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Application Notes | Spectrum

These application notes give you a detailed view on different measurement setups including examples.

Testing electronic aircraft systems using modular instruments

Core electronic aircraft systems include those for power generation and distribution, as well as those for internal data communication, between all devices and systems within the aircraft, and RF devices for external communication. All the other avionic elements depend on these essential buses for either power or data communications. In this article we will see how modular instruments, be they PCIe, PXIe or LXI, offer the necessary multichannel data acquisition and signal generation capabilities required to test and troubleshoot these systems.   Read More

Using Probes and Sensors with Modular Digitizers

Probes convert signal levels, change impedance levels, or offer convenient connection methods. Sensors or transducers convert physical phenomena to electrical signals. Examples include current probes, accelerometers, and photomultipliers. Both types of input devices are supported by Spectrum digitizers.   Read More

Using Digitizers as Oscilloscopes

A digitizer along with appropriate software can work like an Oscilloscope. It acquires an electrical voltage waveform and displays it on a screen. The biggest difference is that an oscilloscope is generally a stand-alone instrument with a self-contained display. While a digitizer is a system component, that acquires and stores an electrical voltage waveform and, with auxiliary software, displays that data on a screen.   Read More

Using Spectrum Digitizers in Ultrasonic Applications

The use of Ultrasonic products is increasing as new techniques and improvements in instrument performance constantly expand the range of applications. Spectrum digitizers are ideal tools for making ultrasonic measurements and can play a key role required in the development, testing and operation of these products. Spectrum digitizers and arbitrary waveform generators offer a wide range of bandwidths, sampling rates, and dynamic range to match the broad spectrum of ultrasonic measurement needs.   Read More

RF Measurements Using a Modular Digitizer

Modern modular digitizers, like the Spectrum M4i series PCIe digitizers, offer greater bandwidth and higher resolution at any given bandwidth than ever before. Although they are in the class of general purpose measuring instruments they are capable of many RF and lower microwave frequency measurements. This article focuses on some examples of common RF measurements that can be performed with these modular digitizers.   Read More

Signal Processing for Digitizers

Modular digitizers allow accurate, high resolution data acquisition that can be quickly transferred to a host computer. Signal processing functions, applied in the digitizer or in the host computer, permit the enhancement of the acquired data or the extraction of extremely useful information from a simple measurement.   Read More

Mechanical Measurements Using Digitizers

Measurements on mechanical devices and systems using a modular digitizer requires the use of a variety of transducers or sensors in order to convert mechanical parameters such as force, acceleration, pressure, rotational speed, and their kindred into electrical signals you can measure. This article is a primer on making such measurements using a modular digitizer.   Read More

Power Measurements Using Modular Digitizers

Line power measurements are commonly required to evaluate the performance of devices or circuits. Modular digitizers can make these power measurements. Digitizers are voltage responding measurement instruments. They can also measure current using suitable current probes or current shunts.   Read More

Solving Data Transfer Bottlenecks on Digitizers

With most modern PC based digitizers and data acquisition systems a common problem is caused by the fact that the ADC technology usually runs in advance of PC bus technology. In high-speed and high-resolution digitizer products this causes a bottleneck effect where the ADC can digitize much more data than can be easily transferred to the PC environment.   Read More

Teaming AWG with Digitizer for Stimulus-Response Test

Self-excited electronics like power supplies, oscillators, transmitters, and signal generators can often be tested using a measuring instrument (digitizer, oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer, etc.) alone.  Externally excited electronic devices like amplifiers, filters, receivers, and digital interfaces require a signal source and a measuring instrument for testing.  Modular Arbitrary Waveform Generators (AWG’s) and modular digitizers are available with multiple source and measurement channels that can be configured in bandwidth, sample rate, and memory.   Read More

Mass Spectrometry and the Modern Digitizer

The scientific field of Mass Spectrometry (MS) has been under constant research and development for over a hundred years, ever since scientists discovered that charged particles could be separated via electromagnetic fields based on their charge-to-mass ratio (Q/m). While spectrometry systems now come in numerous configurations their performance largely depends on a few fundamental elements. In the modern Mass Spectrometer this is normally the ion source (for exciting ions from the material under analysis), the mass analyzer, the particle detector and its associated electronics. Figure 1 shows a simplified block diagram of these principle parts.   Read More

LIDAR - Light Detection and Ranging

The development of laser technology over 50 years ago led to the creation of light detection and ranging (LIDAR) systems that delivered a breakthrough in the way distances are calculated. The principles of LIDAR are much the same as those used by radar. The key difference is that radar systems detect radio waves that are reflected by objects while LIDAR uses laser signals. Both techniques usually employ the same type of time of flight method to determine an object’s distance. However, as the wavelength of laser light is much shorter than that of radio waves, LIDAR systems deliver superior measurement accuracy.   Read More

Vehicular Testing with Modular Digitizers

Modular instruments reduce the size of traditional instruments so that they fit on a circuit card. Multiple cards can be inserted into a frame with a common computer interface, power, and interconnections. Modular instrument frames include computers, using the standard PCIe interface, PXI test frames, or LXI based boxes. Generally, multiple cards are used and configured by the engineer into a test system. The system may contain multiple instruments, single instrument types with multiple channels, or a combination of both.   Read More

Testing Power Supplies

The use of lower voltage rails in current integrated circuits requires power supply designs with tighter dynamic specifications for those supplies. In addition, multi-rail power supplies require test instruments that can analyze multiple channels simultaneously. They must also provide very high dynamic range (up to 16 bits) and acquire very long records with high time resolution. Modular digitizers fill this need offering 16 bit digitizers with up to 256 channels and record lengths to 512 Mega Samples.   Read More

Radar Signal Acquisition and Analysis Using High Speed Modular Digitizers

Radar signals which use pulsed waveform with short duty cycles, multiple modulation types, and critical timing require measurement systems that provide high bandwidth, proportional sample rate, long memory, and fast data transfer. High speed modular digitizers are ideally suited for acquiring and processing radar signals and offer multiple benefits fitted to these measurements. They offer high bandwidth, long acquisition memories, and special acquisition modes to maximize memory usage, these compact instruments provide high speed measurements and analysis of great accuracy. This article will highlight some of the advantages of using high speed modular digitizers for radar system measurements.   Read More