M2i option details

The following options are available to further increase the versatility of the M2i.20xx, M2i.46xx and M2i.47xx series of signal capture cards. Please contact DataQuest Solutions should you require any further information.

Synchronisation Star Hub

The Star Hub is an additional module for all M2i boards. It allows synchronisation up to 16 boards with no phase delay between them. With this option, multi-channel acquisition systems of up of to 128 analogue channels (512 if its digital I/O) are possible. Any combination of boards can be synchronised be it analogue or digital, in signal capture or generation mode. The 5 card version of the Star-Hub (code: M2i.xxxx-SH5 ) allows synchronisation without the need for an additional system slot, as the star hub connectors are very compact.

Card pair showing Star Hub connectors and associated ribbon cables


Across the star hub, clock and trigger information is common and exchanged between all the boards. Division of the clock from the board defined as master allows connected slave cards to be run more slowly, if required, providing for great flexibility for sampling speeds across the system, but all still held in phase. Any board may be used to generate the trigger used by the system to initiate recording.

N.B. Only one Star-Hub synchronisation purchase is required per system of boards. This can be a system of up to 5 or 16 cards depending on the option chosen.

System Synchronisation with Star Hub
M2i System Star Hub, here three PC systems

With the M2i series comes the ability to synchronise several systems (i.e. a number of PC's all populated with Spectrum boards). This option is ideal for where all slots within one PC have been used. Similar in operation to the aforementioned Star Hub with its master board for clock and trigger, System Star Hub has one whole system (PC) as the master, where a special clock and trigger distribution card sends the signals via ribbon cable to slave systems of 5 or 16 boards. Up to 271 boards of any type (A/D, D/A and Dig I/O) can be combined in this way - all perfectly synchronised!

Externally wired system synchronisation by distribution card. Clock and trigger distribution card (M2iClkDist)

The clock and trigger distribution card (mentioned above) can also be used on its own without the Star-Hub System option. So instead of distributing signals to banks of cards in different systems the signals go to individual cards. With access to all clock and trigger lines via external cabling, the user can decide whether to synchronise all cards, or exclude a number and work asynchronously. Up to 34 M2i cards (A/D, D/A or DIO) can be synchronised from the same clock source by this method, or two banks of 17 clock signals, each bank of 17 operating from an independent clock. It is also possible to have a bank of 17 clocks and 17 triggers. A clock can be fed in from an external device, or as an option, an internal clock oscillator can be fitted at manufacturing time. The distribution card makes all the wiring logical and easier to manage and no programming is required as this is essentially a passive card. Standard Spectrum screened cables are suitable, clock and trigger-in are male SMB, all outputs female MMCX. Available in PCI/PCI-X or PCI-Express card formats

pdf link[PDF data sheet for distribution card]

BaseXIO (asynchronous I/O and triggers)

BASEXIO images showing the boards SMB connections for digital I/O and triggers

This option provides digital input and output lines asynchronous to the analogue inputs of A/D cards, or digital I/O lines of the universal digital I/O cards. One of the advantages is their 32mA source capability, so that with this simple-to-use versatile enhancement it is possible to control a wide range of external instruments or other equipment, such as that producing a signal source. Eight asynchronous digital I/O are available and can be programmed 8 inputs, 8 outputs or split 4/4. When using the BaseXIO lines as digital I/O, they are completely independent from the board’s function, data direction or sampling rate and directly controlled by software. Special purpose lines are also added to provide two secondary TTL trigger lines to allow an AND type operation within the main external trigger starting the board. So for example you can start and stop the board by monitoring a condition at two sources. Finally a RefClock input comes with this option to allow the Time Stamp option (see below) to accept a precise 1Hz pulse from an external timer card.

© Dataquest Solutions 14.01.06. last updated 29.01.15
Images courtesy of Spectrum GmbH