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*** DataQuest News 2014 ***


New: Cost effective 16-bit digitzer card with multiple 60 MS/sec channels   January 2014
For OEM's and singular cost effective projects, card models M2i.4960 and M2i.4961 have been introduced into the mid-speed 16 bit digitiser M2i range. Available in both PCI/PCI-X and PCI Express PC formats, this fast signal capture instrumentation features two or four synchronous channels and up to 60 Mega samples/sec sampling speed.

Each input channel can be software configured as single ended or true differential, as well providing the desired termination, impedance, user offset and input range. Different acquisition modes like segmented acquisition (Multiple Recording), gated acquisition (Gated Sampling) or the streaming mode to PC (FIFO), together with the versatile clock and trigger section, allow the card to adapt to a wide variety of different applications. This card also includes on-board calibration and multiple cards can be synchronised together.

All of the M2i.49xx series ship with SBench6 Professional for the easy view, log and process of captured signal data. Alternatively the Windows/Linux drivers provide programming in MATLAB, LabView or one of the popular programming languages such as VB or C.

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   M2i.4900 series high speed digitiser card showing single ended and differential input configurations   

New: 14 & 16 bit digitizerNETBOX Ethernet/LXI instruments with up to 0.5GHz sampling speed!   February 2014
Featuring state-of-the-art ADC technology the digitizerNETBOX new units expand on the current series both in signal capture resolution and speed, with sampling rates of up to 500 MS/s with 14-bit resolution and 250 MS/s with 16-bit resolution. Available with two, four or eight channels, each channel has its own ADC and an independent amplifier. The amplifiers have calibrated gain with selectable ranges from 200 mV to 10 V full scale. Variable gain allow input signals to be scaled so that they cover the full dynamic range of the ADC and therefore maintain the best possible measurement accuracy. The units include an array of smart triggering capabilities and acquisition modes.

Controlling and accessing the data collected by the digitizerNETBOX is done by simply connecting via GBit Ethernet to a host computer (e.g. laptop or workstation) directly, or anywhere on the corporate network. The platform is fully LXI compliant (following Core 2011 Specifications) and offers an IVI compatible interface for the IVI Scope and Digitizer classes. You can write your own control program using almost any popular language including, Visual C++, Borland C++, Gnu C++, Visual Basic, VB.NET, C#, J#, Delphi and Python code. Alternatively, you can simply run Spectrum's own software, SBench6 Professional , without the need to program.

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   DN2.44xx series high resolution digizerNETBOX, SMA screw type connector front panel   

Product update: Clock and trigger signal distribution card is now available in PCI-Express format   March 2014
For some time now we have been able to provide a way to trigger and clock synchronise several Spectrum M2i instrumentation cards (of what ever type) within the computer chassis via ribbon cables using the Star-Hub option, or externally - using a passive PCI distribution card with screened cables. One master clock and one trigger input, can be distributed as 17 clocks and 17 triggers. Using the latter gives the advantage of providing a simple mechanical way to include, or not include, individual cards into the synchronisation network.

Having a PCI-Express format now makes the distribution card a more universal fitting to PC motherboards and being a passive device requires no programming.

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   Clock and trigger distribution card for synchronisation of M2i cards   

Product update: Synchronise Spectrum M2i instrumentation cards across multiple computer installations    May 2014
Star-Hub is an option for all Spectrum card series. This allows perfect synchronisation of sampling clock and trigger for all cards in one PC. For the M2i card series this feature has now been extended to synchronisation not only in one computer, but up to 16 computer systems close-by! System Star-Hub uses one computer as the master holding up to to 15 synchronised cards and a clock and trigger distribution card. This distribution card feeds out clock and trigger signals via cables of the same length (supplied) to the slave systems. Each slave can hold up to 16 cards. Hence the System Star-Hub can be expanded to hold up to 271 synchronised cards (master + all slaves). Spectrum M2i cards of any type (A/D, D/A and Digital I/O) can be combined in this way.

Hence if your application requires many synchronised channels and there are not enough card slots in computer, a versatile solution is available!
   card clock and trigger distribution across PC systems   

New: Card based FPGA signal average module for enhanced measurement resolutiom and SNR   July 2014
The new Block Average Module for the Spectrum M4i series of digitizer (A/D) cards and DN2.44xx digitizerNETBOX models, improves the fidelity of any repetitive signal by removing its random noise components. Blocks of signal acquisitions are accumulated and averaged in a process that reduces random noise, improves the visibility of the repetitive signal, enhances measurement resolution and increases signal-to noise ratio.

Averaging also reduces the amount of data that needs to be transferred to the host PC further reducing CPU demand and speeding up measurement times.

The complete averaging process is performed inside the FPGA of the digitizer card and involves no nost computer CPU load. The Block Average is fully compatible with streaming (FIFO) mode so that the digitizer can accumulate and average signals for hours even days without losing a single event. The Module takes advantage of the cards advanced trigger circuit, with very fast re-arm time, so that a whole series signals can be averaged at ultrafast rates, going as high as 6.9MHz for the fastest 500MSample/sec card. The results of the average are easily accessed from the Spectrum card driver by your software program.

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   FPGA digitiser M4i card based Block Average Module diagram   

New: Signal peak detection and statistics functions added to digitiser hardware   August 2014
This new option for the M4i cards and DN2.44xx digitizerNETBOX, features ultra-fast real-time scanning of signal data blocks to extract a waveforms minimum, maximum, average and peak positions. Time stamp information relative to the triggers is automatically held too so that the peak positions are known. These triggers start the capture of each waveform block, these block sizes are programmable from just 32 samples to as large as 2 Giga Samples. The option takes advantage of the cards advanced trigger circuit, with the potential of a very fast re-arm time.

The original data is replaced and only used for calculating the statistics, so no matter how long the block is, the information is reduced to 32 bytes. This results in a massive reduction in data needing to be transferred from the card and stored. The complete process is performed inside the FPGA of the digitizer hardware and involves no host computer CPU load. The statistical results are easily accessed from the Spectrum card driver by your software program.

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   FPGA digitiser M4i card based Peak and Block Statistics diagram   

New: Ultra high-speed M4i series PCIe digitizer cards with up to 5GS/sec sampling   October 2014
Greatly extending the performance of PCIe card based instruments Dataquest Solutions has added nine new models to the Spectrum M4i series of digitizers. With real-time sampling rates up to 5 GS/s and a high bandwidth amplifier front-end, edges and pulses can be measured down to the sub-nanosecond.

Available with one, two or four channels, the new cards can replace conventional test instruments (such as digital oscilloscopes and spectrum analyzers) whenever measurement speed, flexibility, size or channel density becomes an issue. Based on the well proven PCI Express bus, the products are designed to allow fast data transfer at rates up to 3.4 GB/s. All Spectrum digitizers support transient recording and data streaming modes. Streaming allows the capture of extremely long signals that are passed directly into the PC, where they can be stored or analyzed, without the loss of vital information. With a fully calibrated front-end for gain adjustment and an array of flexible trigger modes the M4i series can capture the most complex and rare events. Acquisition modes include memory segmentation with very fast trigger time stamping. The rearm time between triggers can be as low as 80 samples (16 ns @ 5 GS/s) makes it possible to capture and time stamp pulses and signal bursts even when the events are extremely close together.

The cards can be connected together using Spectrum's Star-Hub option that distributes the clock and trigger signals between each card. By using Star-Hub it's possible to make systems that have from 8 to 32 fully synchronous channels.

To control and operate an M4i series digitizer Spectrum's powerful SBench 6 program supports all the key functions of the digitizer as well as providing display, storage and analysis. Customers who want to program by themselves can use the proven Spectrum drivers (available for Windows and Linux). A set of programming examples is provided to illustrate the cards main signal capture functions. Extensive support includes C/C++, LabVIEW, Visual Basic, VB.NET, C#, J# and Delphi code.

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   Spectrum M4i 5 Ghz PCIe digitizer signal capture card   

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© Dataquest Solutions 03.01.07.
(last revised 27.10.14)
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