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Building stimulus-response system with AWG, digitiser

18 Mar 2016  | Arthur Pini, Greg Tate, Oliver Rovini

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In the final step, we subtract the quadrature IF components, I and Q. The right-hand grids show the results. The lower-right grid shows that, as a result of the subtraction, the lower sideband has been cancelled leaving only the upper sideband. This signal sweeps from 122.7MHz to 127.7MHz.

Simulate missing parts
The lack of a critical component can often delay testing and product development. If, however, you have access to the missing component's response waveform, you can generate it with an AWG. You can capture real-world waveforms with a digitiser or oscilloscope, then import the waveform into the AWG for playback. One such example is a CAN (controller area network) bus, a serial data stream generated by a steering angle sensor (figure 5). This waveform was acquired using an oscilloscope and transferred to the AWG in ASCII file format.

Figure 5: An AWG can simulate a serial data stream such as those from a CAN bus.

A CAN bus signal is dual-channel waveform that represents the bus' differential (+ and –) components. To generate this signal, you need a two-channel AWG that's set to output the CAN bus waveform as a differential signal.

Once the AWG receives a trigger signal, it can generate the waveform so you can test the system. Additionally, these waveforms can be modified for margin testing of both amplitude and timing.

These few examples show the great diversity that is possible when using an AWG as a signal source for testing. AWG's can generate standard function generator waveforms such as sine, square, triangle and ramp signals. They can generate modulated waveforms and serial data patterns. They can even be used to replay real world signals that have been acquired by digitisers and oscilloscopes. AWGs can be paired with an accompanying digitiser and programmed using a manufacturer's supplied software suite such as SBench 6, commonly available system integration software like MATLAB, or LabVIEW, or custom programmed in the language of your choice through an API (application programming interface).

About the authors
Arthur Pini is a technical support specialist and electrical engineer with over 50 years experience in the electronics test and measurement industry. He has supported oscilloscopes, real-time spectrum analysers, frequency synthesisers, digitisers and arbitrary waveform generators for leading manufacturers.

With over thirty years of experience working in Test and Measurement, Greg Tate specialises in high speed ADC and DAC technology and has extensive knowledge of oscilloscopes, spectrum analysers, arbitrary waveform generators and digitiser products.

As an electronic engineer, Oliver Rovini is working at Spectrum since 1995 now. As head of development, he is responsible for hardware and software developments in the area of high speed digitisers and arbitrary waveform generators for PC platforms like PCIe, PXI, Ethernet.

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