match the cost of the generator. This application note is intended to make the process easier by providing examples of creating, capturing, modifying, and transferring waveforms to your AWG.

In this article we will discuss the key features of the digitizerNETBOX, an LXI digitizer instrument, and demonstrate how it can make real world measurements on an air compressor. We’ll show how to install and connect the instrument and then set up the measurement with the included software - all within a few minutes.