*** DataQuest News 2017 ***

New: Spectrum's 2017 instrumentation catalogue released   January 2017
Spectrum's PC instrumentation 2017 catalogue provides a full listing of the ultra high-speed signal capture, waveform generation and digital I/O hardware, both in card form as well as external connection via an digitizerNETBOX's Ethernet link. New for this year is the release of the M4x card range, with robust PXI connection combined with PCI Express data connectivity for giga byte streaming to the host computer. Most note worthy is the M4x.22xx 8 bit 5GS/sec signal capture (digitiser) and the 1.25GS/sec M4x.66xx arbitrary waveform generator.

The easy to reference information covers a summary of features and modes of operation, software programming options, as well as Spectrum's own very capable logging and processing software SBench6™. Detail is also given on the turn-key systems we can provide, comprising card(s), computer and pre-installed software.

This catalogue is available by post (with price list), or can be downloaded as a PDF.

Click here to obtain your free catalogue!

   Spectrum 2017 catalogue front cover.   

New: New PXI-Express digitsers with 1.5 GHz bandwidth and data processing FPGA   February 2017
Nine new ultra high-speed PXI-Express (PXIe) M4x.22xx digitisers are now available, with real-time sampling rates up to 5 giga samples per second, wide signal bandwidth and a choice one, two or four synchronous channels.

The robust PXIe connector and compact modular format makes this new card series ideal for laboratory and industrial applications, replacing conventional test instruments such as digital oscilloscopes and spectrum analysers whose fixed functionality has limitations. The M4x.22xx PXIe series can be programmed as required to meet changing circumstances. In addition, data can be shared with other modules such as the M4x.66xx arbitrary waveform generators, to create a more sophisticated capture-replay or stimulus-response testing scenario.

Versatile transient recording and data streaming modes are provided and designed to allow fast data transfer at rates up to 1.7 GB/s. A massive 4 giga bytes on-board memory is also included as standard. The M4x digitisers incorporate the latest in FPGA-based firmware so that acquired data can be processed on-board before being transferred over the bus. An example of this is Block Averaging and Block Statistics. These options reduce CPU loading, transfer bandwidth with the computer and minimise file sizes.

Extensive support for programming includes Visual C++, Borland C++, Gnu C++, LabVIEW, MATLAB, Visual Basic, VB.NET, C#, J# and Delphi code. Alternatively use SBench6 , a fast and easy GUI specially developed to allow logging, display and processing of signals without the need to text program.

Click here for more information!

   1, 2 and 4 channel PXIe M4x.22xx modular series cards   

New: Ethernet based digitiser system now offers GS/s Acquisition on up to 24 Channels   March 2017
The highly versatile DN6.22x range of digitizerNETBOX units feature a high-channel count, fast sampling rates and wide bandwidth.

The entry level DN6.221 models offer versions with 12, 16, 20 and 24 channels, with each channel capable of sampling electronic signals at rates up to 1.25 GS/s. The top-of-the-range DN6.225 series increases performance by allowing up to 12 channels to sample at 2.5 GS/s or 6 channels at 5 GS/s. This model has an input bandwidth of 1.5 GHz.

Based on the LXI instrumentation standard (following the LXI Device Specification 2011 rev. 1.4), the digitizerNETBOX products are designed for laboratory and industrial use. Full remote control is achieved through a standard GBit Ethernet port, which allows connection direct to any PC or Local Area Network (LAN). Complementing the existing 8 channel DN2.22x range, the DN6 versions provides a higher channel density, well matched to applications where large arrays of receivers, sensors, detectors, RF antennas and other electronic devices are used and tested.

The products are fully programmable and come with Windows and Linux drivers that allow users to write their own control programs in a host of popular programming text languages. Free third party software support is also provided for LabVIEW, LabWindows and MATLAB. All units are shipped ready for use and include Spectrum's easy to use menu driven SBench 6 Professional version software. This is ideal for logging, display and signal processing, so may prove to be the only software you need!

Click here for more information!

   DN6.22x 24 channel digitiserNETBOX front view   

New: Digitisers sampling at GHz now have a high gain range option   April 2017
Matching the digitizer's range to the signal under test is important as it ensures maximum dynamic range, as well as better measurement accuracy and resolution. Digitiser manufacturer Spectrum GmbH has announced an option (M4i.22xx-ir40m) for its popular ultra high-speed 22xx series of signal capture products. This increases their sensitivity and therefore absolute resolution for low amplitude signals in the ±40 mV up to ±0.5 V range. The current products are optimised to acquire, store and analyse signals in the ±200 mV up to ±2.5 V range

For extremely low amplitude signals, the 22xx series digitizers can also be used with Spectrum's high bandwidth (up to 2 GHz) external SPA series amplifiers.

Spectrum's 22xx series digitizers come in a variety of popular form factors including PCIe, PXIe and LXI. Models are available with sampling rates of 1.25, 2.5 and 5 GS/s and bandwidths of 500 MHz or 1.5 GHz. Please note that 700 MHz is the maximum speed with low input range option.
   Group of digitiser(A/D) systems that can use high gain option   

New: Boxcar Averaging feature lowers signal noise level and increases resolution  May 2017
A new very useful Boxcar Averaging function has been released by Spectrum GmbH, to increase the signal capture performance of their range of M4i & M4x.44xx series A/D cards, based around the PCIe and PXIe interface. Also the LXI/Ethernet based equivalent, the digitizerNETBOX.

This function smoothes out high frequency noise to give a clear signal. It uses a mathematical signal processing function to effectively recalculate the vertical value of each acquired data point by averaging it with adjacent sample points. It is most useful in situations where signals have been oversampled and can be used to increase vertical resolution, lower noise and improve dynamic characteristics such as signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and spurious free dynamic range (SFDR).

To allow maximum flexibility, the Boxcar function allows users to select the number of adjacent points to be averaged from 2 to 256. The averaged data is subsequently stored with higher resolution by an amount that is proportional to the number of points selected. For example, selecting two adjacent points would increase the resolution of a 16 Bit digitiser to that equivalent to 17 Bits, selecting the maximum 256 points would produce a theoretical 24 Bits!

As the waveforms are effectively filtered, some high-frequency signal content may be lost. However at frequencies well below the sampling rate of the digitiser, the technique offers a number of advantages. For example, unlike traditional averaging methods, Boxcar Averaging works for single shot acquisitions without the need to stack multiple recordings.

The Boxcar Averaging mode is fully programmable and will be shipped as a standard with Spectrum's drivers. These support all of the most common programming languages. For those users not wanting to write their own programs, Boxcar Averaging is included in Spectrum's SBench 6-Pro, an easy-to-use, display, logging and post processing package.
   Effect of applying Boxcar averaging functions to the raw data using 8 and 64 adjacent points respectively. Signal capture performed by M4i.4450 digitizer card with a resolution of 14 Bits at a sampling rate of 500 MS/s. Click image to go to this digitiser card.   

Update: More signal generator channels for the Ethernet based generatorNETBOX   June 2017
Most high-performance AWGs only provide a limited channel count (1 to 4), however Spectrum Instrumentation's generatorNetbox DN6.66x series now offers up to 24 fully synchronized channels, output rates up to 1.25 GS/s, 16 bit resolution, 400 MHz bandwidth and large on-board memory. All contained in one easy to use sturdy enclosure. These enhanced Ethernet/LXI based products open the door to applications needing multi-channel signal generation. On a cost per channel basis these systems are an attractive proposition for many applications, for example MIMO, radar, quantum computing or multi-lane serial bus testing.

The generatorNETBOX systems are fully programmable and come with Windows and Linux drivers that allow users to write their own signal replay programs in a host of popular programming text languages. Free third party software support is also provided for LabVIEW, LabWindows and MATLAB. All units are shipped ready for use and include Spectrum's easy to use menu driven SBench 6 Professional version software, which allows easy waveform generation and display.

Click here for more information!

   DN6.225-24, 24 fully synchronous ultra-high speed D/A channels   

Big news!: Warranty on Spectrum Instrumentation products is now 5 years!  July 2017
Spectrum Instrumentation GmbH have made a very important announcement. The warranty period on more than 500 products has been increase from two years to five years. This is significantly better than any of the competition and reflects the extremely high level of quality. DataQuest Solutions Limited, as Spectrum's U.K. distributor since 2003 follows the manufacturer's ethos of providing free pre and post technical support, plus the added benefit of providing closer contact point to handle any warranty and repairs. If the past is anything to go by such returns will be very rare, or as Gisela Hassler Spectrum Instrumentation's CEO put it: "We know with confidence that there will be very few calls on our 5 year warranty from doing a detailed check of our repair logs of out-of-warranty repairs for customers over the past decade. The oldest product that we repaired this year was made by us fourteen years ago - we build them to last!" All Spectrum products shipped from July 1st, 2017 benefit from this longer cover.

This announcement forms a key part of the company's expansion programme along with renaming from Spectrum Systementwicklung Microelectronic GmbH to Spectrum Instrumentation GmbH. This gives a uniform brand name of Spectrum Instrumentation around the world.

Click here for more information!

   5 years guarantee logo   

News: The next generation of compact fast 16 bit digitisers are here. M2p!  November 2017
DataQuest solutions are pleased to announce a completely new design series of digitiser card from manufacturer Spectrum Instrumentation GmbH. The first release comprises of 13 models making up the the M2p.59xx series, with three different mega sample speed grades; 20 MS/s, 40 MS/s and 80 MS/s, with and one to eight channels per card. Based on Spectrum's unique modular design philosophy. More models will be released in 2018. The new units will smoothly replace all our current 12, 14 and 16-bit models giving our existing customers an easy upgrade path.

Although the size of the product has been squeezed into a half-length PCIe card by the design team, it still offers more features than predecessor families. Each channel has a separate ADC and a fully individual programmable input amplifier with ranges between ±200 mV and ±10 V, programmable input offset for unipolar measurements, programmable input termination of 50 and 1M ohms and an integrated calibration circuit. Models are available with up to 8 single-ended and up to 4 differential channels. A PCIe x4 lane interface dramatically increases the available streaming speed with the potential for up to 80 mega samples per second continuous streaming on 4 channels. This matches a wide range of applications.

Up to 16 cards in one system can be synchronized using Spectrum's proven Star-Hub technology. For synchronization with external equipment, clock and trigger inputs and outputs are standard. For even more flexibility, 4 individually programmable connectors are available directly on the front-plate that offer additional trigger inputs, status outputs, synchronous digital input lines, asynchronous I/O, or a reference clock input for an integrated time stamping unit.

For programming the new card is based on Spectrum's own driver API. Currently more than 400 different products share this common driver library allowing easy switching between the manufacturer's range of PCIe, PXIe or Ethernet/LXI products, past and present. The driver compatible to Windows and Linux. Drivers and examples for many programming language are included in the delivery. Current support includes C, C++, C#, Delphi, VB.NET, J#, Python, and Java.

Click here for more information!

   8 channel m2p5943 digitser x4-lane pci express card   

News: Powerful GPU based signal processing using the new SCAPP option  December 2017
Currently digitisers have a data processing limitation caused by having to use either the host PC's central processor with 8 or 16 cores or a FPGA that is complex to program. Spectrum Instrumentation has solved this problem with its new SCAPP software option - the Spectrum CUDA Access for Parallel Processing - that opens an easy-to-use yet extremely powerful way to digitise, process and analyse electronic signals.

SCAPP allows a CUDA-based Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) to be used directly. Data is passed from the digitizer to the GPU where high-speed parallel processing is possible using the GPU board's multiple (up to 5000) processing cores. That provides a significant performance enhancement when compared to sending data directly to a PC that may have only 8 or 16 cores. It becomes even more important when signals are being digitised at mega sample high-speeds e.g. 50 MS/s, 500 MS/s or even 5 GS/s. The Spectrum approach uses a standard off-the-shelf GPU, based on Nvidia's CUDA Standard. The GPU connects directly with the Spectrum digitiser card, with no more CPU interaction, opening the huge parallel core architecture of the CUDA card for signal processing. The structure of a CUDA graphics card works very well, as it is designed for parallel data processing, which is exactly the same as most signal processing requirements. For example, the processing tasks of data conversion, filtering, averaging, baseline suppression, FFT window functions or even FFTs themselves can be easily performed in parallel.

The SCAPP driver package consists of the driver extension for Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) for the direct data transfer from digitiser to GPU. It also includes a set of examples for interaction with the digitizer and the CUDA-card and another set of CUDA parallel processing examples with easy building blocks for basic functions like filtering, averaging, data de-multiplexing, data conversion or FFT. All the software is based on C/C++ and can easily be implemented and improved with normal programming skills. Starting with tested and optimised parallel processing examples gives first results within minutes.

The SCAPP package is a driver extension for all PCI-Express based Spectrum cards. The RDMA functionality is available for the Linux operating system.

Click here for more information!

   4 channel mega sample PCIe x8 lane digitiser card and SCAPP   


Click here for previous releases in 2016:-
  • Spectrum's 2016 instrumentation catalogue released
  • New 720 mega sample/sec PCIe Gen2 digital pattern capture card
  • DigitizerNETBOX acquires a stand alone operation capability
  • Free academic tool kit illustrates the creation, capture and analysis of waveforms
  • PXIe modular digitizer cards range released. 14/16 bit and up to 500MS/sec
  • Programmable waveform generation up to 1.25GS/sec with Ethernet data connectivity
  • The digitizerNETBOX series now provides up to 48 A/D channels in one enclosure
  • New MHz to GHz, high resolution PXIe AWG cards
Click here for previous releases in 2015:-
  • DC option now available for the digitizerNETBOX
  • A/D card bandwidth up to 1.5GHz and new cables for high frequencies
  • Portable Docking Station with three PCIe slots and Notebook PC connectivity
  • The digitizerNETBOX data logger now captures signals at GHz speeds
  • Signal Pre-amplifier modules with GHz bandwidth
  • 625 Mega sample/sec AWG with 16 bit resolution and PCIe GByte/sec interface
  • 16 bit AWG M4i card series now with 1.25 giga sample/sec D/A converter
  • Server utility allows Spectrum card setup and monitoring across LAN Network
Click here for previous releases in 2014:-
  • Cost effective 16-bit digitzer card with multiple 60 MS/sec channels
  • 14 & 16 bit digitizerNETBOX Ethernet/LXI instruments with up to 0.5GHz sampling speed!
  • Clock and trigger signal distribution card is now available in PCI-Express format
  • Synchronise Spectrum M2i instrumentation cards across multiple computer installations
  • Card based FPGA signal average module for enhanced measurement resolution and SNR
  • Signal peak detection and statistics functions added to digitiser hardware
  • Ultra high-speed M4i series PCIe digitizer cards with up to 5GS/sec sampling
Click here for previous releases in 2013:-
  • Enhancement options now included with all Spectrum instrumentation cards!
  • PXI format multi-channel 16 bit 50 Mega Sample/sec A/D converter card
  • New DigitizerNetbox provides a portable Ethernet enclosure for Spectrum cards
  • M4i 14 Bit 500 MS/s digitiser with PCIe x8 lane
  • Faster digitzerNETBOX with up to 200MHz sampling
Click here for previous releases in 2012:-
  • DataQuest Solutions extends its ACME portable computer range.
  • Extended range of tough waterproof rugged tablet PC's now available.
  • Ultra high speed multi-channel 16 bit signal capture card.
  • PCI Express docking station range now includes 4 and 7 slot options
  • DataQuest Solutions are moving to a new location in Lincolnshire
Click here for previous releases in 2011:-
  • Spectrum releases fully updated instrumentation catalogue
  • Dual time base sampling available for all digitiser cards
  • SPA series of high bandwidth and gain external amplifiers
  • Sequence Replay Mode enhances pattern generation programming.
Click here for previous releases in 2010:-
  • Logic analyzer display for SBench6
  • Lighter, faster MRC2300 presents the latest in PC tablet technology
  • M3i series cards now with SMA connector option
  • M3i.4800 series card uses the latest generation 16 bit 180Msample converter
Click here for previous releases in 2009:-
  • Spectrum drivers now support .NET users
  • Slim portable PC now features hot-swap battery option
  • SBench Version 6 signal visualisation software release
  • M3i.32xx and M3i.41xx series provides exceptional resolution and speed
  • New Spectrum M3i.21xx series extends signal capture up to 1GHz!
Click here for previous releases in 2008:-
  • 12 bit digitisers now have software selectable differential inputs
  • All M2i cards now come with 256Mbytes of memory as standard!
  • Radar signal and antenna position capture card
  • Slim ultra portable PC with PCI and PCI-Express
  • 400MS/sec high resolution digitiser heralds M3i release
Click here for previous releases in 2007:-
  • 64 bit Windows and Linux drivers arrive for M2i
  • Full LABVIEW™ support for all M2i boards
  • Docking Station for PCI-Express Cards
  • Spectrum expands range to incorporate PCI-Express card connectivity
  • Clock and trigger distribution board adds flexibility to system connectivity
  • 125MS/sec Arbitrary Waveform Generators with PCI-Express connectivity
Click here for previous releases in 2006:-
  • Orders now being taken for the new M2i A/D digitisers.
  • New DEWEtron range of rugged portable PC's
  • M2i range extends to digital I/O boards
  • M2i.46xx range gives fast 16 bit resolution and true differential inputs
  • M2i.47xx range provides 16 bit resolution on 16 inputs
Click here for previous releases in 2005:-
  • Tough additions to our range of go anywhere portable PC's. (New rugged Notebooks and a Tablet PC).
  • Easy virtual control panel for waveform generation. (SPeasyGenerator software release )
  • Two slot PCI Docking Station with drive space.
  • Amplifier option adds ±10 V output level to existing Spectrum arbitrary waveform generators.
  • Rugged Notebook Pro PC now with higher specification.
  • Spectrum announces pending release of the second series of digitisers.
Click here for previous releases in 2004:-
  • Spectrum Mega sample CompactPCI and PXI release.
  • Digital pattern generator board Mi72xx with output -2 and +10 volts.
  • Memory efficient Mi7005 dig I/O with 1, 2, 4 bit settings.
  • Disk streaming software SPviewIT.
  • New Spectrum MI/Mc/Mx3027 2 channel 100Ms/s board

For more detailed information on the above please browse our Web site using the "more info" links above.
More technical resources can also be found in our text *PRESS RELEASES*

© Dataquest Solutions 03.01.07.
(last revised 13.02.18)
Images courtesy of Spectrum GmbH, ACME Portable GmbH,
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